Wellington District Plan
The Wellington City Council is seeking input on the Wellington District Plan which is a document that will impact the guidelines of how we live and build in this city for the next 10 years. We submitted a proposal in September to make changes to this plan so that it better advocates for rapid transit lines, a walkable catchment area, and higher density. We will continue to advocate for these changes within the consultation process, as we believe these changes are essential steps to a climate safe future for our city.
A zero-carbon Aotearoa is important to addressing the global climate crisis. Without increased action, carbon emissions in Aotearoa will continue to rise and contribute to harming the planet, leading to increased global temperatures, an increase in the frequency and scale of adverse weather events, rising sea levels and displacement of communities. The earth is already suffering the consequences of climate change and it is important to address these issues to slow the harm being caused.
For Wellington, and all cities across New Zealand, we support sustainable urban form, low or zero-emissions transport options and increased density of development. For Wellington city centre, we consider that unlimited height controls are appropriate, to support a compact urban form which promotes efficiency of development and reduces carbon emissions by facilitating people to travel efficiently between home and work locations. This is crucial to securing a future safe from the impacts of climate change for everyone in Wellington, and ensuring more equitable access to housing, services and infrastructure.
We support better quality and accessible public and active transport infrastructure that improves quality of life throughout the city, enabling people to live close to or sustainably access where they work, study, and socialise. It is important that the disabled, low income, and other communities who are marginalized are actively prioritised in the designs to ensure the barriers to their access to the city, workplaces, study, and social life are significantly reduced. Having better quality and accessible public and active transport infrastructure is also an essential element to supporting everyone's right to a decent home. Location is one of the seven conditions identified by the United Nations as needing to be met for housing to be adequate, this is defined as, “Location: housing is not adequate if it is cut off from employment opportunities, health-care services, schools, childcare centres and other social facilities, or if located in polluted or dangerous areas.” Ensuring equitable access to these through quality and accessible public and active transport infrastructure is essential to supporting everyone’s right to a decent home. Densification can also support this by building more housing around public transport hubs.
Generation Zero recognises that housing is not adequate if it does not respect and take into account the expression of cultural identity. The PDP needs to create space for different housing typologies, such as papakāinga, to be developed with ease. The rules and regulations of the PDP must be relevant, applicable, and adaptable, to different types of housing. Under its Te Tiriti obligation of article two to “protect the Chiefs, the subtribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures” it is paramount that the PDP supports the development of papakāinga and culturally adequate housing for Māori. Under Local Governments obligations to Te Tiriti and delivering the right to a decent home, they must provide effective regulation to stop private enterprises from developing Māori land without free, prior and informed consent of mana whenua. The impact of colonisation (including the depletion of resources) on mana whenua must be recognised and redressed in this process as well.
The Human Rights Commission’s Framework Guidelines on the right to a decent home in Aotearoa identified that Central and Local Governments have a shared responsibility to do everything in their power to deliver the right to a decent home for everyone in Aotearoa. The PDP plays a crucial role in Wellington City Council’s ability to do this and it is important the PDP does not interfere with nor delay the progressive realisation of this right. Currently in Wellington, as with many other cities, we are faced with a cost of living crisis that has been built on years of rapidly increasing rent and housing prices, in part due to inadequate housing supply. The PDP needs to support the development of adequate housing through densification and supporting infrastructure for the wellbeing of everyone in the Wellington City Council area and to deliver the right to a decent home.