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NZPI’s annual conference will address the issues of urban growth, climate change and water quality

NZPI conference to address the key issues for 2019

Urban growth, climate change and water quality are some of the biggest issues facing our planners in 2019, according to the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI).


These and other hot topics such as future food security, driverless cars and Maori involvement in freshwater planning are up for discussion at NZPI’s annual conference in April.

NZPI senior policy advisor Joel Cayford says planners are in the spotlight in high-growth cities, as they work to avoid urban ‘poverty traps’ and overcome infrastructure challenges. “Urban planning challenges we face every day include stormwater damage of waterways, and the provision of adequate housing and infrastructure such as schools, amenities and transport. There’s also the challenge of finding ways to regenerate declining suburbs,” says Joel.

NZPI senior policy advisor Joel Cayford: “Planners are in the spotlight in high-growth cities, as they work to avoid urban ‘poverty traps’ and overcome infrastructure challenges”

“We’re planning for future cities where top-of-mind considerations include big data, robots, drones, autonomous vehicles and 3D printing. We need to think carefully about how people, government and businesses can function together in a highly interconnected environment.”

‘Weaving the Strands’

More than 500 delegates are expected to attend NZPI’s ‘Weaving the Strands’ conference, including industry leaders, iwi, resource managers, urban designers, scientists, environmental advocates and local and central government.

Speakers at the event, to be held in Napier during 2–5 April, include former US State Legislator Sue Minter. Sue will talk about planning in an unstable world, drawing on her experience as a planner in post-apartheid South Africa, state transportation leader, disaster recovery chief and political candidate in the US.

The 2019 conference coincides with a period of flagship reforms and legislative change. The government has just released its blueprint for improving freshwater quality, which will put in place new rules and regulations by 2020.

A new national policy statement for freshwater management aims to ensure all aspects of ecosystem health are managed, and a new national environmental standard will regulate activities that put water quality at risk, including intensive winter grazing and hill country cropping.

Similarly, new climate change legislation is due to come before Parliament. The proposed Zero Carbon Bill will ultimately result in New Zealand being carbon-neutral within 30 years.

“Regulatory reforms are important, but the challenge for planners is bridging the gap between policy and practice,” says Joel.

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