Government's new urban development policy could lead to greater parking congestion in both residential and commercial areas

Government's new urban development policy could lead to greater parking congestion in both residential and commercial areas

Property developers will no longer have to provide a minimum number of car parks in new residential and commercial developments, under new rules in the Government's just released National Policy Statement on Urban Development (The NPS).

Under current planning rules, local councils can specify how many car parks a development must provide as part of the consenting process, but the NPS directs councils to remove any such requirements from their district plans, other than for accessible parking for disabled people.

It states: "If the district plan of a ...territorial authority contains objectives, policies, rules, or assessment criteria that have the effect of requiring a minimum number of car parks to be provided for a particular development, land use or activity, the territorial authority must change its district plan to remove that effect, other than in respect of accessible car parks."

That means it will be left to developers to decide how many, if any, car parks to provide in their projects, whether they be medium or high density housing projects or commercial developments such as shops, offices or industrial buildings.

Anything that affects the availability of car parking is likely to be contentious and in some ways removing the requirement to providing parking spaces could prove to be a double edged sword.

The information release accompanying the new NPS from Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford and Environment Minister David Parker, said removing any requirement for car parking meant developers could "choose to include car parking that meets the needs of their specific development. This will allow space to be more appropriately allocated to other uses and drive down the cost of housing, particularly in higher density areas. It will also support the Government's carbon emissions reduction goals."

Well maybe.

There is no doubt that providing car parks is expensive and a property that has car parks, whether it be commercial or residential, will nearly always sell for more than one that has none.

And freeing up use of space that might otherwise be allocated to car parks may allow more intensive use of the available land area, which may bring down the price of individual units.

The lack of a car park may also encourage occupiers to do without a car completely and use public transport, which is presumably how the Government hopes the move will support its "carbon emissions reduction goals."

But there are no certainties around any of those things.

What is more likely is that many of the people who buy units without a car park will continue to run a car but will look to park it in surrounding streets or other public parking spaces.

There is already anecdotal evidence of increasing parking congestion in areas where where higher density housing is being built.

The same applies to commercial spaces, with a lack of car parking spaces in some developments putting pressure on not just curbside parking but on commercial parking lots, whether they be council or privately owned.

The essential conflict around parking in the NPS is that parking and other transport-related issues are long term issues that need a co-ordinated approach, such as may be provided by a council.

But the NPS shifts the decision making responsibility around parking to developers, who have notoriously short term and self serving commercial objectives.

Ultimately it's giving the developers a free hand to make decisions that suit themselves best and allow them to maximise their profits.

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79 Comments

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Good. As an aside, anyone interested in this stuff should read Donald Shoup's 'The High Cost of Free Parking'

Yes, I'm very much in favour too. Rental cars are so inexpensive these days as well for the odd time a city dweller wants to head to the outskirts/country.

Yes, and hopefully self-driving car shares will be a thing in our lifetimes too. Tesla is more than half way there already.

Presumably they plan on allowing dogs on all public transport then? For all those pet owners who don't own a car. And that public transport staff will carry your shopping for you. And free buses to get children to/from school and day care on time? Public transport only works for people going to into the CBD for work and back again. It does not work for anyone who needs to go across town.

It's all about ideologies and the feelz. It's about forcing their agenda onto the people, whether the people get stuffed or not it's not their problem as long as they feel good about themselves. Couple that with their talent pool which is extremely shallow with no real life/private sector experiences and you have ideology projects turning to crap and huge wastage. Anything Twitford touches turns to custard. Looks like you'll just have to hope he bangs some secretary otherwise the PTPM will never fire him.

Not so where we live, but yes, I'm sure PT needs improvement in many areas.

These developments are not likely to be the best habitats for a dog anyway. The point is, house prices are too expensive, and giving developers discretion on whether to offer more bedrooms or whole dwelling units on bigger sites instead of space for a car is one technique to combat a real social issue. More needs to be done to improve infill development too.

It's a lot bigger than car parking....
It directs councils to zone for 6 storey development within walking distance of train stations.
It also gives greater potential for 'out of sequence' rezoning in Greenfield areas.

It will be interesting to see how this gets applied with regard to existing heritage and view-shaft overlays.
All I know is that professional costs associated with policy this are going to be huge. It's a double bonus for me.

