New Zealanders are set to benefit from changes to density planning laws from August 2022, following the passing of the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021.

On 20 December, the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021(external link) was passed into law - unlocking more housing in our growing cities.  

This amendment to the RMA does two things. Firstly, it requires tier 1 councils in Auckland, and greater Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch to change their planning rules so most of their residential areas are zoned for medium density housing.  Secondly, it creates a new streamlined process so these councils can implement the NPS-UD’s intensification policies faster.  

By removing restrictive planning rules, New Zealanders can expect to see more medium density homes being built across more of our major cities. 

Select Committee Process 

The Environment Committee considered 966 written and 183 oral submissions and made several key improvements to the legislation. 

These improvements support liveability and quality urban design, and include reduced height in relation to boundary, increased outdoor living and outlook spaces, and additional landscaping and front façade glazing requirements. 

What happens now? 

Tier 1 councils need to publicly notify the new rules and policies enabling medium density and intensification in their district plans by 20 August 2022.  

HUD and MfE will provide implementation support to councils. Together, they will also develop a national medium density design guide, in consultation with local government, mana whenua, and industry stakeholders. 

In the interim, we expect to see developers engaging with their council in anticipation of the policy and rule changes in district plans. This will enable developers to be ready to build when the policies and rules have legal effect.  

Please see the press release on the Beehive website(external link).