All posts by R.C.

Submission on the Wellington City Council Draft Spatial Plan

After an intense few weeks of discussion and about what the DSP could mean for Newtown, we made our Association’s Submission on October 5th.

We have heard from the WCC Planning for Growth Team that they received around 3,000 submissions and the team has started the job of working through the feedback. 

Engagement Officer Clare Lundon wrote “There has certainly been a wide range of views and lots of interest in the Plan – it says a lot I think about how passionate Wellingtonians are about their community and this city. 

The Planning for Growth Team, my Engagement Team colleagues and I are very grateful to the work you have put into this project.  Thank you for your input at the various workshops over the last few weeks, and the well-considered formal submissions from your community. ”      

Next steps

There will be a chance for submitters to make an oral submission in November. We are waiting to hear about dates and how to register.

To be kept up to date with Planning for Growth you can sign up for their Newsletter here.

Making a submission on the Draft Spatial Plan – due by 5pm October 5th.

We agree with the need for more housing, but buildings of ‘at least 6 storeys’ in the residential streets of Newtown, as proposed in this plan (see the purple areas in the map below) would result in losing the very qualities, including sun and shelter, that make Newtown a great place to live. On the other hand we do support a proposal to intensify housing along the commercial streets – we have advocated for this for many years.

We hope you agree with us, and that you will make a submission to say so!

The guide below is put together by Martin Hanley and Anna Kemble Welch, please read it through to see the rationale for responses to the questions in the online submission form.

An alternative housing proposal for Newtown – a response to the WCC Draft Spatial Plan

In May 2019, in the Newtown Residents’ Association Submission to the first round of WCC consultation on Planning for Growth, we said that we would welcome intensification along the ‘Growth Spine’ of Adelaide Rd and Riddiford St. On the other hand tall buildings in the residential areas would result in losing the very qualities, including sun and shelter, that make Newtown a great place to live.

We were dismayed when the Draft Plan was published showing zoning for at least 6 storeys in most of central Newtown, and up to 4 storeys in much of the rest.

In response to this Martin Hanley (Association Vice President) and Ann Kemble Welch (Association Member), who are architects and urban designers, set to work to draw up ‘proof of concept’ plans to show that intensification along the main streets, and mostly within existing Suburban Centres zoning, could provide up to 2,000 or more new dwellings. This far exceeds the current projections of the Draft Spatial Plan for the whole Newtown area – the most recently released figures predict 487-759 new dwellings will be needed, to house 1289-2011 people.

Our Association would prefer the height limit to be 4 storeys in most of the area (as in our original submission) but if 6 storey developments are required they are better situated here than among one and two storey homes on the residential streets. This plan takes care to protect the historic shopfronts by building developments behind them.             

And here for an article about this proposal – “A Tightrope Act in Newtown” by Gregor Thompson, September 25th http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=131231

Annual General Meeting

The Association’s 2020 AGM was held on Monday 21st September 2020.

There was a simple agenda:

Presentation of the President’s Annual Report – see below

Presentation of the Treasurer’s report

Election of Officers. The Executive for 2020-2021 is-

President:  Rhona Carson

Secretary: No nominations. Rhona Carson will continue in the meantime.

Treasurer:  no nominations. A possible recruit for the New Year; Jane Patterson will be in an acting role till then.

Vice Presidents:  Martin Hanley, Jane Patterson

Executive: Carol Comber, Steve Cosgrove (minutes secretary), James Coyle, Peter Frater,  Marion Leighton, Sam Somers.

The full minutes of the meeting will be posted in the near future.

