Urban development agency Kāinga Ora has selected Porirua City’s Northern Growth Area (NGA) for assessment as a potential Specified Development Project.

The over 1,000 hectare development area is the first project to be selected for this new process under the Urban Development Act (the Act).

With the NGA identified by both Porirua City Council and the Wellington Regional Urban Growth Partnership as a key area suitable for future urban growth, the Council requested Kāinga Ora look to use its tools under the Act to facilitate and coordinate housing and urban development in the area.

Northern Growth Area Boundary Map

Specified Development Projects (SDPs) provide a new way for Kāinga Ora to work with councils, iwi, landowners and private developers to plan and deliver transformational, complex urban developments. Through the SDP process, Kāinga Ora has a range of tools to overcome key barriers to development, helping projects progress with greater certainty and integration, and contributing to sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities.

Kāinga Ora General Manager Urban Planning & Design, Katja Lietz, says the NGA was selected following months of discussions with Porirua City Council, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, and relevant landowners.

“Our SDP process takes a collaborative, partnership approach from the start, with initial considerations involving discussions with key parties, such as councils, mana whenua, and landowners, while reviewing information about the proposed project,” she says.

“Like many regions in Aotearoa, Porirua badly needs more housing, both now and in the future. Kāinga Ora already works closely with the Council and Ngāti Toa to achieve this and we are now assessing the opportunity to use our new urban development tools to enable further housing and infrastructure for the area.

“The Council estimates 6,000 homes and associated amenities could be delivered in the NGA, once fully built out. With seven different landowners and multiple project partners, our initial consideration is that the Northern Growth Area could benefit from an SDP being established.

“We believe the use of an SDP may offer a significant opportunity to deliver on Crown, council and mana whenua housing objectives, and improve transport options, while enhancing and protecting the environment.”

Porirua City Council Chief Executive Wendy Walker agrees, calling the Northern Growth Area the region’s most important greenfield opportunity, given its location and scale.

“Current Porirua developments are not delivering the number of new houses required per year, and the city’s housing challenges are becoming more acute. Porirua has a lack of affordable housing and some of the highest rents in the country,” she says.

“The Council and landowners have already progressed planning changes to enable new housing and urban development in this area. While use of an SDP is explored further, we expect these planning processes will continue. An SDP could provide an opportunity to realise this area’s potential more fully, to create a public transport orientated community, a lower carbon emission urban environment and support environmental outcomes.”

Helmut Modlik, CEO, Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira, says the Iwi supports the assessment selection, saying “It’s a great opportunity for the Iwi, the community and Government to work together on greater outcomes for the people and hapori of Porirua.”

Selection of the project for assessment as a potential SDP is just the start of a process, Katja Lietz says.

“This selection now kicks off approximately nine months of extensive engagement and consultation as Kāinga Ora considers the suitability of the project as a potential SDP,” she says.

“The process is based on an open and transparent communications framework with key partners and stakeholders and we very much look forward to hearing from everyone about the potential use of an SDP in the Northern Growth Area.

“Once the assessment is complete, Kāinga Ora will recommend to the Ministers responsible whether or not an SDP should be established, however we have a way to go before that decision is made.”

Read more about our Specified Development Projects

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Page updated: 25 August 2022