Understanding our District Plan

This is a text-only version of the Proposed District Plan information sheets.

The District Plan is essentially a ‘rule book’ managing development, activities and the environment within a district, with the aim of meeting the needs of current and future generations.

Its purpose is to protect our environment, historic locations and cultural tāonga for future generations (through sustainable management of our resources), while supporting our communities to live and grow. We have reviewed and updated our current District Plan - looking ahead for the next 10-15 years.

We've had feedback from Wellingtonians during the review when we consulted on the Spatial Plan and the Draft District Plan.

This is the final chance to give feedback ahead of hearings on submissions by independent commissioners next year.

Consultation on the Proposed District Plan opens on 18 July 2022 and closes on 12 September 2022.

Timeline

2022

July
Public notification of the Proposed District Plan

July – Late 2022
Proposed District Plan consultation and further

2023

Early to mid 2023
Hearings

Mid to late 2023
Decisions are made
Parts of the Plan subject to intensification become operational

2024

Appeals on rest of the Plan
Decisions made on appeals

2025

The entire District Plan becomes operational

Te ahunga ā-rautaki | Strategic direction

The Strategic direction chapter reflects the Council’s strategic priorities for the city.

The eight sections of this chapter translate the Council’s high level strategic priorities into strategic outcomes (or objectives) to be achieved through the District Plan.

The strategic objectives will have an important role in the assessment of complex resource consents and future plan changes. They are a touchpoint of the values we uphold for our city and the legacy we want to leave for future generations.

The sub-chapters in the Strategic Direction chapter are:

  • Anga Whakamua – Moving into the Future
  • Capital City
  • City Economy, Knowledge and Prosperity
  • Historic Heritage and Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori
  • Natural Environment
  • Strategic City Assets and Infrastructure
  • Sustainability, Resilience and Climate Change
  • Urban Form and Development

What are we proposing?

Here is a brief summary of the intention behind each set of objectives.

Anga Whakamua – Moving into the Future

  • Promoting an active partnership with Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira as mana whenua in resource management processes.

Capital City

  • Reaffirming Wellington’s role as the capital city, ensuring that Wellington provides for current and future needs.
  • Ensuring development is consistent with the Council’s strategic priorities for the city: Compact, Resilient, Vibrant and Prosperous, Inclusive and Connected, Greener, and Partnership with Mana Whenua.

City Economy, Knowledge and Prosperity

  • Supporting people’s social and economic wellbeing.
  • Establishing the hierarchy of centres and their role and function.

Historic Heritage and Sites of Significance to Māori

  • Protecting and enhancing heritage values, including heritage of significance to Māori.

Natural Environment

  • Protecting the natural environment and open spaces in and around the city.
  • Acknowledging the role of mana whenua as kaitiaki.
  • Promoting principles of Te Mana o te Wai, Te Hāpori me te Wai, and Papatūānuku.

Strategic City Assets and Infrastructure

  • Ensuring Wellington’s infrastructure is maintained and resilient in order to support future growth and development of the city.

Sustainability, Resilience and Climate Change

  • Managing the risks associated with the effects of climate change and natural hazards.
  • Reducing the city’s carbon emissions.

Urban Form and Development

  • Directing future development to support the city’s compact urban form, to make efficient use of land and to provide a variety of housing, giving people choices about where and how they live. 

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Anga Whakamua – Moving into the Future
    • Capital City
    • City Economy, Knowledge and Prosperity
    • Historic Heritage and Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori
    • Natural Environment
    • Strategic City Assets and Infrastructure
    • Sustainability, Resilience and Climate Change, Urban Form and Development

In summary

  • The strategic objectives provide the overarching direction and outcomes to be achieved through the District Plan.
  • The strategic objectives sit under eight key topics that cover social, cultural, environmental and economic wellbeing.
  • The strategic objectives will be important in the assessment of complex resource consents and future plan changes.

Tangata whenua

The Tangata Whenua chapter sets out matters of importance to tangata whenua.

The purpose of this chapter is to:

  • enable and recognise the relationship of tangata whenua with their land, resources and traditions
  • outline what resource management issues are significant to tangata whenua
  • protect and manage activities that may impact on tangata whenua land, resources and traditions.

The District Plan manages land use and development in the city. The Council has an obligation and an opportunity to implement the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) through the District Plan.

The issues and objectives in the Tangata Whenua chapter of the current District Plan were written prior to 2000. A lot has changed since then, and it is time for these provisions to be updated.

Over the last few months we have been talking with our iwi partners Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika. From these conversations we have identified current issues in land use management and worked on solutions and opportunities to improve these situations.

We are including Māori values and aspirations in the District Plan to recognise and elevate the relationship of tangata whenua with their land, resources and traditions.

Details about how we are protecting Māori historic heritage are provided in the Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori information sheet.

What are we proposing?

We have identified some key issues and gaps in the current District Plan. To address these we propose to:

  • Recognise how land use and development practices have the potential to be in conflict with the holistic nature of the Māori world view, and the ability of tangata whenua to exercise kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and to carry out customary activities.
  • Elevate the presence of tangata whenua within Wellington City by reflecting tangata whenua culture and traditions within urban design and development.
  • Provide for papakāinga housing, marae, Māori customary activities and commercial activities across urban and rural Wellington to support the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of Māori.
  • Identify and protect cultural and historic heritage sites, places and areas that tangata whenua wish to have identified and protected.
  • Elevate the active participation of mana whenua in decision-making.

