Otago’s current Regional Policy Statement (RPS) became fully operative on 4 March 2024 with public notice issued on 24 February 2024.

The Otago Regional Policy Statement provides high level direction for resource management in Otago and contains objectives, policies and methods to achieve integrated management of natural and physical resources. Regional and District Plans must give effect to it.

The Otago Regional Policy Statement 2019 can be read here:

The RPS aims to ensure Otago’s natural and built resources are managed well, and to provide for Otago’s social, economic, cultural, and environmental wellbeing; community health and safety; and for future generations. While the Otago Regional Policy Statement 2019 is now fully operative, a new proposed Otago Regional Policy Statement 2021 is currently in development. Further information on this process can be found here.

The process

The following review begins with the newest events and works backwards through the RPS development process.

March 2024
ORC approves provisions related to port activities to be made operative and added to the Partially Operative Regional Policy Statement 2019 on 4 March 2024. As a consequence, the Regional Policy Statement for Otago 2019 is now fully operative.

In accordance with the National Policy Statement for Urban Development, ORC approves inserting housing bottom lines for Queenstown and Dunedin into the Partially Operative Regional Policy Statement 2019 on 21 February 2024.

August 2023
The Supreme Court releases its decision regarding port activities at Port Chalmers and Dunedin. No matters remain under appeal.

March 2021
With all proposed provisions now finalised, excepting those relating to port activities, the ORC approves the finalised provisions to be made operative and added to the Partially Operative Regional Policy Statement 2019 on 15 March, 2021. As a consequence, the Regional Policy Statement for Otago 1998 is revoked in full. Provisions relating to port activities remain under appeal and are due for a hearing at the Court of Appeal in July 2021.

August 2020
A final court decision is reached regarding indigenous biodiversity offsetting, following a High Court hearing and further review by the Environment Court.

December 2018
A number of proposed provisions remain subject to ongoing appeals or lack Environment Court approval. Given the extended time being taken to finalise appeals, Council resolves to make agreed provisions operative in January 2019, forming the Partially Operative Otago Regional Policy Statement 2019. Some provisions of the previous RPS (which became operative in 1998) remain operative.

February 2018
Two appeal points that were not resolved through mediation, concerning ports and indigenous biodiversity offsetting (largely in the context of mining), are heard by the Environment Court.

Early 2018
Matters resolved through mediation become the subject of 19 separate memoranda and associated court orders, lodged with the Environment Court through the first half of 2018.

ORC, appellants, and section 274 parties undertake mediation and negotiating throughout 2017 on the issues raised in appeals.

October 2016 – January 2017 
The council releases the decisions version of the RPS on Saturday 1 October 2016. The appeal period closes on Friday 9 December 2016 with 26 notices of appeals received. Parties then have the opportunity to lodge and serve a notice under section 274 of the Resource Management Act 1991 to become a party to the proceedings. This period closed on Monday 23 January 2017.

December 2015 to September 2016 
The hearings panel deliberates on submissions received.

November 2015
The hearing panel hears or receives evidence from 88 submitters.

May 2015
The proposed Regional Policy Statement is publicly notified on 23 May 2015; 156 submissions and 42 further submissions are received.