Planning for
7 generations


“It is trendy for Government documents to pay respect to Te Tiriti with words like.”Te Ao Māori refers to the Māori world view, which emphasises the interconnectedness and interrelationship of living and non-living things” and then completely ignore this basic fact of science. Policy in one area impacts many other areas. Policy must be interconnected. 

This site is written for government policy makers, both elected and appointed. It raises the inconvenient truth that while laws are made, studies conducted and voluminous reports written, most outcomes are flawed – wasting time, money and opportunity. Further, while climate change has the attention of Government, their Te Ao Pakeha solutions reflect silo thinking. Climate change solutions are interconnected with the affordable housing crisis, congested cities, the fracturing and isolating of families, children, old people and communities. Many social, economic and cultural problems are due to transport-based zoning; all is interconnected.

FACT: The RMA is the largest contributor to NZ CO₂ emissions

The MOT writesThe transport sector currently produces 47 per cent of CO2 emissions, and between 1990 and 2018, domestic transport emissions increased by 90 per cent

The RMA was adopted in 1991. Emissions increased 90% since 1990. Why? Because councils writing district plans under the RMA adopted the US one-car/one person transportation model. It’s called “zoning”


WHY: After WW-II, America decided to shift to a one-car/one-person transport system by inventing the suburbs. They did so by adopting zoning laws that separated residence zones from commercial. A massive investment was made in transport, providing a boom market for cars, petroleum and chemicals required to use the mandated way of life. The social effect was to separate people, especially disadvantaging the 25% who do not drive – the children, the old and the infirm.

WHAT: The environmental effect is proving catastrophic. Not only CO₂. The second largest source of micro-plastics in the ocean are tyre-dust. Making a tonne of lithium for car batteries uses 2 million litres of water – one Tesla battery uses 265,000 litres before it drives its first kilometre (and uses over double the electricity to make the car than it consumes in its lifetime of driving). Electric cars are still one-car/one-person. The answer is not more buses and trains. It is to rezone destinations.

HOW: The RMA became New Zealand’s zoning law. District Plans adopted the American zoning model, overlooking the fact that a transport-based zoning system undermines the purposes of the RMA. Worse, NZ does not have a car industry; NZ’s number one export is milk powder to pay for NZ’s top two imports: petroleum and motor vehicles.

SOLUTION: The Government issued a Climate Change Commission report and a Ministry of Transport (MOT) Green Paper where neither acknowledge the elephant in the room: the RMA, or more precisely, the district plans under the RMA. These district plans are socially and environmentally toxic. If the Government is serious about climate change, it must end transport-based zoning. Do not approve any more transport-based growth. Return to human-scaled design that is socially, economically and environmentally good. To learn how see https://markettowns.nz .


FACT: 47% of NZ CO₂ emissions come from transport

The MOT writesThe transport sector currently produces 47 per cent of CO2 emissions, and between 1990 and 2018, domestic transport emissions increased by 90 per cent“, but it’s solution remains transport-based: Theme 1 – Changing the way we travel. Theme 2 – Improving our passenger vehicles. Theme 3 – Supporting a more efficient freight system. Theme 0 is missing – Eliminate the need for transport. MOT needs to break out of its silo to see the bigger picture: no new transport-based zoning. To do so is not a new idea. It is how all people lived before technology gave us cars, buses and trains. People lived in villages and towns. Their day-to-day destinations were within walking distance. It’s an idea whose time has returned.


FACT: 75% drop in CO₂ During Level 4 in Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch

With the Covid lockdown transport came to a grinding halt worldwide. The skies became notably clearer. Nature began to emerge. People instantly changed their work habits, shopping behavior and lifestyle – not out of choice, but by government mandate. In Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, CO₂ levels dropped by 75%, literally overnight on March 25th and stayed that way for 7 weeks. Except for Luxembourg, this was the largest drop in the world. But to do it, we had to lock people in their homes. If 10,000 people live in a self-contained town, where all day-to-day destinations are within walking distance and there is no need for private or public transport, the emissions don’t happen, but the people are not inconvenienced.


FACT: 100% of District Council district/unitary plans are transport based

It’s not the RMA purposes – they are noble. It is the fact that every single district plan in New Zealand is transport-based. This means to accomplish the mundane chores of daily life, people have to drive to thrive. It is no accident that CO₂ levels increased 90% since 1990, and the RMA was made law in 1991. Developers do what district plans allow – why rock the boat? This is especially the case in Auckland which is completely dysfunctional – severe road congestion, radically unaffordable housing, massive air pollution. A new way is needed. The Urban Development Act 2020 offers NZ the power to make this change, but only if Kainga Ora uses it.



FACT: 62% of New Zealanders cannot afford to buy a home

These statistics are pre-Covid. With the return of expat Kiwis who have more money, the prices keep going up. Wealthy Kiwis who cannot travel are purchasing second, or even third homes for domestic holidays. With quantitative easing, investors fear the purchasing power of the Kiwi dollar will drop, so they are moving cash into property. The 3X multiplier of household income to house price is long gone, meaning the majority of New Zealanders cannot afford what was regarded as a birthright before the 21st century – home ownership. Further, rents are rising in places where there are jobs. It is not unusual for over 50% of income to go to rent.

Te Tiriti calls it Kainga

Ko te Kuini o Ingarani ka wakarite ka wakaae ki nga Rangatira ki nga hapu – ki nga tangata katoa o Nu Tirani te tino rangatiratanga o o ratou wenua o ratou kainga me o ratou taonga katoa.

In Te Tiriti o Waitangi the Crown promises to protect three things: whenua, kainga and taonga katoa. Of these, kainga is the most forgotten, yet it offers an indigenous model for 21st century development. Kainga means “village”, but not the developer meaning given to a new suburban development in a bedroom zone, nor in the commercial zone with a strip mall and petrol station at the intersection of two highways. Kainga was a self-contained, self-supporting community that tread lightly on the planet.

Self Contained

A kainga is self contained. It has a clear geographic boundary, with all active life within. All day-to-day destinations were within walking distance. A 24/7 community; people develop psychological bonds due to proximity. While called a kainga in Aotearoa, it is the way all people lived for thousands of years before industry reshaped habitat to suit commercial pecuniary interest.  

Self Supporting

Pre-colonial Kainga – and in old Europe, the Market Town always would have self-supporting local economies. People would develop specialisation and trade with outside economies, but the core economy operated locally. In a subsistence kainga this requires a critical mass of one whanau. In the 21st century, with far more complex economies, the critical mass is about 10,000.

Zero Carbon

When 47% of the CO₂ generated in NZ comes from transport, the easiest way to cut that is to move daily destinations to eliminate the need to drive. The kainga was zero carbon because there were no cars. In the 21st century there will be car, truck and bus use, but if one adopts the kainga model, they will not be used to accomplish the mundane chores of daily life