Industry operators are quite happy that New Zealand’s highly productive food-growing land will finally be protected from urban sprawl, with nationally important regions like Canterbury already having been carved up by decades of development.
This weekend, the government released new rules to enhance protections for the country’s most productive land, in a bid to provide security for domestic food supply and primary exports. The National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL) will protect land from inappropriate subdivision, use and development, Environment Minister David Parker said.
“We need to house our people and to feed them too. Our cities and towns need to grow but not at the expense of the land that’s best suited to grow our food.” Parker said councils, in limited circumstances, would still be able to rezone highly-productive land for urban housing if less productive land was not available, or if certain tests could be met.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the country’s most fertile and versatile land – especially in major food production areas like Canterbury, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay and Horowhenua – needed protecting.