Meeting on the WCC Draft Spatial Plan, 16th September

We had a meeting to discuss the Draft Plan last night. Our Newtown Residents’ Association sponsored the meeting, but the ad hoc We Are Newtown group, which is a mix of Association members and other Newtownians, did much of the organising. This group came together in response to this Draft Plan. See https://www.facebook.com/weAreNewtownPoneke

The meeting was live streamed on the Newtown Residents’ Association Facebook Page, and you will find it here – https://www.facebook.com/NewtownResidentsAssociation/ or here https://www.facebook.com/NewtownResidentsAssociation/videos/1023328101429628

This was the programme –

Yadana Saw (who lives in Constable St): was the meeting chairperson. Mayor Andy Foster described the Spatial Planning process and the next steps of developing the new version of the District Plan Cr Iona Pannett – presented the goals of the Spatial Plan and what is intended for Newtown James Coyle spoke on behalf of the Residents’ Association, with concerns about the Draft Plan and proposals for alternative approaches, intensifying apartment building along the main spine of Riddiford St and parts of Mansfield St. Kassie McCluskey – Newtown homeowner, gave her views of the stress caused to residents by trying to deal with the plan in the middle of dealing with COVID-19 and made an impassioned plea for Council to work with the community. Ashok Jacob – from Renters United talked of the dire state of rental properties, how housing is expensive both to rent or buy and increasingly out of reach; more supply is needed. Hilary Watson – Newtown homeowner, gave a vision for a regenerated Adelaide Rd, asking the Council and Government to work together to make this a reality Roland Sapsford – activist, author of ‘Creating Communities not Demolishing Old Homes’  http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=130136#more-130136 gave a talk along similar lines, emphasising that the best results come when things are done with people not to them. Yadana finished the meeting with reminding people about making a submission by October 5th. 
Cr Fleur Fitzsimons, Cr Laurie Foon and MP Paul Eagle were also in attendance, listening to the discussion and the different views.

Articles and responses to the WCC Draft Spatial Plan

Firstly, this is a link to the comprehensive Our City Tomorrow- Draft Spatial Plan

and another one to a Summary of Our City Tomorrow – Draft Spatial Plan

See more at https://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say/consultations

Also see –https://www.keepwellingtonscharacter.com

A number of people have written articles about this, and we will add them here as we become aware of them.

An interview with the Mayor in Scoop, August 12th: ‘Andy Foster on saving Wellington’s character areas’.

Two articles from Scoop News taken from submissions to WCC at the meeting on 6th August which approved this plan going out for public consultation:

‘Creating Communities not Demolishing Old Homes’ – submission by Roland Sapsford http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=130136#more-130136 

and

‘Two generations of support for Wellington’s character areas; warning of “foolish” deregulation’ – Submissions by Felicity Wong, the chair of Historic Places Wellington, and Gregor Thompson a student living in Newtown who also works with HPW. http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=130086 

‘Safe as Houses’ in Capital Magazine, also written by Gregor Thompson https://capitalmag.co.nz/2020/08/13/safe-as-houses/

Why bother with consultation? by Benoit Pettit in Scoop, August 31st

‘The ‘Lefties’ who want less housing’ – Dileepa Fonseka’s piece for Newsroom, 31st August https://www.newsroom.co.nz/the-lefties-who-want-less-housing

What my Labour mates won’t admit about the Wellington Housing Market ‘-Dave Armstrong’s column in the Dominion Post and and on Stuff on 1st September

Comment: Why I wouldn’t buy an apartment in Wellington by Georgina Campbell in NZ Herald, 3rd September

Battle brewing over Wellington’s ‘heritage hellholes’‘ also by Georgina Campbell in NZ Herald, 4th September

‘Getting it wrong about population growth’ by Hugh Rennie in Scoop, 4th September http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=130749

‘‘Keeping Wellington’s character’ means keeping people in cold and mouldy homes’ by Isla Stewart in The Spinoff, 4th September

Want to build high-rise homes for 74,000 more people in Wellington? Build consensus first‘ by Max Rashbrooke in The Guardian, 6th September

“Defending the Streets of Newtown” by James Fraser September 24th http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=131204#comment-1764273

“A Tightrope Act in Newtown” by Gregor Thompson September 25th http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=131231

“Left against left – but there is common ground” by Ben Schrader, September 30th http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=131360

Further Action about the WCC Draft Spatial Plan

Come to our Public Meeting on Wednesday 16th September, 

7.30-9.00pm at the Salvation Army Hall, 4 Normanby St

Learn more about the proposals, ask questions, and join in the discussion about alternatives for achieving the goal of increased housing in Newtown.

