The release of Our Land 2018, the Ministry for the Environment’s report which deals with the state of New Zealand’s land resources, has triggered a debate between an economist and a soil scientist on Sciblogs.
The report shows the extent to which New Zealand’s urban sprawl is eating up some of the country’s most versatile land.
Dr Eric Crampton, Head of Research at the New Zealand Initiative, said he just doesn’t get the fixation with making sure nobody builds a home on agricultural land.
He sees no need for some land to be protected from developers, arguing that market mechanisms do the job well enough, thank you.
Pierre Roudier, a scientist in the Soils & Landscapes team at Landcare Research and a Principal Investigator at Te Pūnaha Matatini, disagrees. Banning the development on our best soils makes sense because it acknowledges resources values that can’t be measured in economic terms.
Dr Crampton’s opinion post, syndicated from Offsetting Behaviour (it originally appeared HERE), cites a Radio New Zealand report (HERE) which said the Government plans to make it harder for councils to approve new homes and lifestyle blocks on productive land near urban areas.
The ministry report highlights that between 1990 and 2008, 29 per cent of new urban areas were built on some of the country’s most versatile land.
The Radio New Zealand report went on to note that lifestyle blocks were also having an impact – in 2013 those blocks covered 10 per cent of New Zealand’s best land – and quoted Environment Minister David Parker’s concerns.