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Where can I get a park?

In a move to shape New Zealand’s cities and towns, central government has scrapped requirements for minimum carparking spaces from district plans.

If you are already frustrated with trying to find a car park in town centres, the changes made to district plans early this year could make parks even harder to come by in the future.

Under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, central government has required councils across the country to remove requirements for minimum carparking spaces from district plans.[1] Closer to home, Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Waipā District Council have been required to make this change.[2] The National Policy Statement on Urban Development will also increase building heights and density of urban areas to maximise intensification of developments in city centres.[3]

Essentially, councils can’t require new developments such as office blocks, apartments, townhouses and even supermarkets to be built with carparking being provided by the developer.

The Government has stated the reason for this change is to enable more commercial developments and housing in higher density areas where people do not necessarily need to use or own a car to access their workplace, services and amenities.[4]

The removal of minimum parking provisions does not stop new developments from providing on-site carparking, and it is anticipated many will continue to do so.[5] Clearly there will still be an expectation of on-site carparking from many potential purchasers/customers and that expectation will affect development proposals for some time. Developers still must continue to provide accessible parks as required for people with disabilities.[6]

Councils can still consider the effects of carparking supply and demand in resource consents, but they may choose to disregard the effects associated with a lack of carparking, given that developments can now be permitted without any being provided.[7]

If you have a question about the National Policy Statement on Urban Development and how the change in carparking rules might affect you, or any other issue related to resource management law, then please contact our Resource Management team.

[1] National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD), cl 3.38(1).

[2] NPS-UD,  cl 3.38(1).

[3] NPS-UD Policy 3.

[4] Ministry for the Environment National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 – Car parking fact sheet, at 1.

[5] NPS-UD, cl 3.38(3)(b)(i).

[6] NPS-UD, cl 3.38(3)(b)(ii).

[7] Ministry for the Environment National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 – Car parking fact sheet, at 2.

This article is current as at the date of publication and is only intended to provide general comments about the law. Harkness Henry accepts no responsibility for reliance by any person or organisation on the content of the article. Please contact the author of the article if you require specific advice about how the law applies to you.

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