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Planning & Resource Consents
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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we charge Developer Contributions?

  • Council does not currently require payment of Developer Contributions as part of a subdivision.

What is a District Plan?

  • The District Plan, as a requirement of the Resource Management Act 1991, is a document that has standards that all subdivision, development and land-use activities are subject to across the Wairoa district. View the Operative District Plan.

Are rules the same in every District?

  • Each Council has its own District Plan which sets out its own rules for managing natural and physical resources within its district. This reflects the unique circumstances within each district. This means that what is allowed to be undertaken as a permitted activity in one district may require resource consent in another district.

How do I find out the zoning for my property?

  • Refer to Planning Maps or contact the District Planner.

What is the maximum height I can build to?

  • The maximum height of a building / structure depends on the zoning of the property. Maximum heights are detailed in the District Plan but are summarised below:

    ZoneMax Building Height
    Conservation and Reserves 10m
    Coastal 10m
    Coastal (Mahia) 8m
    Residential 10m
    Residential (Mahia) 8m
    Settlement 10m
    Town Centre 12m
    Industrial 15m

    There may be some variances for utilities and also in relation to distances from boundaries.

How high can I build my fence without resource consent?

  • Up to 2m. Fences higher than 2m will require both building consent and resource consent.

How far from a boundary can I build?

  • This will depend on the zoning of the property. The required setbacks are given below:

    ZoneFront Boundary SetbackRear Boundary SetbackSide boundary Setback*
    Conservation and Reserves 15m 15m 15m
    Coastal 15m 15m 15m
    Coastal (Mahia) 15m 15m 15m
    Residential 3m 3m 1.5m
    Residential (Mahia) 3m 3m 1.5m
    Settlement 3m 3m 1.5m
    Town Centre Nil 3.0m Nil*
    Industrial 5m Nil Nil

    * There are some exceptions to these general rules - refer to the District Plan.

How can I tell where my boundary is?

  • The Certificate of Title for a property shows the dimensions of the boundaries. There are normally survey pegs in each corner of the site. If these cannot be found, a surveyor should be employed to determine where the boundary is. The Council cannot not advise you on this.

Can I put a relocatable building on my property?

  • Generally, yes - Any relocatable building will be assessed in the same way as a new building. Building consent will also be required.

Can I run a business from my property?

  • In all zones other than Coastal (Mahia) and Residential (Mahia), you can undertake any land use activity on your property, provided it complies with the relevant performance standards for that zone.

    In the Coastal (Mahia) and Residential (Mahia) Zones, the following 'business' activities are allowed provided they comply with the relevant performance standards:
    • Education facilities for a maximum of 10 people
    • Home business
    • Accommodation facilities (for a maximum of four people)

    All other business / commercial activities in these zones will require land use consent.

If I require building consent, do I also need a Resource Consent?

  • Not in all cases.

    All applications for building consent will be assessed against the District Plan to determine if resource consent is also required. If resource consent is required, and you have not been advised already, you will be advised in writing.

What do I do if my building project involves a heritage building?

  • If you are proposing to carry out work on your home or building and it is on the list of heritage buildings in the District Plan, it is likely that you will need to apply for a resource consent as well as a building consent.

    The repair or maintenance of heritage buildings listed in the District Plan is generally permitted although there are some exceptions. Consent will be required for any alterations or additions to those buildings listed as well as for their relocation, demolition or destruction.

Where can I get a copy of the Certificate of Title for my property?

  • Your solicitor may have a copy but you can contact Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) and get them to provide you with a copy for a charge prescribed by LINZ. The Council does not hold Certificates of Title.

Will I require resource consent for earthworks on my property?

