Urban development legislative and policy updates - what significant changes are ahead?

24 July 2020

​​​​This week the Urban Development Bill passed its third reading, and the National Policy Statement (NPS) was gazetted and will take effect on 20 August 2020.

These changes will support greater intensification, and the fast tracking of certa​​in urban development projects.

Urban Development ​​Bill

The Bill allows selected urban development projects to access special development powers to 'fast-track' urban development. For further details on the process for establishing a project, see our earlier article.

Once a development plan becomes operative, Kāinga Ora will enjoy significant powers including:

  • Becoming the consent authority for any resource consent applications within the project area (and the territorial authority for the purposes of considering notices of requirement),
  • Being able to exercise infrastructure powers set out in the development plan, which may include taking on the roading powers relating to a special development project,
  • The ability to construct and alter (but not operate unless otherwise agreed) water supply, wastewater and drainage infrastructure,
  • The mandate to use various funding mechanisms including setting development contributions and targeted rates to fund infrastructure,
  • Being recognised as an approved network utility operator and a requiring authority, with the ability to seek designations to carry out activities both within and outside the project area,
  • The power to undertake works within an existing designation without obtaining the consent of the requiring authority (different provisions apply to designations for nationally significant infrastructure), and
  • The ability to acquire land for works for the purposes of urban development.

An addition from the Select Committee stage is that Kāinga Ora must ensure that, so far as is practicable, the responsibility and processes relevant to its regulatory responsibilities are separated from the responsibility and processes for non-regulatory decision making.

National Policy Statement on Urban Developme​​nt

The NPS on Urban Development replaces the previous NPS on Urban Development Capacity. It shifts the focus to requiring greater intensification, providing for growth both “up" and “out", and connection to the funding of relevant infrastructure. In summary, the new NPS requires local authorities to undertake the following:

  • Preparation, and implementation, of a future development strategy,
  • Preparation of a housing and business development capacity assessment,
  • Provide for development capacity, and intensification including building heights of at least six storeys in metropolitan centre zones, and in walkable catchments from existing and planned rapid transit stops, the edge of city centre zones, and the edge of metropolitan centre zones,
  • Consider unanticipated or out-of-sequence developments if they provide “significant development capacity",
  • Evidence-based decision making including specific monitoring requirements,
  • Specify development outcomes for zones, and removing minimum car park requirements.

If you have any questions on the matters raised in this article, please get in touch with the contacts listed or your usual Bell Gully ​adviser.

This publication is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.