Environment Minister David Parker has released a set of draft National Planning Standards.
The Ministry for the Environment will seek formal submissions on the draft standards from the general public, councils, professionals and iwi over a 10-week period that will include a nationwide meetings.
Once public consultations are complete, the final standards will be approved in April 2019.
The planning standards aim to make Resource Management Act (RMA) plans simpler to prepare, and easier for plan users to understand, compare and comply with.
The draft set of planning standards focuses on aligning the structure, form, e-delivery and some common content of RMA plans. It does not determine policy matters. The standards are intended to enable local councils and plan users to focus their time and resources on the local content important to them. The objective is to help plans be more concise, with less formal, elaborate explanations needed.
Mr Parker says that to implement the standards councils will have to redraft their plans.
"We are proposing a five year implementation period for most plans and a seven year period for councils that have recently concluded a major plan process. This allows the standardisation to occur as plans are routinely reviewed,” he says.
“The cost of updating plans to meet the standards will be vastly exceeded by the cost savings to those who use them.”