The NPS-UD will provide national direction under the Resource Management Act 1991 (‘RMA’) aimed at enabling growth and regulating land use in urban areas. The NPS-UD will replace the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity which the Government acknowledges is not working. So what is proposed under the new approach and what impact could it have on our housing crisis?
The key components
A copy of the discussion document can be found here. While the NPS-UD will focus on the six major urban centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown which are all experiencing high growth, it will also contain provisions that will apply to all councils. The new NPS-UD is intended to cover four key areas:
The missing pieces
Over the past week there has been commentary from various councils that many of the district plans (or proposed plans) in the major centres are already broadly consistent with the proposals in the discussion document. The NPS-UD would, however, assist in achieving consistency of approach across councils and provide clearer expectations around minimum requirements for long term development capacity planning.
By itself the NPS-UD is unlikely to provide any panacea for solving the housing crisis. Rather, the NPS-UD is just the first plank in the Government’s Urban Growth Agenda (‘UGA’). To deliver more substantial outcomes the following critical missing pieces need to be added:
The NPS-UD is part of a suite of national guidance proposed by the Government including the recently announced NPS on Highly Productive Land and a proposed NPS on Indigenous Biodiversity. Getting the balance right between the potentially competing values addressed by each NPS will be critical.
Your chance to have a say
The discussion document poses a series of questions seeking feedback. The broad and searching nature of these questions signals that there is a real opportunity to provide meaningful input into shaping the new NPS-UD. If you would like help analysing what is proposed or drafting feedback, please get in touch with a member of our Environment and Planning Team below. The chance to provide feedback closes on Thursday 10 October 2019.