November 2016

In this issue:


New policy statement a “useful tool”

The Future Proof sub-region – comprising Hamilton city, Waipa and Waikato districts – has been identified as a high growth area in a new national policy statement just released by the Government.

The National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity takes effect from December, and has been designed to ensure there is sufficient land available for future housing and business.

The Future Proof partners previously submitted on a discussion paper released by the Government in June this year. The submission sought clarification on some of the proposed policies to ensure there was a workable tool for the sub-region to be able to forecast and manage growth.

“We welcome the NPS because it does provide us with a useful tool, which recognises the pressures that high growth areas face. And it recognises the need for coordinated planning too,” said implementation advisor, Ken Tremaine.

“Future Proof partners are assembling a project team to look at the data requirements of the statement relating to new areas for us, such as the need for different types of housing to provide choice for everyone in our communities.

“We also have to keep a close eye on property prices to make sure land prices aren’t forced up artificially by housing shortages. These are new areas for us to be working in, and it means we’ll have a much better knowledge of how the market operates so there are no surprises going forward,” he said.

The NPS also requires more monitoring which anticipates future housing and business trends.

Ultimately this information will help the Future Proof partners to better plan through to 2046, including taking into account the growth pressures of Auckland and their possible impact on the Waikato region.

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Change proposed to Future Proof focus

It’s planned to narrow the scope of the Future Proof Strategy which is currently being reviewed by the sub-region partners.

The strategy will move to have a stronger focus on growth management and settlement pattern implementation, in line with national policy direction.

The proposed scope change is due to parts of the strategy - which was launched in November 2009 by Prime Minister John Key and Kingi Tuheitia - being implemented by the Waikato Regional Council’s Regional Policy Statement.

There are also some areas, such as economic development aspirations, which now have a home in the Waikato Plan being developed by the Waikato Mayoral Forum. The forum comprises the region’s mayors and the regional council chair.

The new Future Proof Strategy is expected to be completed next year, after taking into account the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity.

Members of the public will be asked to have their say on the new draft strategy when it’s released for consultation in the first half of 2017.

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Waikato’s response to the Auckland plan

Future Proof partners are planning to respond to the effects of the Auckland Unitary Plan, which was adopted in July this year.

The unitary plan, which is under appeal, allows for the construction of 400,000 more houses in the Auckland area. The plan also provides for Pukekohe to double in size over the next 30 years, growing from a population of 25,000 to 50,000.

It is anticipated the increased provision in south Auckland will result in some spillover effects into the Waikato. These include:

  • a need to provide for more housing in the northern Waikato
  • greater pressures on rural land for subdivision
  • displacement of horticulture out of Auckland and into northern Waikato which has an impact on our region’s natural resources
  • growth pressures on existing townships, such as Tuakau, Pokeno and Te Kauwhata.

The Future Proof partners prepared a comprehensive submission on the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan in 2014 and took part in the hearings on cross-boundary issues between Auckland and the Waikato region.

Already north Waikato is experiencing strong growth and a significant amount of it is being fuelled by Auckland’s high house prices and people looking for more affordable alternatives, said Future Proof implementation advisor, Ken Tremaine.

“The Future Proof partners have already been undertaking work to respond to some of these issues, including transport, land use and housing.

“But we’ll need to continue to closely monitor the situation so the councils and NZ Transport Agency are able to respond to the ongoing impacts of Auckland’s growth on the Waikato region,” he said.

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