District Plan Change 56

New Government rules for higher and denser housing need to be incorporated into our District Plan.

About this plan change

The Government passed a law in late 2021 requiring councils to change their planning rules to allow housing up to three storeys high and three homes per section in most residential areas, without requiring council planning permission (resource consent). The legislation introduced ‘medium density residential standards’ that the Council must include in the District Plan (the City’s rulebook for subdivision and development).

In addition, the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) means Council is also required to allow housing of at least six storeys within walking distance of our train stations, the CBD and the Petone commercial area. More housing (also known as intensification) may also be allowed in residential areas such as the suburban centres of Avalon, Eastbourne, Moera, Stokes Valley and Wainuiomata.

These changes legally need to be incorporated into our District Plan as a Plan Change, which is separate from the current review of the entire District Plan.

Council may limit these new rules only in specific circumstances such as identified areas with natural hazards, heritage areas, or sites of significance to Māori. These specific circumstances are known as “qualifying matters”.

The new rules aim to improve housing supply and affordability and mean fewer restrictions on development. While the significant parts of the plan change are mandated by the legislation, there are some factors that the public can influence.

Community Engagement

We sought your feedback in April 2022 and you can now see the survey results.

What happens next?

Council will vote on the proposed Plan Change in July 2022 and it will then be released for public submissions in August and go through a streamlined plan change process. This includes a round of ‘further submissions’ which provides the opportunity for anyone to support or oppose a submission made in the initial round of submissions. This phase is limited in scope to the submissions already made, and has a maximum timeframe of 10 working days.

This will be followed by public hearings in front of an independent panel in April 2023. Submitters will have the opportunity to speak about their submission at this hearing.

The panel will then release recommendations to Council about whether further changes should be made. Council will then make a decision and the Minister for the Environment requires public notification of that decision no later than 20 August 2023. Unlike a standard plan change process, the Resource Management Act does not provide for appeals on this streamlined process.


May 2022 Council works with Mana Whenua partners for their advice on the draft proposal and incorporates public feedback
August 2022 Proposed Plan Change released for public submissions
November 2022 Publicly notify the summary of submissions and invite further submissions
April 2023 Public hearing for submissions then recommendation to Council
by 20 August 2023 Council publicly notifies decision and the Plan Change becomes 'operative'.