April 14, 2019
Social policy critic joins environment push
One of the sternest critics of government has been crossed over the work from the inside.
Alan Johnson, who has been a social policy analyst at the Salvation Army for more than a decade and author of its annual state of the nation report, is to work for the Ministry for the Environment on urban policy and infrastructure issues.
As a planner and economist he’s excited by what the current government is trying to do with housing and urban policy.
He says government policy is often out of step with the lives of ordinary people, and he wants to see urban planning being about not just buildings and roads but how to create good neighbourhoods and communities.
"Go out to some of the outer suburbs here in South Auckland, out to Takanini and Flatbush and beyond, we’re building in my view some pretty awful suburbs and we do need to do better and I’m hopeful the sorts of environment we can create for the next generation are going to be much better than what we’re doing right now," Mr Johnson says.
He says a positive feature of planning is the way Māori concepts are starting to be become more widely understood and accepted in resource management, even there is a long way to go before a te ao Māori view of the environment is fully embraced.
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