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Tangata Whenua chapter
  • Strategic Direction chapter
    • Anga Whakamua – Moving into the Future

In summary

The process of engaging with tangata whenua has been vital to improve the existing provisions. The key changes to the District Plan are listed below:

  • Promoting active participation in decision making by mana whenua.
  • Ensuring tangata whenua have a stronger role in the design and development of the city.
  • Strengthening and updating provisions to protect Māori heritage.
  • Ensuring pathways for Māori development aspirations.
  • Strengthening the Treaty partnership in the context of resource management.
  • Removing obstacles to mana whenua being able to perform their role as kaitiaki (guardians).

Te whakarerekētanga āhuarangi me te whakauka | Climate change and sustainability

Wellington has a chance to lead the way by having a District Plan that contributes to emissions reductions and increased resilience to climate change.

Wellington City is in a good position to make a positive difference in the national and global effort to reduce the pace of climate change. As 80% of people in the world live in cities with a population under one million, small cities like Wellington have a huge role to play in demonstrating how we can all reduce our carbon emissions.

The Council has committed to Te Atakura – First to Zero, a Council policy to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. The main way the District Plan can contribute to this goal is by influencing the form and function of our city.

Retaining our compact urban form is vital to being a sustainable city because it reduces the need for private car use. It means people can live within walking and cycling distance to where they work, play and learn, and where they access services. Higher density residential areas also make public transport more viable.

The District Plan influences where growth occurs, and the infrastructure that is built to support it. It implements the strategic growth framework set out in Our City Tomorrow: A Spatial Plan for Wellington City by allowing more development to occur in the City Centre, and around existing suburban centres and train stations.

The natural hazard rules in the Proposed District Plan will increase our resilience to climate change impacts, including sea level rise and more intense flooding (see the Natural Hazards and Resilience information sheet).

What are we proposing?

The outcomes we want to achieve through the District Plan include:

  • maintaining a compact city
  • contributing to the goal of net carbon emissions to zero by 2050
  • adapting to sea level rise and other climate change impacts
  • retaining and enhancing natural open spaces and vegetation to provide ecological and human wellbeing benefits, and to absorb carbon.

Transport

The Council has adopted a ‘Sustainable Transport Hierarchy’ which gives higher priority to walking, cycling and public transport than to private vehicle use. For example, the Proposed District Plan requires bike parking in new developments but does not require car parks.

New Urban Areas (greenfield development)

New neighbourhoods will need to be designed with comprehensive walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure, integrated green spaces, and with comprehensive stormwater systems to avoid impacts on waterways.

Design Guides

The Design Guides encourage developers to use more sustainable materials and to maximise the efficiency of new buildings by orientating them for solar gain.

Cultural and Historic Heritage

The Proposed District Plan enables the alteration of heritage buildings for new uses to avoid the need to demolish them, and provides for ‘green’ alterations such as solar panels.

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Sustainability, Resilience and Climate Change
    • Urban Form and Development
  • Transport chapter
  • Renewable Energy chapter
  • Medium Density Residential chapter
  • Neighbourhood, Local, Metropolitan and Centre City chapters
  • Centres and Mixed Use, Residential and Subdivision Design Guides

In summary

The Proposed District Plan contributes to reducing emissions and adapting to climate change by:

  • directing where growth will occur to keep the city compact
  • giving preference to public transport, and walking and cycling infrastructure rather than private car use
  • encouraging green building design and materials
  • removing barriers to innovative reuse of heritage buildings to avoid having to demolish them.

Ngā wai e toru | Three waters

Tiakina mō apōpō: Future resilience is connected to our environment.

A well-functioning Three Waters infrastructure network (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) is crucial to the health and wellbeing of our city.

The Three Waters network needs to support significant residential and business growth in the city, that takes into account the increased density of development.

Challenges related to the provision of Three Waters services include the need to:

  • renew and replace ageing infrastructure
  • cope with the increasing impacts of natural hazards and climate change and increase resilience
  • increase the capacity of existing infrastructure and build enough new infrastructure to support growth
  • phase investment in existing and new infrastructure in a way that balances affordability for residents and businesses (both now and in the future) with the need to increase service capacity
  • recognise Te Mana o te Wai and increasing environmental requirements.

Significant investment in Three Waters infrastructure is underway – we are upgrading the existing network to address present constraints in several parts of the city, while also investing in new infrastructure to accommodate growth. These works will be staged over time in order to be affordable. Our City Tomorrow: A Spatial Plan for Wellington City is guiding our infrastructure investment by prioritising areas for short, medium and long-term growth.

What are we proposing?

We are proactively planning how our Three Waters infrastructure can support anticipated growth and development across the city. This includes the following actions.

  • Promoting the principle of Wāhi a Wai - places of particular importance and vulnerability are identified, protected and provided for in planning and management.
  • Encouraging development where there is existing network capacity or in those parts of the city that are identified for investment in the next 10 years.
  • Investigating capacity for individual developments at the beginning of the resource consent process, to ensure there are no surprises further down the track. This way we can avoid unexpected costs or delays in the development process.
  • Requiring new connections to the three waters network to meet the regional standard for water services.
  • Requiring hydraulic neutrality for more intensive developments. This involves methods such as installing retention or detention tanks to keep water on-site for longer. Doing this prevents overloading of the stormwater network, particularly during high rainfall events. It helps to manage flooding and reduces the contamination of stormwater.
  • Requiring at least 30% of a residential site to have a permeable surface (able to absorb water).
  • Requiring water sensitive design methods to be incorporated into larger developments (4 or more units and non-residential development).
  • Requiring treatment of copper and zinc building materials.
  • Including water conservation methods in the Design Guides, such as grey water reuse and retention of permeable surfaces.

