Building Whatever You Want – May 13, 2024

Felicity Wong’s report on the consequences of removing the requirement for resource consent from neighbours to build tall residential buildings (6+ storeys).

Wellington Mayor responds to Minister’s District Plan decision 8 May 2024

… we can build a modern city by enabling people to build where they want and need to, close to the central city where infrastructure, jobs and communities already exist. This is how we build an affordable, vibrant, and resilient city.

The Hon Chris Bishop announced his decisions on 8 May 2024:


The Independent Hearing Panel (IHP) recommended a small extension of the extent of the character precincts beyond that notified in the 2022 Proposed District Plan.

The Council rejected the IHP recommendation arbitrarily. Instead, they asked the Minister to maintain the extent of character precincts as notified in 2022.

The Minister reported “I have carefully considered this matter and taken extensive advice from officials.” He decided to accept the Council’s rejection of the IHP’s recommendation because this aligned with the National Policy Statement on Urban Development and it would provide more development capacity.

The Minister’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

Update: 20th March 2024

Public notice of decisions on the Intensification Planning Instrument to the Wellington City Proposed District Plan

Click here to view Mayor Tory Whanau’s letter to the Minister for RMA Reform (Hon Chris Bishop), and the Minister for the Environment (Hon Penny Simmonds). Wellington City Proposed District Plan Intensification Planning Instrument: rejected Independent Hearings Panel recommendations and alternatives to the Minister for the Environment 19 March 2024.

Click here to view the full 10 page notice, including the STATUTORY SCHEDULE

The District Plan is Wellington City Council (Council)’s main statutory planning document that controls where activities can be located and how land can be used, developed and subdivided. The Proposed District Plan was prepared in accordance with the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and was publicly notified on 18 July 2022. It will eventually replace the 2000 District Plan version, but for now both have legal effect for some provisions. An Independent Hearings Panel (Panel) is hearing submissions on the Proposed District Plan provisions and has provided its recommendations to Council on submissions considered in Hearing Streams 1 – 5. Most of these Hearing Streams 1 – 5 provisions are under the Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP), but some of the provisions are under the RMA Schedule 1 Part 1 “Standard” Process provisions (Standard Process).

This public notice is for decisions under the ISPP only. Other public notices will follow.

At its meeting on 14 March 2024, the Council decided to accept all of the Panel’s formal recommendations, except for the recommendations set out in the attached Schedule.

Pursuant to clauses 104 and 20 of Schedule 1 to the RMA, the Proposed District Plan Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI) as amended by the Panel’s recommendations that the Council has accepted shall become operative on 15 April 2024, except for the Panel’s recommendations that the Council has rejected in the attached Schedule.

The Panel’s recommendations on the IPI can be found in the Panel’s reports for Hearing Streams 1 – 5 at

The Panel’s specific IPI recommendations rejected by the Council, with associated reasons and alternative recommendations, have been referred to the Minister for the Environment for decisions to accept or reject any or all of these recommendations. These are set out in the attached Schedule.

The minutes of the Kōrau Tūāpapa | Environment and Infrastructure Committee set out the decisions made at its meeting on 14 March 2024 and can be viewed here:

This online viewer shows the spatial extent of IHP recommendations, compared to the notified Proposed District Plan:

This online viewer shows the spatial extent of IHP recommendations that the Council rejects, compared to the Council’s alternative recommendations as described in the attached Schedule:

For reference, the full version of the Proposed District Plan that was notified for submissions on 18 July 2022 can be viewed here

A summary of decisions on Panel recommendations, and next steps, can be viewed here:

Public Notices to Come

In early April 2024, the Council will publicly notify its 14 March 2024 decisions on the Standard Process provisions in Hearing Streams 1 – 5, along with the updated ePlan.

The Council will publicly notify the Environment Minister’s decisions on the rejected recommendations listed in the attached Schedule when received. There is no specified timeframe for the Minister to make their decision.

Hearing Streams 6 – 10 on the remaining Proposed District Plan chapters are underway and will continue through 2024. They are following the Standard Process. Decisions on these provisions are due in early 2025.

Contact for questions on the Proposed District Plan or Intensification Streamlined Planning Process

If you have any questions on the Proposed District Plan please contact the District Plan Team team by phone on 021 198 7136 or by email at .

If you would like independent support from a qualified planner who has had no involvement in developing the Proposed District Plan, you can contact our ‘Friend of the Submitter’ service: 021 803 0080, .

Stephen McArthur
Acting Chief Executive
On behalf of Wellington City Council
20 March 2024

Update: 14th March 2024

Kia ora,

Councillors have made decisions on the Independent Hearing Panel’s recommendations on provisions in the Proposed District Plan (PDP) Plan that relate to intensification.

