2.2 Objectives and Policies: Strategic Framework

​​​​​​​​​Any discretionary or non-complying resource consent must consider where relevant the objectives and policies below.

Towards a Sustainable City

​Objective Policies​
Hamilton is characterised by an increasingly sustainable urban form. ​ ​ ​ ​
Development makes use of the identified opportunities for urban intensification.​​
Development is designed and located to minimise energy use and carbon dioxide production, by:​
i.​ Minimising the need for private motor vehicle use​
ii.​ Encouraging walking, cycling and the use of passenger transport.
iii.​ Maximising opportunities for people to live, work and play within their local area.
​Land use zoning and subdivision controls will be used as methods to achieve the sustainable use of the City’s land resources including providing for separation, proximity and agglomeration of land uses.


Hamilton is growing steadily. The City’s strategic documents – the Hamilton Urban Growth Strategy (HUGS), the Waikato Regional Policy Statement, Access Hamilton, Future Proof, and Hamilton’s City Design Guide Vista – aim to manage this growth by establishing an increasingly ‘compact city’, where development is concentrated so land and infrastructure can be provided and used efficiently. The aim is to have at least 50% of new residential growth occur within existing parts of the City in the next 20 years. This growth management will ensure positive effects on physical resources, where less land will be used for housing, where there is better energy efficiency, and an increase in the cost-effectiveness of infrastructure including roads, passenger transport, water services, energy and telecommunications. Public space, including reserves, roads, walkways and cycleways, will complement higher-density areas.

​Objective Policies​
Urban development takes place within areas identified for this purpose in a manner which uses land and infrastructure most efficiently. ​ ​ ​
Development shall occur in locations that are consistent with the growth management policies of the Waikato Regional Policy Statement.​
Any development that is within an identified growth area is to be undertaken in general accordance with an approved Structure Plan.​
The release of land for urban development will not be allowed unless appropriate infrastructure is available and the servicing of this land does not compromise the efficiency and sustainability of planned infrastructure. ​
The subdivision or use of any rural land within an identified growth area shall not compromise future urban development.​


Development is to occur as provided for within the growth management policies of the Waikato Regional Policy Statement which takes into account policies from Future Proof and the Hamilton Urban Growth Strategy. ​

Any significant area of new land to be rezoned for urban development is to be supported by Structure Plans that provide information on land use and infrastructure, transport links, management of amenity, ecological, heritage values, natural character, natural hazards, stormwater and tangata whenua values.

When the original growth cells identified in the plan are substantially developed, new growth cells will be identified through financially programmed works for infrastructure.

Council’s Long Term Plan or Annual Plan sets out the programme for providing infrastructure to service growth. Where a developer wishes to pursue development ahead of Council’s programmes a development agreement will need to be entered into with Council to ensure that the infrastructure is provided in a way which is efficient and sustainable from a city wide perspective. In these cases it is anticipated that developers will bear the full costs of infrastructure provision.

To ensure infrastructure is available and does not compromise the efficiency and sustainability of planned infrastructure assessments will be undertaken utilising Integrated Catchment Management Plans, Water Impact Assessments, and Integrated Transport Assessments.​

This approach will enable growth in areas that are not funded for infrastructure to be funded by developers under Development Agreements between all parties. The reason for Council’s approach is due to its inability to fund infrastructure necessary to support the development of the growth cells all at once. This will enable the sustainable management of growth for the social and economic wellbeing of the community and meeting the needs of future generations.

Urban Design Approach

​Objective Policies​
Promote safe, compact, sustainable, good quality urban environments that respond positively to their local context. ​ ​
Development responds to ​best practice urban design and sustainable development principles, appropriate to its context.​
Development responds to Low Impact Urban Design and Development and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles. ​
Development enhances civic, natural heritage, cultural, ecology and surrounding public space networks.​


Sustainability needs to be integrated into urban design to protect and enhance local amenity and reduce deterioration of the environment. Optimising the use of existing space and infrastructure by promoting a safe and compact city, and requiring development to be located so it is integrated with existing facilities, infrastructure, public open spaces and transport corridors and is sympathetic to natural resources will help ensure a sustainable urban environment.

