Wakatipu Basin Land Use Study

The Wakatipu Basin Land Use Study was completed in March 2017 in response to a minute (dated 1 July 2016) released by the hearings panel for the Proposed District Plan review. 

The hearings panel raised concern that the fully discretionary activity regime of the Rural Zone would not achieve the Strategic Direction of the PDP in the Wakatipu Basin. As such they reached the view that a detailed analysis of the Basin was required.

The aims of this analysis were to:

  • Identify the environmental characteristics and amenity values of the area that should be maintained and enhanced, noting these will vary across the Wakatipu Basin
  • Identify areas that are able to absorb development, without adversely impacting the values derived in (a) and without adversely affecting the values associated with the surrounding the Outstanding Natural Landscapes and Outstanding Natural Features;
  • Identify those areas unable to absorb development; 
  • Determine whether, given the residual development already consented, there is any capacity for further development in the Wakatipu Basin floor and, if there is, where it should be located and what form it should take.

To complete this assessment consultants undertook a detailed investigation from a range of sources of information relating to the Basin.

The Wakatipu Basin Land Use Study area is highlighted in the figure below:

Wakatipu Basin Land Use Study


Read the report here

Appendix A Summary of Planning History
Appendix B Summary Response to the Brief
Appendix C Project Methodology
Appendix D Resident Population, Dwellings and Rural Activity
Appendix E Findings from Review of Council Reports and Evidence, and Submitter Evidence Landscape
Appendix F GIS Data Sources
Appendix G Rural Landscape Character Assessment Assumptions and Data Sources
Appendix H Landscape Character Unit Worksheets
Appendix I Folio of Figures
Appendix J Rural Landscape Character Assessment Analysis
Appendix K Absorption Capability Rating.BK 19 APRIL 2017
Appendix L Additional Dwellings Capacity
FINAL 01 Report 13-03-17


The Wakatipu Basin Land Use Study produced the following conclusions:

  • The Basin is a special landscape that is critical to retaining the high quality of Queenstown’s environment.  The Basin is integral to the visitor and resident experience of Queenstown and plays an important part in the local economy;
  • Increasing populations from both residents and visitor accommodation is a core driver of the development pressures on the Basin and contribution to cumulative adverse effects on its values;
  • Protection of the Basin from inappropriate development is the fundamental driver to establishing an appropriate planning regime.  The existing rural character of the area is no longer derived solely from farming activities but a mix of       rural activities that reflect lifestyle uses of land, with pockets of small scale “hobby farming”.  Larger farming blocks that are actively farmed for productive purposes are generally located in the outer ‘peripheral parts’ of the Basin;
  • Areas within the Basin can be characterised as having High to Very Low capability to absorb additional development.  This varying absorption capability commends a range of potential planning strategy responses;
  • The ‘Discretionary Activity’ planning regime is unlikely to achieve the Strategic Direction of the Proposed District Plan; and
  • Planning provisions of the Basin should stand alone and be clearly distinguishable from the general zonings that apply to the rest of the District.

Next steps

The findings of the Wakatipu Basin Land Use Study do not represent Council’s view at this point in time.  The report has been publicly released for public information and transparency purposes. 

Further investigation is being carried out to determine if the recommendations are appropriate, and if any changes to the plan are required. This will be reported back to Council in due course.

If you have any questions about this report please contact us on 03 441 0499 or services@qldc.govt.nz