Protecting productive land and allowing urban growth? Can we have our carrots and eat them too?
This research is inspired by questioning whether the proposed approach of having two national policy statements that separately provide for protecting productive land and allowing for urban growth is the best way to manage the tension that exists between these two problems in New Zealand. Currently, the housing crisis in New Zealand has seen the creation of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC) in 2016. The NPS-UDC requires local authorities to build into their resource management plans sufficient development capacity, with supporting infrastructure, in order to meet housing demand, and as an extension of that, business needs. However, a large proportion of urban centres are surrounded by the most productive, or versatile, soils. These soils are considered precious as they are classified as LUC I-II on the Land Use Capability Index. This index indicactes that these soils require the least amount of additional inputs such as fertiliser to produce food and can typically produce more crops per year than other areas. As urban centres expand into these productive areas there has been concern expressed by Horticulture NZ that productive land is not being adequately protected. One major issue is that once productive land is lost, it will never be able to be replaced. This loss of available productive land will put New Zealand’s domestic and export vegetable and fruit markets at risk. In response to this, a National Policy Statement on Highly Productive Land has been mooted and is being developed, and the NPS-UDC is also being replaced with a National Policy Statement on Urban Development. These two proposed National Policy Statements will require territorial and regional authorities to give effect to two policies that could create a tension between them. This research aims to understand how those affected by this tension believe it could be better managed. In discussing the different planning approaches that are relevant to managing the tension between allowing urban growth and protecting productive land four are relevant: land-use, strategic, spatial and strategic spatial planning. In Christchurch there is an exisiting network of organisations that work together as part of the Greater Christchurch Partnership so it is therefore appropriate to also discuss the role that collaborative planning plays in this area as this is not an issue that each authority can deal with by themselves.... [Show full abstract]