Frequently Asked Questions
The Resource Management Act 1991 requires that all Councils hold management plans that set out how Councils will manage growth, development, management and protection of the built and natural environment. In Whakatū Nelson, the current operative plans are the Nelson Resource Management Plan, the Nelson Regional Policy Statement and the Nelson Air Quality Plan.
The Nelson Resource Management Plan was developed in the 1990s and became fully operative in 2004. Changes have been made to it since then to update it and ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the community whilst managing natural and physical resources sustainably.
To make changes to an operative resource management plan like the NRMP, Council must go through a plan change process that is set out in the Resource Management Act (RMA). The process includes analysis of options and alternatives for effectiveness and efficiency to meet the requirements of the RMA, iwi, stakeholder and public consultation, and formal public notification, submissions and hearings processes.
The proposed housing plan change Plan Change 29 has been through the process set out in the RMA, but only up to the point of public notification. Public notification ensures that everyone has a further, formal opportunity to have their say on a proposal before it is formalised and becomes part of the Nelson Resource Management Plan.
Plan Change 29 is a housing, heritage and natural hazards plan change to the Nelson Resource Management Plan (NRMP).
The primary purpose of proposed Plan Change 29 is to provide for more enabling and flexible housing opportunities within Nelson’s existing urban areas.
To support those changes, updates to built heritage and natural hazards content of the NRMP are also being introduced. This can ensure that the new development does not result in a loss of Nelson’s built heritage values. Changes to natural hazards policies and rules can ensure that risks from earthquakes, landslides, and floods are appropriately managed for all new development.
The proposed changes to parts of the current Nelson Resource Management Plan in Plan Change 29 are being made because of Council’s decision in November 2021 to pause the draft Nelson Plan. The Nelson Plan was a whole plan review process that sought to replace all current operative resource management plans with a single resource management plan. The decision to pause the Nelson Plan was made due to the implications of central government’s resource management reform proposals.
More information about this can be found at shape.nelson.govt.nz/nelson-plan
Council initiated proposed Plan Change 29 in recognition that housing supply and affordability is a critical issue in Nelson. The content of proposed the Plan Change is based on relevant content developed through the Nelson Plan process, the feedback received from consultation on the Nelson Tasman Future Development Study, and the Government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development.
Proposed Plan Change 29 is based on content originally developed through the draft Nelson Plan process, directions from the Nelson Tasman Future Development Strategy 2022 – 2052 , the requirements of the National Policy Statement of Urban Development 2020 and guidance from the Ministry for the Environment on sea level rise projections. It is also the result of much analysis and discussion of issues around how best to provide for housing intensification, supply, and choice.
The draft Nelson Plan process involved community, iwi and stakeholder engagement and consultation between 2014 and 2020, including public release of a draft Nelson Plan in late 2020.
More information about the Nelson Plan is available at shape.nelson.govt.nz/nelson-plan.
Content originally developed for the draft Nelson Plan process has been picked up and incorporated into the NRMP via proposed Plan Change 29. This includes the new general and medium density residential zones, changes enabling housing in commercial areas, and some of the heritage and natural hazards policies and rules.
The proposed Plan Change 29 high density zones, a new mixed-use Inner City - Fringe area (between St Vincent and Vanguard streets) and refinements to the medium density zone have been introduced following the adoption of the Future Development Strategy 2022 – 2052.
Natural hazards policies and rules have also been updated with new information since the Nelson Plan was paused.
Nelson Future Development Strategy 2022-2052 (NTFDS)
This strategy was developed jointly by Nelson and Tasman Councils and it sets out an approach to accommodating growth for housing and business demands for the next 30 years. The process involved iwi, stakeholder and public consultation between 2021 and 2022.
The NTFDS 2022 - 2052 directs growth in Nelson towards intensification of existing urban areas rather than continued expansion onto new greenfield sites. It establishes recommended heights and densities for redevelopment for the long-term future. These NTFDS directions were adopted by Council in August 2022 and informed refinements to the general and medium zones originally drafted through the Nelson Plan process. As noted, the NTFDS directed a new high density residential zone in and around Nelson’s key commercial centres and additional housing opportunities in commercial zones.
National Policy Statement for Urban Development 2020
Proposed Plan Change 29 must give effect to the National Policy Statement for Urban Development 2020. This national directive of central government sets out the requirements for Councils to provide for well-functioning urban environments that have enough housing capacity to meet long term growth and demand needs of communities. This has informed the pattern and extent of intensification provided for in proposed PC29.
Ministry for the Environment Guidance
Proposed Plan Change 29 has been informed by the Ministry for the Environment’s Interim guidance on the use of new sea level rise projections in terms of sea level rise and management of risk from potential inundation. This guidance updates an earlier document ‘Coastal hazards and climate change: Guidance for local government’ to reflect latest sea level rise scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and NZSeaRise.
The guidance informed Council in identifying land that could benefit from intensification and those areas where current planning rules would continue to apply because of the risk from future potential sea level rise effects. More information about the Ministry’s guidance can be found at https://environment.govt.nz/publications/interim-guidance-on-the-use-of-new-sea-level-rise-projections/
Proposed Plan Change 29 will result in some changes to policies and rules throughout the Nelson urban area. This means that property owners in all residential, commercial and industrial zones may be affected by one or more of the proposed changes. The changes mostly relate to new housing development, and what can and cannot be done with land and buildings, how it must be done (standards for development), and whether or not a resource consent (permission from Council) is needed.
The proposed medium and high density zones aim to provide opportunities for intensification of Nelson’s existing residential areas to accommodate growth. Council has taken a long-term view of how Nelson ought to develop in the future, applying an ‘up, not out’ approach to growth. This is directed by the NTFDS 2022 - 2052 and national direction from central government in the National Policy Statement for Urban Development 2020.
By concentrating urban development close to key commercial areas such as the city centre, Council also aims to support initiatives in greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Encouraging people to live close to commercial centres, amenities and places of employment, can reduce demands on energy use for commuting and a reliance on private vehicles for transport. Intensification of our city centre and commercial areas such as Stoke can also help to revitalise those areas.
It is important to remember that intensification will not happen all at once. In the capacity calculations in the Nelson Tasman Future Development Strategy, it is assumed that 15% of potentially suitable sites will be developed over the next 30 years using conservative estimates about the density of development that might occur.
Not everyone will want to redevelop, and for those that do, it will take them time to find the right type of sites. Not everyone will want to live in higher density housing either and it will take time for demand to grow. The development capacity enabled by the plan exceeds the demand for housing by a substantial margin and only a portion of the capacity is likely to be feasible or available for development.
While it is true that Plan Change 29 provides a theoretical section yield that in parts of the city cannot be supported by current or planned infrastructure provision, key areas are infrastructure ready. As mentioned above, it’s important to keep in mind that intensification will not happen all at once.
Council is committed to working with developers to sequence preferred locations for growth and intensification projects and will monitor development trends to be responsive to any infrastructure deficits.
Why are residential parts of Nelson at the Wood, Maitai, Rocks Road and Tāhunanui not included for proposed higher density housing?
Some parts of Nelson that are currently zoned for housing are not being re-zoned to allow for intensification due to risk from current and future natural hazards.
This includes some areas that are affected by river flood risk, future sea level rise (potential coastal inundation risk), and slope instability. In some of these locations, the current NRMP zone rules and consenting will continue to apply to development opportunities in combination with any new and updated natural hazards risk overlays (mapped information), policies and rules.
Homeowners are encouraged to look at ePlan and check both the density standards for the zone and the natural hazard standards. This will generally mean that new dwellings that meet the new density standards will still require a resource consent because of the natural hazard risk.
If you are unsure and need help navigating ePlan and Plan Change 29, you can book a one-in-one appointment with a council planner. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 546 0200.
Proposed Plan Change 29 focusses on urban housing only. It provides for housing opportunities that can give effect to national direction under the NPSUD 2020 and the strategic directions set out by the NTFDS 2022 – 2052. Changes to enable more housing in rural and conservation areas are not within the scope of direction under the NPSUD 2020 and would not be consistent with the directions in the NTFDS 2022 – 2052.
Therefore, no changes are proposed to the provisions for the NRMP Rural Zone, Open Space and Recreation Zone, Conservation Zone and the Coastal Marine Area.
The policies and rules relating to housing and natural hazards will not apply immediately from the time of public notification.
All proposed Plan Change 29 policies and rules will need to go through submissions and hearings processes, where they may be changed, deleted or remain unchanged following Council’s consideration of public feedback. After Council makes its decisions, the new housing and natural hazards policies and rules will start to apply, unless they are subject to an appeal in the Environment Court. Any polices or rules under appeal do not become fully operative until a decision is made by the Court.
Unlike housing and natural hazards provisions, built heritage policies and rules will apply immediately. This is to ensure that heritage buildings are not lost or damaged through alterations or redevelopment while proposed Plan Change 29 is being processed. Some heritage items have been added to or removed from the Heritage Appendix. The Inner City Heritage Precinct and the Wakefield Quay Precinct has been removed and a new one in Richmond Avenue introduced. However, while the heritage provisions apply straight away, they may still be changed through Council decisions on public submissions to them. As described above, once Council makes its decisions, the heritage amendments become formally part of the NRMP, unless they are appealed through the Environment Court. Any polices or rules under appeal do not become fully operative until a decision is made by the Court.
Specific Heritage Provisions that have immediate legal effect are:
- Heritage rules within the plan change.
- Updates to the heritage building appendix
- Removal of the Inner-city Heritage and Wakefield Quay Precincts.
- Addition of the Richmond Avenue Heritage Precinct.
