Sections 74(2)(c) and 75(2)(f) of the Act require that a territorial authority shall have regard to the extent to which the district plan needs to be consistent with the plans or proposed plans of adjacent territorial authorities, and address cross-boundary issues.
a) Other district plans
Different district plans can have varying subdivision provisions, even in one region where land having similar characteristics crosses territorial boundaries. Wide differences can occur in the area of minimum site sizes, subdivision consent categories and provisions relating to detailed matters such as permitted earthworks and infrastructure standards. These differences can distort the supply of land, and result in uncoordinated development patterns (including the "leap-frogging" of development over the boundary of a local authority into that of a neighbour with more permissive controls).
To help manage these issues, adjoining territorial authorities should work together on preparing district plan provisions in adjoining areas with the same or similar characteristics adjacent to common boundaries, particularly when considering the provision of infrastructure or urban growth management.
b) Regional Plans
Section 75(4) of the Act requires that the district plan must not be inconsistent with any regional plan. A regional plan or plans do not directly control subdivision, but will impact on related issues of urban growth, soil conservation (particularly earthworks controls), water quantity and quality, and natural hazards.
However, district plans may also manage effects in the same areas, so there is potential for overlap between regional and district plans. District and regional councils need to work together to carefully assess if they need to control what the other council may be able to manage more effectively. However, in some cases overlap is unavoidable because of the complementary nature of district and regional functions. For example, earthworks may have both visual effects (district council) and land stability and discharge effects (regional council).
It is good practice to ensure that overlapping controls between regional and district plans are avoided, or if necessary, then provisions should be integrated as far as possible to ensure that they are consistent and complementary.