This sounds like a good idea. But they haven't specified how the effects on small towns will be measured.
16 January 2003
GOVT URGED TO HALT `BIG BOX' RETAILING
Hastings, Jan 16 - The Government must place a moratorium on ``big-box'' retail developments to prevent more damage to small businesses in centres such as Napier and Hastings, according to environmental planning group Envision New Zealand.
The group was set up last year to help communities understand the impact of mega stores and big-box retailing.
Envision NZ spokesman Warren Snow, who spoke in Napier recently, has written to Prime Minister Helen Clark and key Cabinet members, calling for a moratorium and a multi-party seminar.
Mr Snow said New Zealand needs to halt construction of big-box and mega retail stores until their effects on town centres and communities in New Zealand has been measured. He visited 10 New Zealand towns and cities late last year, including Hawke's Bay, and met groups fighting the construction of mega retail developments in their communities.
``I feel there is huge concern at the impact on local economies and community values through these stores and centres killing town centres and small retailers and businesses.
``Other countries like Norway, Thailand and the UK are starting to impose limits on big-box retail. It's a worldwide issue that's hot right now. Poland has also acted by giving power to local authorities to govern the growth of big-box chain stores.
``I see it as a conservation issue, no less than saving whales and the rainforest or the kiwi. Big business has always had to have limits imposed on it for us to conserve the world's resources and species.''
Mr Snow said the same applied to town centres, many of which were dying, and big business was not prepared to impose its own limits.
``I'm not against chain stores in every town. The old chains like McKenzies and Woolworths were able to co-exist, but the scale of these new mega stores and centres is beyond what communities can stand.''
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