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Proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity

Proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity
02 Jun 2016

Proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity

Submissions close at 5pm on 15 July 2016.

Purpose of the proposed NPS-UDC

The purpose of the proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC) is to ensure regional and district plans provide adequately for the development of business and housing. This is to enable urban areas to grow and change in response to the needs of their communities.


If made operative, the NPS-UDC would be supported by guidance for local authorities on how to implement it.


Why the proposed NPS-UDC is needed

Some urban areas in New Zealand are growing quickly.


Regional and district councils are under pressure to provide development-ready land for housing and business that keeps pace with demand. To support productive and well-functioning cities, it is important that regional policy statements and regional and district plans under the Resource Management Act 1991 provide adequate opportunities to develop land for business and housing and by doing so contribute to competitive land and development markets.


The inability of some councils to provide sufficient development capacity is an important factor behind the increasing land and house prices being experienced in some parts of the country.


The recent Productivity Commission inquiry into ‘Using land for housing’ recommended that a national policy statement could help to address the constraints on development capacity in the resource management system. 


The proposed NPS-UDC and the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (RLAB) proposes new functions for regional and district councils to ensure there is sufficient development capacity in regional and district plans to meet long-term demand. 


The proposed NPS-UDC would support these functions if they are passed into law. However, it could stand alone if required.


How development capacity is defined

In the proposed NPS-UDC, development capacity is defined as the capacity of land for urban development, taking into account:

         zoning and all of the policies and rules that apply to it

         infrastructure that exists or is likely to exist, that supports the development of the land.  


Currently, this definition of development capacity in the proposed NPS-UDC is not the same as in the RLAB. The difference is the result of feedback received on the definition in the RLAB. The two definitions will be aligned once public consultation on the proposed NPS-UDC is completed.


Background to the proposed NPS-UDC

In August 2015, the Minister for the Environment and Building and Housing announced his intention to consult on the development of a proposed NPS in A way forward for national direction. 


Initial consultation began with selected stakeholders and iwi authorities in early December 2015.


The questions asked were:

         Is your area experiencing high levels of population growth and challenges in planning for this growth?

         How could a national policy statement and supporting guidance help to address these issues?

         What could a national policy statement and supporting guidance contain?


Following feedback from the initial consultation, the Minister for the Environment directed the Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to develop a proposed NPS-UDC for public consultation.

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