New Zealand is renowned for its untouched and untamed natural beauty. But as a country it is not currently a leader in climate change. As of 2022 the current ranking of NZ on the climate change performance index (CCPI) is 35th. A drop of 7 spaces from the previous year. The main focus of the government in the contribution towards the climate change crisis has been lowering fuel emissions. With fees and surcharges on imported cars with higher emissions. But there are other sectors and industries that can utilise change, and reduce its carbon footprint. Shopless looks at the building and housing sector of New Zealand. And the changes that are being implemented to see a more sustainable future.
The NZ Governmental Approach on Housing and the Environment
In 2021 the New Zealand government repealed the current resource management act. In its place opting for 3 new laws. These consider environmental regulation, strategic planning for future development, and climate change adaptation. While this has been a welcome approach from the previous RMA, there is caution from environmental groups in their support of the new laws. Because it is understood that it will take a significant period of time for the laws to take effect. Additionally groups such as Greenpeace believe that consideration of the environment should be the forefront of any building regulation. These laws have not yet come into effect but there is debate as to whether the regulation of the biodiversity impacts of new builds will have a significant impact. Or just create a rise in house and building prices.
Environmental Solutions in Housing
One of the key governmental ideas in creating a more sustainable outlook to housing in New Zealand. Is creating more of an internal ecosystem economically and industrially. This means utilising New Zealand resources rather than importing supplies globally. Additionally the government aims to focus on waterways and carbon emissions. In the building and housing industry this is a focus on where the subdivisions and housing allotments are located as well as the waste produced by the creation of new subdivisions. There are currently laws and regulations in place to monitor the waste and emissions. And proposals to ensure a more established approach to these regulations have been suggested. Working towards creating more environmental regulation in the housing sector.
Approach of the ‘Garden City’ – Christchurch.
New and extensive subdivisions in Christchurch have caused the council to re-evaluate how they preserve the natural environment. Christchurch symbolically has many trees and shrubbery lining the streets and subdivisions. However with new subdivisions being created and expanded. The traditional approach of planting within the subdivisions has been avoided by developers. A recent Christchurch city council survey showed about 13.5 per cent of the city was covered by tree canopy. This is lower than in 2015/16, when it was 15.6 per cent.The city council attributed this loss to recent tree felling in Bottle Lake and Mcleans Island. As well as extensive growth in subdivisions particularly in the outer suburbs of Christchurch, expanding the scope of the city.
Canterburians are concerned about the governmental push for increased housing, impacting the public plantations, and the density of plants in suburban areas. Subsequently the local council is working on plans to boost its tree canopy Christchurch. Proposing that they will provide “a long-term vision and strategy to maximise the health and sustainability of the city’s urban trees and forests and the benefits we receive from them”.
There are many initiatives in motion to create a more environmental approach to the NZ building and housing industry. Currently due to New Zealand’s housing affordability crisis and major housing development, the approach taken has been limited and ineffective. However there are definitely considerations being made, particularly on a local level, to work towards a cleaner greener future. When it comes to housing.
For buyers looking for a new home, Shopless offers a great online marketplace to browse NZ homes for sale. With our pay-for-promotion structure we support environmental charities and give users a great online experience – when buying or selling their new home.