We Provide

Policy Analysis and Advice
Research and Websearch
Peer Reviews


This organisation and website exist because many of those associated with CUTS are concerned that the monopolistic empowerment of one particular approach to regional (urban) development is leading to distortions in urban markets which carry significant and compounding price-tags.

At some point, the value and real achievements of the current (so-called “smart growth”) style of Regional Planning must be held to account by measurement against those price-tags.

CUTS associates are of the view that, in cities like Auckland and to a lesser extent other New Zealand cities, the costs of “smart growth” planning already greatly exceed net benefits, and that external intervention will be necessary to require Regional Policies and Plans, which monitor everything but themselves, to reconnect with facts and realities such as their own affordability. New Zealand’s continuing (comparative) economic decline can be firmly linked to the socio-economic debilitation resulting directly from such coercive central planning.

If this concerns you too, read on! In doing so, be warned: you may find much of our website conflicts with current conventional wisdom and the “smart growth” (urban implosion) planning construct.

That conjunction is not accidental; the current planning construct is closely aligned with Post-Modernist philosophy and symbiotic with the environmentalist alarmism which is too often detached from environmental realities. It has largely framed and informed the current public perception that wholesale changes in attitudes, morals, lifestyles and travel modes are necessary if our world is to be “sustainable” for the sake of future generations. It also promises that such “sustainability” can be achieved, but only if such planners are solely and unreservedly empowered to “integrate” all urban development, land use and transport decision-making in the creation of a (50-year horizon) “designer city”.

Whether the creation of such a city can sustain the socio-economic strains necessarily imposed on real people, genetically-driven to seek real personal and family betterment, is a moot point which this website seeks to argue.


The Centre was founded in 2001 to address a perceived need for an independent source of information on urban development and transport-related matters in Auckland and other New Zealand cities. CUTS and its Associates undertake research, review & reporting services. Those services are characterised as independent, impartial, scientific (ie based wherever possible on established, relevant and referenced fact), and reliable (generally peer reviewed by CUTS Associates as experienced & expert practitioners).

Association with the Centre is by invitation by current associates. Association is invited where the experience and competence of the invitee will ensure that Centre studies set and maintain standards comparable with the best available in New Zealand. There is no requirement for allegiance to any core philosophy or ideology. However, CUTS Associates generally:

  • see the first duty of a free democratic society as sustaining those very qualities as the basis of its ability to most efficiently and equitably enable personal and societal betterment (being the reasons for society’s existence) as the basis of attaining socio-economic vibrancy with (comparative) prosperity progressing at a rate which precludes (relative) degradation of the society, economy and environment.
  • consider that the purpose of the RMA, ie “to enable people & communities (including social & commercial entities) to provide for their (own betterment without unduly detrimentally affecting the environment)”, requires governmental planning and provision for efficient inter-accessibility networks for people goods and services using efficient modes between all land-uses, both nationally and (especially) within cities, if the full benefits of specialization and mass production & distribution are to be realised.
  • consider that, in a free democratic society, value-judgements on tradeoffs between social, econ-omic and environmental goals & effects of development projects and infrastructure are most appropriately made by public representatives having direct access to/from architects, land use planners and transport planning engineers, and other civil infrastructural engineers, ecologists and urban economists as necessary.
  • subscribe to use of the scientific method in impartially establishing and reporting all relevant facts as the special contribution professional engineers are capable of making to public information and debate,
  • avoid assignments where clients require adherence to visions, values, ideologies and/or policies inconsistent with this impartial, scientific fact-based approach, thereby pre-determining advice required.


CUTS associates include: expert practitioners, such as those listed below. Each is multiply-skilled with good understanding of urban and transport economics, civil engineering, transport planning, town planning, resource management, and environmental effects. Each is a recognised expert in at least two of these fields. All offer more than 35 man-years of relevant experience, and are members of several professional institutions (CVs available on request; others of similar standing may also be associated)

  • Graham Dickson BE(civil) DipTP, ACC Chief Traffic Engineer, Consultant to Transit NZ and NZ local govts on specialist transport planning matters, now available for direct commissions.
  • John Foster ME(civil), previously senior transport planner for National Roads Board, then Director of Transport Planning for Traffic Design Group, now available for direct commissions.
  • (currently unavailable) BSc(Econ)Hons CertTranspEcon PDipRegPlan(Berkeley) MScInfrPlan Dept.Econ.Plan (Sarajevo), Sen.Transp.Planner/Econ (SA), now Cons. to UN Agencies & Devt.Banks.
  • Owen McShane BArch MPlan(Berkeley), ACC sen.planner, Consultant in Res.Mgt incl. advice to RBNZ & Hon Simon Upton as Minister for Envt., now Director of Centre for Res.Mgt. Studies.
  • David Willmott BE(civil) DipTP DipMgt, ACC Traffic/Mwys Dept, Sen.TranspPlanner BCHF, Consultant on IBRD & ADB projects, now Policy advice on Res.Mgt. (LandDevt.&Transp), Dir.CUTS

Lead consultant: The Director or any Associate may be approached directly to undertake a solo study. However, any report other than by the Director produced under the aegis of CUTS is subject to peer review by the Director and at least one other Associate. Such reviews each incur 15-30% on-cost.

CUTS reporting process: Any CUTS report other than by the Director is issued in draft to client and reviewers. Reviews are then similarly circulated. The original report may then be amended and/or annotated, at author’s discretion, to accommodate points made in the reviews. The reviews may then be revised, at reviewer discretion. Reviews are published in finalised form as appendices to the report.