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Three Waters chapter
  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Strategic City Assets and Infrastructure

In summary

Through the Proposed District Plan we are:

  • ensuring the Three Waters network can provide appropriate levels of service
  • checking early on in the resource consent process whether there is sufficient Three Waters network capacity to support proposed developments, to avoid extra costs and delays at a later date
  • requiring stormwater neutrality and permeable surfaces in new developments to relieve pressure on the stormwater network and respond to flooding risk and climate change impacts
  • requiring water sensitive design as part of larger developments.

Te taiao | Natural environment

We have natural treasures in our backyard that we want to protect for future generations.

As we plan for growth, we also need to think about the things that we value in our city. One of these is the natural environment, whether it’s outstanding natural landscapes or features, pockets of indigenous vegetation, the backdrop of hilltops and ridgelines across the city, or access to our rivers and coast. They all contribute to the unique look and feel of our city and serve as important carbon sinks and ecological sanctuaries.

Backyard Tāonga

Our Backyard Tāonga refer to special areas of native bush, and natural landscapes that we value in our city. We’ve been working with ecology and landscape specialists, landowners and local iwi to identify Backyard Tāonga since 2019. These tāonga currently have little to no protection which is why it is so important for us to include them in the Proposed District Plan.

Outstanding Natural Features (ONF) & Outstanding Natural Landscapes (ONL)

These are exceptional natural features or landscapes that are highly valued by
the community and have had minimal
human influence.

For example: Pipinui Point Pariwhero Red Rocks (ONF), Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush (ONL).

Significant Natural Areas (SNAs)

Many of our native ecosystems have been cleared or damaged so it’s vital we protect the remaining areas where we can. Significant Natural Areas are not only home to diverse plant and animal communities – they also play a key role in building our environment’s resilience through air purification, plant pollination and climate stabilisation.

For an area to be classified/identified as a significant natural area, it must meet one or more of these criteria:

  • be a natural ecosystem that is no longer commonplace
  • have biological or physical features that are scarce or threatened
  • have diverse ecology, species and physical features
  • connect ecosystems or habitats for rare indigenous species
  • have significance to tangata whenua.

Special Amenity Landscape (SAL)

These are landscapes that have had significant human influence but continue to be highly valued by the community.

For example: Botanic Gardens, Town Belt.

What are we proposing?

Significant Natural Areas

We are proposing that some activities within SNAs require resource consent to ensure that biodiversity values are maintained. SNAs no longer apply to residential zones, but still apply in all other relevant zones.

However, trimming or removal of vegetation is allowed in certain circumstances. For example, for maintenance of accessways and fences, for sunlight access, hazard control, customary harvesting by tangata whenua or within five metres of any buildings and outdoor living space.

Activities that improve an SNA are also allowed, such as pest control, planting, and removing exotic pest species.

Natural Features and Landscapes

We’ll protect the identified outstanding natural features and landscapes by limiting the activities that can occur within them, such as requiring resource consent for additional buildings or earthworks.

Coastal Environment

We’ll restrict building activities around the coast to protect the natural character, open space, public access, and amenity values of the environment.

Ridgelines and Hilltops

Resource consent will continue to be required for buildings within the ridgelines and hilltops overlay. We’ll encourage buildings to fit into the form and look of the surrounding landscape.

Public Access

We’ll ensure public access to and along the coast, lakes, and rivers is maintained and enhanced through specific provisions.

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Natural Environment
  • Ecosystems and Indigenous Biodiversity chapter
  • Natural Character chapter
  • Natural Features chapter
  • Public Access chapter
  • Coastal Environment chapter

In summary

Through the Proposed District Plan we are:

  • introducing new rules to protect the outstanding landscapes and significant natural areas that we value in our city
  • continuing to protect our ridgelines and hilltops across the city, through resource consent requirements
  • protecting the natural character of our coastlines and maintaining public access.

Ngā mōrearea ā-taiao me te kauparenga | Natural hazards and resilience

Natural hazards pose a risk to people and property that we need to address.

Natural hazards (such as flooding, fault rupture and tsunamis) are a key challenge to consider for the future of our city. When natural hazards occur, they can result in damage to property and buildings, and even loss of human life. It is important that we identify and manage potential risk areas to reduce the possibility of damage and harm.

The current District Plan does little to address the risk of natural hazards. We are proposing a much more proactive approach to managing hazards.

What are we proposing?

In the Proposed District Plan, we are taking a more proactive approach to managing risks from natural hazards. This means that in high-risk places, the construction of new sensitive activities is likely to be restricted or require special design such as higher floor levels.

Hazard sensitive activities are things like schools, hospitals, or residential housing while less sensitive activities are things like parks and other recreation areas.

Turn over for more details about this approach.

What are we proposing?

Flooding

There are three types of flood risks that have been modelled and mapped in the Proposed District Plan. Each risk functions differently and represents varying levels of hazard:

  • Ponding Areas — This is where water accumulates after heavy rainfall and depths are either low or deep but are slow moving.
  • Overland Flowpaths — These are areas where water can flow fast and deep, excluding streams.
  • Stream Corridors — These are areas 5m either side of a stream. In these areas flood waters are deep and fast moving.

What if I want to build a house in a flood area?

Any development in a flood area requires resource consent.

  • If the house is located in a Ponding Area, it will need to be demonstrated that the floor level of the house is above the flood level.
  • If the house is located in an Overland Flowpath, it will need to be demonstrated that the floor level of the house is above the flood level and that the Overland Flowpath can still function.
  • Generally, houses in the Stream Corridor will not be approved given the risk to life and buildings.

Fault Rupture

A number of fault lines cross the Wellington region. The Proposed District Plan will include further detail on where these fault lines occur – as identified by the Fault Overlay maps.

What if I want to build a house in the fault overlay?

