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Draft National Policy Statement for Urban Development

Draft National Policy Statement for Urban Development

Draft National Policy Statement for Urban Development

Thursday 3 October, 2019

The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development are currently consulting on a proposed National Policy Statement (“NPS-UDC”) on Urban Development. Submissions close 10 October 2019.

The proposed NPS-UDC will replace the existing National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016. The government’s intention for the new NPS-UDC is to reduce the pressure on cities from rising urban land prices, unaffordable housing, increasingly homelessness, worsening traffic congestion, lack of transport and flattening productivity.  In that regard, the government considers that the country’s cities must provide enough housing and business space to let people live affordably close to the places they need to travel and a transport system that allows for the effective and efficient movement of people and goods, and they must promote safe, healthy and active lifestyles.  These are significant issues which will take time to address and will be a critical issue for local authorities in their role of implementing the NPS-UDC – particularly given the potentially conflicting obligations under other existing and/or proposed National Policy Statements.

The purpose of the NPS-UDC is to provide for growth and that such growth is self-funded. The NPS-UDC seeks to remove “unnecessary restrictions” on development and allow growth “up and out”. It requires councils to be more “future-focused” and to undertake long-term planning about how and where development should occur, including identifying areas where urban development may not be appropriate. Councils will be required to permit denser housing developments in appropriate areas and will need to consider amenities that benefit the entire community, rather than just individual property owners.

The proposed NPS-UDC will mean that local authorities will be required to amend existing planning instruments to give effect to the amended NPS-UDC (once approved).  The NPS-UDC will need to be considered in the context of decision-making process for resource consents.  This is likely to have resourcing implications for many and will add to the range of obligations on local authorities as a consequence of the wide-ranging legislative reform being undertaken by the government in the context of resource management.  

The NPS-UDC is likely to take effect during the first half of 2020 and Tompkins Wake will be keeping a watching brief on its progress. We will keep you updated on developments.


 For assistance with questions relating to this article, please contact one of our local government partners, Bridget Parham, Marianne Mackintosh or Theresa Le Bas.

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