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Appendix 2: Summary of responses from local authorities not operating an external urban design assessment panel

Local authority NZ Urban Design Protocol signatory? Does the district plan (DP) contain urban design (UD) objectives, policies or rules? Who does any urban design (UD) assessment? Has a panel ever been considered? Reasons for not establishing a panel Other comments
Ashburton District Council No No, but DP under review and UD will be included in new plan External consultants No    
Carterton District Council Yes   External consultants      
Clutha District Council No Some, mainly relating to subdivision Planning consultant, council roading and infrastructure staff No   Expert input would be sought if there were major UD issues
Dunedin City Council Yes No. Heritage and townscape included, but only related to amenity. Strong desire to include more UD objectives and policies Council Urban Designer Yes – one will probably be set up in the next financial year. Included in Protocol Action Plan. Few urban design staff, other matters with higher priority than setting up panel. Has been more cost-effective to use in-house advice so far.  
Far North District Council No No   No    
Franklin District Council Yes Not in operative DP, but UD included in recent plan changes. Also Urban Residential Design Guide which is not part of DP.   No Lack of relevant/supporting objectives and policies  
Gisborne District Council No Inner Commercial guidelines, dated. No specific UD policies, but there are general character and amenity policies Principal Planner – Urban Design No, but UD Action Plan signals one    
Grey District Council No No, but DP under review and UD will be included in new plan No specific assessment done Yes Idea not progressed due to DP not accommodating this type of assessment  
Hauraki District Council No No, but DP under review and UD will be included in new plan Consents Engineer and Planning staff No Small district, generally low level development Council has design guidelines for subdivision elements that will vest in Council eg, street trees, furniture, paving etc
Horowhenua District Council No Very little, mostly high level Planning officers Not formally No real need. Resources, expertise, timeframes and absence of UD focus in DP Operation of a developer-led panel for buildings in new subdivisions
Hurunui District Council No Design and appearance standards in Hanmer only, with objectives and policies Planning officers, consultant advice if required No Current approach has been successful in achieving desired design outcomes  
Hutt City Council Yes Design Guides in two parts of the city – CBD and Petone External consultants Yes Resistance based on perceived administrative burden and cost  
Kaikoura District Council Yes Not specifically. Some guidelines have a link to design Planning staff, consultants if required Yes Resources. Existing system thought to work well  
Kapiti Coast District Council Yes A few Council landscape advisor and Urban Planner Not formally No local expertise, most applications not complicated. Consultant UD advice used for projects that have raised concern
Manawatu District Council No Limited, with design guidelines for Feilding CBD Consultants No Pastoral farming focus in district Questions about UD will be included in issues paper for upcoming review of DP
Masterton District Council Yes Yes, but also reliance on bulk and location rules for UD outcomes Planning Liaison Group No    
Matamata-Piako District Council Yes Some, mainly relating to subdivision Consultant peer review where required No Small district, generally low level development  
North Shore City Council Yes Yes Planning staff Yes Breadth and depth of interest attracted was not sufficient. Lack of specific UD skills available. Lack of funding available Combined staff/consultant panel for major council-led projects to advise the project design team. Funded through the project
Papakura District Council Yes Commercial and some residential zones Consultant review where required No Small TA, no real need. No support in DP, cost and timeframe issues  
Porirua City Council Yes No. First generation plan In-house clinic once a week, gives quick responses, pulls together different areas across Council No Difficulty in getting qualified UD advice. Things working OK at present Use of external UD consultants if required
Rangitikei District Council No No   No Rural district with decreasing population – no call for it  
Rodney District Council Yes Yes Planning staff, consultants if required Unsure Small council, cost an issue  
South Taranaki District Council No No   No District does not have a significant amount of urban development  
South Waikato District Council No Not many at general level. Four main towns have Concept Plans that include UD initiatives. UD will be included in upcoming review of DP Planning staff No   Specialised heritage advice also sought when required
South Wairarapa District Council No Not stated Unknown No Little undeveloped urban land. Concept plans may be used for specific areas  
Stratford District Council No No – conscious decision due to low development pressure and desire to not over-regulate Planning staff No In-house assessment can be done at no extra cost to ratepayers. Amenity requirements producing good outcomes Consultants sometimes used for projects with UD aspects. Reserve Management Plans for amenity on public land
Tararua District Council No No   No Area of low growth, focus tends to be on landscape, protected natural areas etc  
Tauranga City Council Yes Not directly – phrased more as amenity control

First generation plan
Whoever is relevant. Depends on what aspect of ‘urban design’ is being considered Yes Idea was politically unpopular Plan review underway, at hearings stage. New plan will have more UD than operative plan, but still mostly phrased as amenity, due to lack of political interest in supporting ‘urban design’
Thames-Coromandel District Council No     Yes Benefits unclear for small mainly rural local authority  
Timaru District Council Yes Various, throughout Plan Planning staff No Nature of development does not warrant it  
Upper Hutt City Council Yes Proposed Plan Change 18 for comprehensive residential development includes a DG Would commission external advice Not formally Lack of relevant objectives and policies, limited volume of development requiring UD input  
Waikato District Council No Very little Consultants, on a case-by-case basis No    
Waimate District Council No No Planning staff No Small council with large rural area. Low level of development, UD not identified as a priority  
Waipa District Council Yes No, but DP under review and UD will be included in new plan   No    
Waitaki District Council No Not UD, but have heritage guidelines. Amenity is considered in general objectives and policies Planning staff No    
Wellington City Council Yes Yes, also statutory Design Guides Urban Designers on staff, consultants if required Yes In-house assessment capability good, issues with assessment could be addressed by process improvements  
Whakatane District Council No Design standards for Central Area. Plan under review, better UD principles to be considered Planning officers, consultant advice if required No Not big enough to warrant it, limited direction in DP, cost  


The following local authorities (5 or 7%) indicated that they did not have an urban design panel, or similar (Stage 1 questions) but did not respond to any further (Stage 2) questions:

  • Gore District Council
  • New Plymouth District Council
  • Waimakariri District Council
  • Wairoa District Council
  • Waitomo District Council.

The following local authorities (20 or 28%) did not respond to any of the survey questions (Stage 1 or Stage 2). A website search did not reveal any evidence of use of an urban design assessment panel:

  • Buller District Council
  • Central Hawkes Bay District Council
  • Central Otago District Council
  • Chatham Islands Council
  • Invercargill City Council
  • Kaipara District Council
  • Kawerau District Council
  • Mackenzie District Council
  • Marlborough District Council
  • Napier City Council
  • Opotiki District Council
  • Otorohanga District Council
  • Palmerston North City Council
  • Ruapehu District Council
  • Selwyn District Council
  • Southland District Council
  • Taupo District Council
  • Wanganui District Council
  • Westland District Council
  • Whangarei District Council.