New Zealand’s population is growing fast, and so too are the number of dwellings. In fact, building consents for more than 470,000 new dwellings were granted between 2001 and 2019 in New Zealand.
While some new dwellings can be built “as of right” in existing urban areas (as permitted activities under the RMA), many dwellings are also being built in new greenfield areas on the edges of cities and districts. For developments to occur in those locations, or for major residential developments within existing urban areas, a district plan change is usually required.
We have helped numerous clients gain private plan changes for large residential developments across New Zealand that will eventually be home to around 40,000 people, once fully developed.
Before pursuing a private plan change, clients often wish to know the supply and demand for housing in the local area, and to understand local demographics. We have access to detailed information on dwellings and local demography to help shape these important preliminary considerations, and to consider optimal section sizes and likely future dwelling types (stand-alone vs terrace houses vs apartments etc).
When clients seek private plan changes, they must submit a detailed plan change application. These applications, amongst other things, includes assessments of various environmental effects, including economic effects. We regularly provide economic effects assessments to accompany private plan change applications, which consider both the positive and negative economic effects of the proposal.
District Plans must be reviewed every ten years, which gives developers and other stakeholders the opportunity to pursue private plan changes via the district plan review process itself. We have worked on dozens of district plan review submissions across several urban areas of New Zealand, enabling clients to secure approval for numerous major developments.
Plan changes, district plan reviews, and most resource consent applications, result in a hearing where the applicant, their lawyer, and a team of technical experts present their case. We have provided expert evidence at dozens of hearings before a range of judiciaries, including numerous Environment Court appearances, and have an excellent track record of success.
While residential developments mainly cater for new dwellings, larger ones sometimes also include small scale commercial/retail elements to meet the day-to-day needs of future residents. We can assist by estimating the likely amount of future retail/commercial services demand originating onsite, which is then converted to an estimate of sustainable onsite floorspace. We can also assess likely effects on other centres, and help design rule frameworks to mitigate potential adverse effects, should such rules be deemed necessary or appropriate.
New residential developments require significant new infrastructure to service future residents, such as new roads, parks, water pipes, and wastewater services. Most of this is new infrastructure provided by the Council, with the costs later recovered from developers via a Council funding tool called development contributions (DCs). We are NZ’s leading experts on DCs, and can help you negotiate the best possible deal. This includes looking at opportunities to be self-sufficient wherever possible, which directly reduces the DCs that must be paid.
How many jobs will this project create, and what is the likely contribution to GDP? These are two of the most frequently asked economic questions about new projects or developments. To answer them, a technique called economic impact assessment is commonly used. We have estimated the economic impacts of some of the largest developments in New Zealand, both to improve the public’s understanding of its likely economic effects, and to also help gain necessary consents/approvals.
What Our Clients Say
We have worked with Fraser on a number of occasions and he has always produced high quality and meaningful economic analysis. He is attuned to the needs of resource management economic analysis requirements.
Whilst I was District Plan Manager at Queenstown Lakes District Council, Fraser provided a series of reports to me relating to population projections, development capacity, housing demand and other economic issues. Fraser’s advice was always responsive and insightful, and a key strength is his ability to convey information in a manner that minimises jargon and is very user-friendly. He is also quick to pick up the phone and talk through things – something many consultants don’t do enough.
We have found Fraser to be very competent , well informed, knowledgeable and professional while carrying out Technical Reports required in our Plan Change process with QLDC.