The first full business meeting of the new Wellington Regional Leadership Committee marks the start of a collaborative partnership designed to shape future growth in the Wellington-Wairarapa-Horowhenua region.

The partnership has been progressed as part of the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda to improve co-ordination and alignment between central and local government and mana whenua in New Zealand’s high growth urban areas.

The committee brings together key leaders across the region, including the regional chair, mayors from each of the region’s local authorities and Horowhenua District Council, mana whenua partners, and central government ministers.

With three interdependent areas of responsibility: the Wellington Regional Growth Framework (regional spatial planning), regional economic development and recovery, the committee provides a unique and collaborative platform to positively influence and drive the Wellington region’s future.

The joint Wellington Regional Growth Framework, one of the key responsibilities of the Committee, focuses on coordination and integration of housing and infrastructure over the next 30 years. It sets out how the region can accommodate an additional 200,000 people and 100,000 jobs in a way that is well aligned with the government’s priorities across housing, infrastructure, including transport and emissions reduction.

“The region is facing significant challenges from the lack of housing supply which is driving unaffordable prices. Underneath this issue is the related problem of the need for substantial investment in infrastructure to support growth and how to fund this. The region also needs to ensure that our natural resources are protected and that as we grow we address the need to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change impacts.,” says new independent chair Hon. Tracey Martin.

“To effectively address them we have to collectively focus our effort. That’s the real benefit of the committee, which connects central, regional, local government and iwi, bringing their collective experience, expertise and resources to bear on issues that matter to the region.”

The partnership is a first for the region, and Transport Minister Hon Minister Michael Wood and Housing Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods represent the Crown, alongside iwi and local government members.

Under the Wellington Regional Growth Framework work programme, the committee will pursue four priority areas: housing supply, affordability and choice; transport choice and access; Iwi/Māori housing, capacity and taonga; climate change and resilience.

Tied to these opportunities will be a new regional economic development plan. Work is underway to progress this plan, and its complementary position beside both the Wellington

Regional Growth Framework and Te Matarau a Maui – the regional Māori Economic Development Strategy.

The formation of the committee follows 18 months’ work involving the region’s 10 councils and seven iwi groups, working with central government to develop the region’s first growth framework in the form of a joint spatial plan. With the added opportunity to progress and activate regional economic development and recovery opportunities, the committee will be an integral regional forum.

“This is an exciting new forum for the Wellington region, one that will help to unlock key opportunities and address shared challenges, and we’re looking forward to getting started,” said Hon Tracey Martin.