Cities and towns can be places where people and nature thrive, with affordable homes, low-emissions transport, clean rivers and beaches, and vibrant green spaces.

But successive governments have failed to plan for flourishing urban environments, leading to an over-reliance on roads and car parks, poor quality buildings, and polluted waterways.

The Green Party in Government is making change for the better. We are working to ensure new Crown developments will be low-emissions and prioritise active transport, including with Homestar 6 environmental ratings for new public houses. And we are removing the minimum parking requirements rule that meant new developments had to prioritise building carparks instead of more affordable homes or green spaces.

Cities are already economic and social hubs. With better planning they can also be places that enhance community resilience through our physical and natural environment.

The Green Party will:

  • Support local councils to fund rainwater tanks, so communities are better prepared for droughts.

  • Restore urban waterways and create walking and cycling paths alongside them, creating jobs and improving water quality. This will include storm water improvements to prevent polluted run-off entering urban streams; upgrading urban culverts to ensure safe passage of native aquatic species; and working with councils to identify opportunities for “daylighting” piped streams.

  • Update the Ministry for the Environment’s Urban Design Protocol to provide guidance on urban design principles for high-density and mid-density housing types, for quality living environments and vibrant urban spaces; retrofitting commercial buildings to provide quality, affordable inner-city housing; and community-led brownfield redevelopment in existing urban and urban fringe areas.

  • Provide government guidance on co-designing mixed use developments and new public transport routes; heritage protection, including strong protections for wāhi tapu; and green water infrastructure, with a focus on “soft” infrastructure solutions such as rain gardens and green roofs.

  • Create strong regional spatial planning requirements to ensure urban fringe developments are on good public transport routes; protect significant natural areas, food production land; water catchments; and ensure urban development does not occur in areas with high natural hazard risk.

  • Restore dunelands, streams, wetlands, and bush near urban areas, working with iwi and hapū, local government, community organisations, and neighbourhood groups.

  • Support community clean energy networks, including shared solar panels.

Read more about our green vision for Aotearoa