Environmental / Resource Management

NPS on Urban Development Signed Off

A few months ago we looked at Minister Nick Smith's 2 June announcement that the proposed National Policy Statement (NPS) on Urban Development Capacity was available for public consultation.

On 31 October 2016, the Minister announced that the Government had signed off on that NPS, and that it would take effect from 1 December. 

The councils experiencing the highest growth will be most affected.  That means Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga and Hamilton are in the frontline.  Fast-growing cities like Nelson and Queenstown are also affected. 



A link to the Minister's release may be viewed here.

Key sound bites from the Minister refer to the NPS:

  • requiring councils to "allow for a greater supply of houses, so prices rise more slowly and houses are more affordable." The Minister notes that the "long-term root cause of New Zealand’s housing affordability problems is insufficient land supply, especially in Auckland where median section prices increased 350 per cent from 1990 to now; building costs increased only 78 per cent during the same time."

  • requiring councils to "base their decisions on better information, including house prices in their areas."  The Minister considers that it is "a powerful lever for those seeking additional residential zoning from councils in that they can appeal council decisions to the Environment Court on the basis the council is not meeting supply requirements".

  • requiring councils and infrastructure providers to "better co-ordinate the provision of services needed to support housing and business growth".

  • being delivered in less than nine months (as opposed to the standard time of three years), reflecting the importance of action on housing and the increased emphasis on the use of national RMA tools.  According to the Minister, the NPS "sits alongside the new [Auckland] Unitary Plan and the Government’s RMA reforms to address the core issue of increasing land supply."



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