Plan Change 12 - Enabling Housing Supply

Closed 30 Sep 2022

Opened 19 Aug 2022

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Based on central government direction, we’re proposing some changes to Hamilton’s District Plan, our ‘rule book’ for development, that might affect your property in Hamilton. These changes are called Plan Change 12 and have the potential to significantly change the look and feel of your neighbourhood. You can have your say on the proposed changes and make a formal submission until 30 September 2022

Why we are making these changes

You might have heard, since 2020 central government has reset the rules for how big cities can grow. They did this by introducing the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) and the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021.

These new rules direct big cities like Hamilton to increase the number of multi-storey homes across our city. They don’t give Council much ability to control things like how they will look, how much backyard they have, the impact on our city’s roads and pipes, and how they affect neighbouring properties.

Hamilton's response to government direction

Plan Change 12 will change Hamilton’s District Plan to provide more housing, and different types of housing, within the city. However, it doesn’t go as far as the Government wants us to.

Our research shows housing intensification will impact our environment, particularly the Waikato River. So, what we’re proposing will provide housing in a way that protects the health and wellbeing of the river as we grow. This means housing development will be restricted in some areas based on the infrastructure we need to support more homes, and more requirements will be put in place to support our environment.

Here’s an overview of the key changes


In line with government direction, we’re encouraging higher densities around the central city, suburban centres and walkable areas around them first. 
  • Unlimited heights in the central city. 
  • At least six storeys within 800m of the central city, including parts of Whitiora, Te Rapa and Hamilton East. 
  • Between three and five storeys within 400m of suburban centres at Chartwell, Thomas Road, Five Cross Roads, Clyde Street east, Hamilton East, Glenview, Frankton and Dinsdale and within 200m of Nawton.
  • Three homes of up to three storeys across general residential zones (most other areas of the city). Sections must be at least 200m2.
  • Developers wanting to build four or more units on a site will need to make sure infrastructure (like pipes and roads) can cope with the extra homes. This applies across all areas and will mitigate some of the impact of housing on the environment. 


There are some exceptions to the Government's rules called 'qualifying matters'. These allow us to manage intensification in some areas to protect important parts of our city. 
  • We’re introducing infrastructure requirements to protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River. This is in line with Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato – The Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River. 
  • We’re protecting Historic Heritage Areas (HHA), built heritage, Significant Natural Areas (SNA) and archaeological sites, including those recently identified in Plan Change 9. HHAs (where identified) will replace the special character zones that are currently listed in our District Plan. 


We're proposing some changes to provide more transport choice and support higher density housing. 
  • Making new roads and footpaths wider to fit landscaping, stormwater devices, separated cycle lanes, public transport and parking spaces.
  • Providing recharging points for electric vehicles at home.
  • Requiring travel plans to be implemented for large developments. Travel plans prioritise a range of transport, not just cars.
  • New requirements for managing the storage and collection of rubbish and recycling for residents’ convenience and to protect the look and safety of streets.
  • Cycle and scooter parking, gear lockers and changing facilities as part of developments.


We're proposing to protect tree canopies, gully networks and the Waikato River from the impacts of growth. 
  • Rules around how sites can naturally drain rain and stormwater (these are called permeable surfaces).
  • A requirement to provide new, and retain existing, trees and enhance landscaping on site. 
  • Each site must have a rainwater re-use tank to help manage water conservation and soakage to help meet stormwater needs. 
  •  Water-saving measures like low-flow taps.


We’re proposing to charge a financial contribution for new developments to fund activities which provide better outcomes for our community. 
  • It will fund things that off-set some of the negative effects of housing intensification like pipe renewals, gully and river restoration and making our streets more attractive. 
  • Developers may need to pay both a financial contribution AND a development contribution for their development. However, these contributions will be used for different things.
  • Some of these costs will be off-set due to a more streamlined development application process.
  • It means the cost of the improvements are shared by those who are doing the development and ratepayers. 

This is only a short summary of the proposed changes. You can read the full details of the changes:

  • in the additional information at the bottom of this page
  • at
  • in hard copy at Council offices in Garden Place and all Hamilton City Libraries
  • you can also view the changes and maps in our e-plan. From there you can either click on the view the maps button or chose to view the text from the side panel. (If you need help viewing the e-plan please refer to the instructions under heading "Related" at the bottom of this page.)

Why your views matter

What does this all mean? 

The changes mean we could see our streets and neighbourhoods across the city look and feel a bit different and you may see more redevelopment of properties around where you live. 

In the suburbs over time this is likely to look like two and three storey homes on smaller sections where there used to only be one house on a large section. In the central city and nearby to some suburban local centres you’re likely to see multi-storey apartments and terraced houses. 

It also means if you or your neighbours want to develop your properties in a way that is more intense than is there now then you’ll need to follow these new rules to do that. But it also means we can have more homes, and a better variety of homes, for Hamiltonians.

When is this changing?

Because we’re looking to modify the controls which central Government is directing, the new rules will not come into effect until the full plan change process is completed and decisions are made – likely to be late-2023 or early-2024.

Come to chat with us

If you would like to watch a presentation about the changes, we're hosting an online webinar. If you can’t make it, a recording will be available on our website afterwards.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss Plan Change 12 in person, we're hosting the following information sessions where you can drop in and speak to us informally about the changes:

  • 1 September, 10am to 12pm and 6pm to 8pm at Hamilton South Baptist Church, 131 Ohaupo Road. 
  • 6 September, 10am to 12pm and 6pm to 8pm at Chartwell Cooperating Church, 124 Comries Road.  
  • 8 September, 10am to 12pm and 6pm to 8pm at Distinction Hamilton Hotel, 100 Garnett Avenue. 
  • 12 September, 10am to 12pm and 6pm to 8pm at Hamilton Gardens Pavilion. 

If you are not able to attend one of these sessions, you can also contact the City Planning Unit on 07 838 6699 or email

Help with your submission

If you have any questions about how to make a submission, the Ministry for the Environment has provided funding for an independent ‘friend of the submitter’ service to help you prepare your submission. This is being provided by Kinetic Environmental.

Kinetic Environmental is a local team of qualified planners who are available to advise you on the process for lodging a submission, how you might present your views, and the steps you will be required to take after a submission is lodged. However, they can't write your submission for you. 

You can contact them by email or phone 027 315 0177. There is no cost for this service.