This note has been updated for 2017 and 2020 legislative amendments but not updated for best practice.
The notification of a plan (or plan change), occurring after an extensive period of consultation and policy analysis, triggers the formal process of submissions, hearings and decision-making; a huge investment for many people. While there is a statutory process for publicly notifying proposed plans, there is also wide discretion for local authorities to promote constructive involvement and input from all involved in the process.
National Planning Standard 17. Implementation Standard outlines the timeframes that plans and policy statements must comply with the relevant national planning standards (planning standards). Proposed plans that replace operative plans must implement the first set of planning standards within the timeframes outlined in Standard 17 or when they are notified for submissions under clause 5 of Schedule 1 of the RMA (whichever is the sooner). Plan changes and variations that are notified before the deadline timeframe in Standard 17, or before the proposed plan is notified for submissions, do not need to implement the planning standards. However, consideration should be given to aligning all plan changes and variations with the planning standards as this may make the eventual transition to full implementation of the planning standards easier and more efficient. For more information, see the planning standards webpage.