Central City, Business and Industry

​Objective Policies​
Establish and maintain a hierarchy of viable and vibrant business centres that provide a focus for retail, commercial and entertainment activities and serve the social, cultural, environmental and economic needs of the community. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​
Business activity and development shall locate in the most appropriate centre for its role, according to the following hierarchy:​
i.​ The Central City is the primary business centre, serving the City and wider region, and is the p​referred location for commercial, civic and social activities.
ii.​ The Base and Chartwell complement the Central City, to serve large parts of the City and adjoining districts, and contain primarily retailing, entertainment and services.​
iii.​ Suburban centres, to provide convenience goods, community services, facilities and employment to serve immediate suburban catchments.​
Ruakura Retail Centre, to serve the Ruakura Structure Plan area and adjacent catchment.
v.​ Neighbourhood centres, to contain retailing and service activities to serve immediate residential catchments.​
The distribution, type, scale and intensity of activities outside the Central City does not undermine the viability, vitality and vibrancy of the Central City, its amenity values, or role in meeting the needs of the region.​
Significant large format retail development beyond the identified out of centre zones is not envisaged for the Plan period.


A hierarchy of business centres provides structure and context to the functioning of the urban area and its transport network. It provides a clear framework within which public and private investment can be prioritised and made, and provides a basis for regeneration and intensification initiatives.

The Regional Policy Statement calls for the Central City to be recognised and enhanced as the primary commercial, civic and social centre of the Future Proof Area. It encourages the greatest diversity, scale and intensity of activities to encourage and provide for the vitality and amenity of the Central City. It is important to ensure that activities outside the Central City do not undermine the City’s core function.

The  Central City forms the Regional Centre of Hamilton and is the dominant commercial, civic and social centre for the City and region and the focal point for the majority of the City’s workforce. However the previous planning framework has enabled an unplanned dispersal of retail and office development which has contributed to the underperformance of some elements of the Central City with consequential effects on its function, amenity and vitality. It is important that future development in other parts of Hamilton does not adversely impact the important role of the Central City as the primary centre for the Waikato region.

Retailing activity is a significant component of activities that serve the City and wider region including commerce, government, education, health and medicine and entertainment.

City growth and demand projections indicate that the hierarchy of business centres can adequately cater for growth in the Central City, the Sub-Regional and Suburban Centres through a mix of new and more intensive redevelopment of centres.

Business and Industry

​Objective Policies​
Industrial and business activities contribute to the economic, cultural, social and environmental wellbeing and prosperity of the community.​
The positive effects of business and industry on economic, cultural, social and environmental wellbe​ing are encouraged and promoted.​
Business activities and industrial activities and development shall uses land allocated and serviced for business and industrial purposes.​
Industrial zoned land shall be safeguarded for industrial purposes.


Industrial activities and business activities contribute to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the community. Sufficient land is required to cater for those activities and should be protected for these purposes.

Residential Development

Sufficient feasible, reasonably expected to be realised development capacity for housing is provided to meet the bottom lines in the table below:
Housing bottom lines (number of dwellings)
Area ​
​Short to Medium
1-10 years​
​Long term
11-30 years
​​Hamilton City​14,30028,800


The National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 requires housing bottom lines as an objective in the District Plan. These housing bottom lines are in accordance with the Future Proof Housing Development Capacity Assessment 2021.

​Objective Policies​
A range of housing types and densities is available to meet the needs of a diverse range of people and communities.​
Residential development provi​des for a range of household choices and the diversity of cultural and social needs.
Higher-density residential development is located within and close to the Central City, suburban and neighbourhood centres, hospitals, tertiary education facilities and parks, open spaces, and other areas of high social amenity.


Hamilton Urban Growth Strategy acknowledges the need to balance intensification and differing household needs. Cultural diversity is mentioned in Vista. The Environmental Sustainabil​ity Strategy​ advocates for environmentally sensitive design, to mitigate the effects of increased urban density.

