Council concerned by Natural Resources Plan change

Published on 13 December 2023

Mayor Guppy.jpg

Upper Hutt mayor Wayne Guppy is concerned changes to the Natural Resources Plan (NRP) will impose significant costs and restrictions on local landowners.

The changes, proposed by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GW), will require rural properties of more than 4 hectares to be registered with GW and properties over 20 hectares to develop Farm Environment Plans, which must be approved by GW.

The changes also prohibit urban expansion beyond existing urban zoned land. This means intensification of existing areas would be the only option for housing and business growth in some areas.

Mayor Guppy says the plan change significantly exceeds national standards and shows a lack of understanding of regulatory functions of regional and territorial authorities.

“The environment is our priority, but these policies must be fit for purpose. In its current form, it’s extremely restrictive, impractical, and costly without sufficient evidence to support this level of control,” he says.

Upper Hutt City Council will be making a submission to GW and is also seeking clarification of roles and responsibilities.

Wellington City Council, Porirua City Council and Hutt City Council have made or are making similar submissions.

“In total, 156 submissions were made on Regional Plan Change 1. The majority of these were from large organisations, not individual members of the community and many with very similar submission points,” he says.

A recent court case in Whitemans Valley over the extent and definition of wetlands found that GW had overstated the wetlands on the site and not correctly interpreted national standards.

“The NRP plan change seems to be seeking changes to enable GW to take the action that was ruled to be incorrect by the Environment Court,” says mayor Guppy.

“There has been a lack of effective consultation with landowners, including potential urban developers and the Councils.

“This is inconsistent with the philosophy of collaboration established in the Wellington Regional Leadership Committee in developing the Wellington Regional Growth Framework. Has GW not taken the learnings from the Whitemans Valley Court case?”

Council is encouraging the Upper Hutt community to engage with the NRP plan change and have their say.

The consultation is open until 15 December 2023. More information can be found here:




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