Discussion papers on the first set of national planning standards

This page has the discussion papers on the key elements of the first set of national planning standards, when they were first proposed. The papers were released for feedback in May 2017.


About the discussion papers

We prepared a series of discussion papers in 2017 on the key elements and initial thinking on the proposed first set of national planning standards (planning standards).

These discussion papers outline the context, evidence, approach and options for each planning standard.

Discussion paper


Introduction to the national planning standards This paper summarises the rationale for introducing the planning standards. It outlines the proposed scope of the first set of planning standards, how they will be developed and how stakeholders can be involved in developing the drafts.
District plan structure This paper discusses how the planning standards could provide a more consistent structure for district plans. It focuses on the chapter organisation of plans, how the plan provisions (eg, objectives, policies and rules) are structured and how other plan provisions are referred to and used in plans. 
Structure of regional plans and policy statements This paper discusses the variation among regional plans and policy statements and suggests a preference for a fully combined structure.
Formatting plans and policy statements This paper addresses the approaches to the design and format of plans (eg, objectives and policies, rules, font, headings, table and colour).
Zones and overlays This paper discusses the inconsistent use of terminology and use of different spatial planning tools (eg, zones, overlays, amenity based provisions, map notations, appendix maps). It proposes a standard zone framework and discusses the potential need for the planning standards to provide zone provisions such as objectives and policies.
Definitions This paper focuses on district plan definitions and terms that commonly overlap with regional plans. It provides a list of 80-100 definitions that could be standardised and the criteria to develop this list.
Metrics This paper presents the opportunities to standardise metrics used in plans which will be addressed in the first set of planning standards.
General provisions This paper considers where the ‘general provisions’ of plans (eg, an explanation of the RMA, or how activity status applies) should be addressed within the overall structure of plans.
Plan mapping standards This paper investigates cartographic conventions/visual display to harmonise planning maps in regional and district plans.
Electronic functionality and accessibility of plans This paper describes the requirements for transitioning plans from a paper based format to a fully searchable and interactive online plan.