Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Australian Planning Question 2

Using Australia and New Zealand as examples, in 100 words or less summarise what you think are the benefits and costs of centralised decision-making compared with higher levels of community involvement when assessing development applications and options.


  1. I would argue that effective decision-making requires a balanced combination of community involvement and centralised control over development processes.
    The benefits of centralised decision making are:
    - Expertise of decision makers
    - Higher degree of accountability in decisions made
    - A small group of expert decision-makers are able to formulate a unified vision, thereby more effectively working towards the same outcomes.
    - Faster planning process and implementation compared to sometimes lengthy consultation process.

    However, there are also some costs which relate to the lack of community involvement in the decision making process. These costs are:
    - Lack of willingness of community to work towards desired outcomes
    - Disconnection between community needs and the visions of the decision-makers
    - Lack of ability of development projects to effectively meet community issues.

    From this comparison it is clear that effective decision making cannot be done without the input from the community, which will result in more effective outcomes, as there will be a stronger sense of community pride and cohesion in the vision for the community's future.

    Posted by: 1016485

  2. Emily Morgan 4925393
    New Zealand has recently established its own Environmental Protection Agency at central government level which can be directly applied to for resource consents for major projects such as large infrastructure investments. This system was developed to increase the efficiency at which large application would be processed such as wind farms, highways etc. Creating an EPA in NZ could have been a major opportunity for an alternative approach to environmental management in New Zealand. The EPA could have been a powerful environmental champion at the heart of government however by looking at the reforms the values and drivers of change are not based on a concern for the environment. Instead the reforms are founded on a concern for economic efficiency in order to secure ‘nationally significant’ investment in infrastructure and development. The National party proposed the establishment of an EPA with no intention of the new agency contributing to environmental protection or improving environmental outcomes. The EPA effectivly by-passes community involvement and I think there will be some pretty negative outcomes as a result of this as more applications are received by the EPA. Centralised decision making can be more decisivie, efficient and foccussed but I think those types of actions can be seen as the government bulldozing through its favroute applications with little regard of local impacts on communities. There needs to be a balanced approach that involves a range of actors who all have equal opportunity to be heard and considered.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Centralised decision-making, compared with higher levels of community involvement have several costs and benefits when assessing development applications and options. A top-down approach in terms of assessing consents ensures fast execution as it enables a faster response to major issues and changes. It also allows for a more accountable decision-making, as the decision-makers are often expertise. However, the main disadvantage of a top-down approach to planning is that it creates social exclusion by skipping the consultation process. It is essential that public participation is catered for during the planning process. This is to ensure that those who are directly or indirectly affected by the development have a say on the identified issues. Overall, in my opinion, I think that there should be a combination of a top-down and bottom-up approach when assessing development applications and options in New Zealand and in Australia to ensure effective and efficient decision-making regarding resource management issues.

    Pamela Santos

  5. steven sanson ssan075 - 1264497

    With centralised decision making, implementation and development can become more efficient as the public interest or consultation is waived or reduced. While development increases however, social inclusion in the planning process is reduced. This tends to further marginalise groups who may be against certain development proposals eg environmental groups against mining etc. With higher level community inclusion, the process is flipped, inclusion is high but it takes money, time, and effort to process the particular developments and therefore slows down the entire process. Good comparisons can be made with New Zealand and Australia, with New Zealand having a regime of plans and documents which require public consultation while on the other hand Australia has legislation which looks at speeding up the process on certain large scale developments. I too prefer a balance of approaches.

