New rules to help our cities grow up and out

  • Hon Phil Twyford
  • Hon David Parker
Environment Urban Development

New rules to help our fastest growing cities make room for their rising populations has today been released by Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford and Environment Minister David Parker.

Phil Twyford said poor quality and restrictive planning has stopped our cities and communities from growing up and out.

“It has driven up the price of land and housing, and been a big driver behind the housing crisis. When overly restrictive planning creates an artificial scarcity of land on the outskirts of our cities, or floor space because of density limits in our city centres, house prices are driven up and people are denied housing options,” Phil Twyford said.

The National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) will direct councils – particularly in the five high growth centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, and Christchurch – to free up their planning rules while focusing on well-functioning neighbourhoods and communities.

Phil Twyford said the new approach to planning through the NPS-UD will allow better connections to transport and other amenities so our cities can flourish and better support their residents. “We know New Zealand can create high and medium density communities with good urban design and open spaces.”

Environment Minister David Parker said the new rules will better help our urban ecosystems to develop and expand in a way that makes cities more liveable and protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land.

Later this month an announcement will be made on the timeline for the companion National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL), which will ensure that highly productive land for food and fibre production is not permanently lost to developments without considering other options.

“The NPS-UD will sit alongside the in-coming National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management 2020, recognising the importance of healthy urban waterways to a well-functioning urban environment and our most productive land.

“It includes provisions to ensure that growth doesn’t come at the expense of the natural environment, for example, provisions to prevent the loss of wetlands and streams, where it is avoidable.” David Parker said.

Both Phil Twyford and David Parker thanked and acknowledged members of the technical advisory panel, whose expertise helped develop the NPS-UD, as well as all the submitters who provided feedback during the consultation process including Local Government New Zealand, local authorities and Iwi.

Notes to Editors:

  • The NPS-UD is a new National Policy Statement under the Resource Management Act 1991 and replaces the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity, which was introduced in 2016
  • It sets stronger, more prescriptive density requirements on Tier One urban areas which include Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.
  • The requirement in district plans for developers to provide car parking in developments will need to be removed. Developers can now choose to include car parking that meets the needs of their specific development, this will allow space to be more appropriately allocated to other uses and drive down the cost of housing, particularly in higher density areas. It will also support the Government’s carbon emissions reduction goals.