The District Plan identifies a number of areas around the City that are suitable for medium and higher density residential development​.

The Waikato River

​Objective Policies​
The health and wellbeing of the Waikato River is restored and protected and the River is celebrated as being at the heart of the region’s identity and a feature of national importance.​
​ ​ ​ ​
The natural character of the W​aikato River, gully system and its margins is preserved and protected from inappropriate subdivision, land use and development.​
The natural, cultural, heritage and amenity values of the Waikato River are protected, enjoyed and enhanced.​
Access and connections with the Waikato River are maintained and enhanced.​
The relationship of Waikato-Tainui with the Waikato River is recognised and provided for, including through a Joint Management Agreement.​
Communities’ relationships with the Waikato River, including their economic, social, cultural and spiritual relationships, are restored and protected.​


The Waikato River is an outstanding natural feature in Hamilton City and the Waikato region. The river and its margins contain significant habitats of indigenous fauna and vegetation, and it is recognised as an area of high amenity value, with natural, cultural and heritage significance. Restoring, protecting and enhancing the health and wellbeing of the river and its margins are essential to ensure the quality of this resource is available for future generations. The Waikato Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010 will work in conjunction with the Resource Management Act to provide direction for planning documents to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River for future generations.

Tangata Whenua: Waikato Tainui

​Objective Policies​
Resource management priorities are developed in partnership with tangata whenua.​
​ ​ ​
The relationship​ tangata whenua have with the City is recognised and promoted. ​
Development considers effects on the unique tangata whenua relationships, values, aspirations, roles and responsibilities with respect to an area. ​
As part of the development process, decisions on land use, subdivision and development include ongoing consultation and collaboration with tangata whenua where appropriate. ​
Development and the decisions associated with developments where required are to consider any relevant Iwi Management Plan.​


The relationship between tangata whenua and the whenua awa, moana, maunga, taiao katoa (land, waterways, ocean, and mountains) and wider environment is acknowledged. These objectives and policies seek to ensure that the values, principles, aspirations, roles and responsibilities and the place of tangata whenua are reflected and incorporated into strategy, governance and implementation of the District Plan. The policies envisage involvement of tangata whenua in managing the use, development, and protection of their ancestral taonga.

Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui Incorporated is the recognised Iwi Authority for 33 registered Waikato-Tainui hapu within the rohe of Waikato Tainui. Waikato-Tainui has signed two major settlements with the Crown, the Waikato Raupatu Claims Settlement Act(1995) and the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010. The 1995 Settlement created the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust and the 2010 Settlement created the Waikato Raupatu River Trust.

It is acknowledged that local hapu Ngaati Waiwere have strong links with the land within the City’s boundaries. This hapu occupied Kirikiriroa in the 1830s when missionaries first arrived. Ngaati Waiwere is related to many other Tainui hapu including Ngaati Tamainupo, Ngaati Mahanga, Ngaati Haua, Ngaati Koroki, and Ngaati Mahuta who also have a far reaching relationship to the area.

Objective​ Policies​
The health and wellbeing of the Waikato River is restored and protected so that it may sustain abundant life and prosperous communities.​
Provide programmes of action to achieve targets to improve the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River.​
Promote an integrated, holistic and coordinated approach to the management of the natural, physical, cultural and historic resources of the Wai​​kato River.​


The ‘Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato’ – The Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River (refer to Volume 2, Appendix 10) is the primary direction-setting document for the Waikato River and its catchments. The vision is for a future where a healthy Waikato River sustains abundant life and prosperous communities who, in turn, are all responsible for restoring and protecting the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River, and all it embraces for generations to come.

