Implementation update – National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC)

During a meeting last week with the RMLA, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) shared their plans for supporting the implementation of the NPS-UDC as well as details of an implementation programme for 2017.

The implementation programme comprises the following workstreams:

  • Monitoring market indicators
  • Housing and business development capacity assessments
  • Responsive planning
  • Consenting processes
  • Future development strategies
  • Monitoring and evaluation (i.e. monitoring the implementation of the NPS-UDC and evaluation of the effectiveness of the NPS-UDC)
  • Communications and engagement.

Workstream teams are now developing the detail of their work programmes. This includes defining the support and guidance they will deliver, and how they will develop this.

Timelines as always are tight, which means that councils will need to be working on their assessments, targets and future strategies ahead of when the guidance on these requirements is delivered in its final state.

MfE’s workstreams will be looking at what can be done to help councils during this transitional period to give some confidence that they are on the right track. Their intention is to build on existing capacity and to close any gaps, rather than expecting local authorities to invest in sophisticated modelling from the outset.

Market indicators and housing and business development capacity assessments

The immediate focus is:

  • developing market indicators, and technical guidance on how to use these (May 2017)
  • guidance on housing and business development capacity assessments (June 2017)
  • price efficiency indicators and related guidance (September 2017)

An advisory group has been set up for each of these workstreams and both groups met for the first time in the week beginning 12 December 2016. The advisory groups include a mix of council staff and consultants who have been brought on board for their specific technical expertise.

MfE and MBIE will also be engaging with all of the high and medium growth councils as the guidance is developed. We are also speaking with professional associations, and training providers to explore how upcoming professional development courses / conferences can be utilised.

Further information about engagement, the advisory groups and workstreams will be available on the MfE website at the end of January 2017, and RMLA will also be providing regular updates.

Planning, consenting and evaluation

Scoping the planning, consenting, future development strategies and evaluation work streams is underway and more information will be provided about this in the new year. The approach to these work streams will differ from the indicators and assessments because the focus is on existing processes rather than new activities that require a specific technical methodology. This has implications for the type of guidance and support and how it is developed and delivered, including how best to involve councils and the wider planning and development sectors.

The immediate focus of the evaluation workstream is establishing a framework for evaluation and preparing for the first report to the Minister for the Environment, due in June 2017.

Communications and engagement

A communications and engagement plan is in development to support implementation and ensure those impacted by the NPS-UDC have access to the information they need.

The MfE website is the main source of information and will be updated on a regular basis. You are welcome to send your questions and concerns to MfE at  We will post answers to key questions on the website.

MfE are looking at other ways of encouraging communication between councils, stakeholders and the NPS-UDC project team and welcomes your ideas.

As well as these general channels, there will be specific opportunities to get involved in the implementation of the NPS-UDC as the workstreams develop their programmes in more detail.

Related articles:

RMLA Member alert: Progress report on MfE work streams

Government approves Urban Development Capacity NPS