The proposed National Policy Statement (NPS) on Urban Development Capacity will require councils in high population growth areas to provide a 15% to 20% buffer within their land release plans so that they can be confident demand will be met.

Submissions on the draft NPS close on 15 July 2016. The aim is to have the policy finalised to take effect in October, in conjunction with Auckland's new Unitary Plan and the RMA changes being progressed through the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill.


The NPS sets out nine principles - the last five of which will apply only to local authorities containing within their jurisdiction part or all of a High Growth Urban Area.

Those meeting that definition now are: Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Queenstown and Christchurch.

Policies 5 to 9

5 - Regional councils must incorporate within their regional policy statements minimum targets specifying the total number of dwellings and the dwelling types required to meet anticipated residential growth, with an additional margin of 20% over projected short and medium term demand and 15% over projected long-term demand.

6 - These targets must be reviewed every three years.

7 - Local authorities must provide a future land release and intensification strategy alongside their other planning documents, to demonstrate that there will be sufficient development capacity for the targets to be met.

8 - The intensification strategy must identify the location, timing and sequence of planned land release over the long term and provide a process for flexible implementation.

9 - In developing the strategy, local authorities must take into account the views of infrastructure providers, land owners, property developers and other stakeholders as appropriate.

Principles 7 to 9 must be implemented by the end of 2018 or within 12 months of becoming a High Growth Urban Area.

The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.