  • You can add one house on a site in either the Wellington Fault Overlay or the Ohariu Fault Overlay but if there are more than two houses on the site then resource consent will be required.

Tsunami

GNS Science has updated the modelling for tsunami hazards and a number of scenarios have been added and mapped in the Proposed District Plan.

The scenarios capture the likelihood of different sized tsunamis happening. For example, a 1 in 100-year tsunami is smaller but has a higher chance of occurring, whereas a 1 in 500-year or 1 in 1000-year tsunami is larger but is less likely to occur.

What if I want to build a house in a tsunami overlay?

  • Generally, new houses in the 1 in 100-year scenario will not be approved given the risk to life and buildings.
  • If a new house is located in the 1 in 500-year, or 1 in 1000-year tsunami scenario, then the house is permitted providing the finished floor level is located above the inundation (flood) level.

Coastal

Coastal inundation (flooding) and coastal erosion hazard areas have been modelled and mapped in the Proposed District Plan, including a scenario of around a 1 metre rise in sea level.

What if I want to build a house in a coastal inundation overlay?

  • Generally, houses located in an area impacted by inundation from the sea in a 1 in 100-year storm event will not be approved given the risk to life and buildings.
  • If the house is located in an area affected by the 1m sea level rise scenario, then the house is permitted providing the finish floor level is located above the inundation level.

In summary

Through the Proposed District Plan we are:

  • taking a more proactive approach to managing the risks from natural hazards. This means more restrictions on building in high-risk areas
  • managing risk by taking into account the sensitivity of the proposed activity as well as the risk of the hazard in the area. 

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Sustainability, Resilience and Climate Change
  • Contaminated Land chapter
  • Hazardous Substances chapter
  • Natural Hazards chapter

Ngā wāhi whakahirahira ki te iwi Māori | Sites and areas of significance to Māori

Providing care and kaitiakitanga for sites and areas of significance to Māori enables connections to our tūpuna ancestors, who lived before us.

Many sites and areas across Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington have historical and cultural significance for Māori. Conserving, maintaining, and celebrating our tuku ihotanga heritage helps define who we are, and contributes to our city’s vibrancy, sense of place and connection with the past.

Many sites have been covered over or disturbed by urban development. We need to follow the principle of kaitiakitanga guardianship in future developments to enable us to acknowledge and protect these important sites.

Many sites of significance to mana whenua are identified in the current District Plan. We have been reviewing this list of sites with our two iwi partners, Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, to ensure the schedule is up-to-date, correct, and consistent with our listing criteria. We’ve also identified new sites to add to the list.

What are we proposing?

Through the Proposed District Plan we are proposing to:

  • elevate awareness of Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington’s unique sites and areas of significance
  • enable mana whenua to exercise their role of kaitiaki over the management of sites and areas of significance
  • introduce a system that categorises sites depending on their sensitivity and significance, thereby allowing a nuanced method of management and protection
    • Creation and application of categories by Iwi nominated representatives.
  • enable activities in relation to active marae and pā, ensuring the ability for mana whenua to exercise kaitiaki
  • avoid activities which adversely affect the spiritual and cultural tuku ihotanga heritage values of sites and areas of significance to mana whenua
  • use polygons as well as dots on District Plan maps to better reflect the location and extent of significant sites
  • introducing a 25m buffer around dots, to clarify when certain activities will trigger resource consents
  • add new sites and areas of significance to mana whenua
  • initiate consultation with mana whenua where applications may affect identified and unidentified sites of spiritual and cultural significance, including land, water, wāhi tapu and tāonga. 

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori chapter
  • Tangata Whenua chapter
  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Anga Whakamua - Moving into the future
    • Historic Heritage and Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori
  • SCHED7 - Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori

In summary

Through the Proposed District Plan we are:

  • enabling mana whenua to exercise kaitiakitanga over sites and areas of significance
  • inserting a 25m trigger for certain activities around sites and areas, which are represented by a dot
  • increasing the participation of mana whenua in decision-making
  • ensuring the District Plan is correct and up-to-date
  • adding new sites and improving the identification and mapping of sites and areas of significance
  • introducing and strengthening rules to ensure these sites are protected from further deterioration.

Te takenga mai - hitori me te ahurea | Historical and cultural heritage

Our tuku ihotanga heritage connects our tangible and intangible past, enlivens our present and prepares for our future.

Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington’s unique and irreplaceable tuku ihotanga heritage is an anchor for our city’s people.

It secures our memories of the past; it gives meaning to our special places and connects people to their stories across time, shaping the city’s identity and supporting community wellbeing. This cultural landscape, where people, places and kōrero interact, acknowledges mana whenua traditions as a vibrant part of our contemporary city’s diverse cultural heritage.

At this time of rapid urban growth and change, the adaptive reuse and regeneration of heritage assets supports sustainable economic growth and creates a valuable legacy for future residents.

There is a high bar for an area, building, structure or archaeological site to be acknowledged for its heritage values and protected in the District Plan. These items and places are researched, analysed and assessed against national criteria to determine if they have significant historic heritage values, and then they are proposed for listing in the District Plan.

The criteria for listing historic heritage are:

  • Historic values These values relate to the history of a place and how it demonstrates important historical themes, events, people or experiences.
  • Physical values These values relate to physical evidence of the past that is still present. They include archaeological, architectural, scientific, and technological values and can relate to a townscape, a group of buildings, and surroundings. Physical values can also include the age or integrity of a place.
  • Social values These values relate to the meaning that a place has for communities, including spiritual, political, social and cultural associations, being held in high public esteem, and providing a sense of place for a community.
  • Tangata whenua values These values relate to places that are sacred or important to Māori for spiritual, cultural or historical reasons.
  • Rarity The place is unique or rare within the district or region.
  • Representativeness The place is a good example of its type or era.

