Minimum parking requirements have been getting some long-overdue attention at central government level after the release of the Productivity Commission’s report recommending their removal from district plans.
Finance Minister Bill English has also expressed his support for binning minimums. So last week Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter – a longtime advocate of removing MPRs – asked Housing Minister Nick Smith whether the government had any plans to legislate to remove them from district plans:
Smith’s responses were a bit evasive but there were still a few interesting points raised in the back-and-forth:
- Smith said that it would be complex to legislate to remove MPRs as they are in district plans rather than the RMA. However, back in 2012 the government changed the RMA to specifically rule out blanket tree protection rules in district plans. So I can’t see why it wouldn’t be possible to do the same with MPRs.
- He also said that the government was developing a National Policy Statement on Urban Development, presumably to encourage better, less costly rules. That’s the first we’ve heard of that – I wonder who they’re consulting?
- Smith also criticised heritage protection rules as a barrier to intensification, which he described as “part of the answer”.
Overall a pretty interesting exchange, and it’s good to see the issue getting more attention.