Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) will carefully consider the proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) to assess if it meets the Government's aim of enabling urban development or simply adds more red tape to the planning process.
Councils currently provide urban planning information in their long-term plans, as well as through the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC), which the new guidance will replace.
However, LGNZ research, based on a detailed and in depth survey of 23 medium and high growth councils, showed the NPS-UDC was not fit-for-purpose, having been built on a flawed economic model, and the complexity of the reporting requirements meant councils incurred an estimated $4 million in costs for little to no benefit.
"We're pleased that the Government is reviewing the flawed NPS-UDC, which achieved little more than filling out a dashboard for central government officials," said LGNZ Vice President Stuart Crosby.
"However, we need to ensure that its replacement is fit-for-purpose, and not another academic white elephant that is imposed on local government."
"It also needs to sync with a number of other policy workstreams that influence urban development, including how councils fund the infrastructure to open land for development, and how the NPS-UD will work with recently proposed guidance on protecting highly productive land at the end of cities."
"Delivering land for future urban growth is a complex process which involves careful decision making and ultimately trade-offs, and we strongly support policy tools which enable communities to balance those trade-offs for themselves."
Given the flaws with the previous policy statement, Crosby said it is highly likely that LGNZ would be calling for a cycle of mandatory reviews to be built into the proposed NPS-UD to ensure that it continues to deliver value.
"This NPS-UD is an opportunity to develop an economic model that delivers greater benefit, with more equitable cost-sharing and outcomes."