Top lawyer backs fast-tracking urban development

by Sol Dolor20 Feb 2017

A top lawyer is supportive of the New Zealand Government’s plan to fast-track urban development by creating powerful “Urban Development Authorities.” Simpson Grierson partner Bill Loutit said the plan would aid in better meeting the housing and commercial needs of a growing New Zealand.

“If done right, this is a real opportunity to see things done quicker,” he said.

The government is considering special legislation to create the government agencies, which will be given rights to acquire land, change infrastructure, and build public and private projects. The publicly controlled authorities will plan and oversee projects, possibly collaborating with private companies and landowners.

The goal is to streamline consenting processes and make it easier for urban development projects to assemble parcels of land, override existing and proposed district and regional plans, and plan and build infrastructure, the law firm said.

Loutit said that from experience helping developers such as Fletchers, Wynyard Development and Tāmaki Regeneration Company, he has first-hand experience of how aspects of the process can draw out timeframes and create costly delays.

“It's good to see the Government putting in place measures that will enable developments to occur more comprehensively, quickly and cohesively," Loutit said.

Last week, Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith released the public consultation papers for the legislation. The move is seen to boost housing and public infrastructure such as schools, roads, parks and drainage.


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