A National Policy Statement for Urban Development. Do We Need One?

Ministry writing a draft NPS for consultation


With the Unitary Plan being debated at the moment a point around a national frame-work to guide urban development has also come up for debate. At the moment while the Resource Management Act has a set of Schedules Councils must follow in setting plans (like the Unitary Plan) the RMA does allow for National Policy Statements that set about a stricter framework on a particular topic when plans are written and executed.


Right now the Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith is talking to major stakeholders about a National Policy Statement on urban development. That NPS would or should rather head out to consultation mid year.

From the Property Council:

Pressing need for a National Policy Statement under the RMA

The New Zealand Council of Shopping Centres (NZCSC) strongly supports a National Policy Statement (NPS) to provide clarity, pragmatism, and guidance on urban development under the RMA. According to NZCSC, an NPS would accentuate the economic, environmental and social drivers that shopping centres are for city and suburb development.

It would reflect the realities and requirements for quality urban development particularly in the country’s largest growth areas. NZCSC Chairman Campbell Barbour says plans for town and shopping centres and urban development must tie in with plans for infrastructure funding and delivery to grow New Zealand’s cities and regions.

“We remain concerned that the dots are not being connected between market driven growth, land use planning and infrastructure delivery. It seems that serious central government involvement is the only way all the moving parts can be pulled together to deliver a platform for the country to achieve its potential.

“There are some good examples, such as the rejuvenation of New Lynn in Auckland. This is a location where infrastructural upgrades and a wider strategy and vision to turn New Lynn into one the city’s key intensive suburban town centres will deliver results.

“Another place where a masterplan, vision and serious upfront infrastructure is delivering results is Hobsonville Point in Auckland. It ticks all the suburban growth strategic boxes.” “That is how we should be planning communities; with multiple facets of it being considered together as opposed to in silos.

We have to build communities where people choose to live rather than have to live.” The RMA has largely failed to serve its ultimate purpose of protecting the natural environment while enabling urban development to accommodate growth and progress. An NPS would provide local government decision makers with the necessary guidance which has the potential to improve urban life by delivering confidence to major and long-term projects that create jobs.


Source: http://www.propertynz.co.nz/media-releases


A National Policy Statement on Urban Development would be most welcome given overtures about integrated and even inter-regional planning (something the NPS would cover) since 2011 have fallen by the wayside entirely.

But more importantly the actual focus on connecting the dots and eliminating silos is critically needed. New Lynn and Hobsonville Point are examples of full integrated planning. The Manukau Bus Interchange which sits all alone with no inter-connectivity to anything else in Manukau is an example of silo thinking. Bob Dey of Property Report made that very clear here: New Manukau “hub” more than a big bus stop? as well as I did here: So Why Did Auckland Transport Proceed When the Report Said No? The Manukau Interchange Saga


Will see how the National Policy Statement – Urban Development shapes up later on in the year.


2 thoughts on “A National Policy Statement for Urban Development. Do We Need One?

  1. We need better policies and enablers for integrated planning and development soon. Before more bad intensification like Zion SHA are thrust on us.

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