  • This will depend on how much earthworks are proposed and the zoning of your land and is summarised in the table below:

    ZoneMaximum allowable volume of earthworks (m3) over 12 monthsMaximum allowable area of earthworks (m2)Allowable 'face' height of any earthworks (m)
    Conservation and Reserves 50 300 1.5
    Coastal 50 300 1.5
    Coastal (Mahia) 150 500 1.5
    Residential 150 150 3.0
    Residential (Mahia) 300 320 - serviced sites
    400 - unserviced sites
    Settlement 300 150 3.0
    Town Centre 300 150 3.0
    Industrial 150 150 3.0

    Earthworks are not permitted within 20m of any water body – rivers, lakes, wetlands etc.

    There are some exclusions, where certain activities do not fall within the definition of earthworks (refer to Chapter 31: Definitions of the District Plan). These include but are not limited to:
    • Domestic gardening, land cultivation and horticulture
    • Production forestry
    • Foundation works or effluent disposal field works
    • General farming activities

Can I clear vegetation from my property?

  • This will depend on the extent of clearing and the type of vegetation to be cleared.

    It is likely that removal of more than 1 hectare of 'significant indigenous vegetation' will require resource consent.

    Significant Indigenous vegetation typically includes any indigenous vegetation that has the potential to attain a diameter of 30cm or more at breast height at maturity or has an average canopy height of at least 6m.

    It is advisable to discuss your proposal with the District planner as well as contacting the Department of Conservation and the Hawkes Bay Regional Council as we will generally seek their comment on such activities.

What is a resource consent?

  • A resource (land use) consent is written approval from the Council to use your land in a way that does not comply with all the relevant rules of the District Plan.

    A resource consent for subdivision is written approval from the Council to subdivide your land. All subdivision requires consent (other than subdivision for boundary adjustments in most areas).

    Land use and subdivision consents may be subject to conditions of consent.

How much does a resource consent application cost?

  • Costs are payable for processing consents at an hourly rate. More complex applications, those that require additional reports or hearings, will require more time for processing and hence will cost more.

    A deposit fee is required on application for all consents. Consents will not be processed without this fee.
    • Deposit fee for land use consent - $450
    • Deposit fee for subdivision consent - $850

    Higher deposit fees are required for those consents that will require notification. Refer to Fees and Charges Schedule.

How long does it take to get a decision on a Resource Consent application?

  • Most consents are non-notified and are processed within 20 working days (four weeks) as required under the Resource Management Act 1991.

    The length of time for processing consent depends largely on a good quality complete application being received that completely describes the activity and the effects on the environment.

    How the application is to be processed can also affect the processing time e.g. non-notified, limited notification or public notification. A non-notified consent will be processed within 20 working days while a notified consent will take at least two months, more if a hearing is required.

How do I apply for Resource Consent?

  • You need to complete and submit an application form together with other information, drawings/plans and a deposit fee. The information you need to supply will depend on what you are applying for. A check list is attached to the application form.

    Refer to Guide to Applying for Resource Consent

    Generally, an Assessment of Environmental Effects' will need to be prepared and submitted with the application. This provides information on the likely effects that your activity will have on the environment and what your proposals are, if any, to address those effects.

Why do I have conditions on my consent?

  • Conditions are placed on consents to protect the environment for current and future users and are designed to avoid or mitigate any negative environmental effects resulting from your activity.

    The consent holder must comply with all conditions of consent on their consent.

How long does my resource consent last?

  • Unless otherwise advised when consent is granted, your resource consent will 'lapse' or expire after five years if you have not started the activity (known as 'giving effect to your consent').

    When applying for resource consent, you may request a different timeframe.

    You can apply for an extension of time under s125 of the Resource Management Act (refer to What happens if I do not use my Consent?)
  • Consents must be used (exercised) before they lapse (within five years of being granted unless otherwise stated).

    You can apply for an extension of the period for the consent under section 125 of the Resource Management Act but this must be done before it lapses. Evidence must be supplied to show that you have worked towards starting the activity.

Can I change my consent?

  • You can apply to change or cancel any condition of consent of your resource consent under section 127 of the Resource Management Act. Any request for a change or cancellation of conditions will be treated as if it is an application for a new consent.

