Plan Structure - Overarching Principles

Before deciding on a particular plan structure and organisation, consider a number of key principles.


  1. Structure around user expectations and conventions: Many publications follow a particular organisational style and format that people sub-consciously absorb and expect to see in other documents (tables of content and an introduction at the start, appendices and an index at the back, for example). The format of legislation also follows a set pattern and style. These styles reflect writing, non-fiction publishing and legal conventions and principles
  2. Keep it simple: Avoid the temptation to put 'everything' into the plan (thereby adding additional sections and chapters that most readers will never use). It can be helpful to ask the following when considering sections or chapters that are not related to core provisions:
    • Does this add value to the plan and make it easier to use?
    • Would plan users actually need, or use, this information?
  3. Keep the bigger picture in mind: Second generation regional and district plans form part of a much wider suite of plans and strategies than those prepared in the 1990s. For example, plans give effect to regional policy statements; take into account planning documents recognised by iwi authorities, and should have some form of relation with Long Term Plans, and with Regional Land Transport Strategies. The following links demonstrate some of the relationships with other documents:

    Linkages between RMA plans and documents

  4. Consider how the plan will be monitored and enforced: Developing the plan monitoring strategy (or monitoring indicators) alongside the plan provisions is very useful for improving clarity and enforceability of plan provisions (e.g. how the council knows provisions are being complied with), weed out provisions (or possible monitoring indicators) that may be unnecessary or impractical, and better align monitoring reports (particularly those under s35(2A)) with plans.