I expect it will be difficult for the viewshafts to be overridden.
Special Character Areas is another question. I suspect some will go, some will stay.
Anything that has a MHS or MHU zoning in the specified locations should be close to automatic rezoning to THAB

Yea, agree about MHU and MHS. It will be interesting to see how SHA contiguous to these zones gets treated. Thinking Mt Eden, Meadowbank. I expect some tears from home owner associations.

Will be interesting for some of the other cities too. 6 storey development within a 10 minute walk of train stations in Wellington...........
At some point the media will get their brains around how big this is.

*6 story development without mandatory car parking.
As you say, it is hard to overstate how huge the impact could be.

Agreed. Neighbouring streets will have to lobby and go resident only parking. Anyone forced into appartments will not be able to own a car.

Anyone forced into apartments will not be able to own a car.
Why not?
Developers will still build car parks if there is demand for them.

Doubt it! Developers make a helluva lot more money out of selling living space than parking space. Besides, they'll be more than happy to leave all the parking headaches to the Councils. Have policy makers learned NOTHING from the disaster that is Wellington's "residents only" parking permits on streets????

Wellington's residents only parking is an issue within itself - it miss prices parking.

This is the whole argument underpinning the policy - we are constantly miss pricing the cost of parking. Those who suffer are those who have no demand for parking. Yet everyone seems to think there is no problem with that.

Parking in Mt Vic is interesting. Nobody there owns a Ute or big SUV. Why? They cannot fit into the few and far between tiny gaps between other (small) cars. It is wonderful in this natural selection process.

It's quite a feat to be able to not pay for parking but still then lobby the ratepayer into giving you guaranteed free parking. I see these signs of entitlement mentality around some inner Auckland suburbs.

Excellent, greater parking congestion makes inner city dwellers re-consider if they need a car or can make use of public transport, bikes or shared car facilities. Any form of free parking on local streets is essentially private parking supported by ratepayers it is not free! Such parking should be limited to the elderly or disabled.

Unfortunately cars littering the roadside is far from just an inner city problem.

That's a really smart move.. NOT!

Yep.
It does not encourage the uptake of electric cars.
So people will continue with their IC cars and park them going round and round the block....as best they can. Queue the excellent choice of photo....

When you've rounded the block unsuccessfully one or two times, you'll start thinking about need vs nice to have.

Not. When you finally get yourself in the door after your parking struggles you will sit down at your computer and deluge your local representatives and Stuff. Complaining profusely about the lack of parking provided by the council to go with apartment brought at a discount ( not not cheaply) due to its lack of parking options.

Sounds like car communism to me. The free market will eventually provide a place to park if it's worth enough to you. What, you want something for nothing?

There is two ways to look at this:
1. if we have a good public transport system and affordable, reliable cars sharing schemes then I say go for it, good on you council for removing that requirement.
2. If the council removed that requirement in hope that it will stem into good reliable public transport and cars sharing schemes, then it's like putting a cart before the horse!

Exactamento!

This inability will just cause problems in the future.

Ah, so if you want to have a car you'll have to buy further out. I thought we didn't like sprawl? OR they could just get on and build a public transport network that works so people can use it. but nope, no vision.

Everyone needs to keep calm on the car parking. Most of the time developers will still provide it.
This policy does not ban them from doing so. It simply bans councils from mandating it.
As I said in an earlier comment, there are much bigger things in this NPS than car parking...

Yes, the other two things you mention are worthwhile too.

Exactly this policy is essentially allowing the free market to determine the price & quantity of parking. This is a good thing, anyone who is against it is frankly a socialist who wants the government to provide them with "free" parking storage

Huh? The risk of this change is that developers will save costs by not building car parking, forcing residents to use curbside parking (i.e. free parking provided by the council).

Yea I'm in agreement with it in principle but if I were a developer, why would I just not pocket the saving for not having to build a car park and charge the same amount for the apartment without it?

...Because buyers who value parking spaces will not purchase those properties?

The argument then becomes, well, does the removal of this regulation result in some additional attribute/amenity to the buyer occurring. If the value of that amenity is approximately equal to the willingness to pay for parking, then the developer can, effectively, pocket the difference.
Similar thing occurred with Special Housing Accord developments where it turns out that people highly value rapid construction times.

which is exactly why you'd want to be the first developer to do this in a neighbourhood, so there is still easy on-street parking.. it won't be till the third or fourth parking-less apartment block that parking in the neighbourhood becomes a complete sh*tfest and they'll struggle find buyers willing to pay what they did.

