About the National Policy Statement on Urban Development  

The NPS-UD is part of the urban planning focus of the Urban Growth Agenda. It directs councils to remove overly restrictive planning rules and plan for growth, both up and out.  

Councils also have to respond to changes in demand by allowing denser housing in areas where people want to live, that are well-connected to jobs, transport and community facilities. 

The NPS-UD replaces the National Policy Statement on Urban Capacity 2016. It is administered by the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), with support from Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.  

To read the NPS-UD, visit the MfE website(external link) 

Read more about the Urban Growth Agenda 

Major policies in the NPS-UD


Council plans need to enable greater height and density, particularly in areas of high demand and access.

Car parking

Councils can no longer require developers to provide car parking through their district and city plans. Developers can still provide car parking if they want to. Mobility parking isn’t affected by this direction.


Councils must consider private plan changes where they would add significantly to development capacity, and contribute to well-functioning urban environments.

Wider outcomes

Councils are directed to give greater consideration to ensuring that cities work for all people and communities. Particular focus is given to access, climate change, and housing affordability.

Strategic planning

Councils have to work together to produce Future Development Strategies, which set out the long-term strategic vision for accommodating urban growth.

Evidence and engagement

Councils must use a strong evidence base for their decision making and engage with Māori, developers and infrastructure providers.

Implementing the NPS-UD  

The Ministry for the Environment has implementation guidance and fact sheets on the NPS-UD 

Read the Ministry for the Environment for guidance on implementing the NPS-UD(external link) 

Urban environments 

The timeframes for councils to implement the NPS-UD vary by policy and depending on which of the three tiers of urban environment the council is in. 

Tier 1 urban environments

  • Auckland (Auckland Council)  
  • Christchurch (Canterbury Regional Council, Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council and Waimakariri District Council)  
  • Wellington (Wellington Regional Council, Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council, Hutt City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, Kāpiti Coast District Council)  
  • Tauranga (Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council)  
  • Hamilton (Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Waipa District Council)

Tier 2 urban environments

  • Whangārei (Northland Regional Council, Whangārei District Council)  
  • Rotorua (Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Rotorua District Council)  
  • New Plymouth (Taranaki Regional Council, New Plymouth District Council  
  • Napier-Hastings (Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council and Hastings District Council)  
  • Palmerston North (Manawatū-Whanganui Regional Council and Palmerston North City Council)  
  • Nelson Tasman (Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council)  
  • Queenstown (Otago Regional Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council)  
  • Dunedin (Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council)

Tier 3 urban environments

  • All other local authorities with jurisdiction over an urban environment also have to comply with the NPS-UD.  
  • An urban environment is defined in the NPS-UD as ‘any area of land (regardless of size, and irrespective of local authority or statistical boundaries) that: (a) is, or is intended to be, predominantly urban in character; and (b) is, or is intended to be, part of a housing and labour market of at least 10,000 people’

Implementation timeline

  • Initial implementation


    NPS-UD requirement

    20 August 2020

    The NPS-UD came into force, replacing the National Policy Statement on Urban Capacity 2016. All objectives apply.

    By 31 July 2021

    Tier 1 and 2 councils have completes the housing assessment aspect of the new housing and business development capacity assessment (HBA).

    Not later than 20 February 2022 (18 months after the commencement date)

    Tier 1,2 and 3 councils have removed provisions in plans relating to minimum parking rates.

    Not later than 20 August 2022 (two years after the commencement dates)

    Tier 1 and 2 councils have notified plan changes implementing the intensification policies.

    As soon as practicable

    Tier 1, 2, and 3 council have amended their regional policy statements and district plans to give effect to the NPS-UD.

    Tier 3 councils have notified plan changes implementing the intensification policies.

    In time to be considered for 2024 long-term plans

    Tier 1 and 2 councils have completed HBAs.

    Tier 1 and 2 councils have prepared or reviewed future development strategies (FDS).

  • Ongoing timeframes



    Tier 1, 2 and 3 councils must monitor housing indicators.

    Tier 1 councils must also monitor development uptake in medium- and high-density zones.


    At least annually

    Tier 1, 2 and 3 councils must publish the results of their monitoring.

    As soon as practicable and within 12 months of publishing the relevant monitoring report

    Tier 1 councils evaluate zone rules, where uptake is not meeting the development outcomes anticipated and notify plan changes if required.

    Every three years

    Tiers 1 and 2 update HBA to inform FDS, long term plan, infrastructure strategies.

    Tiers 1 and 2 update FDSs .

    Every six years

    Tiers 1 and 2 prepare new FDS.