Historic and cultural heritage includes:

  • sites and areas of significance to Māori (see the Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori information sheet for more details)
  • significant archaeological sites associated with pre-1900 human activity
  • heritage areas, such as a concentration of buildings and structures with similar heritage values
  • heritage buildings (individual houses and other buildings)
  • heritage structures (such as walls, tunnels, gates and memorials)
  • notable trees (both individual trees and groups of significant trees).

What are we proposing?

  • Broadening our objectives for tuku ihotanga historic heritage to:
    • recognise the contribution of our heritage places to our collective identity and social and cultural wellbeing
    • support resilience and public safety
    • enable and secure sustainable long-term use.
  • Reviewing our list of all identified historic listed buildings and objects to address errors, gaps in information and outdated listings, and to ensure the list is consistent with the national heritage criteria. This list consists of around 586 listed heritage buildings, 43 heritage areas, 174 sites of significance to Māori, and 55 heritage objects.
  • Engaging with property owners on proposed new heritage listings.
  • Identifying and protecting significant archaeological sites in the District Plan.
  • Working alongside mana whenua to review Māori sites and areas of significance.
  • Clarifying the rules for repairs and maintenance of heritage areas and buildings.
  • Continuing to promote seismic strengthening of heritage places.
  • Encouraging and supporting work on heritage places that increases their resilience and accessibility, contributes to sustainable long-term use and recovers or restores heritage values. 

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori chapter
  • Historic Heritage chapter
  • Notable Trees chapter
  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Historic Heritage and Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori
  • SCHED1 - Heritage Buildings
  • SCHED2 - Heritage Structures
  • SCHED3 - Heritage Areas
  • SCHED4 - Archaeological Sites
  • SCHED5 - Viewshafts
  • SCHED6 - Notable Trees
  • SCHED7 - Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori

In summary

  • We’re providing more acknowledgement of, and protection for, sites and areas of significance to Māori, archaeological sites and important heritage items which are not currently protected in the District Plan.
  • We’re actively working with our community to propose new listings and protect important heritage sites.
  • We are improving the clarity and usability of the District Plan rules to enable sustainable, long-term use of heritage buildings.

We are accepting nominations for new heritage listings as part of this consultation. Include your nomination in your submission. For more information email: heritage@wcc.govt.nz.

Te pokapū o te tāone | City centre

We need to ensure the City Centre continues to function as the vibrant heart of our city.

The City Centre is the primary centre and is a major commercial and employment hub for Wellington City and the region. It is vital to the whole city that the City Centre continues to provide for a diverse mix of inner city living, entertainment, educational, government and commercial activity.

With the city expected to grow by another 50,000 to 80,000 people, we want to accommodate growth by encouraging more inner city living, greater density of urban form, and more efficient use of sites in the City Centre. We also want to continue to have a vibrant City Centre to live, work and play in.

To achieve all this, we need to balance intensification with ensuring that buildings and spaces are designed to be good quality, to contribute positively to the public realm, and to offer quality, pleasant places for people to live.

While the current District Plan has contributed to successful outcomes for the City Centre up until now, our city is changing and there are improvements to be made. We need to re-evaluate the priorities for the City Centre and ensure that the District Plan helps to create the City Centre we want in the future.

What are we proposing?

  • Promoting mana whenua values and aspirations through development and design in the City Centre.
  • Retaining the current building height limits in most areas, while increasing heights in Te Aro and along a portion of Adelaide Road to provide opportunities for higher density development.
  • Introducing a minimum building height of six storeys in the City Centre to ensure efficient use of land.
  • Retaining lower building heights along the majority of the edge of the City Centre to transition to lower building heights in the surrounding residential suburbs.
  • Introducing residential amenity controls to provide for things like privacy, outdoor living spaces and sufficient apartment sizes.
  • Discouraging use of sites for ground-level car parking to enhance the vibrancy of the City Centre.
  • Improving the Design Guides to ensure new buildings contribute to the look and feel of our streets in a positive way, that they achieve quality design outcomes, and that density is done well.
  • Introducing City Outcome Contribution mechanism in response to larger commercial, residential and mixed use development, enabling publicly beneficial outcomes.
  • Maintaining the protection of sunlight access to listed public spaces in the City Centre, including increasing the number of protected parks.
  • Increasing resilience by introducing special requirements for new development in areas which are subject to natural hazards.
  • Introduction of the Te Ngākau Civic Square Precinct, to provide for a variety of activities, protection of listed heritage buildings and to provide direction for future development of the Precinct.
    • Removal of the Civic Centre Heritage Area from the District Plan. 

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • City Centre Zone chapter
  • Strategic Directives chapter:
    • City Economy, Knowledge and Prosperity
    • Urban Form and Development

In summary

  • We want to ensure the City Centre remains vibrant and facilitates a diverse variety of activities.
  • We need to accommodate a lot more people in the city in the future. That means we need to use City Centre sites more efficiently. To facilitate this we are enabling and encouraging more density and providing more opportunities for residential housing.
  • We are improving the residential amenity requirements for apartments to ensure they are functional and pleasant to live in.

Ngā pūtahi me te umanga | Centres and business

Suburban centres, industrial and mixed-use areas are vital contributors to the vibrancy and continued economic and social wellbeing of our city.

Small neighbourhood centres like Aro Valley and larger, bustling metropolitan centres like Kilbirnie and Johnsonville all play a role in supporting the surrounding suburbs, servicing day-to-day needs, and providing jobs.

Growth in our centres and in the surrounding residential areas will give people easy access to services within walking distance of where they live. Growing in this way also helps to maintain the City’s compact urban form, which enables our centres to be vibrant, successful places, and reduces our carbon emissions.

