The Productivity Commission's final report reflects Local Government New Zealand's submission that good quality compact urban form, combined with good public transport, can contribute to the reduction of emissions.
“LGNZ supports the Productivity Commission's recommendation that councils should review, and if justified remove, barriers to higher-density development, and LGNZ will continue to work with councils to support them to do this,” says LGNZ President Dave Cull.
The report clearly recognises the importance of taking a long-term approach to transitioning to a low-emissions economy, balanced with the need to take action as a matter of urgency. LGNZ’s view has long been that such an approach is critical for ensuring widespread support for, and the sustainability of, the framework and policy settings for such a transition.
However, LGNZ is disappointed that the Productivity Commission has not placed greater emphasis on regional spatial plans as a tool that would assist councils to contribute to delivering emissions reductions.
“Spatial plans are a powerful tool for achieving integrated land use, infrastructure and transport planning, and consequently, emissions reductions,” says Mr Cull.
The Productivity Commission's final report also recognises the opportunities that the transition to a low emissions economy presents, including opportunities for research and development, new economic activities and to share New Zealand’s experiences with the global community, and better reflects the impacts that the transition is likely to have on communities and their well-being, and in particular vulnerable communities.
“The Productivity Commission has reinforced the critical need for the Government to take into account the impacts on communities and their well-being when it makes any policy decisions aimed at transitioning New Zealand to a low emissions economy.”
The Productivity Commission has recognised that local government will play an important role in any national emissions reduction strategy, given the responsibilities it has for regulating land use and managing land transport.
“We're pleased that the Productivity Commission has recognised local government's important role, and agree with the Productivity Commission's finding that the transition presents a good opportunity to establish new and more effective arrangements for local and central government to work together on issues of common interest,” says Mr Cull.