Jesse Mathews
Mar 15, 2024

Wellington City Council District Plan Changes

As many of you will have heard, in a long and momentous meeting yesterday, the Wellington City Council voted on amendments to the new District Plan that will significantly reduce restrictions on what types and how much housing can be built in Wellington.  This is likely going to be the most significant upzoning in Wellington for a generation, and will have a profound impact on the future of our urban form, metropolitan economy, and housing affordability. Voxell Director, Zak Kljakovic and Medium Density Lead Senior Architect, Jesse Matthews, share their thoughts below.

The new rules unlock massive potential for new growth within Wellington, and are expected to increase the amount of housing that reaches the market overall and put downward pressure on rents and house prices.  This will hopefully allow more people and families to stay in Wellington and contribute to the vibrancy of the city, rather than forcing them out to places further afield.

The onus is now on us as Architects, Designers and construction industry professionals to show that we can deliver beautiful yet affordable housing in the areas where people want to live and work.  We are confident New Zealand can achieve this but there will be growing pains, and there will be significant upskilling that needs to take place right across the industry to ensure the right skills and talents are available to design and build denser, more sophisticated housing at scale.

Unlike many parts of the world, in New Zealand we don’t yet have a strong legacy of living in urban houses or building dense cities. We need to rapidly absorb and implement best practices for multi-residential design, adapting these into our own climate, culture and context, to create attractive urban housing that will serve us for generations to come.

Whilst we understand the reservations held by some supporters of the status-quo and acknowledge that it will take some time to achieve any noticeable change in built form scale, at Voxell we are excited about the opportunities that the new rules present for creating better and more efficient housing, and by extension a more vibrant and dynamic city.

The future of Wellington’s urban living is a progressive step forward and we are excited to be a part of this. If you’d like to talk about a Medium or High Density project, flick us an email -