What does 2022 have in store for Planning and Development?

Posted January 28, 2022

Our team is back after a fantastic break and are ready to dive headfirst into the exciting projects that we have lined up for 2022.

Despite the setback that Covid brought to almost all aspects of our lives in 2021, the planning space has continued to be a beehive of activity. Government agencies have powered on with reforms and radical changes to long-standing legislation that will undoubtedly change the way the industry (and related industries) operate. 

RMA Reform

As discussed in our RMA Reform blog post, the resource management legislation is currently undergoing significant reform which will see the RMA’s replacement with three new Acts:

  • The Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA),
  • The Strategic Planning Act (SPA), and
  • The Climate Change Adaptation Act (CCAA). 

These changes will undoubtedly result in changes to the current processes and we’ll continue to provide information on how these may impact our clients and their projects.

Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

The end of 2021 saw the Enabling Housing Supply Bill passed into law. This requires councils to allow houses of up to three storeys with up to three dwellings on almost all residential sites in Tier 1 councils (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga, and Hamilton) without the need for resource consent. Analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests it could add up to 105,000 new dwellings in those cities over the next eight years. 

Tier 1 councils are required to use a new Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP) to implement the intensification required through the adoption of Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) across current and future residential zones through Plan changes by August 2022. 

There has been a mixed reaction to the new regime, with advocates and detractors taking opposing sides. Detractors fear that the additional height, increased density and decreased outdoor spaces that are permitted will lead to the development of urban sprawls that are not open or green or deliver quality residential living options. On the other hand, housing supply shortage has been considered a major issue across the country. 

The National Policy Statement- Urban Design

The NPS- UD was notified in 2020 and aims to enable well-functioning urban environments in our towns and cities. Tier 1 and Tier 2 local authorities are required to notify plan changes to enable the intensification required by the NPS-UD by September 2022. These will require greater height and density in areas of high demand and access, except these may be altered where certain qualifying matters (for example, heritage values) exist, and the work identifying these areas and any qualifying matters is well underway. 

Councils can no longer require developers to provide car parking (except mobility parking) and many have already removed these provisions from their District Plans. Councils that have yet to amend and remove the minimum car parking requirements will have to do so by February 2022.

Coming soon...

The government is proposing a National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity to provide national-level guidance to ensure the maintenance and protection of indigenous biodiversity. Public consultation was undertaken between November 2019 and January 2020. A decision on the release of the exposure draft of the NPSIB is expected in the first half of 2022. 

Also awaited are the final decisions on the proposed National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land for which consultation was undertaken from August to October 2019. The proposed NPS-HPL aims to ensure the protection and sustainable management of New Zealand’s productive land. Final decisions by ministers and Cabinet are anticipated in the first half of 2022. 

The New Year

These developments make for an intriguing start to the new year and make for another fantastic year of higher-level planning discussion. We’ll continue to monitor these changes and developments and will be sure to share what we find.  

If you’re interested in any particular issue and would like to discuss how the changes in the planning sphere will impact you or your proposed projects, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 03 409 2258.

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