... because someone will undercut you? This just decouples the car park from the apartment. If you need an off-street park a monthly fee will get you one nearby.

Yes, that works fine in Tokyo & other big Japanese cities, where they have excellent, frequent and well subsidised public transport in place. After seeing Japan, I would venture to say that EVERY New Zealand urban environment is missing those very important pieces of the transport jigsaw puzzle.

This is unbelieveable as it will turn some almost undevelopable sites into being useful.

That will push people to go and shop even more in the malls instead to local shop. I am all for less cars on the road but I don’t see that as a smart move.

Don't shoppers have to drive to the malls, whereas they can walk to the local shops?
(* In London, developers that had to provide a park with a new development did so, like a garage, knowing full well that the buyer would immediately turn it into another dwelling space - bedroom etc. So their designs provided for that)

You might be able to walk to the shops, but how do you get home again with all your shopping? Especially if you are elderly or infirm. That's why cars have boots.

Easy. Little rolling bags. Get a nice one and they serve as a travelling thing to lean on for a rest. Plenty of elderly people survive in real cities - and it is healthy to walk more.

Why do you make it sound like its one way only? If said elderly or infirm person wants an apartment with parking, they buy said apartment.

No one's forcing anyone to do anything.

Is this the only way to solve housing problem by removing all conditions. A time will come when it will be build as you want and how you want.

Similarly only solution to panademic is print and distribute money.

No fresh ideas and short term thinking in any policy.

Shows the government is hell bent on population growth. I guess immigration will be resuming as soon as possible.

This is just govt/local govt making changes. I am not looking to those guys to create ideas to generate economic activity. This is just an example of them getting out of the way of the market in a few respects. That is as good as it gets.

we can expect more of this
as growth in general grinds to a standstill we are left with the ONLY option of abandoning all (resource) rules that hinder growth in any way
Its growth OR environment ...

However im sure the developers will take into account the collective impact of packing more people in on any sewerage / water problems ...

"the developers will take into account the collective impact of packing more people in on any sewerage / water problems" and the facilitation of Covid etc spread???

Anything with Twyfords name on it is just a lipstick wearing pig. Another ill thought knee jerk declaration. Ninness' last few sentences will prove prophetic. Wilson Parking will be rubbing their hands and slavering in anticipation

More people will consider not owning a car in the future and just hire one when required. Also home delivery shopping is now becoming normal. As for Wilson Parking - after charging me $25 for 3 hours and then 90 cents card fee they never see another dime from me forever.

The car parking is clickbait. The change to the multi-storey zoning is more serious. The lobbiests have been working hard. Assume their paymasters already have the properties acquired and banked ready to take maximum advantage. Next, they just need to lobby for more economic units (people) to be allowed in to fill the shoeboxes. But the first thing they do when they arrive is by car. So go figure.

If our central govt knows better than our local politicians why do we have local politicians? The govt ought to be able to recommend and suggest but leave the control in local hands. Then when mistakes are made we can solve them at the next local election.

Cutting back on the power of the local council toll booth to dip their beak? Surely, not?

In order to actually do anything one must first gain council approval and pay them the appropriate "fee" to examine your proposal. The council can extract more "fees" by asking for more evidence or information. This is a toll booth system very similar to bribery in its structure and effect. A system based on bribery can be more efficient if the bribe paid is low and the decision immediate.

One way to make things improve faster is to remove obstacles to change. So, think moveable office cupboards rather than built in ones.

The Urban Development legislation, also passed yesterday, granting Kainga Ora a whole range of new powers, is arguably as major. Haven't seen any media coverage on that.

Yes, the two pieces of legislation combined seem to me to get us half way through the RMA's failures in regards to planning for the urban environment.

I think it's hilarious that there's hardly anything in the media, shows how sloppy / slow they are (obviously not when it concerns dirty politics).
These two things will have profound implications for urban development.

Most of NZ's media just copy and paste press releases. No press release, no coverage.

The intro photo says it all, no room on the roads to park let alone drive.
Stupid to think that public transport is readily available so you don't/won't need a vehicle.
I suspect that a high proportion of the workforce would be jobless without a car to get to work in, given the workplace locations vary from day to day, and year to year (given that you can't always live near your work, and should not have to change houses every time you change jobs)
I guess the Nats will support it given that it allows the environmentally disastrous expansion/intensification of Auckland's(et al) population to continue, benefiting only land bankers and commercial interests..

