Access to staples of the New Zealand food basket, such as carrots, potatoes, onions and leafy greens, must be a consideration on the table in urban planning, says Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive Mike Chapman.

Horticulture New Zealand has made a submission on the Productivity Commission’s draft report Better Urban Planning.

The draft report suggests different ways of delivering urban planning in New Zealand to meet changing demands.

“Parts of the New Zealand food supply chain are, in our view, being affected by constraints on production because of competition for suitable land for housing, and access to water,” Mr Chapman says.

“Effects of shortages, or no supply, may result in increased prices for access to food staples such as carrots, potatoes, onions and leafy greens.

“Horticulture is a growth industry in New Zealand, making an important contribution to the economy, including through jobs by employing about 60,000 people. As a core element of New Zealand’s food network we need room to grow, alongside expanding urban areas. It would be a serious planning failure for New Zealand to have food shortages and to have to import fresh fruit and vegetables that can be grown here.”

Areas where Horticulture New Zealand has concerns in the draft report include: regulating the built environment to consider effects on rural zoned land; the ability for industry groups, such as Horticulture New Zealand, to participate in the planning process; and the ability for each council in New Zealand to approach planning issues on the same basis. There is a balance that needs to be found in streamlining and cutting red tape for urban development and ensuring that councils meet community needs, such as the ability to eat domestically grown fruit and vegetables.

“Overall, Horticulture New Zealand agrees with approach of the Productivity Commission, but having land to grow fruit and vegetables is critical to horticulture’s ongoing growth and our ability to feed New Zealand, so the submission process is a valuable one,” Mr Chapman says.

The Productivity Commission’s final report on urban planning is due to Government on 30 November.

For more information