I get asked this question a lot. Most of the time, the answer is a pretty straightforward yes or no. This is because every council in New Zealand uses zoning in their District Plan. In planning jargon we call this approach ‘activity-based’. Put simply, the zone determines where different land uses are anticipated.
If you know the zone of your property, you can work out what land uses are likely to be allowed. It’s all written in the objectives and policies of the District Plan. Let’s take a few examples:
Enable residential intensification within the Inner and Outer Residential Areas provided that it does not detract from the character and amenity of the neighbourhood in which it is located.Wellington City District Plan Policy 126.96.36.199
(1) Housing capacity, intensity and choice in the zone is increased.Auckland Unitary Plan H4.2 Objectives for the Residential – Mixed Housing Suburban Zone
(2) Development is in keeping with the neighbourhood’s planned suburban built
character of predominantly two storey buildings, in a variety of forms (attached
(3) Development provides quality on-site residential amenity for residents and
adjoining sites and the street.
Provide for the following distribution of different areas for residential development, in accordance with the residential zones identified and characterised in Table 188.8.131.52a, in a manner that ensures:Christchurch District Plan Policy 184.108.40.206
(iii) medium density residential development in and near identified commercial centres in existing urban areas where there is ready access to a wide range of facilities, services, public transport, parks and open spaces, that achieves an average net density of at least 30 households per hectare for intensification development;
These policies make it pretty clear that housing development is anticipated in existing urban areas.