About the National Policy Statement on Urban Development

The National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 came into effect on 20 August 2020. It replaced the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016.

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What the NPS-UD 2020 does

The NPS-UD 2020 recognises the national significance of:

  • having well-functioning urban environments that enable all people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural wellbeing, and for their health and safety, now and into the future
  • providing sufficient development capacity to meet the different needs of people and communities.

It was developed by the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

A3 graphic on the NPS-UD 2020 (PDF, 7.27 MB)

Why it is needed

Some urban areas in New Zealand are growing quickly. To support productive and well-functioning cities, it is important that there are adequate opportunities for land to be developed to meet community business and housing needs. 

The 2015 Productivity Commission inquiry into Using land for housing recommended that a national policy statement could help address the constraints on development capacity in the resource management system. The NPS-UDC 2016 formed part of the Government’s response to the Productivity Commission recommendations.

Using land for housing [New Zealand Productivity Commission website]

In September 2017, the Government established the Urban Growth Agenda (UGA). The UGA is a programme that aims to remove barriers to the supply of land and infrastructure and make room for cities to grow up and out. The NPS-UD 2020 contributes to this. It does this by addressing constraints in our planning system to ensure our system enables growth and supports well-functioning urban environments.

Urban Growth Agenda [Ministry of Housing and Urban Development website]

As part of the UGA work, the Government consulted the public on the proposed NPS-UD 2020 from 21 August to 10 October 2019.

Find out about the consultation at Planning for successful cities – our proposal, your views.

Read the Summary of submissions and the Recommendations and decisions report on the National Policy Statement on Urban Development.

What it requires

The NPS-UD 2020 requires councils to plan well for growth and ensure a well-functioning urban environment for all people, communities and future generations

This includes: 

  • ensuring urban development occurs in a way that takes into account the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (te Tiriti o Waitangi) 
  • ensuring that plans make room for growth both ‘up’ and ‘out’, and that rules are not unnecessarily constraining growth
  • developing, monitoring and maintaining an evidence base about demand, supply and prices for housing and land to inform planning decisions
  • aligning and coordinating planning across urban areas.

The NPS-UD 2020 contains objectives and policies that councils must give effect to in their resource management decisions.

Not all NPS-UD 2020 objectives and policies apply to all councils 

The objectives and high-level policies of the NPS-UD 2020 apply to all councils that have all or part of an urban environment within their district or region. However, some policies apply only to tier 1 or tier 2 councils. 

The Introductory Guide to the National Policy Statement on Urban Development outlines what objectives and policies apply to which councils and the timeframes for implementation.

Related information

Recommendations and decisions report on the National Policy Statement on Urban Development

National Policy Statement on Urban Development: Section 32 evaluation report

Further Evaluations report (s32AA) on changes to the National Policy Statement on Urban Development

Cost-benefit analysis on the National Policy Statement on Urban Development

Regulatory Impact Statement: National Policy Statement on Urban Development

Cabinet paper: National Policy Statement on Urban Development

Briefings on the National Policy Staement on Urban Development

Find out more

For more information on the NPS-UD 2020 email the team at npsurbandevelopment@mfe.govt.nz

Reviewed:
11/08/20