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Public transport options part of backup plans

Public transport in Masterton. PHOTO/FILE

Masterton will need more public transport options if it is to follow government regulations in the National Policy Statement on Urban Development [NPS].

At a Masterton District Council [MDC] meeting last week, councillors agreed unanimously to remove car park requirements from its district plan.

This essentially permits new developments to be built without providing any car parks, allowing developers to determine the amount of parking necessary.

The change is mandated by the NPS due to Masterton being a tier 3 council.

Councillor Tina Nixon criticised the policy and said the parking regulation was “another example of a piece of legislation that is shoddy”.

“It’s one-size-fits-all. It’s not going to be effective for a number of councils.”

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson agreed the legislation didn’t take into account the more unique features of a provincial area.

She said the NPS and the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport [GPS] was “very metric-focused” and was all about promoting walking, cycling, and public transport.

“The strong focus on walking, cycling, and public transport is fine if you live in the middle of Wellington, but not good if you live out at Castlepoint and Mataikona. We do need to be aware that we will be needing more public transport than we currently have in the future.”

Patterson said that effective legislation was about “understanding the nuances of rural and provincial areas”.

She had raised concerns with a government minister.

Councillor Bex Johnson said the parking regulation was a good step for the district.

“There have been some restrictions on inner city developments.

“If we can bring more people into our CBD, economically it will benefit our CBD as well as provide new accommodation opportunities.

She was pleased it would encourage more people to walk and cycle.

Iwi representative Ra Smith stressed that the council needed to keep ratepayers and residents in mind when developing its wider parking strategy. — NZLDR

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