  6. The move towards centralisation is perhaps the most peculiar feature of the Auckland governance reforms. The devolution of power so that decisions are made by those closest to the situation is now a fundamental notion of planning. This bottom-up approach ensures that community concerns and needs are articulated and provided for in both policy drafting and decision making. The LGA represents an explicit shift towards decentralisation with local authorities given the power of general competence. The devolution of power to local bodies gives them greater autonomy in their decision making and creates a greater sense of accountability. This accountability creates greater responsibility for local authority workers as they are closer to the community and therefore it is easier to identify them as the cause of any failure. Decentralisation combats the growing alienation of communities from their local authorities by increasing their influence on outcomes and increasing the responsiveness of the local authority to community concerns and needs
    Decentralisation gives communities a face; decision-makers and policy writers are more aware of the effects of their decisions and who may be affected. Both Rodney Hide and Paula described the Auckland governance reforms as being a once in a lifetime opportunity. With this in mind the decision to move away from the contemporary planning paradigm has the potential to alienate the residents of Auckland to the point of no return.

    Sid Scull 1001224

  7. Centralized decision making allows for consistent and unified decisions to be made over a whole country with the greatest efficiency. However this comes at the cost of local interests and issues.

    An example of centralized decision making is New Zealand's EPA "call in" options for developments of national significance. This gives the interests of the nation higher weighting than local communities.

    A high number of local authorities (such as in Sydney) results in numerous planning documents with a high level of repetition and duplication, resulting in a higher costs per capita. However the higher level of local representation in Sydney also allows a greater degree of local character and uniqueness to be established.

    Andrew Moore 1197247

  8. In general terms the costs and benefits of centralised decision-making are fairly clear. In terms of benefits centralised decision making allows a government to standardise approaches, ensure national standards, and set broad goals or directives, as can be seen in Australia’s 2011 National Urban Policy where certain criteria are set for the countries cities.

    The costs of centralised planning are the outcomes or opportunities lost as a result of applying these often truly broad standards, regardless of local expertise and community input. Arguably this can be seen in New Zealand in the case of smaller Local Government authorities having to form complex long-term plans in accordance with the L.G.A, when they have limited resources, a small population, and only a few already well known community or infrastructure problems to address i.e. ‘rats, rates, and rubbish’.

    Adam Tung


  9. Centralised decision making benefits from a greater use of specialists, whilst allowing for unified decisions and consistency. However, if this structure is dominant and lacks any input from local communities, there is often a lack of willingness for them to work towards a desired outcome, and as a result, projects are less likely to meet the needs of those who they are being developed for.

    EPA’s call-in options for developments of national significance effectively illustrates the benefits of centralised decision making in New Zealand as national interests are given priority over those of local communities. However, planning in Sydney demonstrates the benefits of decentralised decision making as high levels of local representation allows the city to express its unique character.

    I do not believe that the choice between centralised or decentralised decision making is an either/or choice. Decision-making is about authority and it is simply about establishing a careful balance of community involvement and centralised control. I believe that this is what planning systems should focus on achieving.

    Simon Andrew - 1279947

  10. Benefits:
    Efficiency in the decision-making process which achieves outcomes.

    The scales are tipped in favour of representative democracy rather than direct democracy. Decreased public participation and consultation of stakeholders could lead to overlooking important factors therefore decreasing the robustness of an outcome. Interest groups might also be inclined to hold up the process by radical means such as protest. There are risks in the greater potential for corruption, and for powerful individuals or lobbies to influence the outcome. Overall a hasty process can lead to less stakeholder buy-in and the collapse of a project application later (e.g. CBD Metro, Sydney).

    Melanie Cripps

  11. We take transparency and accountability for granted in New Zealand as we have comparatively little corruption. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 and 2010 we are ranked number one in the world for our low corruption levels. I think this is something we should be proud of. One of the sources of our low corruption is the ability for the public to be involved in decision-making processes. While this can be criticised as being ‘bureaucratic’ and full of ‘red tape’ there are also strong merits for these checks and balances. More centralised decision-making may move New Zealand away from this.

