New Housing Intensification Rules

It’s nearly time for the new housing intensification rules to come into effect. As of 20 August 2022, a number of councils across New Zealand will need to apply these new rules to most of their existing residential areas.


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new housing

The Resource Amendment Act (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) was passed into law on 20th December 2021. This Act amends the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) by bringing forward and strengthening the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, known as NPS-UD. This Act requires Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) for specified urban areas, be met.

There was provision for intensification in the horizons, but it was due to be introduced in August 2024 which the Labour government, supported by National has said is not soon enough, hence this earlier amendment coming into play.

The key driver for this change is to help increase the housing supply, and accelerate it, as well as address affordability and choice of homes, in key urban areas where houses are needed the most.

Currently, most residential zones have restrictions in place that prevents the acceleration of homes being built in areas where they are desperately needed e.g. only allowing a single dwelling per site and two storey height restrictions.

These new changes will allow people to develop up to three dwellings on each site and each dwelling can be up to three storeys, without needing to apply for resource consent. Other key requirements and standards must be complied with.


The rules in this Act, mean councils in the greater urban areas of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Rotorua Lakes district will need to apply the MDRS to most of their existing residential areas. It’s also worth noting that the amendments also mean these councils are not able to include minimum lot sizes, or size related requirements for residential subdivisions in residential zones, as long as the subdivision is compliant with the MDRS.
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