Council is taking some action to respond to Climate Change through proposed Plan Change 29, within the scope of providing for housing through a change to the Nelson Resource Management Plan (NRMP). The key actions that proposed plan change is taking to address climate change are:
- Intensification of existing urban areas, building ‘up, not out’ to reduce commuter distances;
- Providing for high-density and medium-density housing areas within walking distance of amenities, public transport routes and services;
- Ensuring active transport and micro-mobility access provisions are included in new developments to support housing intensification and encourage people to walk and cycle more;
- Ensuring that it is easy for people to be more sustainable, by enabling energy-efficient homes and small homes to be built in general residential areas (e.g. rainwater collection tanks and solar panels);
- Responding to potential sea level rise by limiting housing intensification in potentially affected areas.
Council’s climate change team is working on projects and initiatives outside of the scope of the NRMP to address future potential climate change risk. More information about other actions being taken to address climate change can be found at https://shape.nelson.govt.nz/climate-action-plan-te-mahere-mahi-te-ahuarangi
The main reason for proposed Plan Change 29 is to provide for more enabling and flexible housing opportunities. However, in doing this, Council must be satisfied that risk from natural hazards on new homes is managed appropriately. This includes using the most up-to-date information and expert knowledge to create overlays (mapped hazards information) and inform Plan Change 29 policies and rules. Updated information includes new information gathered since the August 2022 rainfall event.
A comparison of the number of properties affected by the new hazard information is shown in the table below. In most cases, landowners have previously been advised of this hazard information as it is currently being used in Land Information Memorandums.
Area - sub-category
No of properties potentially affected (latest information)
No of properties potentially affected (NRMP)
Liquefaction damage is possible
1,537 (combined)(Fault Hazard Overlay)
198 (Tāhunanui Slump Core)
(Wider area than NRMP) 1688
340 (Tāhunanui Slump Fringe and Grampians)
No equivalent area identified
No equivalent area identified
1% AEP event, 2130 (Flood, High Flood and Floodways)
No equivalent data or area but there is 2017 flood mapping that was published but it is different timeframes
1% AEP event, 2130, SSP5 8.5(H+) including VLM
No equivalent data or area
Amended NRMP combined river and coastal flood and stormwater
Amended NRMP Flood path
Amended NRMP Inundation
Nelson City Council has extended the deadline for submissions to Plan Change 29 (PC29) in response to community feedback that people need more time to read the information. PC29 opened for public submissions on 11 August 2023 and was expected to close to submissions on 19 September 2023. The closing date has been extended until 31 October 2023, allowing an extra six weeks for people to make submissions.
Unfortunately, the size of the Nelson Resource Management Plan makes this difficult. The original Plan fills three large ring binders and the Plan Change in hard copy is 893 pages long. Combined with this it is best viewed in colours for clear interpretation of the maps and the highlighted changes so it’s a lot of paper and ink.
The ePlan is designed to be as user friendly as possible, with pop up definitions and the ability to navigate through to other rules and chapters. Plus, the map will guide you into what chapters you should look at for your property.
In order to help people with the ePlan we’ve set up a kiosk in Council’s Customer Service Centre and made the ePlan available to view at the Elma Turner Library.
You can also download and print specific chapters that you are interested in. View the ePlan guide to learn more.
Because of the size of the document, our printing policy applies which means requestors are charged for printed copies. If you would like a copy of the entire Plan Change, you will need to formally request a hard copy and pay the printing fee. We will print it for you to pick up within 2 working days of payment being received.
Document(s) to print
PC29 (no Maps)
Colour, A4, double sided $1 per page, half hour of staff time @$76 per hour.
PC29 plus S.32 (no Maps, no S.32 appendicies)
893 + 297
Colour, A4, double sided $1 per page, half hour of staff time @$76 per hour.
Requests for hard copies need to be made to email@example.com
The payment can be made at our customer services counter, or online at http://www.nelson.govt.nz/services/online-services/online-payments/ using the reference PC29 Hard Copy (tick the ‘other debtor’ box).
If you would have already lodged an online submission but would like to supplement your original submission with further details or points of concern, please follow these steps:
- Submission Account: Log in to your online submission account using the same login details you used for your initial submission.
- Create a Second Submitter: If you wish to add more points or information to your submission, create a second submitter profile within your account. This is essentially a new submission associated with your original account.
- Add Your Extra Points: Within the second submission, you can add the additional points or details you want to include.
- Complete Second Submission: Make sure you include all the points you want to raise in this second submission before proceeding.
- Lodge the Second Submission: Once you are satisfied with the content of your second submission and have added all the necessary information, you can lodge it. This means officially submitting it for consideration in the consultation or planning process.
If you have already lodged a submission by email, or in hard copy, please contact the environmental planning team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 546 0200.
Section 32 (s32) of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is integral to ensuring transparent, robust decision-making on RMA plans and policy statements (proposals). The section requires that:
- new proposals must be examined for their appropriateness in achieving the purpose of the RMA.
- the benefits and costs, and risks of new policies and rules on the community, the economy and the environment need to be clearly identified and assessed.
- the analysis must be documented, so stakeholders and decision-makers can understand the rationale for policy choices.
The evaluation report for Plan Change 29 can be found at https://shape.nelson.govt.nz/plan-change-29/section-32-evaluation-report.