Answer

It’s unfair to lock younger people and poorer people out of suburban centres and city centres.  We all have a moral obligation to enable more New Zealanders to live decent lives and contribute to our society and economy, and the overwhelmingly best way to do that is to live in places near to good stuff we all want to do. 

Transport costs can quickly cancel out the cheaper cost of renting or buying in a far-flung suburb, and as there are fewer amenities in these suburbs, people will be compelled to go elsewhere to work and socialise. So they’ll be forced to swallow those high transport costs.    

The government bans councils from only providing for growth in one type of place: the National Policy Statement on Urban Development requires them to provide for growth by providing choice in both housing typology and in location. 

The Planning for Growth engagement about where and how Wellington should grow was conclusive: heavy majorities in favour of developing around existing suburban centres, and Wellington city centre.  

Once our far-flung, low-density suburbs intensify and start providing some benefits of agglomeration [PDF], they’ll be able to offer more people a village or a “15 minute-neighbourhood” life. But until then, it’s not fair to lock people out of living in places it’s possible to have a full life without travelling heaps.