Councils can use the streamlined planning process for the preparation of a planning instrument under the RMA if they get Minister approval. This page has the application form, guidance on the process, and the Minister's approved directions for its use.

About the streamlined planning process

The streamlined planning process is an alternative to the standard Part 1 Schedule 1 process, and must be proportional to the complexity and significance of the issues being addressed. There are entry criteria set out in the legislation that the council must be satisfied it has met before it can make a request (eg, the proposed plan or plan change is needed to implement national direction or address a significant community need).

A local authority can make a request to the responsible Minister for a streamlined planning process for developing or changing a regional policy statement or plan. The responsible Minister is the Minister for the Environment or in the case of a regional coastal plan, the Minister of Conservation.

If the responsible Minister approves the request, he or she will issue a Direction to the local authority. The local authority must then follow the procedural steps and timeframes in the Direction rather than following the standard Part 1 Schedule 1 process. These steps and timeframes can be tailored by the Minister to suit the planning issues involved. At a minimum, any Direction issued by the Minister must at least provide for certain key steps, including consultation (if not already undertaken) and a submission process allowing those affected by the proposal to have a say.

The local authority must also submit its proposed plan or plan change to the Minister(s) for approval before it becomes operative. The local authority must meet any reporting requirements specified in the Direction and must have regard to the Minister’s Statement of Expectations.

Limited appeals are available only on decisions of a requiring authority or heritage protection authority relating to designations, heritage orders and notices of requirement.

A local authority may apply for the streamlined planning process only if the proposed planning instrument is not a freshwater planning instrument. For freshwater planning instruments, the local authority must use the new Freshwater Planning Process (FPP) which is a separate plan-making process that regional councils must follow when preparing, changing, or varying regional policy statements and regional plans that give effect to any national policy statement for freshwater management.

On 23 August 2023 the National and Built Environment Act 2023 (NBA) and Spatial Planning Act 2023 (SPA) were given royal assent. The NBA and SPA introduce new planning processes for the development of regional spatial strategies (RSSs) and NBA plans. The RMA SPP can still be used for RMA plans until the RSS for that region has been adopted and publicly notified by the regional planning committee.

Form for making a request for a streamlined planning process

Only local authorities can apply to the Minister to use the streamlined planning process and they should contact the Ministry as soon as possible for advice that will assist with the application.

Form for making a request to the Minister(s) responsible for a streamlined planning process

Technical guide to the streamlined planning process

Ministerial directions to use the streamlined planning process

NZ Gazette Reference Council Planning Instrument NZ Gazette Office Publication Date SPP status
2023-go1172 Queenstown Lakes District Council Proposed Variation to the Queenstown Lakes District Plan – Proposed Te Pūtahi Ladies Mile Plan Variation 30 March 2023 Ongoing. Please refer to Te Pūtahi Ladies Mile Plan Variation [Queenstown Lakes District Council website] for additional information.
2020-go1878 Porirua City Council Proposed Change to the Porirua District Plan—Proposed Plimmerton Farm Plan Change 6 May 2020 Completed


Extension to timeframes –


Environment Canterbury Proposed Change to Chapter 6 of the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement 29 April 2020



Extension to timeframes – 2020-go2708


Rotorua District Council Proposed Change to the Rotorua District Plan—Plan Change 2: Pukehangi Heights 14 January 2020


2020-go1318 Waikato Regional Council Proposed Changes to Chapter 3.10 of the Waikato Regional Plan 21 April 2020 Completed
2018-go982 Hastings District Counci Variation to its Proposed District Plan – Iona Rezoning Variation 28 February 2018 Completed
2018-go1009 Bay of Plenty Regional Council Regional Policy Statement – Plan Change 4 28 February 2018 Completed

See more on...