Graeme McCarrison is a planning professional using his passion for building collaborative partnerships between government (central and local) and infrastructure sector to deliver win-win outcomes.  In his role with Spark, NZ’s largest digital service provider, he works nationwide providing specialist input to planning policy development, resource consent applications and legislative/regulatory changes.  Graeme is actively involved in critical infrastructure with focus on our fast-changing future.  Disruptive technologies, environmental and international change will require a profession that is agile and responsive.

“In my view, times are changing. As professional and trusted advisors we are challenged to rethink what it means for infrastructure now and in the future.  How can we set forth a strategic direction that takes hold of emerging opportunities ensuring a relevant, dynamic industry?

Graeme has worked in both the public sector (Auckland local government including Director/GM roles) and private sector (as a self-employed consultant; within a larger consultancy; and most recently for six years in the telecommunications industry).  Board member of the New Zealand Planning Institute

Graeme works across New Zealand providing him with a unique insight into what is happening in planning and infrastructure nationally.  He played important roles in achieving the E26 Infrastructure chapter in Auckland’s Unitary Plan and working group developing the National Planning Standard for Infrastructure.  In 2015 he received a Planning Practice Award for the ‘Collaborative consenting framework between Chorus and Auckland Mana Whenua’ and was recognised with a NZPI Distinguished Service Award.

Graeme has enabled transformational change within organisations that improve customer service and has skills in ‘fail-fast to learn systems’.  


Curiosity exploring Tech to unleash the future planner

We as human beings have incredible brains.  Rapid change, the generation of data at ever faster rates every year. Our challenge is to make sense of this vast structured and unstructured data to be able to find the relationships and patterns across datasets and utilise that information to make the best planning decisions in a dynamic world.  There is a sense of unease and anxiety about our very usefulness as Planners in the future, as scientists, innovators and the global companies invest in developing technologies that enable machines such as artificial intelligence to utilise vast amounts of data to learn and adapt, ability to sense and interact, reason and advise with the potential to be autonomous. 

All sectors and professions have opportunity to embrace, access and/or develop new technology.  Planners are at the forefront of shaping environmental challenges such climate change, urban form technological provides opportunities to build more structural resilience in our decision making and recommendations.  Let’s explore some technology that will help us work smarter and shape the Future as Planners – what is it, what tools are available and are emerging, trends; changing the mind set and making the most of opportunities such as:

  • Big Data analytics

  • Virtual reality

  • Augmented reality

  • Automated planning advisors using machine-readable and machine-executable district plans for guidance on development opportunities

  • Intelligent processing automation

  • “Bot” regulators

Supporting Future of Planners, we are launching PlanTechNZ. PlanTechNZ is a NZPI special interest group comprises planners who are passionate about the role of emerging technologies in the future of planning practice. “Our aim is to bring planning and resource management practitioners together to make the most of these new technologies in our profession, and in order to achieve better outcomes for our communities and the environment."

Tech is happening, it’s time for you to catch-up, see you at the conference for Tech conversations.

Back to Speaker List


 New Zealand Planning Institute | +64 9 520 6277 | |

Planning together for a better New Zealand.

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle