Streamlined planning process

Councils can use the streamlined planning process for the preparation of a planning instrument under the RMA if they get Minister approval. This page has the application form, guidance on the process, and the Minister's approved directions for its use.

About the streamlined planning process

The streamlined planning process is an alternative to the standard Part 1 Schedule 1 process, and must be proportional to the complexity and significance of the issues being addressed. There are entry criteria set out in the legislation that the council must be satisfied it has met before it can make a request (eg, the proposed plan or plan change is needed to implement national direction or address a significant community need).

A local authority can make a request to the responsible Minister for a streamlined planning process for developing or changing a regional policy statement or plan.  The responsible Minister is the Minister for the Environment or in the case of a regional coastal plan, the Minister of Conservation.

If the responsible Minister approves the request, he or she will issue a Direction to the local authority. The local authority must then follow the procedural steps and timeframes in the Direction rather than following the standard Part 1 Schedule 1 process. These steps and timeframes can be tailored by the Minister to suit the planning issues involved. At a minimum, any Direction issued by the Minister must at least provide for certain key steps, including consultation (if not already undertaken) and a submission process allowing those affected by the proposal to have a say.

The local authority must also submit its proposed plan or plan change to the Minister(s) for approval before it becomes operative. The local authority must meet any reporting requirements specified in the Direction and must have regard to the Minister’s Statement of Expectations.

Limited appeals are available only on decisions of a requiring authority or heritage protection authority relating to designations, heritage orders and notices of requirement. 

Support and guidance

For other plan-making processes under the RMA see:

Form for making a request for a streamlined planning process

Only local authorities can apply to the Minister to use the streamlined planning process and they should contact the Ministry as soon as possible for advice that will assist with the application. 

Form for making a request to the Minister(s) responsible for a streamlined planning process

Approved directions to use the streamlined planning process as at 8 March 2018

NZ Gazette reference


Planning instrument

NZ Gazette Office publication date


Hastings District Council

A variation to the Proposed Hastings District Plan - Iona Rezoning  Variation

28 February 2018


Bay of Plenty Regional Council

A change to the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement (Plan Change 4) – Amendment to the Urban Limit Line at Tauriko West

28 February 2018