News | 14 October 2021
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Draft District Plan now online

Wellington’s Draft District Plan – the Capital City’s first completely revised planning and environmental rulebook in more than 20 years – is now online and will be considered by the City Council’s Pūroro Āmua Planning and Environment Committee on 20 October for agreement to send it for community input, starting in November.

District Plan map sample

Mayor Foster says: “This is an opportunity for all Wellingtonians to get involved in shaping the future of our great city.

“I know there will be as many views as we have residents, and I encourage everyone to participate respecting and seeking to understand the diversity of viewpoints that will undoubtedly be expressed.

“This District Plan represents a major change in aiming to deal with the major planning issues facing our city – housing affordability, population growth, transport, environmental protection, climate change and natural hazards. While there have been many changes to the existing District Plan, this will lead to the first complete replacement of the Plan since 2000.”

If Mayor Foster and Councillors approve the draft Plan, Wellingtonians will be asked to give feedback in a consultation period running from 2 November-14 December.

Pūroro Āmua Planning and Environment Committee Chair Iona Pannett says the Plan provides a tremendous opportunity to build on the successes of the past and to build for the future. 

“Wellingtonians have been clear that they want a great environment and affordable and warm housing,” says Cr Pannett. 

Pūroro Āmua Planning and Environment Committee Deputy Chair Tamatha Paul says the Council has worked alongside mana whenua to create a Plan which aims to embed Te Tiriti, giving greater weight to partnership and the aspirations of local iwi. 

“Housing affordability is another important aim of the proposed Plan. “We all know that we have a housing crisis and a climate crisis – many people despair about never finding secure housing and we must change that. The draft Plan proposes ways to change that.”

Cr Pannett gives the example of the Plan’s proposed provisions to either incentivise or require assisted (affordable) housing to be included in new residential developments. Cr Pannett says: “This is a big policy shift. Only Queenstown Lakes District Council, where housing supply and affordability is also a huge problem, is doing something similar via a District Plan change.

Cr Paul says the plan proposes working with developers to provide affordable housing, include requirements that a certain proportion of units or houses in any development be affordable, or options for developers to contribute to the funding of affordable housing built by third parties.

The Draft District Plan isn’t just about providing for more housing – it also:

  • Provides opportunities for business and employment growth across the city
  • Sets out requirements for the critical transport and infrastructure required to service growth areas
  • Introduces rules to protect important natural environment and cultural values (e.g. significant natural areas, sites and areas of significance to Māori, and historic heritage values),
  • Responds to climate change and sea level rise and provides a new framework to better manage natural hazard risks (eg earthquakes, flooding).

If approved, the Draft District Plan consultation will run alongside consultation on the city’s Cycling Network and Let’s Get Wellington Moving’s routes and modes for mass rapid transit

“We’ll be doing a joined-up consultation and will be visiting communities and seeking feedback starting in November,” says Cr Pannett “We really encourage people to have their say.” 

The review of the District Plan is the last stage of the Planning for Growth project that has been in progress since 2017. The Draft Plan is non-statutory and the Council will be seeking feedback from the community ahead of the notification of a statutory Proposed District Plan in mid-2022.

Mayor Foster says the District Plan will put into effect the Spatial Plan developed over the past three years. “This version of the District Plan is the opportunity for us as a community to consider and test the objectives, policies and rules of the Plan so we can make any changes before we notify the District Plan proper in May-June next year when it will start to have statutory effect on land use and development.”

Submissions on the notified District Plan will be part of the statutory process under the Resource Management Act.