Upcoming GEN Seminars

GEN seminars are free to attend and open to anyone with an interest, including the public.  If you are a member of the media and wish to attend our events please notify us in advance by email at info@gen.org.nz.


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Ministry of Transport and Transport Economics Knowledge Hub


The costs and benefits of urban development: Theory and evidence
Peter Nunns, Principal Economist, MRCagney Pty Ltd


Transport that serves urban and economic development
Chris Parker, Principal Advisor, The Treasury

Time and date: 10:00am to 11:30am, Friday 19 May 2017
Venue: Grant Thornton Building, Level 13, 215 Lambton Quay, Wellington
RSVP: knowledgehub@transport.govt.nz (by Monday 15 May 2017)

The costs and benefits of urban development: Theory and evidence
An important question for urban planning is where and when there is a case to limit development to manage the potential for market failure. However, there have been relatively few attempts to comprehensively compare the costs of restricting development with the various positive and negative externalities that are managed by doing so. This paper attempts to fill that gap. In doing so, it identifies how it would be possible to raise wellbeing by enabling more competitive, responsive urban development markets. To close, it asks whether alternative policy mechanisms are needed to efficiently enable urban development while appropriately addressing market failure.

Transport that serves urban and economic development
Chris will briefly cover his earlier research on how to generalise transport economic appraisals to capture their effects on land use through urban and economic development. He’ll first frame this up with Coase’s critique against the marginalist approach to economics. Finally he’ll explain how and why the transport sector should broaden its horizons and deeply engage with any reforms associated with the Productivity Commission’s Better Urban Planning inquiry.

Please note that seating is limited and will be allocated on a 'first come first served' basis. If you register to come and subsequently can't make it please do let us know so we can offer your place to someone else.


Peter is Principal Economist at MRCagney, a transport and urban planning consultancy with offices in Auckland, Brisbane, and Melbourne. His current work includes development of business cases for several major transport projects in Auckland, including the Northwestern Busway and the 2018-2028 cycling programme, and the implementation of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity. He thinks that we can and should do a few things differently.


Chris is Principal Advisor at Treasury covering housing and building environments. He was Chief Economist at Auckland Council, and before then specialised in transport economics and appraisal when at NZIER and Hyder Consulting.