National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD) and change to the Regional Policy Statement

Horizons is initiating a change to the Regional Policy Statement in the One Plan to meet the requirements of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD).

What is the NPS-UD and why is a Plan Change needed?

The NPS-UD is intended to improve the responsiveness and competitiveness of land and development markets so that it is easier for people to live in the homes they want, where they want. It requires Horizons to include the following in its Regional Policy Statement:

  • criteria to be used by local authorities to determine what plan changes will:
    • add significantly to the capacity of land to be developed for housing and business use, and
    • contribute to well-functioning urban environments, and
  • provisions to enable intensification in appropriate locations, such as:
    • urban centres where people easily access jobs, services and amenities, places that are well-served by public transport, and
    • other areas with high demand for housing and business space.
The NPS-UD also requires planning decisions that have or enable a variety of homes so Māori may express their cultural traditions and norms. For example, supporting kaumātua and papakāinga housing, housing located in relation to the whenua and sites of cultural significance, or housing that enables whānau to undertake cultural practices.

What new provisions are likely to be included in the Regional Policy Statement?

The Plan Change will result in urban growth management provisions to address the compulsory requirements mentioned above. Additional provisions to best achieve the objectives of the NPS-UD will also be considered. As examples, provisions could be included to:

  • respond to the impacts of climate change on urban development,
  • strategically integrate existing and future infrastructure with urban development, and/or
  • ensure robust and frequently updated information about urban environments is prepared and used to inform planning decisions.

Monitoring and assessing development capacity

The NPS-UD also requires local authorities to ensure there is sufficient housing and business land development capacity to meet demand. For urban areas with populations that are greater than 10,000 people this includes a requirement to monitor development capacity.

As a larger city categorised as ‘Tier 2’ under the NPS-UD, reports also have to be prepared to assess future housing and business development capacity for Palmerston North. Reports are available to view on Palmerston North City Council’s website.

Timing for Plan Change

Drafting of changes will be occurring from November 2021 and the Plan Change will be notified around July or August 2022.

Questions or feedback

For more information and to provide feedback regarding provisions that could be included in the Plan Change please contact