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National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD)

The NPS-UD aims to ensure that New Zealand’s towns and cities are well-functioning urban environments that meet the changing needs of our diverse communities.

About the National Policy Statement

The National Policy Statement on Urban Development directs local authorities to enable greater supply and ensure that planning is responsive to changes in demand, while seeking to ensure that new development capacity enabled by councils is of a form and in locations that meet the diverse needs of communities and encourages well-functioning, liveable urban environments. It also requires councils to remove overly restrictive rules that affect urban development outcomes in our cities.

The NPS-UD was gazetted on 23 July 2020 and replaces the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016 (NPS-UDC). 

The NPS-UD is administered by the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), with support from Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga - Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

The NPS-UD is available on the MfE website. Key policy documents will be made available on the MfE website in the days following Gazettal. There will also be more information on the NPS-UD page on the MfE website

Guidance for local authorities

Together with MfE, we've developed guidance to support local authorities with jurisdiction over urban environments across New Zealand to meet the requirements of the NPS-UD.

Some guidance for the NPS-UDC may still help in implementing the NPS-UD.

MfE and HUD will ensure there is ongoing engagement with councils to provide support on specific areas and will issue further guidance where a need is identified.

Guidance is for information purposes only and does not have statutory weight.


Implementing the NPS-UD

The NPS-UD was gazetted on 23 July 2020 and takes effect from 20 August 2020. Compliance timeframes for local authorities to implement the NPS-UD vary by policy and by which of the three “tiers” of urban environment the local authority has jurisdiction over.

Tier 1 urban environments

Tier 1 urban environments include:

  • 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

Tier 2 urban environments include:

  • 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” are also required 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 deadlines

Every tier 1, 2 and 3 local authority must amend its regional policy statement or district plan to give effect to the provisions of the NPS-UD as soon as practicable. In addition, some policies have specific requirements. The following table shows the timelines for local authorities to meet the requirements.


NPS-UD requirement

Initial implementation

20 August 2020

The NPS-UD comes into force, replacing the NPS-UDC. All objectives apply.

By 31 July 2021

Tier 1 and 2 councils have completed the housing assessment aspect of the new HBAs

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

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

As soon as practicable

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

Tier 3 councils have notified plan changes implementing intensification policies

In time to inform 2024 long-term plans

Tier 1 and 2 councils have completed HBA

Tier 1 and 2 councils have prepared or reviewed FDSs

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


Published: October 4, 2021