Find out more about the plans:

On the WCC website: https://planningforgrowth.wellington.govt.nz/spatial-plan -follow the links and download the full Draft Spatial Plan, or the Summary of Our City Tomorrow (PDF).

Go to the Library or Newtown Community and Cultural Centre and ask to see the hard copy Summary of Our City Tomorrow: A Draft Spatial Plan

The WCC Planning for Growth Team will be at the Newtown Market on Saturday 19th September, 9am-1pm – an opportunity to see the proposals and ask questions.

Have a look at https://www.keepwellingtonscharacter.com  

Link with Newtown residents concerned about these plans

On Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/weAreNewtownPoneke

On Instagram -@we-are-newtown-poneke

Email – Newtown Residents’ Association – newtownwellington@gmail.com

The Draft Spatial Plan and what it means for Newtown- report on the August meeting.

This was the topic of the Residents’ Association Zoom meeting on Monday 17th August.

Cr Iona Pannett introduced the topic, saying that Council plans to accommodate 50,000 – 80,000 more people by 2040, and the Draft Spatial Plan is a response, showing proposals for building apartment blocks of up to 6 storeys in City Centre and the Inner City Suburbs.

Martin Hanley and Anna Kemble Welch responded, saying that while there has been longstanding support within the Newtown Residents’ Association for increased density along what used to be called the ‘Growth Spine’, eg Adelaide Road and Riddiford St, having blanket permission for 6 storey developments across most of Newtown would devastate the suburb. When buildings are appropriate to the environment they can easily go to 4 to 6 stories, and there are areas where this would be appropriate. The plan needs to be more specific about heights appropriate to specific areas.

The meeting continued with a wide ranging discussion around aspects of the plan.

The map below shows why there is so much concern from our residents. Only the area marked for Type 2 housing will still have the pre-1930s character controls that currently exist across the whole area. See here for the full Draft Plan.

The Planning for Growth vision of future development in Newtown – screen shot taken from the WCC video “Planning for Growth – Inner Suburbs”. The videos can be seen here- https://planningforgrowth.wellington.govt.nz/resources1/video-library

Meet the Candidates Meeting – Rongotai Electorate – now on September 24th.


Thursday 24th September, at St Anne’s Hall at the end of Emmett St. The doors will open at 7.00pm and the meeting will start at 7.30pm sharp.

The meeting will also be live streamed on Facebook – see

https://www.facebook.com/NewtownResidentsAssociation/posts/3221012404681885

The meeting will be chaired jointly by Newtown Residents Patrick Morgan and Yadana Saw.

The candidates will talk briefly about why you should vote for them, followed by questions from the floor. 

The formal presentations, questions and answers will be followed by supper and time for informal conversation – we hope to see you there! 

The candidates are
Bruce Welsh New Conservative Party
David Patterson National Party
DON McDonald Independent
Geoff Simmons Opportunities Party
Nicole McKee Act Party
Paul Eagle Labour Party
Taylor Arneil New Zealand First Party
Teall Crossen Green Party
Troy Mihaka Integrity Party
Nicole McKee has apologised as she will be campaigning in the South Island, but we are expecting the others to be there.

Use your vote in the 2020 General Election and referenda!
Go to https://vote.nz to find out more about the referenda and other issues, to check if you are on the the electoral roll or to enrol to vote.

Advance voting starts on Saturday 3rd October, and Election Day is Saturday 17th October.  You will be able to vote in 2 referenda (End of Life Choice and Cannabis Legalisation and Control), to cast a vote for the political party you prefer,  and to vote for the candidate you want to represent our local electorate for the next three years.

#VoteNewtown;  #MeetTheCandidates

August Meeting: WCC Planning for Growth Proposals

The Newtown Residents’ Association Meeting
Monday August 17th 2020 will now be on
Zoom, 7.30pm-9.00pm


This meeting will focus on the Wellington City Council Planning for Growth Consultation, and what the proposals would mean for Newtown. We will be joined by Councillor Iona Pannet, who holds the urban development portfolio.

