New Zealand cities will soon embrace high-density urban-dwellings (by early next year) if a government proposal released today by the Minister for Urban Development Phil Twyford, gets a Ministerial and Cabinet nod.

A new policy statement was launched in Porirua on Wednesday by Mr Twyford and Environment Minister David Parker, seeking to direct local councils to get rid of their overly restrictive planning that has been long held as one of the major causes of creating an artificial scarcity of land in New Zealand’s major urban centres.

“Our Government wants councils to take a long-term strategic approach to the growth of their cities. This means joining up transport, housing and infrastructure in a 30-year plan that involves mana whenua and the wider community in a much more hands-on approach to planning,” Phil Twyford said.

“Our cities are failing. Poor quality planning is stopping our cities from growing, driving up the price of land and housing, and is one of the big drivers of the housing crisis,” Mr Twyford said.

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land,” Mr Twyford said.

Phil Twyford said the proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development would direct councils – particularly in the six high growth centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown – to free up their planning rules while focusing on high-quality streets, neighbourhoods and communities.

Notably, Phil Twyford had long been a firm advocate for enunciating high-rise urban dwellings such as in overseas destinations of Singapore and Hong Kong for solving some of the pressing housing challenges facing New Zealand cities.

Earlier last year government had introduced legislation in parliament to establish Kainga Ora?Homes and Communities – previously known as the Housing and Urban Development Authority (HUDA), with its first projects up and running by early 2020.

The latest released national policy statement, once after the process of public consultation is completed, will provide strategic direction to the operating framework for Kainga Ora?Homes and Communities.