Business land: problems and causes. Research to support a proposed NPS on urban planning

Fiona Stokes, Hugh Dixon, John Williamson, Kel Sanderson, Natalia Fareti
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The proposed National Policy Statement (NPS) on Urban Development is intended to ensure regional and district plans provide adequate development capacity for businesses and housing. This includes both the total quantum of development capacity and business land, and attributes such as its location and type.

This research considered the sufficiency of the supply of business land in urban areas experiencing the highest population growth in New Zealand, and if issues were identified, whether an NPS might positively effect change. Business land is defined in this report as land specifically zoned for productive uses in urban areas, including manufacturing, retail, commercial offices, hospitality and accommodation, and business services. The overarching issue was examined through a combination of stakeholder interviews and a review of relevant data and documents.

The conclusion reached is that the overall supply of business land is generally sufficient, and in some areas it is likely that there is an oversupply. In these areas, an oversupply of some types of business land is contributing to a “hollowing out” of the town centre and/or an under-utilisation of infrastructure as development has not eventuated.

However, the more important finding is that in areas of growth and change, most notably Auckland, there is a shortage of “the right land in the right location”. This varies by sector, but is particularly so for businesses engaged in capital intensive (and often land extensive) activities that generate noise, odour or traffic movements. These include manufacturers and utility operators on land zoned only for such uses (and therefore of lower value).


Last updated: 2016-09-30