About the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity

This page provides information on the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016. 

The Government recently consulted on a proposed National Policy Statement for Urban Development (NPS-UD). The NPS-UD would replace the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity (NPS-UDC). The new NPS-UD would build on many of the existing requirements for greater development capacity. It would broaden its focus and add significant new content. Find out more

National Policy on Urban Development Capacity 2016 documents

About the National Policy on Urban Development Capacity 2016

National policy statements are issued by the government to provide direction to local government about matters of national significance which contribute to meeting the purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991.

The National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016 (NPS-UDC) recognises the national significance of:

  • urban environments and the need to enable such environments to develop and change
  • providing sufficient development capacity to meet the needs of people and communities and future generations in urban environments.

The NPS-UDC was developed by the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Why it is needed

Some urban areas in New Zealand are growing quickly. To support productive and well-functioning cities, it is important that regional policy statements and regional and district plans under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) provide adequate opportunities to develop land for business and housing to meet community 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 forms part of the Government’s response to the Productivity Commission recommendations. 

What it does

The NPS-UDC directs local authorities to provide sufficient development capacity in their resource management plans, supported by infrastructure, to meet demand for housing and business space.

Development capacity refers to the amount of development allowed by zoning and regulations in plans that is supported by infrastructure. This development can be ‘outwards’ (on greenfield sites) and/or ‘upwards’ (by intensifying existing urban environments).

Sufficient development capacity is necessary for urban land and development markets to function efficiently to meet community needs.  In well-functioning markets the supply of land, housing and business space matches demand at efficient (more affordable) prices.

What it requires

The NPS-UDC contains objectives and policies that local authorities must give effect to in their resource management decisions.

It provides direction on:

  • outcomes that urban planning decisions should achieve
  • evidence underpinning those decisions
  • responsive planning approaches
  • coordination between local authorities and providers of infrastructure.

Within these four areas, the NPS-UDC targets the more challenging requirements to local authorities that have jurisdiction over urban areas experiencing the most significant growth.

Not all NPS-UDC objectives and policies apply to all local authorities

The objectives and high level policies of the policy statement apply to all local authorities. But some policies apply only to “all local authorities that have part, or all, of either a medium-growth urban area or high-growth urban area within their district or region”. The Summary of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity shows what objectives and policies apply to which local authorities and the timeframes for implementation.

Guidance on implementation

Together with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, we have developed user guidance to help local authorities implement the NPS-UDC.

See Guidance on implementing the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity.

Further information

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

Related publications                    

Section 32AA evaluation report

Regulatory impact statement (final)

Recommendations and decisions report

Summary of submissions report

Signals of under-capacity: the practicalities of monitoring price signals under the National Policy Statement of Urban Development Capacity

International approaches to providing for business and housing needs

How councils estimate demand and supply of development capacity for housing and business

Business land: problems and causes - Research to support a proposed NPS on urban planning

The Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Using land for housing [New Zealand Productivity Commission website]