‘Mixed-use’ and industrial areas support the centres by providing space for a variety of business activities. These areas don’t have the same need for high quality design and may produce effects (such as noise) that impact on more sensitive land uses. These are primarily business areas so residential growth is less of a focus in these zones.

We need to ensure that our city continues to have a healthy balance of land for different purposes. In particular, we need to ensure that there are places where industrial activities can take place without impacting on residential areas, and recreation or community services.

Centres and business areas are fairly well provided for in the current District Plan, but improvements can be made to enable more growth and to ensure we achieve high quality housing and urban environments.

What are we proposing?

  • Allow taller buildings in and around centres to promote the vibrancy and vitality of the centres, and focus growth in areas with good services and employment opportunities.
  • Set new standards for residential developments to ensure that new apartments and townhouses are pleasant places to live in. This includes introducing residential controls to provide for things like privacy, outdoor living spaces and sufficient apartment sizes.
  • Establish Medium High Density Residential Zones around our centres to increase residential density and to support the vibrancy and viability of the centres.
  • Require the ground floor of buildings on main streets in centres to be used for non-residential activities such as businesses and services to ensure vibrancy at the street level.
  • Require any development that is very large or tall to demonstrate a ‘City Outcomes Contribution’. This could include providing public open space, using materials that have less environmental impact or providing a public good outcome in other ways.
  • Improving the Design Guides to ensure new buildings contribute to the look and feel of our streets in a positive way, that they achieve quality design outcomes, and that density is done well.

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Strategic Direction:
    • City Economy, Knowledge and Prosperity
  • Neighbourhood Centre Zone chapter
  • Local Centre Zone chapter
  • Metropolitan Centre Zone chapter
  • Mixed Use Zone chapter
  • Commercial Zone chapter
  • Centres and Mixed Use Design Guide

In summary

Through the Proposed District Plan we are:

  • enabling growth in and around our centres, particularly in areas with employment opportunities and day-to-day services
  • encouraging more residential development in centres and introducing new standards to ensure the quality of these buildings
  • continuing to require the ground-floor level of buildings in centres to be used for non-residential activities
  • continuing to provide for mixed-use areas that enable commercial, light industrial, recreational and community activities to occur
  • continuing to provide for industrial areas.

Ngā kāinga noho | Residential

Residential areas manage the neighbourhoods where we live, what we can do there, and how houses are built.

In the next 30 years Wellington will be home to an additional 50,000–80,000 people. Without taking any action, Wellington City faces a shortfall of between 4,600 and 12,000 dwellings by 2047.

The Wellington Spatial Plan 2021 identifies areas around centres and train stations where it makes sense to allow for more residential development. In these areas, residents would have easy access to day-to-day services, education facilities, public transport, and employment. In addition, central government policy directs us to increase housing supply and choice in these areas.

Residential areas make up most of our built city and are where most people live.

The rules in residential areas aim to:

  • enable housing development
  • manage effects between neighbours
  • ensure that each dwelling has a good quality living environment
  • manage effects of non-residential activities on neighbourhoods
  • ensure pleasant and safe residential streets
  • ensure that there is sufficient infrastructure to support development.

What are we proposing?

Medium Density Residential Zone Proposed District Plan
Maximum height Height Area 1: 11m
Height Area 2: 14m
Yard setback from site boundary 1.5m front yard
1m sides and rear
Recession plane 60° recession plane measured from 4m-5m vertically
Multi-unit 4+ houses require consent as multi-unit housing
Outdoor living space 20m2 for a ground floor unit 8m2 for an above ground floor unit
Building coverage (the percentage of the site covered by buildings) 50%
Outlook Space from habitable room windows Principal living room: 4 metres x 4 metres All other habitable rooms: 1 metre x 1 metre
Windows to street Minimum glazing: 20% of street-facing façade
Landscaped area Minimum 20% of net site area
Permeable surface Minimum 20% of net site area
Minimum daylight access into all habitable rooms (living room, bedroom, etc) in the middle of winter Minimum of 2 hours daylight
High Density Residential Zone Proposed District Plan
Maximum height 21 m
Recession plane 60° recession plane measured from 5m-8m vertically
Multi-unit 4+ houses require consent as multi-unit housing
20m2 for a ground floor unit
Private space: 5m2-8m2 for unit
Communal space: 10m2 for every 5 units
Building coverage (the percentage of the site covered by buildings) 50%
Outlook Space from habitable room windows 1 metre x 1 metre
Maximum building depth 20 metres

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Sustainability, Resilience and Climate Change
  • Medium Density Residential chapter
  • Highly Density Residential chapter
  • Large Lot chapter

In summary

Through the Proposed District Plan we are:

  • adopting the Medium Density Residential Standards from the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021
  • we are providing for intensification and increased housing opportunities in the Medium Density Residential Zone
  • revising standards to achieve a balance between growth and residential amenity
  • making it easier to build a second dwelling
    on a property
  • providing for intensification and increased housing opportunities in the Medium Density Residential Zone and the High Density Residential Zone.

Ngā aratohu hoahoa | Design guides

Design guides outline how to develop quality homes and urban environments that are compact, attractive, functional and inclusive.

Design guides use principles and guidelines (rather than rules and standards) to achieve good outcomes. They are used as an assessment tool when processing resource consents for particular developments.

The purpose of the guides is to ensure:

  • high quality housing and urban form is developed
  • safety is factored into the design of urban areas
  • buildings are functional and sustainable, and easy to access
  • the special character of particular areas is protected (such as rural and coastal areas and pre-1930s residential neighbourhoods).

