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Council agrees to take a proactive planning response to city growth


The Council agreed this week to approach the Minister for the Environment to seek approval for a streamlined planning process (SPP), to enable Porirua to meet its housing needs and improve social and economic outcomes for the community.

Council Chief Executive Wendy Walker says the Council has a responsibility to respond to the city’s housing shortfall, in keeping with Government policy.

“To help meet this need, the SPP, if approved, would be applied to two major developments identified in our Growth Strategy as a response to a projected shortfall in housing capacity in the city."

The Porirua Development located in eastern Porirua, announced by the Government in November, and Plimmerton Farm, a 384 hectare block of rural land between Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay.

“Using the streamlined planning process will allow these developments to proceed in an integrated, efficient, holistic way, and enable quality growth in Porirua in a manner that aligns with the principles of our Growth Strategy,” Ms Walker says.

Council agreed to apply to use the SPP for a proposed plan change to rezone land at Plimmerton Farm in February, and this week they voted to make a second application for Eastern Porirua.

While the applications would be separate, together they demonstrate Council’s intention to take a coordinated approach to meeting the projected housing shortfall in the city.

“The SPP enables us to apply a more customised and targeted engagement process with the community than would be possible with the standard District Plan process. 

In particular it will give Eastern Porirua residents the opportunity to consider the future of their community as a whole, rather than in a piecemeal fashion that would occur under a series of individual resource consents.”

Ultimately the use of the SPP will be determined through an application to the Minister for the Environment. 

If approved the final decision on each of the plan changes would be made by the Minister. 

Under the SPP there are limited rights of appeal for any party.

Plimmerton Farm has been identified as a potential city growth area since 2009. 

The suitability of the land for growth was confirmed in the Northern Growth Structure Plan 2014 and then as part of the recently adopted Growth Strategy. 

A proposed plan change for the site would enable it to be rezoned from rural and allow for residential and commercial development. 

It’s estimated that this could provide additional housing capacity of around 2000 dwellings. 

While final plans for the site will be shaped through consultation with the community, initial plans propose a variety of housing choices, a retirement village and a network of open space/ recreation and community opportunities through the provision of walkways and cycleways.  

The eastern Porirua development will see the Government invest in 2000 state houses replaced or refurbished, and 1500 affordable and market homes built. 

The project includes redesigning neighbourhoods, revitalising local centres and upgrading parks, and has a budget of $1.5 billion over 20 years.

The Resource Management Act applies strict entry criteria for the use of the SPP. 

In the case of both the Porirua Development and Plimmerton Farm proposed plan changes, the Council will be making an application against the following:

Addressing a significant community need:

Regeneration of Eastern Porirua has been recognised by the Government as necessary to deliver change to a large community within Porirua, and will help improve social and economic outcomes for that community. 

The rezoning of Plimmerton Farm for residential development will provide a variety of housing choices to current and future residents of Porirua. 

Recent capacity modelling has confirmed that demand for a range of housing will be required as our population continues to grow.

Giving effect to national direction:

The Porirua Development will result in the construction of an additional 1500 homes, including affordable and market houses. 

When considered together with development capacity provided through the rezoning of Plimmerton Farm for 2000 homes, this represents a holistic, city-wide response that will help meet the housing needs of a diverse population.

Extensive consultation and engagement will be undertaken for the Plimmerton Farm proposed plan change. 

Discussions with stakeholders have commenced and there will be opportunities for the wider community to become involved shortly.

HLC, the development arm of Housing New Zealand, is managing the redevelopment of Eastern Porirua on behalf of the Government. 

HLC will be talking to and involving the local community and key stakeholders in coming months to develop a comprehensive masterplan that will guide the development. 

The process will look at all aspects of how neighbourhoods might be better designed, to make it easier for people to come together, get around and do business.

The Council will work alongside HLC as it talks to the community, to make sure local voices are heard as the vision for the future of the area is developed.

Extensive consultation and engagement will also be undertaken for the Plimmerton Farm proposed plan change. 

Discussions with stakeholders have commenced and there will be opportunities for the wider community to become involved shortly.

Although the housing yield from the Eastern Porirua and Plimmerton Farm development is unlikely to be matched by other developments in the city, the Council believe it’s important that other developers are also accommodated and have a clear RMA approval pathway. 

The release of a Draft District Plan in September 2019 for public engagement, will allow developers seeking re-zoning the ability to influence the Plan before it’s notified in March 2020, and to advance development proposals through the District Plan submission process.

More information on Eastern Porirua can be found here:

More information on Plimmerton Farm will be available on the Council’s website later this week.

For more information please email: or

8 May 2019