About the National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land
About 15% of New Zealand's land is categorised as highly productive. That means it's the country's most fertile and versatile land. The national policy statement will improve the management of this land by providing clear and consistent guidance for councils.
The National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL) came into effect in October 2022.
Why the policy statement is needed
Since 2002, a further 35,000 hectares of highly productive land has been carved up for urban development or rural residential development.
The biggest land losses have been in the areas around Auckland and Christchurch. Once the land is built on, it can no longer be used for traditional forms of food and fibre production.
What the policy means for councils
The national policy statement will enhance protection for highly productive land from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development.
Councils will have a 3-year transition phase to fully identify, map, and manage highly productive land.
This will help ensure it is available for growing vegetables, fruit, and other land-based primary production, now and into the future.
However, councils will still be able to rezone highly productive land for urban housing if less productive land is not available, or if certain tests can be met.
What the policy means for Māori and Māori land
Public consultation on the issue
Public consultation – through workshops and meetings – began in 2019. Officials received 250 submissions on the draft policy statement.
In 2023, further feedback was sought on potential amendments to the NPS-HPL.
Since the policy came into effect, issues have been raised about its restrictions on the use and development of highly productive land for activities that don't rely on soil.
Further details, including the discussion document, are available on MfE's website. Consultation closed on 31 October 2023.
Documents released proactively on the development of the policy
Find out more
If you have questions or would like further information, the Ministry for the Environment can help with your enquiry. Email firstname.lastname@example.org