26 Nov 2021

Christchurch City Council is assessing which areas of the city would be unsuitable to enable more housing when the government’s new rules are applied.

The National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD) and the recently-announced Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and other matters) Amendment Bill will make it easier for new housing to be built in cities around the country as local Councils will have less ability to request resource consents for proposed developments.

However, Councils will be able manage housing development in areas they deem unsuitable if features or areas are listed in the Christchurch District Plan as ‘qualifying matters’. 

Some qualifying matters have already been listed in the NPS-UD, such as outstanding natural features and landscapes, natural hazards and historic heritage. Although the Council can include other matters as qualifying matters, the NPS-UD limit this to matters that are site-specific, supported by evidence, and where the costs and broader impacts of imposing these limits are assessed.

Next week, Christchurch City Council staff will bring a report to the Urban Development and Transport Committee seeking the Council’s endorsement of features they have identified should be included as ‘qualifying matters’.

The Christchurch District Plan already outlines where increased housing should happen, directing that it should occur in and around the Central City and suburban centres.

Staff are recommending things already protected in the current District Plan – such as significant trees, residential character areas and other hazard areas with geotechnical constraints – should become qualifying matters.

Additionally, staff are proposing that extra factors should be investigated to see whether they should become qualifying matters. This includes infrastructure constraints (such as wastewater networks), the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan Blueprint and emergency radio-communication pathways.

The public will have a chance to give their feedback on what features the Council has identified as qualifying matters when consultation opens in April 2022 on the NPS-UD’s implementation.

The new rules will come into effect from August 2022.