MDC Seeks Feedback on Draft Changes to Rural and Flood Hazard Zones

As part of a multi-year project to review the District Plan, Council has drafted changes relating to how flood hazards are managed, and new rules for managing rural activities in the Manawatū district.

Matthew Mackay, Principal Policy Planner at MDC says it is time to check if Council’s approach to managing rural areas is right for the issues the district is facing today. “Council is releasing a draft version of the likely changes. Feedback from the community now will help us shape the changes ahead of formal consultation in the near future.”

A central part of this work is responding to new national policy direction around protecting highly productive land for land-based primary production. These new rules will limit how highly productive land can be developed to ensure it is used for land-based farming. The National Policy Statement on Highly Productive Land (2022) sets clear outcomes which currently indicate that around 40% of land within the Manawatū district would be impacted.

Council is aware that with the change in government there is potential for changes to the national direction, which may have a reduced impact on the amount of land that is affected in our district,” says Manawatū District Mayor Helen Worboys. “However as our primary-sector economy and district identity is intrinsically linked with the farming industry it’s important to bring local voices into the planning, development and implementation of these changes now so we can understand the bigger picture when it comes to refining the changes which will go out for formal consultation.”

The other significant issue is a review of flood hazards. "The flood hazard information in our District Plan needs updating to reflect the latest modelling work from Horizons Regional Council, and where the Regional Council has completed new protection works,” adds Matthew.

Council is also recommending a new risk-based approach based on the level of health and safety risk associated with the activity. “For example, this new approach would limit the building of new housing in some flood risk areas, but potentially allow farm buildings, recognising the health and safety risks are different.”

Council is now looking for feedback from the community on the draft changes. Residents can use an interactive mapping tool on the Council’s website to check if their property may be impacted. As a draft plan change the PCA proposals are subject to change before public notification. This includes responding to matters raised in feedback, new technical advice received, and any change in national or regional direction.

Council is also keen to hear ideas on how else the Manawatū district can grow and develop over the next decade and beyond. “We have a programme of work dedicated to our Growth Strategy; it’s crucially important that we have plans in place to sustain and develop our district both in terms of residential growth, and our economy,” adds Mayor Helen. Residents can share their ideas and thoughts on future growth on the Council’s engagement site and more conversations about this topic will take place as the Council further develop the growth strategy.

Factsheets on the draft plan changes and feedback forms can be picked up from the Council offices on Manchester Street, Feilding, and the temporary library building on Goodbehere Street.

Alternatively, residents can visit for all related information, factsheets, interactive mapping tools and online feedback forms.

Feedback can be submitted until 4pm, 24 November 2023.