National Planning Standards Come into Force May 2019

Environment Minister David Parker has announced that the first set of National Planning Standards (NPS) will come into force on 3 May 2019. The NPS draft was released last year for public feedback. 201 submissions were received on the draft NPS.

The NPS aim to reduce the variety and complexity of Resource Management Act (RMA) plans across districts and regions. The planning standards will do this by setting out requirements in relation to the structure, format and content of RMA plans, for the purpose of creating national consistency. While most of the requirements will aim to standardise RMA plans, the NPS will also include definitions that councils must implement in their plans.

Most city and district councils will have five years to make the necessary amendments to their plans once the NPS is in force. Councils that have recently adopted new plans will have seven years.  Regional councils will have three years to implement changes for their policy statements, and ten years for their regional plans. Councils will not be required to make the mandatory amendments through a RMA Schedule 1 process.  Consequential amendments may also be made in the absence of a RMA Schedule 1 process. However, changes must be publicly notified once made, so that the public is informed.

We anticipate the NPS requirements may present challenges for councils particularly where inclusion of the mandatory definitions in their existing plans may result in the need for further amendments to their plans. However, we consider that once all councils have implemented the NPS in their planning documents, the NPS will provide greater consistency and certainty for developers who undertake a range of projects across New Zealand.

For more information on the NPS, follow the link below to the Ministry for the Environment’s updates. 

 Disclaimer: This is a brief summary for information purposes only and is not legal advice.


Posted on Thursday 18th April, 2019 at 04:14 pm