Hamilton’s Identity, Character and Heritage

​Objective Policies​
Hamilton’s unique character, heritage and identity are reflected in its built environment.​
​ ​ ​
Development is sensitive to and enhances Hamilton’s identity and character. ​​​
Development enhances Hamilton's unique character areas, precincts and projects through urban design and public art.​
Development is sensitive to and protects Hamilton’s archaeological and cultural heritage sites, structures, areas, landscapes and places.​
Development provides for the protection of historic and cultural heritage from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.​


This objective and policies aim to promote characteristics and values that are unique to Hamilton, and seek to ensure that development and growth reflects these. Council plans to develop Local Area Plans to assist in the development of some areas to reflect its character, identity and heritage through quality urban design.

Natural Environment

​Objective Policies​
Protect and enhance natural character, natural features and landscapes, ecosystems and indigenous biodiversity.​
Land use and development prot​​ects natural character, natural features and landscapes and ecosystems and promotes positive outcomes for indigenous biodiversity in the Waikato region. ​
Land use and development maintains the extent and, where possible, enhances ecological corridors.​


Ensuring environmental considerations are integrated into the future development of Hamilton is crucial to achieving sustainable management of the City’s natural and physical resources. Part 2 of the Act, the Regional Policy Statement and the City’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy provide a legislative and policy framework to ensure that environmental considerations are considered at all levels of land use and development. The aim is to improve local amenity, protect and enhance habitats and to ensure efficient use of resources.

Resource Efficiency

​Objective Policies​
Efficient use and development of natural and physical resources, especially land, buildings and infrastructure.​
​ ​
Development enables and e​​ncourages waste minimisation and efficient use of resources through design and construction methods.​
Buildings should be designed so they can be adapted in the future for a range of uses.​
Development is designed to consider and adapt to the expected effects of climate change.​
Development enables and encourages the efficient use of resources and recognises the benefits resulting from integrated land use planning.


Efficient use and development of resources is a principle of the Act and contributes to sustainable management. The Regional Policy Statement seeks for the use and development of natural and physical resources to occur at a rate that is efficient and minimises waste. In accordance with this, the City’s Access Hamilton and Environmental Sustainability Strategies emphasise that development in Hamilton needs to be managed sustainably. This objective and policies provides the strategic framework to ensure Hamilton can achieve a more sustainable and quality urban environment. It is recognised with the design of buildings that it will not always be possible to adapt to a range of uses. These include specialised buildings for manufacturing and dwellings.

Integrate Land Use, Transport and Infrastructure

​Objective Policies​
Land use and development is integrated with the provision of infrastructure (including transport, Three Waters services and open space).​
​ ​ ​ ​ ​
Development shall not comprom​​ise the safe, efficient and effective operation and use of existing or planned infrastructure. ​
Development allows for future infrastructure needs, including maintenance, upgrading and co-location where appropriate.​
New development connects well with existing development and infrastructure. ​
Development does not result in incompatible adjacent land uses with respect to existing or planned infrastructure.​
Rail, cycle, pedestrian, passenger transport and motorised vehicle networks are well connected and integrated across and beyond the City.​
Development should promote strong connections to, and use of, passenger transport and active modes of transport.


The objective and policies promote sustainable management under the Act and the Regional Policy Statement. Specific to the Hamilton context, the objective and policies derive from several of the City’s Strategies, including Access Hamilton, the Environmental Sustainability Strategy, the Economic Deve​lopment Strategy​ and the Hamilton Urban Growth Strategy

Council’s Long Term Plan or Annual Plan and the National Land Transport Programme​ sets out the programme for providing infrastructure to service growth. Where a developer wishes to pursue development ahead of Council’s or Waka Kotahi NZTA’s programmes, a development agreement will need to be entered into with Council, or Waka Kotahi NZTA, with respect to the state highway network, to ensure that the infrastructure is provided in a way which is safe, efficient and sustainable from a City‐wide and network perspective.

The integration of land use, transport and infrastructure is an essential means of ensuring development effectively and efficiently uses resourcesStructure plans, Integrated Transport Assessments, Integrated Catchment Management plans, Water Impact Assessments and the Open Space Strategy will be used to ensure development does not compromise existing or planned infrastructure.

Page reviewed: 10 Jan 2022 11:26am