Spatial Plan: c’mon Wellington, let’s keep evolving

Wellington’s proposed Spatial Plan could be better, and much of the proof of the pudding is to come. But your voice is needed now (by 5pm Monday 5th), because Wellington will be frozen in amber if the Spatial Plan doesn’t move forward – and that amber is a city that locks out lots of Wellingtonians.

Here at Talk Wellington we’ve been pretty vocal about our frustration with the disjointed and often unhelpful state of landuse and transport planning in the whole of Te Upoko o te Ika, as much as Wellington City itself, including the Spatial Plan (for example “Let’s Get Wellington Moving: what’s that all about again? (it’s been so long) ” [check out the date!], and “A city with a vision? AKL x WLG”)

But the Spatial Plan is a really necessary step forward.

It’s necessary, and definitely not sufficient.

Heaps of important stuff needs to be done through the followup documents: District Plan changes, change to the Development Contributions Policy, subdivision and infill standards, building consent and resource consent processes, community engagement processes, and so forth.

BUT it’s vital that the Wellington public give a general in-principle thumbs-up to the fundamental principle of good urban physics:

Let lots more people live close to places where there’s lots of the things we all need to do for life.

It’s that 15- or 20-minute neighbourhoods principle again. Reeeeeally simple, but Wellington’s not embraced it in modern times.

Paris – and any liveable town or city. Image: Paris En Commun


Cos it’s way easier to edit what someone else has done, Talk Wellington and the Wellington Urbanerds have provided some for you.

The Urbanerds had two great submissions party sessions, talking through the content. You can watch the video on their “past events” page here if you like , or just crack in and submit – read on!


You can do a very simple submission just by going in and hitting “agree” or “strongly agree” or at worst “neutral” for all the questions up to section 5 (the greenfield ones). The greenfield ones you need to mix it up a little more, but if you’re super time-poor just go “neutral” for those.

There’s no especial need to fill in the long answer boxes if you’re really time-poor. See below for what our Friendly Professional Planner reckons makes for an effective submission – just ticking the boxes is most of it!

This Lean Mean Lightspeed version will take you about 45 seconds, excluding filling in your personal info!


If you want to do more than a bald “yeah”, download this filled-in version of the submission form, delete the notes from us to you, and tutu it so it feels like your own words, and email it to


If you want to look at the pictures of the various Spatial Plan bits while you go, copy / paste the info from the download into the corresponding boxes in the form where they have links to look at the pictures. Of course, don’t forget to edit our text as much or as little as you like to make it your own.

We suggest you tick “Yes I want to speak to my submission” as that’s really powerful. If you’d like any support with this stage, drop us a line.

AAAaaaand that’s it! You’re done!

What a champ.

Now go make other people do one too 🙂

Postscript: what makes for a decent written submission?

Oral submissions are really powerful, so hopefully some of you ticked Yes I’d like to speak to my submission. But for the written which is what most of us do… a Friendly Planner (worked in councils since ages ago) wrote this for us:

Here is a quick summary of what I think makes an effective submission, from the perspective of having to read and summarise a bunch of these for councils.

The council will use submissions to get an overview of what the public as a whole thinks about something. They will summarise the submissions and attempt to get a tally of support for various factors. I.e. ‘300 submitters support the plan and 300 oppose’, or ‘100 support the proposed level of heritage protections, 100 think they are too restrictive, and 100 would like a greater level of heritage protection’.

An effective submission is one that gets your message across to the person summarising them and makes their job easier, as this will mean there is less chance of your most important points being lost in the mix.    

1.       State clearly and concisely the parts of the plan you support

2.       State clearly and concisely the parts of the plan you oppose and the specific changes you would like instead

3.       Don’t worry as much about the justification for your position as making the position itself as clear as possible. Justification is good but secondary. It is worth having your main points up front succinctly and then expanding on them or justifying them later on (if at all).

4.       Using a submission template is good if you don’t  have time to submit otherwise BUT council may give lower weight to a submission if it is one of many that look the same or pro forma.

5.       If you don’t have much time  – just write in the most important parts in bullet points. A submission with just two lines saying you support the plan, and especially support enabling more housing supply is worthwhile if you have time for nothing else.

6.       But – it is good to try and make your submission as broad as possible to cover all the specific things you support or oppose.     

7.       It’s worth using the format council provides for submitting and following their instructions. You don’t have to but it will make it easier for council to record your views and mean that there is less chance that the points get lost or improperly summarised.  

Happily the Talk Wellington and Urbanerds submissions support does just what you need.

Now go you good thing… get those paws typing!

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