    Where there is a condition on the duration or term of your consent, you cannot apply for a variation to this.

Can I transfer my consent to someone else?

  • Resource consents relating to land use generally 'run with the land' and will be transferred when you sell the property.

What if I don't follow the consitions of my consent?

  • Failing to keep to the conditions of consent may cause damage to the environment and could lead to enforcement action being taken against you although sometimes, such issues can be resolved through discussion and agreement on a suitable course of action.

    However, if cooperation is not forthcoming, the Council can prosecute the offending party or seek an Enforcement Order from the Environment Court. In such circumstances, Council can seek costs against the other party and the Court can also impose significant fines.

Do I have to go to the Council's office to view an application for resource consent that has been notified?

  • No. As well as copies of all notified applications being available for viewing at the Council's offices, copies are also held at the library and also on Council's website.

    Depending on the application, copies may also be made available at a location close to the subject site.

    Viewing locations will be identified for each proposal in the public notice / advertisement.

What is a subdivision?

  • A subdivision is the division of a parcel of land, or lot, into smaller parcels (sections/lots). This results in the creation of new lots, each with its own distinct title.

    All subdivision requires consent (other than subdivision for boundary adjustment purposes in some cases).

    It is recommended that you apply for subdivision consent using a qualified surveyor.

What costs are involved in subdividing my property?

  • There will be costs incurred by using a surveyor as well as costs from Council for processing the application.

    Costs are payable to Council for processing consents at an hourly rate. More complex applications, those that require additional reports or hearings, will require more time for processing and hence will cost more.

    A deposit fee is required on application for all subdivision consents. Consents will not be processed without this fee. The deposit fee for a non-notified subdivision consent is $800. Higher deposit fees are required for those consents that will require notification.

    We are unable to provide advice on the cost of employing a surveyor for your subdivision.

I'm looking at purchasing a property. Can it be subdivided?

  • This will depend on various factors including the zoning of the land and its size. Refer to the District Plan for subdivision rules in relation to different zones or contact the District Planner.

    It is advisable to take professional advice from your solicitor or a surveyor before purchasing a property.

How long do I have to complete my subdivision?

  • The works must be completed and a completion certificate issued pursuant to Section 224(c) of the Resource Management Act 1991 prior to the section 223 certificate elapsing.

    The s223 certificate confirms that the final survey plan complies with the agreed subdivision consent. You have five years (unless otherwise specified in the consent) to obtain a s223 certificate. A fee will apply.

    The s224(c) certificate confirms that all conditions of consent have been met. You have three years from the date of the s223 certificate to obtain the s224(c) completion certificate and have it lodged with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) for titles to be issued. A fee will apply.

How small can I subdivide my property to?

  • Other than in the Coastal (Mahia) and Residential (Mahia) zones, minimum lot sizes are not specified.

    However, there are a number of performance standards that may influence the lot size. Refer to Chapter 27: Subdivision of the District Plan.

    The following minimum lot sizes apply for the Coastal (Mahia) and Residential (Mahia) zones:

    ZoneMinimum Lot Size
    Coastal (Mahia) 4ha other than:
    5,000m2 in the Coastal Mahanga Policy Area
    Residential (Mahia) 800m2 for unserviced sites
    1,000m2 for services sites

Can I put a sign up without resource consent?

  • Not all signs need resource consent. For example, temporary signs for community events and the disposal of property are permitted provided they meet the size restrictions for the relevant zone and provided they are erected no more than six months before the event and are removed within one week of the event
  • Election signs are permitted but must comply with the applicable Council policy.
  • Generally speaking, you can erect an advertising sign on the property to which it relates without resource consent, provided it meets certain criteria such as size and letter height.
  • All 'off-site' advertising signs, those erected on properties other than that to which it relates, will require resource consent.
  • Signs are not permitted on road reserve or other Council reserves.


For more information please contact the Wairoa District Council.

+64 6 838 7309


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