The Draft district Plan feedback submissions closing 6th dec 5:00PM

It's time to review,
to make a new plan


What is it you love most about Wairarapa?

help us shape its future


The District Plan Review has undergone extensive public engagement which has included an informal feedback and a formal submissions process.

The next step is the hearings process, which is an opportunity for submitters to speak to their submissions on the Proposed District Plan. Further information on the hearings will be issued soon. 


Why a Review?

Under the Resource Management Act, Councils are required to review their District Plan every 10 years to ensure it is still fit for purpose. 

Our plan is now 10 years old. We need a modern plan which provides clear objectives, policies and rules to manage the effects of land use activities on the environment. It’s time to check in again with our communities to understand people’s needs and expectations and revisit the direction for our district’s development.

The review will also incorporate any recent changes in legislation, national and regional policy statements, environmental standards and other regulations. One of the changes has been the introduction of the National Planning Standards which sets out the format for the District Plan and will change the way the District Plan looks, including making it easier to find information and read online.

This website is one of the tools that will help you stay informed about:

  • the review process
  • where and when you can contribute to the review process
  • what the outcomes and decisions are in each phase of the process

The three Wairarapa District Councils have resolved to continue having a Combined District Plan for all three districts, and to jointly review the Operative District Plan as a Joint Committee, comprising of delegated members of:

  • Masterton District Council
  • Carterton District Council
  • South Wairarapa District Council

Take a look at the Proposed District Plan here.

Strategic direction for review, such as South Wairarapa Spatial Plans and Carterton Urban Growth Strategy/Carterton East Structure Plan.
2020/21 - 2021/22

Review how well the current District Plan is working.
Includes discussions with the key stakeholders and groups who regularly use the District Plan. Also, undertake technical

Revisions to current District Plan and preparation of new District Plan. Includes considering feedback previously received from the key stakeholders.

Release a non-statutory new ‘Draft’ District Plan for feedback from the community.  
By October 2022

Consider feedback on the ‘Draft’ District Plan and draft new ‘Proposed’ District Plan.

Notify the ‘Proposed’ District Plan for submissions.

March 2024: Summarising Submissions

March/April 2024 Further Submissions invited

Hearings held on submissions, and decisions released. Appeals to the Environment Court.2024/25
Wairarapa Combined District Plan Review

Let's get the best out of the wonderful Wairarapa

The District Plan

Every district in New Zealand must have a District Plan prepared under the Resource Management Act. District plans are needed to manage the effects of land use, including growth. They do this by identifying the key issues in a district and how to manage them. They set out where and how different activities occur, and how resources are used. 

District Plans must give effect to national policy statements and regional policy statements. They must not be inconsistent with regional plans and need to be prepared having regard to other management plans, strategies and regulations prepared under other legislation.

Wairarapa, Masterton Homebush Ponds

What is a District Plan?

  • A District Plan also gives effect to Government policies such as managing urban development, protecting productive land, providing affordable housing, safeguarding our freshwater sources and helping communities plan for disruptions from natural hazards and climate change.
  • A District Plan impacts almost everything you do across our district, and how you do it.
  • It sets out what activities you can do (permitted activities) and what activities you will need a resource consent for.
  • The District Plan also controls any adverse effects your activity could have on the neighbours and vice versa. For example, how much noise you can make or how close to a boundary you can build your house.
  • The District Plan also protects the uniqueness of our district, for example by looking after our cultural and historic heritage, our natural environment and indigenous biodiversity.

Did You Know Our District Plan is unique?

Ten years ago our Councils led the way in preparing a combined Operative District Plan which is the first District Plan under the Resource Management Act to be prepared jointly by neighbouring district councils. We have an opportunity now to reflect on how effective a single resource management framework has been for our three districts, which previously had separate District Plans. The aim is to achieve consistent planning outcomes across our combined sub-region, where there were many similar or common planning issues as well as cross-boundary issues.

Joint Committee Membership

A Joint Committee of the three councils was established in November 2020 with an independent Chair.

