National Planning Standards Released

Topics covered in this article: RMA & Local Government

The Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation released the first set of national planning standards on 5 April 2019. 

The purpose of the national planning standards is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning system by setting requirements for consistent structure, format, definitions and electronic accessibility of RMA plans and policy statements. 

We support this approach given the vast difference in the format of plans across the country and the difficulty this presents for users of those plans.  Local policy and substantive content of the plans are not prescribed by the standards, with those remaining the responsibility of local councils and communities.  Several changes to the draft planning standards released last year were made in response to comments from the public, council, resource management professionals and iwi.  New definitions were added and some deleted and the implementation timeframes for changing existing plans have been adjusted to allow a bit more time to make the necessary changes.  Most councils will be able to implement the majority of them as part of their next plan review.  Regional policy statements will, however, need to be amended within three years. 

The national planning standards can be accessed here and will come into force on 3 May. 


By Rachel Boyte - 8/4/2019

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