Developing New Zealand’s National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL)

Client Name
Ministry for Primary Industries
New Zealand
  • Planning


The Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment required a new National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land 2022 (NPS-HPL) to provide clear direction to councils and the private sector on protecting New Zealand’s most fertile land for use in land-based primary production for current and future generations, and preventing the ongoing loss of New Zealand’s most productive land to urban and rural lifestyle development.


From 2019 to 2023, 4Sight (now SLR) worked closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment to develop the national policy statement. This work included all aspects of policy development from initial scoping, stakeholder engagement, through to formal public consultation, as well as finalising the policy and supporting implementation guidance. SLR’s input into the project was based on our specialist expertise developing and implementing Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) national direction, enabling us to work in a collaborative and strategic manner with Government officials.

We were originally engaged to facilitate the workshops with local authorities and industry stakeholders across New Zealand to help better understand the planning issues and options for national direction in relation to highly productive land. The scope of our involvement expanded as the project progressed, and we demonstrated the value we were able to add to all facets of preparing the NPS-HPL. We were involved at every step of the policy development, from the initial scoping through to nationwide reviews of rural zone plan provisions, public consultation and stakeholder engagement, leading submission analysis and the report on submissions, drafting the NPS-HPL provisions, preparing the section 32 evaluation report, and implementation guidance.


The NPS-HPL came into effect on 17 October 2022 and is having an immediate effect on how this finite resource is managed throughout New Zealand. After completing the technical guidance to support both local authorities and the private sector interpret and implement the NPS-HPL, we are now actively working directly with local authorities to give effect to the NPS-HPL in an effective and efficient manner. SLR’s expertise in the RMA, national policy development, strategic advice, facilitating stakeholder engagement and working collaboratively with our clients has been instrumental in helping take the NPS-HPL from the concept stage through to directive national policy, which is now achieving positive outcomes throughout New Zealand.