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District Plan Review

We are getting ready to notify the Summary of Submissions from the Proposed District Plan.

A District Plan must be reviewed every 10 years under the Resource Management Act.  Reviewing the District Plan gives communities the opportunity to confirm what we are doing well as Napier grows and what we could do better. The District Plan review is currently underway. 

To ensure we are looking after our city and its resources for future generations, it is important to decide what we are trying to achieve for our cityWe developed defined outcomes, which are outlined in the District Plan Review Key Outcomes Summary.

PDP Timeline April 2024 1 003

Review Background 

Our Operative District Plan (ODP) is nearly 15 years old. When district plans need to be changed or updated, councils must follow steps provided by the Resource Management Act 1991.To start the process, we began reviewing our ODP to find what has been working for our community as well as identifying technical gaps and inconsistencies in our objectives and outcomes. Attaining expert reports is an important part of the review process. You can review our supporting documents here. 

View Napier City Council's Operative District Plan Here

What's happened so far?

In 2021, we released the Draft District Plan to the public for feedback. The Draft Plan is not a requirement under the Resource Management Act 1991, however, Council made the decision to release a Draft Plan to ensure members of the public had an opportunity to provide informal feedback on the new direction being set under the District Plan, before the formal submission process begins. Learn more about the Draft District Plan here.


Where are we now? 

The community’s valuable feedback on the Draft District Plan helped us develop the Proposed District Plan. The Proposed District Plan was notified for submissions on the 21st of September till 15th of December. A Proposed District Plan is a legal document and an important part of the District Plan review process. In addition to meeting legislative requirements and the objectives of other council strategies, the Proposed District Plan also focuses on achieving the following six outcomes:  

  1. Great urban areas  
  2. Premier regional park in Ahuriri Estuary   
  3. Leveraging our heritage  
  4. City living supporting a vibrant CBD  
  5. Greenfield growth in the hills   
  6. Regional approach to industry 

Once Council notifies, the Proposed District Plan will be open for you to view and make a formal submission. You can support or oppose the rules we have proposed. You can do this by using the e-Plan, or you can come into the Napier Libraries or Customer Services Centre to have your say.

If you’d like the find out about key topics, you can view our supporting documents or our topic summaries.

View the Proposed District Plan here

Where are we headed?


Now that the submission period has closed, Council Officers will read and summarise all submissions. The public will then be able to support or oppose any submission made (further submission). Both submissions and further submissions will be available for viewing on our website


The next stage is the hearings process. This process gives submitters the opportunity to voice their submission to a hearings panelwho will take these matters into account before making their decision. These hearings will be split into streams and have certain topics. If you make a submission and wish to be heard, Council will contact you to arrange a time to speak during the relevant hearing stream/s. 

Making the Proposed District Plan Operative 

Following the hearing, the Hearings Panel will issue its decisions, including the reasons for decisionsAt this point, where parts of the Proposed District Plan are not subject to an appeal to the Environment Court, these provisions are deemed operative. Those parts of the plan subject to an Appeal will begin an Appeals process, often involving mediation, before the Environment Court issues its final decision. The approved district plan is then notified as an operative district plan and has full legal effect. Napier City Council implements and monitors the New Operative District Plan which you helped create.  


Stakeholder and affected party initial engagement

March 2019 – June 2020

Pre-consultation engagement

November 2018 – February 2019

Draft District Plan Development

February 2019 – July 2021

Draft District Plan Consultation Opens

6 August 2021 - pending Council decision.

Draft District Plan Consultation Closes

24 September 2021

Submission Workshop with Councillors

December 2021

Workshop Confirming Changes to Policy Direction

July 2022
August 2022
December 2022

Structure Plan Intensification Areas

October 2021 to December 2022

Structure Plan Greenfield Areas

December 2022

Draft District Plan Revised

October 2021 to December 2022

Proposed District Plan Presented for Endorsement by Council

August 2023

Notification of the Proposed District Plan

September 2023

Proposed District Plan Submission Period

21 September 2023 to 15 December 2023

Proposed District Plan Hearings

November 2024 - July 2025

Proposed District Plan Adopted

End of 2025

Frequently Asked Questions

About the District Plan

The rules in the District Plan set out what activities you can do as of right (permitted activities) and what activities we need to look at more carefully through a resource consent application.  