A number of Newtown Residents’ Association members and colleagues have already been sent the Zoom meeting link. If you haven’t received this and would like to attend please email newtownwellington@gmail.com, preferably before 6pm tomorrow, Monday 17/8.

Have you had a look at the Our City Tomorrow -Draft Spatial Plan yet?  Please do, and have a look at the section on Newtown – under Inner City Suburbs. The current proposal is that most of Newtown should be made available for 6 storey buildings. Those of us who have looked at the plans have many concerns about the extent of this, and this is what we will be discussing tomorrow. 

There was a WCC webinar on Planning for Growth on Thursday 13/8, and if you didn’t attend you can view the recording on the consultation page. You can also see the schedule for visits by the Planning for Growth Team to our suburbs, with the note that this might change due to COVID-19 alert levels. See https://planningforgrowth.wellington.govt.nz for both of these – scroll down for the links.

We are proposing to convene another meeting when we are back in Level 1, so if you don’t join us  tomorrow on Zoom there will be another opportunity to discuss the issues and to talk about making  submissions to WCC in response to the draft plan.

Minutes of the July meeting

This meeting was on July 20th at the Newtown Hall, 71 Daniell St.

We observed a minutes silence in memory of Frances Acey, who was a long time member of our Association but had been unwell for some years. Frances made many contributions to our community, including being instrumental in establishing the Newtown Citizens Advice Bureau and then the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre. She was the first NCCC coordinator. She died on July 9th.

The meeting heard an update from Jared Corston, the WCC Community Liaison Officer for Newtown, and discussion of some local issues.

The main topic was a discussion about the proposed Kainga Ora developments in Coromandel St, with a number of local residents expressing concerns about aspects of these proposals.

See here for the full minutes.

Meet the Candidates Meeting – Rongotai Electorate – postponed

Update, 17th August 2020.

The information about election dates below is no longer accurate.

Now that the election has been delayed until 17th October, with advance voting from 3rd October, we will postpone our Candidates Meeting until late September. There will be a new post when a new date has been decided.


Wednesday 26th August, 7.00 pm at St Anne’s Hall at the end of Emmett St.

The General Election is in September – advance voting starts on Saturday 5th September, and Election Day is Saturday 19th September.  You will be able to vote in 2 referenda (End of Life Choice and Cannabis Legalisation and Control), to cast a vote for the political party you prefer,  and to vote for the candidate you want to represent our local electorate for the next three years.

See here  to see the candidates standing to be the Electorate MPs. In the Rongotai Electorate there are already candidates from 7 political parties, with more to come: nominations don’t close until Friday 21st August. Come to our meeting to hear each of them explain why they want to be the MP for Rongotai!

The meeting will be chaired jointly by Yadana Saw and Patrick Morgan. The formal discussion will be followed by supper and the chance for informal mingling.

Use your vote in the 2020 General Election and referenda!
Go to https://vote.nz to find out more about the referenda and other issues, to check if you are on the the electoral roll or to enrol to vote.

#VoteNewtown;  #MeetTheCandidates

Next Meeting – Monday 15th June 2020

Newtown Residents’ Association Meeting: Monday June 15th 2020, 7.30pm at the
Newtown Hall, 71 Daniell St


 After two months of Zoom meetings we are able to meet in person again! However if you would still prefer to stay home and attend the meeting remotely, let us know – we can arrange for you to Zoom in to join us, but we need to be able to contact you!

The agenda will include an update on events and developments in Newtown.

We can also talk about Wellington City Council submissions – see  WCC consultations – we recently submitted on the Parking Policy and the Annual Plan. Current consultations include the  Dangerous and Insanitary Buildings Policy Review, closing  26/6, and Fairer Rents for Council Tenants, closing 30/6, and it would be good to hear from people with an interest in these topics. Could you please have a look and either let us know your thoughts by email to newtownwellington@gmail.com or be ready to make a comment at the meeting? 

We will also start to plan for a Meet the Candidates  meeting for the Rongotai Electorate – nominations close 21 August, advance voting starts Saturday 5th September, and election day is the 19th September. 


We are looking forward to seeing you on Monday evening – everyone welcome!