On this page you can find answers to most commonly asked questions about the variation to the Proposed Selywn District Plan.


What is the new Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Act about?

On 20 December 2021 the Government passed new legislation, the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Act. With this new Act the Government is aiming to increase housing supply in New Zealand’s five largest urban areas in New Zealand, also called ‘Tier 1 councils’: Auckland, and Greater Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch. Selwyn district is part of Greater Christchurch which means our district is also subject to the new legislative requirements.

Key changes introduced through the new building intensification rules include:

  • mandatory medium density residential standards for relevant residential zones. These new standards allow people to develop up to three homes of up to three storeys on most sites without the need for a resource consent. Exemptions will apply based on qualifying matters set out in the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD), such as heritage areas and natural hazards.
  • a new planning process which Tier 1 councils must use to implement intensification policies quicker. This process is called the Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP). The public will have an opportunity to make a submission on the proposed intensification rules during this process, but there will be no appeal process.

Tier 1 councils must publicly notify the new rules and policies enabling medium density and intensification in their district plans by 20 August 2022.

For more information on the new Act check the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development website.


What is a variation to the district plan about?

A ‘variation’ is a planning term for changes that a council considers to make to parts of a proposed district plan that are not yet operative. This happens when changes need to be made to ensure they remain current and comply with relevant legislative requirements.

Why is the Council doing a variation to the Proposed District Plan? 

The new Government’s legislation requires all Tier 1 Councils, which includes Selwyn District Council, to prepare and notify a variation to their district plans by 20 August 2022. The variation must include new rules and policies that enable medium density and intensification in relevant residential zones.

What are the changes to the notified Proposed District Plan?

At this stage we don’t know the exact changes as this is something the Council will now be working on over the coming months.

The scope of the variation, however, covers:

  • the introduction of a new Medium Density Residential Zone that will be applied to relevant residential zones in Rolleston, Lincoln and Prebbleton.
  • additional land for residential development in Rolleston, including certain private plan change requests which are currently being processed.

Why are building intensification rules not being considered for residential land in West Melton as part of the variation?

Currently we don’t believe the township of West Melton is suitable for this type of development. The new legislation requires intensification rules to be applied to relevant residential zones in the ‘Urban Environment’ and to townships with a population of over 5,000 people as at the 2018 Census.

The ‘Urban Environment’ for Selwyn is the Greater Christchurch area. While West Melton is in the Greater Christchurch area, its population as at 2018 is under 5,000. The other factors going against West Melton include its distance to Christchurch, its urban form with larger sections and lack of public transport routes.

However, building intensification in West Melton could be considered in the future through other planning processes, such as the spatial plan for the Greater Christchurch area.

How can the public have a say on the changes to the Proposed District Plan?

Once a draft of the variation is developed and approved by the Council, the changes to the Proposed District Plan will be notified for public consultation. This is expected to happen in August (no later than 20 August which is the deadline set by the Government).

Following the public consultation, the Council will hold hearings of the submissions, which are expected to take place in early-to-mid-2023. Hearings of submissions seeking to rezone land through the Proposed Plan will occur prior to the hearings of submissions received on the variation.

Decisions on all submissions lodged on the Proposed Plan, including those on the variation, will be released in August 2023.

It’s important to note that no appeals will be possible on decisions in relation to matters covered by the variation. This follows the new legislation that introduces a new planning process which Tier 1 councils, such as Selwyn, must use to implement intensification policies more quickly.

When can we now expect the Proposed District Plan to become operative?

It is now expected that the Proposed District Plan will become operative by the end of 2023.

Why is it going to take so long for the Proposed District Plan to become operative when originally it was expected at the end of 2022?

We are required to do the variation to the Proposed Plan and this takes time. We need make sure that the variation covers all the requirements and proper process is followed.

In the meantime what policies and rules do people have to follow when planning activities that may require a resource consent?

All land use and subdivision activities need to be considered under both the Operative and Proposed District Plans until all of the relevant Proposed Plan provisions become operative.

Some proposed rules have been in effect since the Proposed District Plan was notified on 5 October 2020. These are rules addressing aspects like listed historic items and their settings, notable trees, Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori, and significant areas of biodiversity. In these cases, resource consent may be required under either or both the Operative and Proposed District Plans.


What’s happening to private plan change requests that are currently being processed by the Council?

The new building intensification rules also require councils to vary private plan changes that were notified prior to the new legislation coming into effect (20 December 2021). Council must notify the variations to these private plan changes at the same time it notifies its own variation to their district plans.

Given the current situation our Council finds itself in, with a number of private plan changes at different stages, this creates logistical and procedural issues that the new legislation itself is not clear on addressing.

Based on legal advice and information available to date, private plan change requests will be treated differently depending on what stage in the process they are, where they are located, and what they are seeking. More information on this can be found in the Council report ‘Proposed Selwyn District Plan Variation in response to the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply And Other Matters) Amendment Act.’

What current private plan changes are included in the scope of the variation?

Current private plan changes that have requested rezoning within Rolleston, Lincoln and Prebbleton will be considered for inclusion in the variation, depending on what stage of the process they are in and what they are seeking.