    Melanie Cripps

  12. Benefits of centralisation when assessing development applications and options:
    • Top-down control
    • Strong leadership, with united vision
    • Fast, decisive execution
    • Immediate responses to major issues and changes
    • Uniformity - minimal risk of conflicts between different organisations/individuals (removing red-tape as recognised by other blog users)

    Benefits of Community involvement when assessing development applications and options:
    • Bottom-up approach
    • Democratic and participative
    • Accountability through public participation
    • ‘The Plan’ evolves from a collective, encouraging evolutionary thought, and wider consultation

    The recent reformations of local governance in Auckland have hailed a radical increase in centralised decision making (and ultimately greater potential input from Central Government as a result). Within New Zealand the majority of governmental spending is focused at the central level, with much lesser within the local government arena. This is contradicted within Australia who has a more equitable spending per capita of population of governance level.

    Examples of centralised decision making in New Zealand - Waterview Connection, Auckland Council Reformation, Asset Sales

    Examples of centralised decision making in Australia - Hunter Expressway (NSW), Pacific Highway - Kempsey Bypass (NSW), Ipswich Motorway (Queensland)

    Kelly Parekowhai

  13. There are a number of benefits and costs to centralizing decision making in the Australian and New Zealand context. The establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency in New Zealand, as highlighted by Emily, is a valuable example to highlight the costs and benefits of such action. The EPA is closely aligned with National Government policy with regards to streamlining RMA processes. The EPA was promoted as an opportunity to reduce the time and costs involved in the resource consent process for large ‘nationally significant’ projects. A further benefit is that smaller councils that do not have the resources or experience to process large consents would not be burdened with them.

    The shift to a centralised structure of decision making could result in a prioritisation of the economic benefits of a project over the social, cultural and environmental effects. This could be exacerbated by the reduced ability and increased cost of community involvement in the decision-making process. However, the potential for increased media attention, due to the scale of the project, may help to mitigate the reduced community involvement. Finally, it is likely that the centralisation of resource consent processing would see a loss of local knowledge with regards to context specific issues.

    Rose Bayes-Powell

    ID# 4984035

  14. A benefit of centralised decision making is that quick decisions are able to be made on relevant issues and problems rather than engaging in what can sometimes be a lengthy and expensive consultation process. However an associated cost with this approach is that it can skip the consultation phase and make decisions without the input of communities, in turn making people feel discontent and undervalued. One of the most recent examples of centralised decision making is the recent Auckland governance reforms. The decision to centralise power was based on the perception that the former regional and local government structure was not performing as well as it should. Regional and local government failed to successfully integrate and lacked the initiative to problem solve and deal with city-region issues collaboratively in the past. The reform aims to help strengthen fragmented and weak regional governance by creating one body that provides clear and decisive leadership as well as a stronger direction and vision for regional development. However this centralisation of power can create a bigger gap between the governing body and its communities which is an issue the Auckland governance reforms initially set out to reduce. Many people harbour feelings of discontent and resentment towards the government, over the reduced role with limited powers that have been given to local boards than previous territorial authorities while the governing body will have control over all region-wide decision making, as they feel their values and interests will be over looked in the bigger scheme of things.

    Holly Coates

  15. I believe New Zealand's decentralised decision-making system is a point of difference between NZ and many other countries including Australia. Although it takes longer and costs more, it delivers more robust outcomes that are less likely to be contested at higher levels (the Courts).
    In Australia, decision-making is made at three different levels with the States often having the power to overrule local government. Although this may deliver expediency, it undermines the community who the government is essentially representing. I see this as a failure of democracy.
    Subsidiary in NZ is part of our culture.
    This is a research paper about subsidiary in NZ that you might find interesting http://ideas.repec.org/p/nzt/nztwps/02-03.html
    Georgia Stilwell 4910474, gsti009

  16. Most of the benefits and costs of centralised decision making has been summarised by the entries above. I would argue that government should utilise other mechanisms such as community consultation and participation as well as centralised decision making. The benefits can include strong, effective results as the decision makers are field experts and uniformity. Whereas the costs would include social exclusion, lack of understanding on some behalf as to why these decisions were made, fail to understand the real needs of communities etc.

    However to end this blog entry I would like to point that that the approaches the government uses are hugely influenced by politics. Politics can determine the way planners act and how processes are to be implemented. Thus even though we understand the costs and benefits, as planners we cannot determine the approaches.