The design guides are an important tool to ensure that quality design principles are applied when we increase residential density, and allow taller buildings and new types of housing. When it’s done well, denser housing can increase the general wellbeing of people due to improved social connection opportunities, safety and accessibility.

The current design guides are 20+ years old and need to be updated to:

  • provide clearer guidance on how to achieve the desired outcomes
  • simplify the content and reduce the number of objectives
  • provide more flexibility and opportunities for innovation
  • explain how to address sustainability and climate change through design
  • review the management of character
  • review the use of the City Outcome Contribution tool, to ensure positive design outcomes from high density buildings
  • rank and clarify the priority of the Design Guides
  • increase clarity with the addition of diagrams
  • strengthen our approach for climate change and sustainability.

What are we proposing?

  • Clear, concise design guides in seven chapters and four appendices. (We currently have design guides in 13 chapters and 16 appendices).
  • Protection of public amenity, streetscape and quality urban form as a higher priority than protecting amenity on private properties.
  • Support for higher density residential development and urban form.
  • Encouragement of innovative responses to design challenges.
  • Focus on achieving quality outcomes, rather than meeting specific measures.
  • Three new focus areas: sustainability, mana whenua, and accessibility.
  • High level design principles and outcomes that apply in all zones and to all activities, which have priority over specific design guides.
  • Clear design guides that are not subject to different interpretations.

Proposed design guide structure

The proposed design guides are listed below.

  • Residential Design Guides
    • Appendix: Character Precincts
    • Appendix: Mt Victoria North Townscape Precinct
    • Appendix: Oriental Bay
    • Appendix: Residential Coastal Edge
  • Papakāinga Design Guide (non-statutory)
  • Centres and Mixed-Use Design Guide
  • Heritage Design Guide
  • Rural Design Guide
  • Subdivision Design Guide
  • Signs Design Guide

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Urban Form and Development
    • Sustainability, Resilience and Climate Change
  • Design Guides:
    • Information
    • Centres and Mixed Use
    • Residential for Character Precincts, Coastal Edge, Oriental Bay, Mount Victoria North and Papakāinga
    • Heritage for Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori, and Historic Heritage
    • Signs
    • Subdivision
    • Rural

In summary

Through the Proposed District Plan we are:

  • simplifying the structure of the design guides so they are less complicated and repetitive
  • focusing on outcomes and good design principles rather than on meeting specific guidelines
  • prioritising public outcomes and quality urban form over private amenity
  • limiting the potential for different interpretations of the design guides
  • enabling higher density urban form and living.

Ngā whare ahurei | Character precincts

Character precincts are valued for their contribution to Wellington’s sense of place and identity.

The residential character precincts are made up of Wellington’s original settler housing stock and reflect some of Wellington’s early urban development patterns. Formerly known as the pre-1930 character areas, the new Character Precincts are known and valued for the style and age of buildings, patterns of subdivision, and streetscape values which contribute to a local distinctiveness.

Character Precincts are different to listed heritage buildings and areas. Listed heritage must have significant heritage value, including social, cultural, architectural and scientific value (as described in the Historic and Cultural Heritage information sheet). In contrast, Character Precincts are managed for the consistent ‘look and feel’ of their streets.

The Character Precincts are highly valued by the community, and we need to balance their protection with accommodating our growing population. We have reviewed the character areas identified in the current District Plan and are now taking a more targeted approach to character protection. This change aligns with the direction in Our City Tomorrow: A Spatial Plan for Wellington City 2021.

What are we proposing?

  • Updating the Character Design Guides to improve guidance on development within Character Precincts.
  • The new rules focus on attributes related to the local streetscape rather than longer range views.
  • Introducing specific controls for sites adjacent to Character Precincts to allow for a transition between the two areas.
  • Taking a more targeted approach to character areas, by focusing on those streets with high levels of consistent pre-1930s character dwellings. The objectives and rules for the Character Precincts are included in the Medium Density Residential chapter.
  • Continuing to apply the current restrictions on demolition, additions or alterations of dwellings built before 1930 in Character Precincts only – no controls on demolition apply to areas outside of the proposed Character Precincts.
  • New development (and additions and alterations) within Character Precincts will need to maintain the character of the area.

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Urban Form and Development
  • Medium Density Residential Zone chapter

In summary

  • Protection of pre-1930s character housing is limited to streets and areas which have strong, consistent character values (which are called Character Precincts).
  • Existing restrictions related to demolition, additions and alterations to pre-1930s housing will only apply in the Character Precincts.
  • The Character Design Guides have been updated to provide clearer guidance on how to maintain character values when carrying out development in the Character Precincts.

Ngā rohenga tāone hou | New urban areas

New urban areas are places that are going to change from rural areas to new neighbourhoods.

Upper Stebbings/Glenside West and Lincolnshire Farm are the two main new urban areas (otherwise known as ‘greenfield’ development areas).

Development at Lincolnshire Farm has already commenced under the current District Plan and it’s expected that the area will be home to over 2000 dwellings. Through the District Plan review we are making sure the current plan provisions are still achieving our city’s goals and vision.

Upper Stebbings/Glenside West has also been identified for urban development. This is the final stage of the new urban area north of Churton Park and Lower Stebbings. The development of this land will provide an additional 650 new dwellings, providing more housing options for the growing population.

New objectives and rules are proposed for the existing Lincolnshire Farm area and for Upper Stebbings/Glenside West to ensure we have new, high quality neighbourhoods.

What are we proposing?

Local centre

An area is required to be developed as a local centre with space for a supermarket and local shops. This will be the ‘heart’ of the new neighbourhood and a central meeting place that services the community.

Provide appropriate facilities

To set aside sites for school and community facilities in Lincolnshire Farm to ensure they have sufficient space and are in the right location.

