What is Draft Change 6 about?

Change 6 (NPS-UD) is a change to the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement (RPS) to implement the responsive planning requirements of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD). The NPS-UD took effect on the 20 August 2020 (further information on the NPS-UD is available on the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development website) which requires changes to the RPS to be notified before 20 August 2022. 

Change 6 will make amendments to the urban limits line approach, urban and rural growth management policies, growth area and business land sequencing and timing and  is proposed to be progressed using the Streamlined Planning Process.


The NPS-UD applies to all urban environments. Urban environments are defined as any area of land (regardless of size, and irrespective of local authority or statistical boundaries) that: (a) is, or is intended to be, predominantly urban in character; and (b) is, or is intended to be, part of a housing and labour market of at least 10,000 people.

Under the NPS-UD urban environments are categorised into three ‘tiers’. The NPS–UD identifies Bay of Plenty Regional Council as both a Tier 1 and Tier 2 local authority.  Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council are Tier 1 local authorities. Rotorua Lakes Council is a Tier 2 local authority.  Whakatāne District Council is a Tier 3 local authority.  Some NPS-UD policies specifically apply to Tier 1 and 2 urban environments. Other policies apply to Tier 1, 2 and 3 local authorities.

The NPS-UD requires changes to the RPS to:

  • Amend the Urban and Rural Growth Management policy framework to enable more land and infrastructure supply, growth (up and out) of urban centres and support well-functioning urban environments;
  • For the western Bay of Plenty sub-region, amend the urban limits line approach and supporting policies to be more flexible/responsive to unplanned or out of sequence urban development proposals;
  • Include criteria for determining what district plan changes (and resource consent applications) will be treated as adding significantly to development capacity including out of sequence or unplanned private development proposals; and
  • Set short-medium and long-term housing bottom lines for Tier 1 and 2 local authorities based on most recent Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessments.

The NPS-UD responsive planning requirements seek to ensure local authorities respond to development proposals that would add significantly to development capacity and contribute to well-functioning urban environments, regardless of whether they are planned for or anticipated in existing planning documents. It applies to development proposals in both greenfield and brownfield locations.

In relation to the western Bay of Plenty sub-region, Change 6 (NPS-UD) will help implement outcomes of the Urban Form and Transport Initiative (UFTI) – being the agreed SmartGrowth settlement pattern.

Previous spatial planning to identify intensification and greenfield areas for the western Bay of Plenty has already been carried out as part of the draft Future Development Strategy and SmartGrowth. Rotorua Lakes Council has previously identified key greenfield development areas through their 2018 Rotorua Spatial Plan.

NOTE: RPS changes to introduce housing bottom lines, required by NPS-UD Policy 7, will be progressed without using the RMA schedule 1 consultation process.  This change will affect Policy UG 25B only.

Key contact

For more information on Draft Change 6 (NPS-UD) please email Rebekah Waltham (Planner, Urban).