  17. I agree with the above, the more centralized the planning sector becomes the more it is influenced by politics.

    Centralization as such results in planning becoming a political football, changing direction with each new government formed.

    This wastes resources for everyone because many planning related projects need substantial time periods to establish e.g. a harbour crossing would take 5 if not 10+ years to plan/implement/complete.

    Georgia Stillwell 4910474, gsti009

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Centralised decision making has obvious benefits of reduced costs, time and increased deliverance of infrastructure that may be required. In NZ the RMA 1991 is a good basis of improving the practices of decision-making, while still maintaining the public participation component. A good example of this was the 'Waterview' project, which through amendments in the RMA, was streamlined into existence. In comparison to Australia, it seemed that John Smith found its decision making system more directional and ‘visionary’ in comparison to NZ. In this regard, its deliverance of infrastructure is not ‘project based’ but more based on an integrated framework. I believe that this approach may, to some extent, be beneficial for NZ, as it seems we are only realising the ‘integrating’ component of infrastructure. The amendments of the RMA in 2009 and allowing the creation of the EPA is a step towards better, not necessarily centralised, but more effective decision making.

    However, the events which occurred in Christchurch is has been critiqued by many experts as the creation of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 was an example of centralised decision making by government which created issues of public participation. This represented the cons of such an approach. In this regard, this centralisation was necessary but still created concern due to the powers it gave ministers.

    Jayesh Parekh

    (jpar378, ID: 1141710)

  20. The benefits of centralized decision-making compared to higher levels of community involvement are:
    - more efficient planning with faster results
    - more unified planning, with expert knowledge
    - higher levels of accountability, as the decision can be pinned down to one group.

    The costs of centralized decision-making compared to higher levels of community involvement are:
    - lack of public participation
    - removal of important information, knowledge and opinions that can only be gained from including those in the local area
    - potential for outcomes to be unsuccessful in meeting community needs and achieving their intended purpose.

    Examples of these two approaches can be seen in Australia and New Zealand. Australia tends towards a more centralized approach, so projects are completed faster. Planning in New Zealand is more involved with public participation, and so projects happen more slowly, but are more appropriate and hopefully have better outcomes for communities.

    Elsa Weir

  21. The benefits and costs of centralised decision making compared to higher levels of community involvement have been discussed very thoroughly in the previous comments. They mostly pertain to efficiency, public participation, accountability and the amount of resources required to reach a decision. I feel that an optimal planning outcomes could be met in both Australia and New Zealand if a combination of the two was utilised. this could be through finding a central point, balancing between central decision making and community based decision making, or by determining what types of projects and applications are appropriate for what type of decision making (a similar process to determining whether an application should be notified or not). While I feel that the public should have involvement in all types of decision making, as they are the ones who must experience the outcome each day, and who have funded it through taxes and rates, there are some cases in which this involvement should be minimised to ensure an efficient decision is made. I think Christchurch is a timely example - there has been significant public involvement in the development of the new plan for Christchurch's redevelopment, including on factors such as urban design and open spaces. These are things that everyday people can understand and contribute to. other factors, such as infrastructure and building requirements, require more technical knowledge, and to ensure efficiency, should potentially be left to the experts.

    Sarah Akers

  22. Centralised decision making can provide benefits, such as the creation of a unitary vision by a small group of and decision makers, who are working towards producing good outcomes; and a faster outcome through the planning process. An example of this is through Australia’s National Urban Policy 2011, which the Australian government sets out its objectives and directions for Australia’s 18 biggest cities. This policy also sets out the government’s decisions that will impact Australia, while recognising the importance that State, Territory & Local Governments, the private sector and individuals play in making cities productive, sustainable and liveable.

    Despite the benefits of centralised decision making, this model may lead to a number of costs regarding a lack of community involvement. These include the lack of communication between the community and decision makers; and the producing of large scale projects, which may fail to meet community issues effectively. An example of this is through the Christchurch Recovery Strategy, which was passed under urgency to create a long term strategy for Christchurch - its launch did not require input for public participation, or provide opportunity to make appeals.

