The Scenarios

There are some important choices and trade-offs to be made as we select the combination of development areas that best meet our communities’ long term needs.

To help work through the options, we have developed three different scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: Enabling housing choices, while avoiding areas that are likely to be subject to sea level rise
  • Scenario 2: Enabling housing choices while avoiding land of high productive value
  • Scenario 3: Balanced option: Enabling housing choices while taking into account both these constraints.

Each scenario can provide enough housing to meet a high growth population projection (that is, they provide room for at least 12,000 extra dwellings, between 2028 and 2048).

Scenario 1 - Enabling housing choices while addressing sea level rise

Under this scenario, the possible development areas have first been selected through two criteria:

  1. Financial feasibility. Areas that may be expensive to develop or costly to service with infrastructure are not included in this scenario.
  2. Sea level rise. Areas that may be subject to long term sea level rise under current policy settings (which do not yet include a coastal hazards adaptation strategy) are not included in this scenario – for example, parts of the Nelson Central area, Tahunanui, and north of the city at Wakapuaka Flats. [1]

Under this scenario, around 40% of future growth is accommodated through intensification and 60% through urban expansion.

Residential intensification could take place in Nelson South, Stoke, Richmond, Motueka, Brightwater and Wakefield. Urban expansion would be possible in places like Kaka Valley, Saxton, Richmond South, Brightwater, and inland of Mapua and Motueka.

1. The potential sites for Tasman had already been filtered according to sea level rise and coastal inundation and erosion potential and they are situated outside the 2m sea level rise area

Scenario 2 - Enabling housing choices while protecting land of high productive value

Under this scenario the possible development areas have also been selected through two criteria:

  1. Financial feasibility. Areas that may be expensive to develop or service with infrastructure are not included in this scenario.
  2. Land of high productive value. Areas that are on high productive land that is feasible for intensive rural uses are not included in this scenario.

Land south of Richmond, Brightwater, Mapua, Coastal Tasman and Motueka has been excluded under this scenario. Possible development areas at Murchison and Takaka are also not included in this scenario.

Under this option, around 50% of growth occurs through intensification and 50% through expansion areas. The intensification areas are similar to the first scenario. Possible urban expansion and new settlement areas include Hira, Kaka Valley, Pigeon Valley, Stringer Road and Seaton Valley.

Scenario 3 - Balanced option

This scenario provides for a balance between enabling housing supply and avoiding areas subject to sea level rise or land of high productive value.

It retains some of the development areas that were not included in Scenarios One and Two where these areas provide an:

  • Ability to support social cohesion
  • Ability to support a good geographic distribution
  • Ability to support the regions’ centres hierarchy
  • Ability to provide affordability and choice of dwelling prices and types.

Under this scenario, if all urban expansion areas were developed, then 30% of growth would occur through intensification and 70% through urban expansion.

The main areas retained under this scenario are:

Nelson City Centre

Initial consultation on the Future Development Strategy signalled the importance of building on existing urban centres. Increasing the proportion of residents living within the city centre supports economic vibrancy, social connectedness and community well-being.

Whilst part of the Nelson City Centre is subject to flooding and in the longer-term coastal inundation, measures can be taken to reduce the exposure to these risks for residents and businesses.


As an extension of the City Centre, this area could potentially provide for a mix of smaller-scale business activities and apartments, providing for a transition between residential areas and the Centre.

Richmond South

This proposed residential area is on the south-west side of Richmond and features land of relatively high productive value. The area is a mix of smaller titles that are not used for intensive production, and larger sites that are used productively. This area rates well in relation to proximity to existing settlements, low carbon emissions, and feasibility and attractiveness for development. On this basis it is appropriate that the suitability of this site be tested further through public consultation. Richmond has also been recognised

in economic models as providing capacity for some of Nelson City’s business demand. Having recently converted 50 hectares of zoned business land to housing areas in the Lower Queen Street area, it is important that we continue to provide for business land demands.

Seaton Valley Flats – Elevated

This is a relatively small and constrained area that sits alongside a substantial area that is suitable for further investigation. The site forms a cohesive whole with the surrounding development areas and could be considered for residential development.

Mariri Hills and Lower Moutere Hills

The settlement of Motueka faces particular challenges due to sea level rise, flooding hazards and highly productive land. The Mariri hills area, both on the coastal and inland sides, represent an opportunity for Motueka to grow while avoiding those constraints.

This draft option covers a significant area of land, with a range of productive values. This variability will be taken into account in any future investigations.

Central Takaka and Murchison

Exclusion of sites on the basis of highly productive land means that the more remote and isolated settlements (such as Takaka and Murchison) are left with few development options. Therefore, it is appropriate that growth sites in these locations be included for discussion.

Go to the FDS feedback hub