Feedback to the Draft Regional Policy Statement

Feedback on the Draft Regional Policy Statement (RPS) was provided by 50 people and organisations, during a six week feedback period over May/June 2016. Feedback was received across a range of topics, in particular relating to the Biodiversity, Infrastructure and Energy, Coastal, Social and Economic Wellbeing, and Character and Amenity chapters.

This feedback has informed the further development of the RPS and rule drafting phase of the Nelson Plan. The Draft Nelson Plan together with a revised RPS was released for further feedback in October-December 2020.  Engagement documents and materials can be found at

Summary of feedback

See the full details of feedback received. (174KB XLSX)

General feedback recommended, in summary:

  • Improved cross-referencing, consultation and feedback loops
  • Incorporation of a precautionary approach
  • Further consideration of issues associated with climate change,  genetically modified organisms, fisheries, nationally significant infrastructure and minimum lot sizes for subdivision
  • Consideration of development opportunities in specific locations, such as the Airport, Atawhai and Bayview  
  • The inclusion of vision statements in each chapter

Tangata whenua iwi

Feedback was generally supportive of the Tangata Whenua Iwi Chapter.  Respondents sought clarity about the approach to property plans, management of wahi tapu, and Maori terminology, and reinforced the need for early engagement with iwi in planning processes.  Additional monitoring indicators were also sought.


Changes sought to the introduction part of the RPS included the need to better recognise Nelson 2060, provide for a wider range of transport methods and housing typologies, climate change and the impacts of natural hazards.  A desire to enhance the relationship between Council and Tangata Whenua visions was also identified.

Historic Heritage

Respondents showed general support for the heritage approach in the Draft RPS. There were a number of suggestions for non-regulatory methods, and a range of technical wording suggestions and minor amendments to policies. Other suggestions included the need to consult with neighbours, engage with Iwi, to ensure policies and rules don’t get overridden and to improve certainty for landowners and applicants. Support was also expressed for the establishment of an online ‘heritage inventory’ for the region, and the removal of non-protected categories for buildings and trees.

Natural Hazards

Feedback sought more consideration of climate change, including sea level rise. Respondents wanted more clarity on the situations in which coastal defences or managed retreat are better options. There was support for both approaches.

More clarity was sought on:

  • The proposed monitoring and accounting regime for adaptation measures
  • Design requirements for structures in high risk areas
  • The risk assessment methodology to be used by Council


Respondents were supportive of the Council taking an active role in helping landowners control problem pests and weeds. Some thought that the RPS needs to be clearer about Council’s role in co-ordinating control efforts with other interested parties, and actively managing such problems in its own network of reserves. There was support for the RPS to encourage an ethic of stewardship among owners, and support the exercise of kaitiakitanga by Te Tau Ihu Iwi. Some respondents thought the RPS could be clearer about the methodology used to identify Significant Natural Areas.


Respondents were generally supportive of the RPS’s preliminary identification of outstanding landscapes, features and areas of coastal natural character. Some respondents suggested other areas for consideration and sought a clearer approach to the methodologies used to identify such areas as outstanding, and to national policy obligations. A number of respondents thought that the RPS should focus on managing the visual impacts of development outside those areas already zoned for residential use.

Coastal and Marine Environment 

Respondents noted the importance of the coastal areas and supported the need for a wider focus on integrated management of the coastal environment. Feedback sought a focus on biodiversity and fisheries, and better cross referencing to other areas of the RPS. Some respondents also sought reconsideration of how the RPS and the Nelson Plan should address key issues such as biodiversity, biosecurity, fisheries management (including economic benefits and sediment management) and recreation.

Character and Amenity

Respondents were supportive of the proposed RPS approach, including the need to better recognise the different types of effects and amenity values that different land uses can give rise to. The need for Nelson to maintain and enhance its character and amenity values at a scale appropriate to individual sites, streets and neighbourhoods, distinct land use zones, and between the urban and rural areas was made clear. Respondents also identified practical clarifications and additions to the provisions of the RPS that could make them clearer.

Areas of note were

  • Urban design-based requirements
  • Large trees and visual amenity  
  • Ensuring that growth and intensification around centres balances choice with quality
  • Major infrastructure
  • Cultural and iwi perspectives
  • Social connectedness.

Social and Economic Wellbeing

The most common issue raised by respondents related to the urban planning of Whakatū Nelson. Respondents clearly supported a hierarchy of commercial centres, with planning provisions to reinforce and support them. The potential for relatively low-height medium-density housing around urban centres, and higher density housing within them, was also identified. Respondents sought consistent support for  environmentally sustainable economic and social well-being, particularly in relation to commercial developments, transport, and land use densities.Respondents identified that guidance in relation to social wellbeing policy in terms of health, safety and cultural values, could be beneficial.

Infrastructure and Energy

Respondents generally signalled support or partial support for the proposed approach to infrastructure and energy. There were suggestions for amendments to proposed provisions, or the inclusion of new provisions. 

The themes for the suggested amendments included:

  • Broader options for renewable and alternative energy sources
  • Greater emphasis on active and public transport facilities and services
  • Greater protection of infrastructure from reverse sensitivity effects
  • Better alignment with statutory instruments and national policy direction
  • More recognition and protection of the City's most significant infrastructure
  • Improved resilience for existing facilities and services
  • Recognition of the emergence of electric vehicles and the need for supporting infrastructure.
  • A broadening of regionally significant infrastructure to include healthcare and defence facilities.


Most responses relating to the City's air quality were supportive of the proposed provisions. Some respondents sought for more recognition to be given to the adverse health effects of air discharges.  Others sought a closer alignment with relevant national environmental standards, and recommendations from the World Health Organisation and NZ Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. New provisions to promote good management practice to minimise emissions were also sought.


Respondents generally supported the proposed approach for the management of land. Additionally, some sought:

  • Greater protection of productive arable land from fragmentation or conversion for urban land uses
  • The updating of Council's list of identified hazardous activities and industries
  • Reduced use of agrichemicals on Council land
  • about a clearer distinction between accelerated erosion rates versus natural rates. 

Respondents recognised the implementation of the NPS for Freshwater Management and the emerging NES for Plantation Forestry will have implications for the RPS and the sustainable management of farming and forestry practices.  Others suggested that less stringent language should be used at the objective and policy level, and that Council's monitoring methods should be broadened. 


The feedback recognised that Council is currently working through the NPS Freshwater Management process including the identification of freshwater values and setting objectives and limits.  This work is yet to be incorporated into the RPS and respondents requested that further community feedback is sought at that time.  Respondents provided wide ranging comments, including:

  • A request for some definitions and clarification of terms used
  • A recognition that surface water quality in the mid reaches of some rivers has also declined (and not just the lower reaches)
  • A recognition of the need for further research on groundwater resources to address a current lack of detailed information
  • Adding salmon to the list of ‘fishing’ values for the Maitai/Brook, Roding, Wakapuaka and Whangamoa.
  • Not limiting the amount of stock drinking water per animal per day.