  23. Comparing New Zealand and Australia is interesting because both have quite different government structures. We often feel left behind from Australia, and it seems like we are constantly catching up. I think this is due to the centralised decision making, decisions can be made quickly and often more funding is allocated to the state's rather than smaller local authorities. This model however does not allow for public participation in the same way that our system of decentralised government does. Meeting the needs of a community should be the top goal in local authorities, so public participation is therefore crucial to allow this to happen

    Sarah MacCormick
    ID # 1076891

  24. 4843523
    Chanel Hargrave
    I believe there are benefits and cost with both centralised decision making and decision making with a higher community involvement.
    In my opinion more centralised decision making advantages include,
    - Efficiency - things be done more quickly by bypassing the public participation process. Especially in relation to projects of national significance.
    - Greater Resourcing - Project facilitated by central government may have available a wider pool of resources.
    - Strong Leadership - A vision that will be pursued and followed through.
    - Lack of public participation and therefore lack of support and trust in the government’s decision.
    - Outcomes may not be appropriate to the community.
    - A void between central control and local communities or interest groups.
    - Centralised master planner project do not always bring about the most desireable outcomes as you can create spaces and provide infrastructure but cannot ensure use.
    Community based decision making advantages,
    - Ensures accountability and creates (higher levels) of trust between planners, councils and communities.
    - More appropriate outcomes for communities and developes spaces and places reflecting the community.
    - Creates a system of checks and balances on the developer/ council/ government.
    - Allows minority interest to be heard.
    - Can provide better outcome through minor adjustments to plans. For example community participation enabled the historic birdcage building to be kept through moving the entrance to the Victoria Street tunnel back approximately 5 meters.
    - Inefficiency - can take a long time to go through the community participation process.
    - Conflicts between national interest and local interests. For example the waterview connection was in a consultative process for over 5 years before construction could begin.
    - NIMBYism
    - Divided communities - sometimes the voices of those opposed in the community are the strongest even though other community members may be supportive or nutral.

    In my opinion there is a need to balance both of these decision making processes. In some circumstances centralised decision making is important - A current example of this is the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act which gives the minister powers to override existing legislation to aid the recovery of Christchurch CBD. In other circumstances public participation is important to preserve democracy.

  25. Benefits:

    - More consistent decision-making
    - Efficiency: less time/resource consuming and decisions are put into action faster.


    - Loss of public trust in the authorities
    - Decisions may not produce sustainable outcomes because some aspects may have been overlooked
    - More issues with groups opposing decisions made, as they have not had a fair say.

    I agree that a balance needs to be found to achieve efficiency, but also ensure that public views are not disregarded in important decision-making. Consultation is central to good decision-making as it helps provides information about the limit of decision makers' knowledge.

    Although it may seem that things get done faster in Australia due to their more centralised decision making, I think decentralised decision making tends to produce better outcomes for individual communities in the long term.


  26. I think a lot can be said for ‘getting the job done’ by centralising decision making, national standards can be established and the country as a whole can be working towards the same vision. A lot of criticism has come about toward central government in New Zealand for not applying a national policy statement on a number of issues, therefore resulting in local government being unsure on how to apply certain legislation. So the question is would having a centralised decision making process in New Zealand pressure the Government to give guidance?
    The creation of a centralised decision making process comes at a cost of eliminating local involvement in projects which may affect them. I think a balance of both local authorities which work with the community on projects as well as a centralised approach on bigger infrastructure projects will enable communities to remain involved whilst the government can still provide major infrastructure. As this has often been seen as a hard task due to the NIMBY attitude many New Zealanders exhibit.

    Charlotte Belsham 1195495 cbel063

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. I thought I'd bring a new point to this discussion without repeating what has already been said.....I think this question could also be relevant to the re organisation of the Auckland supercity. Although the supercity isnt exactly 'centralised' government, it marked a step away from local community involvement to more a federal system of governance. Can a city of over a million people really be structured as a "local authority"? In terms of the benefits of centralisation, the supercity structure meets most of the benefits and costs already mentioned in this discussion. There is already growing political tension between the direction Auckland Council wants to take in comparison to central governments opinion over issues such as the CBD city rail loop.


  29. Both models of decision making have their respective benefits and shortcomings; a theme clearly identifiable when comparing governance structures in New Zealand and Australia. Benefits of centralized decision making-
    Efficiency of decision making; decisions are able to be made at a much faster rate due to lack of public consultative requirements.
    Weight attributed to expert opinion; unpopular, but universally beneficial decisions are able to be made on behalf of a population according to an expert’s findings or report.
    Both of these benefits must be weighed against the significant reduction in certainty that comes with such a centralised decision making approach. Currently working with the Auckland Council’s submission co-ordination team for the Draft Auckland Plan has given me an acute awareness of this trade-off between efficiency of process and guarantee of public acceptance that is necessary.

    Harry Halpin

  30. Most basically, centralised decision making is faster and less expensive than the involvement of and higher levels of input from communities and the public realm. However, each of these needs to be balanced and considered in relation to its context. Centralised decision making is important to provide overarching ‘guidelines to direct’ policy making and public and private investments in cities, such as Australia’s ‘National Urban Policy 2011’, thus delivering integrated land use and infrastructure, better public transport networks, etc. A negative example of this type of decision making is seen as used for the creation of national legislation in NZ in response to the Christchurch earthquakes, where community participation was subtracted from the equation altogether for quick action to take place. This resulted in long term strategies which also excluded public participation and thus any undesirable outcomes from these could last for many years, further affecting the earthquake victims.
    Community involvement should never be excluded in decentralised governmental decision making, and the RMA 1991 emphasises these public consultation processes, which are key to meeting the needs of a community. I believe this sort of input is especially important in the changing face of New Zealand and even Australia for that matter, where there is a substantial increase in cultural diversity seen in the last 10 years for both nations. Minorities need to be considered to be able to voice their opinions and maintain their wellbeing. This is where community level participation in decision making is highly crucial to create sustainable and liveable societies. In saying this, the overall planning system in NZ is seen to be far lengthier and time consuming to implement due to the constant focus on producing documents for the long term, rather than Australia’s way of “getting on” with things. This is something to be considered.
    Deanne D’souza (ID: 1072559)

  31. I think the effective decision-making requires a balance between the community involvement and centralised control over development processes.
    There are some benefits of centralised decision making. Firstly the decision has been made in a higher degree of accountability and more expertise from the decision makers. Secondly, the decision-maker needs to make the decision more effectively working to get more outcomes by following a unified vision. Lastly, the lengthy of consultation process has been decreased in a short period.
    On the other hand, there some cost which because the lack of community involvement in the decision making process. There are decisions makers do not understand the vision of the community needs, the process of development project is infectively after the decision has been made.

    Ye Kang

  32. Centralized decision making has a lot of benefits such as:
    • More focussed and streamline processes
    • Less biasness
    • Decision making is efficient and consistent
    • Cost effective
    • Same standards get applied to everything
    • Reduced paper work - all the paper work goes through a central body
    But in saying this, these benefits can also easily come at the cost of flexibility, thoroughness and adaptability. It can be said that many issues gets missed through the process of decision making, factors that are crucial to the planning process such as public consultation. Like Pamela, I agree that there needs to be a combination of both top-down and bottom-up approach in order to achieve the desired results of decision making to fulfil the purposes of democracy.

    Audrey Songan (4966080)

  33. The benefits of centralised decision making become apparent when visiting Australia. Decisions are made quick, and fast. As a result, Australia's cities enjoy magnificent pieces of infrastructure.

    Examples include the Lane Cove Tunnel in Sydney, the Clem Jones M7 Tunnel in Brisbane, Melbourne's new Westlink Freeway and Rectangular Stadium (AAMI Park), the Epping-Chatswood Railway line in Syndey, and the impending redevelopment of the Barrangaroo Wharf in central Sydney.

