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The Government has today released a proposed national policy statement for highly productive land.  The National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL) is intended to give local authorities a clear direction to recognise the benefits of highly productive land, maintain the availability of such land and protect it from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.  This protection includes avoiding uncoordinated urban expansion on highly productive land that has not previously been the subject of a strategic planning process.  

The relationship between the NPS-HPL and urban development will be important in high growth areas such as Auckland and Tauranga.  On that point the Minister of the Environment Parker stated that the NPS-HPL “stands alongside the new National Policy Statement for Urban Development, which will be released soon, to ensure we get the balance right and that the development we need is in the right place. We need to house our people and to feed them too”.

The NPS-HPL requires regional councils to identify the highly productive land in the region based on a range of factors, including the Land Use Capability classification, access to transport and water quality constraints.

The discussion document has been prepared by the Ministries for the Environment and Primary Industries as a response to the Our Land report released last year that assessed the impact that changing land use and priorities are having on the market gardens located at the edge of urban centres.  The Government is calling for submissions which are due by 10 October 2019.

The discussion document can be accessed here.

Please feel free to contact a member of our national environment and resource management team if you wish to discuss the implications of this or would like assistance in preparing your submission.