The EP&A Act was amended in March 2018 to recognise, for the first time the importance of strategic planning. The amended Act now makes provision for the preparation of strategic planning statements.

What does this mean for Regional Councils and community?
We must have strategic planning statements in place by July 2020.

What is a Strategic Planning Statement?
A strategic Planning Statement will set a 20 year land use vision for an area and identify the special character and values that must be preserved. The statements are intended to be succinct documents that can be easily understood by the community.

So where do these statements sit in the hierarchy of complex planning controls?
The statements will implement actions outlined in the Regional plans, and the council’s own priorities in the Community Strategic Plan it prepares under local government legislation. The statements will guide how the development controls in the local environmental plan (LEP) evolve over time to meet the community’s needs, with the LEP the main tool to deliver the council and community’s plan.

How are the local strategic planning statements different to community strategic plans?
Local strategic planning statements focus on the vision and priorities for land use in the local area whereas community strategic plans (prepared under the Local Government Act 1993) have a broader focus on achieving the long term social, environmental and economic aspirations of the community.

What are the next steps for Regional Councils?
Councils will need to begin review of their current strategic planning documents and community strategic plans. Councils will need to identify and understand the gaps in their current strategic documents, so this information can be prepared to form part of the Strategic Planning Statement process.

Guidance on this process can be found at