Or let's put it another way first: mandate Councils to provide public transport to certain specifications dependent on the population density of different areas, suburbs, etc. That way people wouldn't want to own, maintain or use a car. Oh that's right, I forgot.... that would mean Councils would need to make some really difficult decisions. Sorry!

Interesting photograph of a busy UK parking street - given the Georgian style house in the background.

Yeah probably is given that lots of cars are parked on the wrong side of the road, oh wait... that happens here now and I never see any tickets being issued.
The other thing about parking here in NZ now is that it is way more dangerous to cross roads because of the height of SUVs and Utes. You have to walk practically onto the road to see if any car is coming. And for children this is so dangerous its not funny.

The only people who don't have cars are poor people, so all the car free developments are targeted at investors renting to low socio-economic people (or AirBnBs), turning the suburbs into ghettos or party central. Anyway, thats the Christchurch experience with one infamous low rent developer who specialises in these car free developments. This is just aimed at getting developers to build social housing units instead of the Govt doing it.

We're pretty well off and have one car instead of many. These things are related. I'd love to get rid of the one eventually, once I'm able to walk to the suburban mall and rent the vehicle I need for the afternoon or weekend like I could overseas.

Forget all the irrational comments about cars and parking. Consider instead all the high rise buildings that will come on stream and the problems that high density living will do including noise concerns. Long live the open spaces!

Exactly. The car parking is a red herring.
Wait till NIMBYs get their head around 6 storey apartments...

Some people are going to get a shock when up goes a 6 storey building right beside their nice villa.
As for parking, the councils will just ringfence any new development with pay parking.
Sneaky source of added income for them.
Bugger that.

To be fair, parking is not free anyway. Its either user pays or paid by ratepayers.

As to why ratepayers should fund storage of private property when funding is so tight. Makes you wonder.

The CDHB must have lobbied hard for this rule change so that they NEVER have to provide car parking for ChCh hospital users! An absolutely disgraceful situation!!!

"Government's new urban development policy could lead to greater parking congestion in both residential and commercial areas"

Well, then councils will just have to charge for on-street parking as they should already be doing. Free parking is nothing more than a direct subsidy to car drivers. A full return on capital on every on-street parking space should be mandatory.

I am just finishing converting a basement to a 2 bedroom flat. Cost me over $50000 to provide the required 5.5m by 3.1m carpark, to go with the 2 existing, same size, all with their own access. Far larger than KMart had to put in. already had room for 4 cars, just not legally required size. Our st already has at least one car per bedroom parked on the st as it is. The Phil and Dave tragicomedy show rolls on.

Typical, short sighted move by this myopic deluded govt. Cars are here to stay, whether gasoline, diesel or electric. Small cities like in NZ are not London or New York and cars are always required to get anywhere. Commercial premises without carparks for tenants wont rent easily and residential buildings without parking become slums. More dopey green pixie policy.

But the policy doesn't say you can't provide parking...sigh...

Macca is being a bit dramatic. If you want to buy an apartment with carparking. Guess what, you buy an apartment with carparking.

Why Macca thinks his idea on what should be a living situation should be forced on everyone else is beyond me.

Yet ironically he'll probably claim to believe in the free market!

I agree. Although they will not be slums immediately. There does seem to be demand for new things. eg people in Tauranga may want a pad in Ak as a holiday house (and would be willing to put up with the parking hassle) or a renter. But over time, slowly but surely those places without parks will become rentals and the mtce slips and the slide begins....
And there are other issues of course like where would the tradies park if/when they come to do mtce. Your grandma will never visit etc.

This is nothing else than the construction lobby succeeding in pressuring the Government in being able to profit more from the land they develop. This will mean even more packed neighborhoods, and for those claiming people should use rent cars or other dumb stuff, it would be great if in a perfect world there would be affordable public transport which is efficient and accessible to everyone but unfortunately that/s not the case.

In Auckland parking is already not mandated in the THAB zone. Yet most of the developments provide parking. Because most people still want it.
There's some really silly comments in this thread.

Obviously those involved never have to carry anything or get a tradesman around. I would like to see a plumber catch a bus with a few lengths of pipe and tools

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