Efficiency and density

To ensure efficient use of land and a variety of housing, we are proposing a minimum density standard across both development areas. This will ensure a higher number of
dwellings per hectare.

Natural environment

Specific requirements are included for parks and access to other open spaces, to ensure appropriate size, quantity and distribution.

Quality and liveability

To design new residential areas in a way that makes them a pleasant and safe place to live by improving the requirements and design guidelines for transport, residential development and subdivisions.

Water

Permeable surface and stormwater retention and treatment are new requirements to reduce adverse effects on downstream streams and rivers.

Business area in Lincolnshire

To provide local employment opportunities and add to the industrial land stock in Wellington, a portion of land is set aside for industrial and business activities in Lincolnshire Farm.

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Urban Form and Development
  • Development Area chapter:
    • Lincolnshire Farm
    • Upper Stebbings and Glenside West

In summary

  • The most significant change is the zone change for Upper Stebbings/Glenside West from Rural Zone to Future Urban Zone, starting the transition from rural land to a new neighbourhood.
  • The objectives and principles of ‘greenfield’ development are largely staying the same. The focus remains on efficient use of land, providing a mix of housing, and ensuring important social and physical infrastructure is provided alongside development.
  • The changes to these chapters are focused on improving the clarity of the policies, rules and specific requirements to ensure we achieve quality outcomes.

Ngā wāhi taiwhenua | Rural and open space

Our open spaces and rural areas cover most of the land area of our City.

Open spaces throughout the city are vital for recreation opportunities, access to green space, and for people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Our rural areas provide for farming activities and rural lifestyles. They also contribute important landscape values to the city and contain significant areas of indigenous vegetation and habitat for indigenous fauna. Parts of the General Rural Zone have important recreational values, particularly around Makara, Ohariu Valley and South Karori, with opportunities for cycling, mountain biking, tramping, horse riding and other outdoor activities in close proximity to the city.

One of the strategic goals for the city is to be a compact city. This means building more densely within our current urban areas rather than building out into rural areas. Keeping the city compact makes it easier for people to get around – public transport is more efficient, and more people can walk and bike instead of drive to their destinations. This supports public health and reduces carbon emissions.

‘Greener’ is another strategic goal for the city and is achieved by maintaining and enhancing natural and recreational open spaces. Open spaces have different purposes – some have high ecological and landscape values (like Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush), while some provide space for passive and active recreation (like parks and sports fields).

Both the Open Space and the Rural Zone provisions are working well in the current District Plan so we are not proposing to make many changes to these Zones in the Proposed District Plan.

What are we proposing?

  • Accordingly, in the Sports and Active Recreation Zone, buildings are allowed to provide for changing and club rooms, while in the Natural Open Space Zone, buildings are discouraged.
  • Some areas which already have a ‘rural lifestyle’ pattern of development have been identified as a Large Lot Zone – essentially, these areas provide for low density, semi-rural residential uses.
  • Buildings and structures for rural activities (like barns and sheds) are allowed to be built in the General Rural Zone.
  • The natural and recreation open spaces around Wellington are categorised according to the main purpose of the open space. This is to ensure each one is managed according to its primary purpose. For example, sports fields are treated differently than natural areas like Zealandia. The Town Belt has its own zone and legislation protecting it.
  • New urban development is restricted in the rural area in order to provide for rural activities (the primary purpose of the General Rural Zone) and to achieve the compact city goal. Subdivision and residential development can occur, but at a limited scale.

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Strategic Direction chapter:
    • Natural Environment
  • General Rural Zone chapter
  • Natural Open Space Zone chapter
  • Open Space Zone chapter
  • Sport and Active Recreation Zone chapter
  • Wellington Town Belt Zone chapter

In summary

  • Our rural and open space areas are a really important part of our City and have valuable landscape, recreation, ecological and rural values.
  • We are continuing to retain the compact form of our City, so residential development and subdivision are tightly controlled in the rural area.
  • Open spaces are continuing to be managed according to their main purpose.

He Rohe Taunga Wakarererangi | Airport Zone

Wellington’s airport connects us with the rest of the country. Managing how the airport grows is important to future of transport and Wellingtonians.

The Airport Zone has few proposed changes within the Proposed District Plan. The current zone is paired with a designation, which allows the airport to undertake certain Airport related development without a resource consent.

What are we proposing?

  • Changes to the zone are mainly to the Air Noise Boundary, which puts in controls to ensure dwellings have the right protection from excessive noise.
  • These changes are being made to update the Air Noise Boundary as planes have gotten quieter and there are more planes arriving and departing from the airport.
  • The current extent of the Air Noise Boundary will be reduced, but a buffer will be introduced to meet the National Standard.
  • Within the reduced Air Noise Boundary, dwellings will need noise and ventilation insulation. If two or more dwellings are being constructed within this boundary, then a resource consent will be needed.
  • Within the proposed buffer, any house will need noise and ventilation insulation, but will not need a resource consent if two or more dwellings are being constructed.

Where can I find this in the Proposed Plan?

  • Special Purpose:
    • Airport Zone chapter
    • Noise chapter

In summary

  • The Air Noise Boundary is changing to be more reflective of the activities of the airport.
  • A buffer around the boundary will be introduced, and will bring requirements around noise and ventilation insultation.

How to make a submission:

There are several ways to make a submission on the Proposed District Plan:

  • Online – Through the online Proposed District Plan submission tool through on the website through eplan.wellington.govt.nz/proposed
  • Email – Downloading the submission form and sending your submission to PDPsubmissions@wcc.govt.nz
  • Paper – Completing the submission form and sending it in to the Council.

See how to make a submission.