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Intensification in Auckland- where is PC78 up to?

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

One of the big planning changes proposed in Auckland last year was the notification proposed Plan Change 78. Signaling residential intensification over much of Auckland, where is this plan change up to now?

What is proposed Plan Change 78?

Proposed Plan Change 78 (PC78) is the result of national level legislation changes, related to intensification within walkable catchments and enabling up to three dwellings on most urban sites in Auckland, without requiring resource consent. More than three dwellings or infringing new Standards would still require resource consent. Plan Change 78 also introduced ‘qualifying matters’, where more intensive development is controlled due to site/ area specific features or constraints. You can find out more about qualifying matters here.

If you want to know more about what’s in Plan Change 78 and if it has legal effect now for your site, click here.

What’s the process?

A proposed plan change follows a formal legal process, but in this case central government has provided a more streamlined process called the Intensification Streamlined Planning Process (ISPP). The steps in this ISPP process are detailed below.

In summary, once PC78 was notified, people could submit in support or in opposition to it. Following that, the submissions were summarised by Auckland Council, and a period for Further Submissions was open. At the time of writing, these steps had been completed and you can view the submissions on the Council’s website. An Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) has now been appointed, and pre- hearing meetings are scheduled to start in March 2023, and hearings shortly thereafter.

After the hearings, the IHP will make recommendations to Auckland Council, having regard to the submissions and evidence heard. Auckland Council will then decide whether to accept or reject these recommendations, with reasons. If the Council accept the recommendations, Plan Change 78 will become operative. If some or all of the IHP recommendations are rejected by the Council, the Minister for the Environment will make the final decision on those recommendations[1].


You can see from the graphic above, that we’re still at the early stages of the ISPP process. Thousands of submissions have been made and the hearings will take some time to get through, even with the more streamlined processes being used.

The hearings are likely to take up much of 2023, with the IHP expected to make recommendations to Auckland Council in late 2023 or early 2024. Following this, the Council can accept or reject the recommendations, which will be completed by 31 March 2024.

Potential for change?

Following the devastating floods and slips in January in February 2023, you may have seen calls from people to withdraw Plan Change 78 or downscale the development it will enable. This is a “watch this space” issue at the moment- there are clear issues that need to be addressed in Auckland, that allowing further development in some areas will exacerbate, but with strong direction from central government that Council’s must make these intensification changes to their planning documents, it’s a developing issue at the moment.

Want to develop your site?

Planning Plus have extensive consenting experience, including over 20 years of processing resource consents for Councils, so our team are knowledgeable about processes and issues on both sides of the fence. Our team are all qualified planners and member of the New Zealand Planning Institute. We work with a variety of well-respected and experienced specialists who we can recommend for your specific project, to get the best results for you and your project. You aren’t tied into using in- house specialists- we get the best team for you and your project.

We know the process inside out. Resource consents are what we do; let us take the stress out of the process for you. Contact us on or 427 9966. We look forward to hearing from you!

Mary Zhou is a Planner at Planning Plus®. Mary has been part of the Planning Plus team since 2021 and has a real passion and drive for all things planning. Mary has experience with a variety of projects including rural and urban land use, subdivision and feasibility analysis.

DISCLAIMER: The above is a general discussion on indicative resource consenting costs in May 2022. The figures quoted are indicative only and are not GST inclusive. Fees are subject to change at any time. This indication of costs should not take the place of an official quote, your own investigations or without first obtaining specific specialist advice on the cost components involved in a specific project related to a particular site. Planning Plus takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the above figures.

As with all our blogs this information is preliminary in nature only and we have endeavoured to ensure it is correct at the time of writing. It is not intended to substitute for your own investigations or obtaining specific advice on your proposal from professionals. Planning Plus LtdTM is not liable in any way for any errors or omissions. © Planning Plus Ltd 2023

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