The Government is proposing new legislation that would allow more nationally or locally significant urban development projects to be built more quickly.

It’s proposing a tool-kit of enabling powers that could be used to streamline and speed up particular large scale projects, such as suburb-wide regeneration. Only land that is already within an urban area, or that is sufficiently close to an urban area that it may in future service or become part of that area, will be affected by the proposed legislation.

The projects would be planned and facilitated by publicly-controlled urban development authorities, potentially in partnership with private companies and/or landowners.

The Government would decide which enabling powers could be used for particular projects; not all powers would be granted for all projects.

Central government and territorial authorities would have to work together to identify and agree on urban development projects and would consult the public before granting the relevant enabling powers.

The powers potentially available for an urban development project would relate to:

  • Land – powers to assemble parcels of land, including existing compulsory acquisition powers under the Public Works Act 1981.
  • Planning and resource consenting – powers to override existing and proposed district plans and regional plans, and streamlined consenting processes.
  • Infrastructure – powers to plan and build infrastructure such as roads, water pipes and reserves.
  • Funding – powers to buy, sell and lease land and buildings; powers to borrow to fund infrastructure; and powers to levy charges to cover infrastructure costs.

An urban development authority would not have building consenting powers.

None of the proposed powers would override any Treaty of Waitangi settlements and national environmental standards would have to be met.

The relevant powers would only apply to a particular project and would expire when the project is completed.