Background to Plan Change 50

PC50 image of high rise building.jpg

Update to draft Plan Change 50 as a result of Government direction

Please follow this link to navigate to the current Plan Change 50 - Rural Review page. 

The draft Plan Change 50 residential work was in an advanced state with community consultation completed on draft provisions before the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) was released as a result of the Government’s Resource Management (Enabling Housing and Other Matters) Amendment Act (Housing Amendment Act) 2021. Councils were not aware of the MDRS prior to the Government’s public announcement of its release.

The MDRS includes compulsory rules and standards for residential subdivision and development. In many instances the MDRS requirements are different to those proposed under the Council’s earlier draft intensification work. This meant that Council needed to review the earlier intensification work and determine which parts could still progress, and which parts are replaced by the MDRS.

The Council included high density and general residential zone changes as part of the Intensification Planning Instrument (IPI). The IPI was notified in 17 August 2022 and became operative as part of the district plan in 13 December 2023.  The rural aspects not covered by the IPI, were continued under PC50 - Rural Review which was publicly notified on 4th October 2023.


Plan Change Overview & Documentation

In 2019, Council embarked on a significant review of the residential and rural areas of our District Plan, which controls development and land use in Upper Hutt. We called this review ‘Plan Change 50’ because it would change policies and rules in the District Plan to enable the right types of housing growth in the right places.

The reality at the time of beginning the Plan Change was that continuing to plan for and accommodate development in the same way we have done in the past may not achieve the best future for our city. The 2019 growth projection suggested that we would need to provide for 10,000 homes over the next 30 years, and the 2019 capacity assessment identified that we would not be able to achieve the growth required under the framework we had. The key objective of the draft plan change was to be able to provide for sufficient housing for future generations, while growing in a considered and sustainable way.

Between 2018-2021, we’ve worked through a review of the residential and rural chapters of our District Plan to identify ways in which we could accommodate our projected growth.  

This work factored in the Government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development which directs us to enable greater housing to meet demand. 

Key aspects of the draft PC50 included:

  • Reducing the proportion of the suburban residential zone by 50%, replacing most with Medium and High Density Zones.
  • Creating a High Density zone within walkable areas to urban railway stations and the CBD (Central Business District) boundary from Silverstream to Clouston Park – enabling at least six storey residential development.
  • Medium Density zones introduced as a buffer between High Density and suburban areas, enabling up to four storey developments, easing the transition to High Density.
  • Medium Density clusters introduced in Brentwood/Trentham, Totara Park, Clouston Park, and Brown Owl.
  • Enabling the construction of a second dwelling on most rural and residentially zoned land.
  • Enabling subdivision around any existing or proposed dwelling without any minimum lot size.
  • Creating provisions to enable Papakāinga and communal housing options to improve housing accessibility.
  • Generally intensifying residential zones, while protecting distinct character areas.
  • Reviewing standards for other activities undertaken in residential areas, such has home businesses, visitor accommodation, early childcare facilities, and rest homes.
  • Settlement zoning throughout the Maymorn area, including Settlement Zone over most of the Gabites Farm Block.
  • Introducing enabling controls to help establish a centre for the local rural community near Whitemans Church and around the Maymorn Station.
  • Enablement of rural businesses that build upon our great outdoor environment.
  • Rural Lifestyle areas generally moving to foothills, where easily accessible to urban areas, protecting the openness and productive value of the valley floor.
  • Protection of all high class soils in rural areas through an increase in minimum subdivision standards, while enabling key settlement areas previously identified.
  • Introduction of many landscape-oriented controls in the rural environment to protect this sensitive area.


Although now superseded by the IPI and the current PC50 - Rural Review, the full draft proposals for both rural and residential areas developed for the draft PC50 are available below, along with the background reporting developed for the plan change.

View draft PC50 zone mapping

Draft PC50 Frequently Asked Questions document(PDF, 796KB) here.

Draft Residential Objectives, Policies & Provisions:


Draft Rural Objectives, Policies & Provisions:


Phase 3 Supporting Reports:


Videos of Zoom engagement sessions on full draft proposal:


Feedback on the PC50 draft proposals was open until 13 September 2021, providing the public close to eight weeks to review material and give feedback. The report below summarises the feedback received during this period of time

PC50 Public Engagement Report(PDF, 2MB)


See below for previous engagements:

Proposed Strategic Objectives and Policies 
Opened from 30 September to 2 November 2020

This public engagement sought feedback the approach we’re planning to take around the following themes:

  • Enabling growth areas with clear outcomes - e.g. identifying new areas for rural and residential development
  • Retaining our character - e.g. protecting identified character areas from overdevelopment
  • Having flexibility when subdividing - e.g. flexible and adaptable subdivision controls
  • Greater housing choice and diversity is available to enable affordability and accessibility – e.g. allowing small dwellings on existing sites and construction of more one and two bedroom units
  • Intensifying development in appropriate rural and residential areas – e.g. high density housing around urban train stations and the city centre, and lifestyle development in rural areas
  • Creating opportunities for home enterprise - e.g. Airbnb style accommodation, working from home or selling goods from your home
  • Developing sustainably with resilience in mind - e.g. water management, infrastructure capacity and energy/emission reduction.
See below to read what Strategic Objectives and Policies we sought feedback on:

 See below for a summary of the feedback we received Strategic Objectives and Policies:

 PC50 Engagement Report - Strategic Objectives Policies (PDF, 760KB)

March/May 2020 – Issues and Opportunities Feedback
Opened from 16 March to 8 May 2020

Large scale reporting has been underway over the last year in order to identify what issues currently exist and what opportunities may assist us in addressing these issues. Community focus groups have also been established to better understand the implications of reporting conclusions at the local level, whether or not this accurately reflects their understanding of the environment, and what other problems and solutions they believe exist.

The following captures the conclusions of these discussions and reports, and summarises the issues and opportunities identified to date. We sought your feedback over March/May 2020 on whether you believe this accurately reflects the current issues for rural and residential areas and the opportunities that exist to secure their future.

See below for links to our Issues and Opportunities we sought feedback on:

See below for a summary of the feedback we received on our Issues and Opportunities and Lets Korero:

PC50 Engagement Report - Issues and Opportunities for the Rural and Residential Review(PDF, 1MB)


Plan Change 50 Reporting

 Phase 2 Reporting:


Phase 1 Reporting:

Residential Character Assessment

Rural Land Use Assessment Report(PDF, 8MB)

Review of Rural and Residential Resource Consent Applications(PDF, 712KB)

Upper Hutt PC50 Geotechnical Assessment(PDF, 201MB)

Upper Hutt PC50 Status Quo Economic Cost Benefit Analysis(PDF, 1MB)

2019 Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment (2019 HBA)

Focus Groups

The Focus Groups helped to identify issues with our existing plan, and look at opportunities to meet the direction set by our strategies and other regional and national policy. The groups helped to test ideas before the wider community was engaged.

We set up two groups of approximately 8 members; one focused on the rural areas, and one focused on the urban residential areas.  These groups met approximately every couple of months. 

The groups were intended to represent the community and included a mix of backgrounds, ages, genders, experiences and viewpoints in order to provide for a range of lived experiences in Upper Hutt and diversity in people from different geographic areas.

For more information, please see our Terms of Reference(PDF, 213KB).

Meeting Notes:

Rural Focus Group:

Residential Focus Group: