National Planning Standards: Update and workshops

The National Planning Standards are a new requirement in the 2017 amendments to the RMA. The Planning Standards aim to establish a common structure and form for RMA plans, set requirements for electronic functionality of plans, and will include some common content.

Even with the Planning Standards in place, plans will continue to have some variation on how councils address local planning issues. The Standards will provide a tool kit for councils to improve consistency in plans, where it makes sense to do so.

Ten National Planning Standards discussion papers are being drafted, and may be published online at the end of April, subject to Royal assent of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill. The Introduction to Planning Standards paper outlines the rationale for Planning Standards and how people can be involved. The other nine papers cover the following topics:

  • District plan structure
  • Regional plan structure
  • Zones and overlays
  • Form of plans and policy statements
  • Mapping standards
  • Definitions
  • Electronic functionality and accessibility of plans
  • Metrics
  • General provisions in plans.

These nine papers set out the research findings on the respective topics, offer options for standards, and indicate whether the Ministry has a preference for a particular option at this stage. The papers are intended to form the basis for early consultation on the scope and direction of the Planning Standards.

The Ministry for the Environment is proposing four phases of Standards development:

  1. Initial engagement (April 2017 to July 2017)
  2. Drafting and testing (June 2017 to April 2018)
  3. Submissions and standards refinement (April 2018 to January 2019)
  4. Indicative gazettal (March 2019)

RMLA has partnered with the New Zealand Planning Institute and the Ministry for the Environment to run a series of regional workshops in June 2017 for RMLA and NZPI members. The dates and locations are:

  • Auckland 6 June at Simpson Grierson
  • Hamilton 7 June at NZTA Meeting Room
  • West Coast 7 June at Buller District Council – this one is primarily for Council staff, however RMLA members are also welcome to attend
  • Tauranga 8 June at Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chambers
  • New Plymouth 12 June at New Plymouth District Council Chambers
  • Nelson 13 June at Fairfield House
  • Wellington 14 June at Buddle Findlay
  • Hastings 15 June at Hastings District Council Chambers
  • Dunedin 20 June at Dunedin City Council Chambers
  • Christchurch 21 June at Christchurch City Council Function Room
  • Queenstown 22 June at Queenstown Lakes District Council