About 60 percent of the overall Plan is covered by these decisions. Many of these are part of central government’s intensification streamlined planning process (ISPP), to fast track delivery of its urban intensification directives.

You can find the decisions made by Councillors at the meeting on the PDP website 

Next Steps

The Council’s decisions will be publicly notified in April 2024.

Process After Notification:

  • ISPP provisions where Council agrees with the Independent Hearing Panel become operative at this time and cannot be appealed, other than by judicial review.
  • Any parts of the plan where Council disagrees with the Independent Hearing Panel are referred to the Minister for the Environment with a Council alternative to decide. These become operative shortly after the Minister selects which option should apply.
  • For Council decisions on the Plan that aren’t ISPP, there are 30 working days when submitters can lodge an appeal on Council’s decisions to the Environment Court.
  • In April, the parts of the Proposed District Plan that have become operative will be marked in the Plan itself.

Planning decisions that aren’t related to densification – such as open space zones and rural areas need to be considered too. The Hearings Panel will also provide recommendations on this part of the Plan. These hearings will continue over the course of this year. Their recommendations will be presented to Council in early 2025.

If you have any questions you are welcome to email us .

Ngā mihi
District Plan Team

Wellington City Council Environment and Infrastructure Committee – 14 March 2024

YouTube recording of the meeting for anyone who wishes to watch the debate and how Councillors voted:

The meeting page, including a link to the meeting agenda:


Process and resources for making decisions on WCC’s
Proposed District Plan 2024

Decision making and status of provisions:

Independent Hearings Panel Reports and Councillor briefings for hearing streams 1 to 5:

WCC District Plan Independent Hearing Panel (IHP) Recommendations Viewer:

Information about Councillor briefings and links here:

Councillor briefing timings and topics:

7 Feb 2.30 – 4.30pm
Process recap and legal matters, walkable catchments for high density housing, and mass rapid transport

13 February 2.30 – 4.30pm
Residential, Character and Centres

14 Feb 2.30 – 4.30pm
City Centre and Waterfront

20 February 2.30 – 4.30pm
Historic heritage, Notable trees, Viewshafts, and Sites and Areas of Significance

27 February 2.30 – 4.30pm
Natural Hazards, Three Waters, Noise, Subdivision and Earthworks

28 Feb 2.30 – 4.30pm

12 March 2.30 – 4.30pm

14 March all day. Decision day
WCC’s Environment and Infrastructure Committee

Progress Report: September 2023 

Hearings on the PDP by the independent panel of commissioners commenced in February 2023.

The hearings conducted up to this point have been focused on components of the proposed plan that must go through a streamlined review process known as the Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP). This covers parts of the plan which are related to housing intensification per the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and other matters) Amendment Act 2021, and policies of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD).
These components cover roughly 60 percent of the plan. These were the areas that the Association prepared submissions on.

The Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI) is the name given to the complete set of changes the Council must make to the District Plan to incorporate the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) and to give effect to the NPS-UD.

The Planning Commissioners’ hearings have taken longer than originally anticipated. Accordingly the Minister for the Environment has granted WCC’s an extension. The 20 March 2024 is the new deadline for release of WCC’s IPI decisions. 

Wellington City Council: Hearings Panel Information and Schedule

Hearings are an opportunity for submitters to speak to a hearings panel about their submission on the Proposed District Plan.

Wellington City Council: Summary of Submissions 2022

The summary of submissions identifies the decisions requested by submitters and provides a concise summary of their reasoning.

Update: 5th September 2022

Kia ora,

There’s only one week left to make a submission on the Proposed District Plan. The consultation will be closing at 5pm Monday 12 September.

We ran a webinar ‘Planning for a Growing City’ recently, where members of the District Plan team provided an overview of the Proposed District Plan with information on how to make a submission. If you’re interested in viewing it you can find it here. You can also can find information on how to make a submission on the website.

Next Steps

Once the consultation closes on 12 July submissions will be collated and summarised.

Later in the year the submissions and summary of submissions will be published. There will then be a two week period to make a further submission on any submission points raised.

This is an opportunity to support or oppose submissions that specifically affect you or your group. Anyone can make a further submission.

Submissions and further submissions will enable you to take part in the hearings. Hearings are expected to start early next year.

If you have any questions you can email the team at .

Ngā mihi, District Plan Team

Update: 16th August 2022

Kia ora,

We are now halfway through the Proposed District Plan consultation and submission period. Thanks to those of you who have already made submissions.

