Councils under (housing) arrest

2 Jun 16

Government today released its proposed National Policy Statement Urban Development Capacity (“NPS-UDC”). This release follows on from high level consultation undertaken last year, see our article – An Entirely New Approach to Urban Planning in the Wind.

The proposed NPS-UDC is one instrument in a package of recent proposals affecting resource decision making. The proposal could have significant implications for local authorities, infrastructure providers, developers, and home owners. Your opportunity to make a submission on the NPS closes Friday 15 July 2016.

The key feature of the NPS-UDC is a ‘traffic light system’ which provides targeted policies for different urban areas depending on whether those areas are identified as ‘High’ or ‘Medium’ growth. Additional objectives and policies also apply to all urban areas, regardless of their growth or location.

Any lingering doubt about the role of economics in the RMA will now be quashed as councils would be required to give particular consideration to matters of supply, market demand, competition, and growth projections (although arguably a number of the objectives applying to all councils could already be taken into account as part of the Sustainable Management purpose of the RMA).

District and regional councils will be required to undertake significant monitoring and information gathering to assess the demand for residential and business land use, and whether there is adequate development capacity, by at least 2018, if not earlier. If the evidence indicates there is not sufficient development capacity, immediate requirements will come into play, including considering whether changes to plans and policy statements are necessary, and enabling development through consenting processes. This is a significant new role for regional councils in particular. Councils will be required to work closely with infrastructure providers in determining the above information and responses appropriate.

In ‘High Growth’ areas, regional councils will be required to provide minimum targets for supply in policy statements, and District councils will be required to provide land release strategies in their plans by, at the latest, 2018.

The consultation document indicates that the NPS-UDC is scheduled to become operative in October 2016 and Councils will have to give immediate effect to it through decision making.

To find out more about how the proposed NPS-UDC will affect you, or to make a submission, contact our specialists in the Resource Management team.

Submissions close 5pm on 15 July 2016: consultation web page.

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