Urban Growth Agenda

The Urban Growth Agenda (UGA) is an ambitious programme that aims to remove barriers to the supply of land and infrastructure and make room for cities to grow up and out.

About the UGA

The UGA is a shift in the approach to urban development and infrastructure and the mix of instruments and levers that are available.

It's designed to address fundamentals of land supply, development capacity and infrastructure provision by removing undue constraints.

The UGA has 5 interconnected focus areas:

  • infrastructure funding and financing — enabling a more responsive supply of infrastructure and appropriate cost allocation
  • urban planning — to allow for cities to make room for growth, support quality built environments and enable strategic integrated planning
  • spatial planning (initially focused on Auckland and the Auckland-Hamilton corridor) — to build a stronger partnership with local government as a means of developing integrated spatial planning
  • transport pricing — to ensure the price of transport infrastructure promotes efficient use of the network
  • legislative reform — to ensure that regulatory, institutional and funding settings are collectively supporting UGA objectives.

The costs and benefits of urban development – on the Ministry for the Environment website.  

The report identifies and categorises the range of costs and benefits of urban development. It was prepared by MRCagney and informs work on understanding and measuring the wider costs and benefits of urban development under the Urban Growth Agenda. 

About growth partnerships

The Urban Growth Agenda (UGA) seeks to address the fundamentals of land supply, development capacity and infrastructure provision by removing constraints in our urban planning system.

To help achieve this, the UGA has mandated a role for central government to partner with local government and iwi as a means of facilitating pace and scale in urban development and ensuring government investment in infrastructure is aligned to help deliver connected, thriving and sustainable urban communities.

This has led to the creation of Urban Growth Partnerships, a process of formalising and maintaining a long-term and enduring relationship between the Crown, local government, iwi and local communities to deliver the UGA objectives.

We are focusing first on partnering with those regions who are experiencing significant growth pressures and who want to work alongside central government in helping address the challenges and opportunities from that growth.

An important aspect of the Urban Growth Partnerships is spatial planning. Spatial planning is a long-term and integrated approach to land use and infrastructure planning.

Current partnerships

The UGA has initially focused on two partnerships; Auckland and the Hamilton to Auckland Corridor. A partnership in the Queenstown Lakes is currently being finalised.


The Auckland Housing and Urban Growth Joint Programme is a collaboration between Auckland Council and the Government to deliver shared housing and urban growth priorities in New Zealand’s largest urban centre. The programme covers both spatial priorities (e.g. development opportunities arising from the City Rail Link, the City Centre to Mangere Light Rail Transit projects, Manukau centre and Drury) and policy priorities, such as how to deliver more affordable housing and quality intensification. A number of other government agencies are working alongside HUD and the Auckland Council in this partnership.

Hamilton-Auckland Corridor

The Hamilton-Auckland Corridor (H2A) is the first partnership in New Zealand to bring two regions, mana whenua, central and local government together to integrate and coordinate land use, network and social infrastructure planning and delivery. The Corridor connects two of New Zealand’s fastest-growing cities through an area of high natural and cultural importance and value. There is significant housing and employment growth potential at either end of the Corridor. This project is now being implemented by the Future Proof | Te Tau Tiitoki governance group.

Queenstown Lakes

The Queenstown partnership is between Queenstown Lakes District Council, Kāi Tahu, and the Government. The purpose of the partnership is to manage growing tourism and housing pressures and to develop a long-term strategy and investment plan for the future development of the area that improves community wellbeing, maintains a world-class visitor experience and protects the environment.

Partnerships in development

Urban growth partnerships between the Government, local government and iwi are also in development or discussion in three other major urban centres:

  • The Bay of Plenty (Tauranga)
  • Wellington Region
  • Greater Christchurch

Who is involved?

A number of central government agencies are involved, including the Ministry of Transport, the New Zealand Transport Agency, the Treasury, the Department of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry for the Environment and Kāinga Ora.

Watch this space for the latest developments on Urban Growth Partnerships

Maps showing Urban Growth Partnerships

Urban Growth Partnership map

: Established Partnerships

: Partnerships agreed in principle

: Partnerships in development


Published: May 18, 2020