Projects – Regional Policy and Plans

Our team at Incite is highly skilled and experienced in policy and plan development for both regional and district plans.

This page provides examples of regional planning projects we have been involved in, sometimes in a leadership role, others in partnership with the organisation involved. Please do get in touch with us if you would like to know more about our work.

Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan

Since 2011, Incite has worked alongside Environment Canterbury on the development of the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan (CLWRP) and six subsequent plan changes to introduce catchment specific land and water management regimes. The CLWRP sets out the integrated management of land and water resources in the Canterbury region. Incite’s role in the development of the CLWRP and plan changes included drafting provisions, preparing section 32 and section 42A reports and presenting these at the plan hearings.

From 2018, we have assisted with Plan Change 7 to the CLWRP, which comprises three separate parts, including amendments to implement National Policy Statements and address emerging environmental issues; and the introduction of specific land and water management regimes for the Orari-Temuka-Opihi-Pareora and Waimakariri sub-regions. These provisions are Environment Canterbury’s response to the local zone committees’ recommendations for managing water resources in their sub-regions.  The Plan Change has attracted considerable public interest, with over 560 submissions. Incite’s highly experienced team have worked closely with Environment Canterbury’s policy and science staff to tackle the complex water management issues while navigating the changing legislative environment for freshwater management in New Zealand.

New Otago Regional Policy Statement

Incite is currently assisting Otago Regional Council to prepare a new Regional Policy Statement. This has included developing policy papers for consultation with Reference Groups, drafting provisions for a range of topics (including land and fresh water, coast, biodiversity and infrastructure) and preparing the section 32 evaluation report. The new RPS will implement the National Planning Standards and respond to a range of new national direction introduced in 2020, including the National Policy Statement for Freshwater management.

Proposed Otago Regional Policy Statement Effectiveness & Efficiency review

In 2020, Incite was commissioned to undertake an effectiveness and efficiency review of the Partially Operative Otago Regional Policy Statement 2019. The review considered the extent to which the Policy Statement implemented higher order documents, including the National Planning Standards, and assessed the usability and suitability of the provisions specifically. As the RPS is not yet fully operative, Incite’s review was targeted to key areas and issues and was used to inform the preparation of a new RPS for Otago.

Otago plan changes

Through 2019 and 2020, Incite assisted Otago Regional Council to prepare Plan Change 8 (Discharge Management) to the Regional Water Plan and Plan Change 1 (Dust Suppressants and Landfills) to the Regional Waste Plan. This included provision drafting, consultation with stakeholders and preparing the accompanying section 32 evaluation report. Incite also assisted with preparing the section 32 evaluation for Plan Change 7 (Water Permits) to the Regional Water Plan.

Section 42A reports on proposed Marlborough Environment Plan

Several of Incite’s team have been involved in preparing and presenting Section 42A reports to the Hearing Panel on the proposed Marlborough Environment Plan. These have covered a broad range of topics including indigenous biodiversity, rural areas, utilities, discharges, forestry and land disturbance.

Effectiveness and efficiency review of the Regional Coastal Plan for Southland

In 2018, Incite was commissioned to prepare a report assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the Regional Coastal Plan for Southland, as a first stage of preparing for a new Coastal Plan.

The report assessed the effectiveness of the Plan by examining its outputs (including consents, compliance and monitoring data), the outcomes that have been achieved over the life of the Plan, and the usability and suitability of the planning framework generally. It also assessed the efficiency (including costs and benefits) of the Plan, and outlined the change factors and emerging issues that will be important for the new Plan to address.

New Regional Coastal Plan for Southland

Environment Southland has commenced a review of the Regional Coastal Plan for Southland and is preparing issues and options papers on a range of topics to inform initial policy discussions with councillors and iwi through 2019 and 2020 before a new plan is notified in 2021. Incite is leading the preparation of papers for the use of resources in the coastal marine area, management of infrastructure and structures, and air quality. We are also providing technical planning review of papers drafted by Environment Southland staff, assisting with the development of Drafting Guidelines and providing advice on plan structure and format for the new Coastal Plan.

Development of the Proposed Southland Water and Land Plan

Since 2015, Incite has assisted Environment Southland with the development of the Proposed Southland Water and Land Plan. This has included drafting the Plan and accompanying section 32 evaluation report, preparing section 42A hearing reports and presenting these during the hearing, and preparing and presenting planning evidence at the Environment Court on behalf of Environment Southland. The Plan replaces three existing plans and attracted over 900 submissions, making it a large and complex planning project. Incite’s highly experienced team has provided expert planning advice and support from the initial stages of this project and continues to assist Environment Southland through the Environment Court appeals process.

Waikato Regional Plan Change 1 – Healthy Rivers

Incite’s team has led the preparation of the section 42A report and attendance at the hearing. The Incite team have been able to bring experience from elsewhere in the country to help make PC1 more workable, including effective ways to use Overseer, NPS-FM interpretation, and techniques for getting the most from farm environment plans.  The team has worked closely with the Council’s policy team, including mentoring several Council staff in the s42A reporting process.

Southland Regional Policy Statement

In 2019, Incite was commissioned to undertake an interim effectiveness and efficiency review of the Southland Regional Policy Statement 2017 in response to significant changes in the wider policy environment, regionally and nationally.

Given the limited data on implementation, the report prepared by Incite focused on whether the provisions of the RPS remained relevant and appropriate in light of broader changes to legislation and policy, and whether the RPS was achieving or would achieve its purpose in an effective and efficient way. It also assessed the degree of change needed to implement the National Planning Standards and the process needed to make those changes.

NES-FW Stringency Assessments

Since the release of the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020, Incite has assisted Canterbury Regional Council and Marlborough District Council in reviewing their catchment and proposed regional plans respectively. These reviews included an assessment of the relevant provisions of each plan against the Freshwater Regulations, identifying instances of stringency, duplication or conflict, and recommending amendments to remove any stringency or duplication, and in some cases, resolve any conflicts.