We are running a webinar: Planning for a Growing City at 6pm on Tuesday 23 August. Join this webinar to hear from members of the WCC District Plan Team about:

  • The work so far on the District Plan review.
  • What the District Plan takes into account – from climate change and green spaces to heritage and density.
  • How government policies impact the Proposed District Plan.
  • Why your feedback is important, the support available to you for making submissions and the next steps in the District Plan review process

The webinar is a panel discussion. You’ll be able to ask questions of the panel during the session. Register here if you’d like to take part.

Making a submission

You can find the Proposed District Plan online and information on how to make a submission on the Proposed District Plan website.

You may find ‘Understanding the District Plan’ information sheets helpful. They provide an overview of the main topics

If you need assistance or have any questions about making your submission you can contact Emily Bayliss, Friend of Submitters at  or call 027 803 0080.

The submission period closes at 5pm on Monday 12 September

Ngā mihi, District Plan Team

Update: 18th July 2022

Consultation is now open on the Proposed District Plan.

There have been a number of changes from the Draft District Plan due to feedback from the community, the Government’s new rules on medium density housing and changes from the Council Committee meeting to approve the plan – Council Committee. You can view a summary of the changes here.

The Process

After the consultation closes, submissions will be available to view once they have been collated. At that point anyone can make a ‘further submission’ in support or opposition to for a limited time.

Hearings will take place starting in early 2023 with decisions on parts of the plan related to intensification completed by the end of 2023 (about 60% of the PDP).  There are no appeals to the Environment Court on these parts.

The rest of the PDP (40%) that goes through the standard Part 1, Schedule 1 RMA process must be issued no later than July 2024. Any submitter can appeal a decision on these parts to the Environment Court.

Submissions on the Proposed District Plan close 5pm Monday 12 September.

Official Information request to Wellington City Council (June 28, 2022):

A request for all available information relating to how officers came to their recommendations on the extent of areas to be designated character precincts in all inner suburbs.

How they voted: the WCC’s District Plan decisions (June 27, 2022):

Wellington city councillors voted last Thursday on the main issues in the Wellington draft district plan (DDP). Council staff will now make adjustments to the 1200 page document and formally “notify” it in mid July.

Wellington City’s Proposed District Plan
June 2022

Pre-approval version :

Wellington City’s Proposed District Plan will go to the Council’s Pūroro Āmua Planning and Environment Committee on 23 June for agreement to notify and consult. The committee agenda, including the Proposed District Plan, can be viewed on the WCC website

At the end of last year Wellingtonians provided feedback on the non-statutory Draft District Plan’s proposed policies, rules and design guides to manage development of our city. There were 1030 submissions. Some changes have been made to the Proposed Plan due to feedback received from the community, and the Government’s new rules on medium-density housing.

Direction for the Proposed Plan has been set through the Spatial Plan that was adopted by the Council in June 2021. The Proposed Plan is the Council’s key regulatory tool to give effect to the Government’s direction on intensification and the implementation of the National Policy Statement for Urban Development.

Consultation dates
If approved, the Proposed District Plan consultation will open for submissions on 18 July until 12 September 2022. (subject to change)

There will be community drop-ins at ten locations across the city where you’ll be able to talk to Council officers. We’ll be in touch when the consultation opens with the link to the online plan, information on how to make a submission, the community drop-in schedule, and a summary of what changes have been made from the Draft District Plan

Ngā mihi – District Plan Team

livewellington articles

10 reasons to support character (June 21, 2022)

Wellingtonians support retention of more character areas (June 14, 2022):

Council report shows no need for radical planning changes in inner city Wellington (May 29, 2022):

Wellington’s Draft Spatial Plan
June 2021

The Draft Spatial Plan proposes some blunt and contentious proposals for Thorndonites. Particularly for parts of the suburb located nearest the central city. It rezones these areas; adds them to ‘Central city’ and proposes a new intensification policy.

Click here to view the online map. This is the version that went to the council committee for their consideration at the 24th June 2021 committee meeting.

Supporting documentation – Approval of 30-year Spatial Plan.

The Association made a submission on the Wellington City Council’s draft spatial plan.

Click these links to read the COVER LETTER and SUBMISSION from TRA.

One issue is that this area of residential Thorndon contains charming houses with celebrated examples, forming cohesive streetscapes, character, and heritage.

In summary, here is what is proposed:


The full Fact Sheet is online here:

View closed consultations and engagements:

Keep Wellington’s Character is a heritage based campaign that opposes sweeping building deregulation and the removal of protections in Wellington’s historic ‘character’ suburbs.

The Wellington City Council is paving the way for demolition in heritage suburbs with the largest building deregulation in decades.