UDC) requires local authorities to provide sufficient development capacity in their district and
regional plans and policy statements for housing and business growth to meet demand.
must give effect to them. In other words, it is no longer sufficient for local authorities to
simply zone enough land to meet population and business growth projections. Instead, land
must be serviced, be commercially viable and meet demand for different types of
development, different locations and different ‘price points’.
In some areas, not all currently zoned land meets these new requirements. This can be due
to complications arising from fragmented land ownership, high land values and high
numbers of ‘lifestyle’ properties, with some owners unwilling to aggregate or sell their land.
In response to these challenges in Rolleston, Greater Christchurch, for example, rural zoned
land adjoining the township urban boundary has been given Special Housing Area status
under the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013. This allows the land to be
subdivided for urban development under a streamlined consent process despite still being
In other areas, development may not be feasible due to natural hazard constraints
significantly increasing development costs potentially in combination with fragmented land
ownership and difficulties in acquiring land required for key infrastructure. There are also
understood to be land supply shortages in some areas.
Nevertheless, timeframes for meeting requirements under the NPS-UDC are tight.
Key dates and figures
- Carry out housing and business development capacity assessments at least every three years, including for different locations and price points. The first assessments are to be completed by the end of 2017.
- Set minimum targets for sufficient, feasible development capacity for housing in the short (3 years) and medium (3-10 years) term which are to be included in regional and district plans by the end of 2018. These changes to plans do not need to go through the normal RMA plan change consultation processes (Schedule 1).
- Complete future development strategies for the long term (10-30 years) by end of 2018.
- Provide an additional margin of feasible development capacity over and above the projected demand of at least 20% in the short and medium term and 15% in the long term (which factors in the proportion of feasible development capacity that may not be developed).
- Undertake quarterly monitoring of market indicators of sufficient development capacity including prices and rents for housing, residential and business land, resource and building consents relative to population growth and housing affordability.
together to implement the NPS-UDC.
No longer ‘business as usual’
Auckland's Unitary Plan is partly operative and Queenstown Lakes is a further high growth area midway through its District Plan Review. Other high growth areas include Tauranga, Hamilton and Nelson.
All Councils will need to respond to the NPS-UDC within their plans. The focus on ‘minimum
targets’ and ‘development ready’ land in the right places in relation to market sector demand,
presents a very different scenario to ‘business as usual’. MBIE and Ministry for the Environment are providing some guidance to local authorities, including on ‘market indicators’ and ‘housing and development capacity’.
Urban growth boundaries may need to revised, with extensions and potentially reductions in some locations where land is unlikely to be ‘development ready’ within the NPS required timeframes.
Other approaches to urban growth management may need to be developed which for example add more flexibility and scope for responding to market demand and achieving ‘minimum targets’.