    However, as a result of such centralised decision making, community concerns can easily be ignored.

    Take Westfield Bondi Junction, in Sydney's eastern suburbs, as an example. The then planning minister, Frank Sartor, intervened and approved the construction of the mega-mall, despite the objection of local councils. While this mall has since proved to be popular, it has had a severe economic impact on surrounding retail centres, such as Double Bay, and Rose Bay. Many empty shops were seen along the Double Bay shopping precinct during a 2009 visit. In this case, the community's and council's concerns that were ignored by the then Labor state government, turned out to be true.

    Given the corruption that exits within New South Wales politics, and bureaucracy, particularly in the state Labor Party, centralised decision making can be prone to foul practice. This was particularly evident in the recent Iemma, Rees and Keneally state Labor administrations from 2006-2010.

    A photograph of Melbourne's Docklands, a prime example of centralised decision making can be seen via the following link:


    This blog comment was based on the author's own knowledge and personal experiences.

  34. Benefits of centralised decision-making in assessing development applications and options

    •Centralised approach in Australia allows for much more directive and cohesive decision-making at national, regional and local levels
    - The Urban Policy Guide 2011 implemented by the Australian Government to guide decision-making in cities is an example of this.

    •Allows for quicker decision-making and therefore quicker implementation of decisions

    Costs of centralised decision-making in assessing development applications and options

    •Less consultation and less community/individual involvement
    - Therefore understanding of how a development will impact the public and/or local communities is not always gained
    - Unlikely that minority views will be taken into account – this is particularly important in NZ in regards to Maori involvement

    •Political forces are more likely to have an impact on decision-making

  35. mspe052 - 1265035 (same for above post as well)

    While some may see quicker decision-making as something which needs to occur in NZ I think that despite the recent changes to the RMA, NZ is unlikely to turn to a centralised approach to decision-making. There is a very strong culture in NZ of community involvement and grassroots action (for example environmental concerns and Maori involvement in planning). While this may result in a longer and more costly consultation process, it means that the views of everyone affected are considered and that a greater understanding of how development will impact communities is also taken into account.

    While 'catching up' with Australia may be desirable, I think that taking into account NZ's economy, isolation from other places and culture, catching up by imitation is not an approach that will suit NZ.

  36. As mentioned by many, centralised decision making has obvious benefits compared to higher levels of community involvement, such as greater degree of efficiency in terms of time and cost, more professional opinions from experts, wider pool of resources and stronger leadership which pushes the implementation. Australia has legislation which speeds up the process of some developments of importance, while New Zealand having much more paper work to do with public consultation for plans and documents. However, centralised decision making sometimes lacks local knowledge and participation. This leads to less support or productive partnerships from the public. I think different types of projects need different ways to process eg large scale national developments need centralised decision making, local projects should be done with local communities.

    Yuqing Zhou 1560341

  37. Sorry the I.D for the comment by Simon Mitchell is 1284770. The upi is: smit075

  38. I like the EPA example Andrew brought in. It shows the pros and cons of centralized decision making. Kelly stated that centralized decision making has fast, decisive execution and provide “immediate responses to major issues and changes”. In the case of an emergency e.g. Christchurch Earthquake, providing an executive committee is appropriate. When the local level authorities have very limited power/executive responsibilities and just “take orders”, like the Australian examples John provided, decisions can be implemented quickly.

    However as many have already mentioned, with highly centralized decision making, quality of public participation is often compromised.

    Daniel Shao

  39. Centralised planning is more beneficial as it means that it is more expert orientated decision making, therefore it is less costly, more efficient and a faster process in general. The associated risk though is that there is a lack of public participation and consultation.

    The New Zealand decision making process is indeed slow and should adapt some parts of the Australian framework if we want to catch up to Australia.

