General D Plan (January 2011)

Land values drop with council rule changes

At a time when we need it least, many district councils are moving to restrict what you can do with your land.  Particularly in the current economic climate, you could do without this type of intervention.  Landowners are getting beaten while they’re down and many don’t realise that they can do something about it.

These changes are coming about through a series of proposed district plans which have a focus on ‘protecting productive soils’ and are largely driven by the Regional Councils.  Although this is a real issue, perhaps councils are taking their control too far with proposals to set the rural land holding minimum size at 40 hectares and potentially stifling your ability to diversify or create a lifestyle block for sale.

Complacency by many could see such rules gain traction so you must participate in this public process.  It is important that you do so because once the rules are finalised there is really no way back.  Councils are reluctant to grant dispensations once the rules are passed.

All proposed district and regional plans are publicly notified, calling for submissions.  If you want to protect your operational flexibility and the capital value of your land you must participate in this process.  If you don’t, the process will be driven by regional councils and national authorities such as the New Zealand Transport Agency who have their own ideals – sadly they don’t always relate to your livelihood.

Often people have paid dearly for a property with development potential.  Finding that potential has disappeared is a complete shock when they come to undertake their plans in the future.  That shock can be avoided if you keep a look out for these rule changes and take part in the process.  You might not be able to keep the rules as they are but you do have a chance at moderating the changes.

My advice to landowners is simple.  Firstly, obtain a resource consent that secures your rights under the existing rules without having to take further action for five years.  Secondly, lodge a submission for or against the rule changes advising councillors of your suggestions and reasons for change.

Currently district plan changes are progressing in Waikato, Hauraki, Waipa, Western Bay, Otorohanga, and South Waikato.  Before long there is likely to be a review of the ‘Franklin Area’ of Waikato District, Rotorua and Thames Coromandel.   If you own land in one of these areas and had plans to subdivide or build additional houses on your property you should urgently contact a professional surveying company very familiar with these proposals.

Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Coromandel.  For further information call 0800 268 632 or email


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