Territorial Authority as a Requiring Authority

When processing a new notice of requirement, calling for existing designations to be rolled over, or including a new requirement in a proposed plan, councils should act and be treated like any other requiring authority, and should receive and provide the same standard of communication and co-operation. 

As a requiring authority, the territorial authority needs to carefully consider whether the use of a designation is preferred, given the costs and benefits, against other available planning mechanisms. Territorial authorities also need to determine the appropriate balance between their duties and functions as a regulator with their rights as a requiring authority and decision maker, and the use of designations as a planning instrument to identify, protect and undertake  public works. 

Internal council departments often have differing views on how the district plan should provide for their activities. These differing views can become very apparent when territorial authority notices of requirement are lodged. 

As with any requiring authority, councils should be given sufficient advance notice for designations in the plan review process, to ensure good timely information and adequate resources. It is also helpful to learn the needs and requirements of the council departments and to advise them of the RMA requirements including the plan review process. They should be aware of resourcing and time frames and must also be prepared to defend their requirement through the submissions and appeal process. 

When including a designation in a district plan and depicting it on the relevant planning map/ePlan it is important to indicate the provisions that would apply to the designated land in the event that: 

  • all or part of the designation is uplifted; or 
  • an activity is proposed (subject to the requiring authority 's agreement) which is not associated with the purpose of the 

This is often referred to as the 'underlying zoning' (usually consistent with the surrounding area). For certainty, it is important to be explicit when more than one underlying zoning could be interpreted to apply (e.g. where different zones abut a road designation the district plan may state the underlying zoning extends to the road centre line). A designation is specific type of district plan (and combined plan with a district plan component) spatial layer as set out in Planning Standard 13. District Spatial Layers and must be labelled as such in the ePlan or maps. Other spatial layers may also be used in conjunction with a designation where supported by plan provisions e.g. overlays for transmission corridors that are set out under the energy, infrastructure and transport heading.