    The important thing is to ensure that there is a balance between central and decentral decision making. To adapt the best of both. Balance between being fast and efficient and having the right amount of public participation.

    Doing something too fast means you may not see the little flaws in the development and minority views are somewhat insignificant. While to much public participation means nothing ever gets done.

    It is difficult for New Zealand to be fully adapt a Centralised approach as the RMA amendments have not improved the process much and it is part of the culture to ensure public participation is included in decisions that are made.

    Tin Lo 1066001

  40. I think that most of the pros and cons of centralised decision making and community based decision making have already been identified, therefore I will not restate what has already been pointed out in the previous posts.

    I would agree with the majority of these assessments. Additionally I would like to add that whilst in an ideal world a bottom-up approach to decision making processes would best represent that desires of the community and be more consistent with a democratic government, realistically it is often not the most effective or efficient way to address issues, as there will often be conflict amongst community members, seeking to protect their own individual rights. Further related to this point is that, centralised decision making has the advantage of being able to see the bigger picture, allowing government to resolve issues in a way that is beneficial to the greatest number.

    Tommy Ma 4892202

  41. Central decision making over high community involvement leads to a faster process, reducing the time between decision and action. Such a method is best applied as a response to larger issues that require immediate action, such as the Recovery Strategy in Canterbury. In addition to the quicker process, decision makers often have higher technical expertise than the average member of/collective community, and they have higher accountability. However, the lack of community involvement can result in ineffective options, as decision makers don’t have all of the necessary local information that can only be provided through community insight and experience.

    Karl Anderson 4889652

  42. From the ideas explored above, much of the discussion surrounding centralised decision-making versus higher levels of community involvement has been one of balancing equity and efficiency. The example most often cited for centralised decision-making in New Zealand is the EPA, with favourable comparison to the efficiency seen in Australia. The local government organisation and de-centralisation in New Zealand is interesting given that in many regards (in terms of land mass, population, and economic activity) it can be largely seen as equivalent to an Australian state.
    Pragmatically speaking, for all the claims of community consultation and democracy made in regards to the benefit of de-centralisation, the ingrained culture of planning is such that for the most part it is not as inclusive as we would like to think. For one, the technical terms and jargon remains a massive barrier to effective participation at most stages of planning, for the second, most consent remain non-notified and is not made publically aware.

    Wayne Siu 4951954

  43. The benefits and costs have already been explored by my classmates, mainly being that centralised decision making means a faster process and outcomes whereas community involvement is slower but more of what the people want.

    It seems that the centralisation of decisions is an easy route for Australia to take however I do not believe this would work in New Zealand. We have the need to consult with local iwi in almost all decisions and if this consultation was simply disregarded, New Zealand's treaty obligations would be breached. Therefore, although centralised decision making would 'speed things up' in New Zealand, it is simply not an option. In saying this, Australia's decision making seems to be extremely efficient and works well for them in their circumstances.

    Rachael Thomas

  44. Pang Yi
    ypan053 1544405

    As noted above, centralised decision making approach has been used in the Waterview Project in New Zealand and the National Urban Policy 2011 in Australia as a result of the following benefits:
    - more expertise during the decision making process
    - reducing costs of money, time, and labour force
    - increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of decision-making process and implementation particularly when large-scale application is undergoing

    However, centralised decision-making is strongly recommended to be combined with higher levels of community involvement to assess development options because of its disadvantages:
    - lack of public participation, local expertise, and community input
    - lack of motivation from public to efficiently implement the plans and policy of development
    - outcomes may not meet the community and public’s needs and willingness

  45. in light of what others have said before me, i think both centralised and community involvement should be two tools which the govenment use in the decision making process, when a situation requires a faster input, expertise and of national significance, centralised decision making should be used so that things can get done quickly, such as the case when the government took over the party central in auckland during the RWC.
    whereas when a situation needs community input, is of a siginificant level to the local population, or reqires sensitivity when excersing decision making powers, it is best to engage community involvement and solve the problem in a more slow and gentle fashion.

    Fengqiao Han