15                                                   20 February 2017

District Plan Committee

28 December 2016




File: (16/1441)





Report no: DPC2017/1/21


District Plan Work Programme


Purpose of Report

1.    The purpose of this report is to set the District Plan Work Programme and to seek an appropriate level of resourcing to implement the Work Programme.


It is recommended that the Committee:

(i)    notes the work currently being undertaken on the District Plan review;

(ii)   notes the matters which will influence the review of the District Plan in the next three years including Urban Growth Strategy (UGS) initiatives, Resource Management Act (RMA) 10 year review requirements and on-going RMA reforms;

(iii)  confirms the continued approach of a rolling review of the District Plan;

(iv) approves the District Plan work programme for the next three years; and

(v)  recommends to the Community Plan Committee that an additional $200,000 for District Plan work is provided in the Long Term Plan for each of the next three years.



1.    Council is required by the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) (s73) to have a district plan and begin reviewing district plan provisions within 10 years of the provisions becoming operative (s79).

2.    Council has been undertaking a rolling review of the District Plan since the Plan became operative in March 2004. 

3.    To date Council has processed some 40 District Plan changes on a variety of matters.  Some of the changes have been driven by amended legislation, others have been driven by changing community aspirations or circumstances or the need to address known issues.  Council also processes private plan change requests and notices of requirement (designations).

4.    The rolling review approach continues to be appropriate as a workable response to the significant resource and time requirements of district plan reviews in a continually shifting legislative framework.

5.    Major District Plan projects require extensive evidence bases to support policy approaches and must be fully consulted on with affected communities of interest.  These factors have significant implications for resourcing.

6.    This report presents a list and brief description of current and upcoming District Plan projects and discusses the work and resources required to progress the projects.

7.    A report reviewing the Environmental Policy activity was considered by the Policy and Regulatory Committee at its meeting of 2 May 2016.  The report is attached for convenience (Appendix 1).  Some material from the report is repeated below.

List of District Plan Projects

8.    The list of District Plan projects is presented in table format (Appendix 2).  The projects are rated in terms of their strategic importance and urgency, and sized in terms of their staff and consultancy resource requirements. 

9.    Strategic importance derives from how a particular project fits with or implements Council’s 4 overarching strategies – Urban Growth, Environmental Sustainability, Leisure and Wellbeing, Infrastructure – and to a lesser extent other strategies including Resilience. 

10.  Urgency derives from timeframe pressures such as the need to respond to known issues, legislative requirements or private plan change or designation requests.

11.  For example, the residential review has high strategic importance from the Urban Growth Strategy and high urgency from the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity.  Plan Change 36 Notable Trees is not particularly important strategically but has had high urgency due to an amendment to the RMA that imposed new requirements and a tight timeframe.

12.  This report suggests that the District Plan Work Programme should aim to prioritise the projects of highest strategic importance while also recognising that urgent projects must be attended to, particularly when the reasons for the urgency are external and beyond Council control.


13.  The Environmental Policy Division currently comprises the Divisional Manager Environmental Policy, 2 x senior environmental policy analysts (1 position is vacant), 1 x intermediate environmental policy analyst and 1 x environmental policy analyst (graduate, 2 year contract).  Extensive use is made of consultants for additional resources and specialist expertise that is not available in house.

14.  Environmental Policy revenue is generally nil although the cost of processing private plan change requests can be recovered from the applicants.

15.  Operating costs are essentially staff salaries, support costs (corporate overheads), specialist legal support and consultancy costs.  Following the Environmental Policy activity review in 2013, Council provided funding for an additional staff member for two years and an additional $300,000 a year for two years for consultancy services.  The staff position and the additional funding end at 30 June 2017.

16.  The Environmental Policy Division Activity Review recommended that Council continues the service delivery approach of a core in house District Plan team with additional resources and expertise purchased from consultants as required.

17.  This report suggests that achieving significant progress on the District Plan Work Programme requires additional funding of $200,000 per year for three years beginning 1 July 2017.  The funding would be allocated to an appropriate mix of additional staff and consultancy resources.


18.  Consultation on District Plan projects will meet or exceed the requirements of the RMA.

Legal Considerations

19.  There are no relevant legal considerations.

Financial Considerations

20.  This report recommends that appropriate funding to deliver the District Plan Work Programme is provided for in the Long Term Plan for the next three years.

Other Considerations

21.  In making this recommendation, officers have given careful consideration to the purpose of local government in section 10 of the Local Government Act 2002. Officers believe that this recommendation falls within the purpose of the local government in that it enables Council to deliver its strategic priorities and statutory responsibilities for the District Plan.  It does this in a way that is cost-effective because it targets funding in a structured approach to delivering project outcomes that are strategically important or urgent.






Policy and Regulatory Committee Report - Activity Review 12  Environmental Policy - 2 May 2016



Draft District Plan Work Programme January 2017








Author: Andrew Cumming

Divisional Manager Environmental Policy







Approved By: Kim Kelly

General Manager, Strategic Services