Industrial land – Taieri, Dunedin

“We had a shortage of industrial land in the city. The Taieri land might not be developed yet but we need to take a very long-term perspective on its development.” –John Christie, Chamber of Commerce

### ODT Online Sat, 21 May 2011
Industrial zoning fails to sell Taieri sections
By Allison Rudd
When the Dunedin City Council announced plans to rezone 52ha of land on the Taieri Plain from rural to industrial, it trumpeted the Taieri as a location which would attract new businesses to the city and allow existing companies to expand. Nine years on, almost all the land remains undeveloped, populated by livestock rather than people.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Carisbrook, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

2 responses to “Industrial land – Taieri, Dunedin

  1. Peter

    I seem to remember during the stadium plan change hearings the DCC and Chamber of Commerce were saying there was no shortage of industrial land in central Dunedin. So… the stadium was not taking up valuable industrial land. Now there seems to be a need to keep a desolate Taieri industrial subdivision – which is still empty after nine years. John Christie still thinks it was a good idea to open the Taieri up. I understand this was another great Farry idea when he was on council and in charge of the Economic Development committee. (What’s his next vision for us?)
    Didn’t the Chamber of Commerce, from memory, oppose Harland’s Harbourside dream because of its effect on taking up valuable industrial land and pushing out such businesses there?
    I’m confused. Or are they?

    • Elizabeth

      There’s nothing confusing about the arguments put to the availability of industrially zoned land at Dunedin in the past decade.

      The ‘arguments’ – or persuasive manipulations – of private concerns or local authorities, often times the combination, have largely been ignored by the court of public opinion (Dunedin, the sleepy hollow). In many cases the perception if not the reality, and the sheer scale, of the conflicts of interest has largely gone untested. There are the individual players (consultants and profiteers) who have made pronouncements for their clients – in some cases, assisting their own business interests and market share. Nothing new about that in the corporate world. Nothing new about that for local territorial authorities (LTAs).


      Zoning as the basic technique of land use control.

      The New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) website offers the following discussion for “zoning”:

      Zoning as a tool in plans
      Zoning is a long-used technique used to divide areas of land or water into distinct areas in order to manage effects, activities or uses. In Keystone Watch Group v Auckland City Council [2000] A7/2000, the Environment Court said the use of a ‘zoning technique ‘ is to “allow the district plan to create bundles of activities considered generally appropriate in each zone or area, in recognising the constraints of the environment and that some activities may not be appropriate in every location”.

      While the terms ‘environments ‘, or ‘management areas ‘ are sometimes used in place of zoning, the principles and objectives are essentially the same, for example:

      – management or separation of incompatible uses
      – avoidance of hazards
      – identification and management of areas where similar outcomes are sought or bundles of effects need to be managed.

      The technique of zoning has been criticised by some as being too directive or inflexible, however the fact remains that differentiation of any regulations according to geographic areas results in something that is analogous to a zone. In many cases analysis of the criticism of zoning shows that it is the regulation rather than the zoning triggers that are at issue (not the idea of the zoning itself), or the way in which some councils have allocated or changed zoning that is of concern.

      Legitimacy of zoning as a tool under the RMA
      While there have been numerous Environment Court cases dealing with zoning, most have related to the appropriateness of a certain zone, or rules that the zone triggers. Few cases have challenged zoning as a tool for use in RMA plans, and none have found that zoning, as a tool or method, is inappropriate within the context of the RMA. But what is also clear from case law is that zoning is a technique or method to achieve the objectives and policies of a plan, and is not an outcome in itself.

      Read more


      John Christie (Otago Chamber of Commerce) and recent commentators from the commercial real estate sector are correct in what they say about the Taieri industrial estate.

      As mentioned in the ODT, and at What If? on another thread, Fonterra is stepping up its commitment to the Taieri, and a number of businesses have recently established at the Taieri industrial park. Not all businesses work at a sufficient scale or are the type of venture to qualify a shift out of the centrally zoned industrial land use area at Dunedin – the current appeal to the Environment Court for the Dunedin Harbourside plan change underlines this.

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