Current members of the Joint Committee are:
David McMahon - Independent Chair
Craig Bowyer - Councillor, Masterton District Council
Alistair Plimmer - Councillor, South Wairarapa District Council  
Frazer Mailman - Commissioner (former Masterton District Councillor)
Brian Jephson - Commissioner (former South Wairarapa District Councillor)
Robyn Cherry-Campbell - Councillor, Carterton District Council
Brian Deller - Councillor, Carterton District Council
Jo Hayes, Iwi Representative, Rangitāne o Wairarapa  
Kereana Sims, Iwi Representative, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa

This Committee is responsible for reviewing the Operative District Plan and preparing and approving a new combined Proposed District Plan covering the Wairarapa.

Funding, resources and support

The District Plan Review process will be jointly funded by the three Wairarapa District Councils.

Technical Support

A technical advisory team has been established to support the Joint Committee. This team comprises planners with expertise from across the three councils to ensure local interests are well understood and represented.

A dedicated administrative support role and a communications and engagement role has been provided by the District Councils.

Wairarapa Combined District Plan - District Plan

Aims of the Plan

The revised District Plan will promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources as required under the Resource Management Act, by:

  • Supporting democratic local decision-making
  • Meeting the current and future needs of our communities by enabling the provision of good quality local services and infrastructure
  • Ensuring our Councils’ regulatory functions are performed efficiently and effectively
  • Producing a user-friendly document that contains plans and decisions that reflect mātauranga Māori, technical evidence, community and stakeholder views.

How will the new District Plan achieve these aims?

The review will achieve these aims by:

  • Ensuring local issues are considered in the decisions, including by each district and rūnanga having representatives on the decision-making Joint Committee.
  • Undertaking a robust engagement process that includes our communities, iwi, and stakeholders.
  • Incorporating new national and regional policy direction.
  • Continuing with a combined District Plan approach will save time and money.
  • Providing consistency across the region for things like development rules and natural hazard management.
Wairarapa Combined District Plan Review
Wairarapa Combined District Plan Review Progress

Process and Progress

Stay up to date with the new to be reviewed sections of the plan, when there will be a chance for input and what next steps you can expect. See how we’re tracking in the bigger scope of the plan review, which elements have now been rounded off and which are yet to be actioned.
Wairarapa Combined District Plan Review

How is the District Plan implemented?

The District Plan allows some activities to occur without the need for a resource consent, as long as specified standards in the District Plan are met. If an activity has the potential to impact adversely on the environment, it is categorised as ‘controlled’, ‘restricted discretionary’, ‘discretionary’ or ‘non-complying’ and may not take place without a resource consent.

When a resource consent application is submitted, a Council assesses any planned development or activities against the objectives, policies, and rules of the District Plan, and considers any effects the activity may have on the environment.  

More detail about resource consents, how to apply for them, and how to make submissions on publicly notified resource consents can be found on any of the councils’ websites.

How does the District Plan align with other local government strategies and plans?

Alignment with local growth strategies and plans is necessary to coordinate land use, infrastructure, financial and urban growth planning for Wairarapa. Local growth strategies relevant to the District Plan include:

  • Masterton Town Centre Strategy
  • Carterton Urban Growth Strategy
  • Carterton East Structure Plan
  • South Wairarapa Spatial Plan
  • Wellington Regional Growth Framework

The Proposed District Plan is consistent with these strategies and provides the ‘rules’ for turning their aims into actions.

How does the District Plan give effect to relevant national policy and legislation?

District Plans are linked to a number of national policy documents which all have important roles in giving effect to New Zealand’s resource management system. The following planning and regulatory documents provide regional and national direction which the District Plan must account for.

Resource Management Act Reform

The Resource Management Act 1991 was re-enacted in December 2023 by the new Coalition Government. At the same time, the previous governments new planning legislation (Spatial Planning Act and Natural and Built Environment Act) were repealed. The District Plan Review and Proposed District Plan will continue to be prepared under the Resource Management Act.

  • The Coalition Government has also signalled future reforms to the Resource Management Act, such as new infrastructure consenting, and environmental outcomes vs property rights.

No timeframes have been made available yet for these reforms.


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