Some of the provisions may affect you if you are wanting to build, subdivide or change the use of your land. The rules are intended to support and deliver the vision of our community adopted strategies. 

Some common ways the District Plan can affect property owners are: 

  • How close to the boundary you can build or extend your house, garage or other buildings 

  • Whether or not you can subdivide your property 

  • The activities that can occur in an industrial zone 

  • What we want our buildings in the city centre to look like and how high they should be 

  • Whether there are any ‘special values’ relating to your property (e.g. heritage buildings, landscapes) 

  • Whether you can operate a business from your home 

  • Rules relating to festivals and events 

An e-plan provides users with a searchable and electronic version of the District Plan. 

The key features include: 

  • a map-based interface 

  • allows users to view the parts of the plan that are specific to a particular property 

  • provides information on any variations or appeals that apply to a site 

  • links that allow users to jump between references in the plan 

  • allows users to click on highlighted words to see their legal meaning. 

The Long Term Plan summarises Council activities and how we expect to fund these over the next 10 years. 

The District Plan sets the rules for how we manage, use and develop land. 

The District Plan is a large and technical document. To help you understand what changes and additions we’re proposing, we have created topic summaries. These outline the key points across a range of chapters and topics. They also highlight the biggest impacts to property owners, property developers and stakeholders. We recommend you read these first before delving into the full plan.

topic summaries 

About the Proposed Plan and the Review Process

Immediate legal effect means that some of our proposed provisions relating to matters of national significance such as the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation or habitats of indigenous fauna, and historic heritage will be deemed operative once we notify. This means some new rules will apply to any new consents from notification onwards. You can find which rules have legal effect in the E-plan 

Because some rules have immediate legal effect, after notification of the Proposed Plan,.applications for resource consent will need to be made under, and assessed against, both the Operative District Plan and the Proposed District Plan. This can be quite complex, and we suggest that you consult a professional to assist with any applications for consent during this time.  

Check the Operative and Proposed District Plan to see how your activity is classified: 

  • Permitted - allowed if you follow the standards outlining how the activity must be done 

  • Controlled - requires resource consent but will be approved if meets standards 

  • Restricted discretionary - requires resource consent and Council has discretion over certain matters when deciding whether to grant a resource consent 

  • Discretionary - requires resource consent and effects will be assessed and resource consent granted or declined on a case by case basis 

  • Non-complying - resource consent granted only under exceptional circumstances 

  • Prohibited - not allowed at all;no resource consent can be applied for 

Once you have approval you need to ensure your activity is undertaken within the plan’s rules and standards. 

When making a submission on a District Plan, you can either support or oppose the rules we have proposed. You will be able to do this online, or get assistance from our Napier Libraries and Customer Services Teams.  

A further submission is a written statement that allows a person to support or oppose other people’s submissions. It also gives people the opportunity to comment on how a submission may impact them, and to have their views considered by a hearings panel, along with the original submission. 

You are entitled to make a further submission if you can demonstrate a special interest in the Proposed District Plan. So please take care to show either that your interest is greater than that of the public in general, or that you are representing a relevant aspect of the public interestIf in doubt, please make a further submission and the hearing panel will decide whether it can be considered. 

Once the further submission period closes, council staff analyse the further submissions and make sure that they’re linked to the original submissions and the appropriate plan provisions. 

The original submissions, as well as the further submissions, inform reports that council staff prepare ahead of the hearings. 

If someone disagrees with the decision, they can appeal to the Environment Court. The appeal can be about a specific rule or a broader topic. The Environment Court manages the appeal process, seeking input from all parties involved. Anyone who made a submission on the Proposed District Plan can appeal. The appeals can take time to resolve, but the Court sets deadlines to ensure progress. Parties are encouraged to explore negotiation and mediation before a Court hearing. The appeals may lead to changes in the decision, depending on their nature. 

Council considers technical advice and community feedback when formulating a policy approach. To find out how we reached a decision, you can view Section 32 reports for each chapter which discusses each topic in appropriate level of detailSee our District Plan Document Hub 

As part of good practice in a District Plan Review, we commissioned a variety of reports on key issues like noise or landscapes and natural features. You can find these reports in our District Plan Document Hub. 


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