Just as we shape the environment, so too does the environment shape us. If we create a city for ourselves that requires great lengths to do the things that would keep us healthy and safe, then we will have to struggle to do so. Good planning in a city allows people to live comfortable and enjoyable lives, but also live healthy lives without it having needing to struggle. A liveable city is more than just better public transport and a roof over your head - those should be a given. It is a city in which people have space of their own, and a wide variety of public spaces where they can feel at peace.
I want to ensure that we think well into the future about how we want our society to look. If we need to house a million more people, let’s make sure we aren’t sacrificing our quality of life and those of subsequent generations to do so. Let's make sure we have planned where we need to lay down our roads, rails, walking and cycling routes well in advance, so that we don't have to demolish people’s homes when we realise we need to expand our networks. We need to ensure that we are not sacrificing the most productive soils and the most economical sites for houses and entertainment, because a society needs sensible and productive industries in order to function. Our city needs to know where it is likely to develop and make good plans for that, not just make it up as we go along.
Given how plentiful a country New Zealand is with regard to its produce and its fresh water, all of us should be able to benefit from these resources. Community and home gardens, farmers markets, and even direct to your door fresh produce are capable of improving the well-being of our people. Taking steps to maintain clean waterways and air quality will also help ensure the health of our people, now and in generations to come.