Leonie Freeman started as Property Council chief executive in December and hopes the Government will take a "big picture look" at the way cities are planned.
Q: What is 2019 looking like for the council?
A: The Property Council is in for a big year. In 2019 we're relooking at our role and purpose. The council and the property industry as a whole has an opportunity to take on a greater leadership role as we prepare for New Zealand's future. We are looking for big-picture reforms to the way our cities are planned and delivered, and the way infrastructure is funded so that we can remove the blockages we are seeing.
Q: How is that different to 2018? How has the last year been for the council?
A: We've just had a change in CEO which provides an opportunity to set a new direction, and build on the solid foundation we have.
Q: What are the issues affecting your industry in the next 12 months?
More than ever, we need to focus on building strong, vibrant communities and cities that support the wellbeing of New Zealanders. Whether it's residential, retail, commercial or industrial property, council members create and transform our communities, and we are here to help them to do that well. Our industry is facing many challenges which include the regulatory and compliance environment, consenting, the ability to finance developments, the need for more innovation, and the capability and capacity of the construction industry. We need to find new ways to allocate the risk and liability for developments and work together between the Government, council and property sector to solve these issues and improve the building process. With the number of Kiwis waiting for a home and community to live in, these delays can't continue. The challenge is for our industry to be delivering outcomes while we work on fixing the problems we're seeing.
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Q: What is the biggest issue you would like the Government to champion in 2019?
A: We'd like the Government to take a big-picture look at the way cities are planned. There is a lot of talk about reforming the Resource Management Act, which is very important, but we want the Government to zoom out even further than that and take a look at all the legislation that is used throughout the planning process. We need all the legislation to work together, so that building of homes can be planned in unison with roads, amenities and other infrastructure. Above all though, what we need is a resolute and uncompromising focus on delivering outcomes.
Q: Do you get a break this summer? What's your favourite way to relax?
A: Yes, our whole family heads to Tauranga for Christmas and then I'll have a few days in Rotorua. I'm looking forward to time with friends and family, swimming in Rotorua's hot pools and a good book.