Hauraki Appeal (October 2012)

Plains farmers losing subdivision fight

Hauraki District Council recently announced the long awaited decisions on the Proposed District Plan.  It is no surprise to me that there has been little changed in the subdivision rules as a result of public submissions.

Unfortunately we have been dealt some very unworkable rules, particularly in the 'plains locality'.  In this area you won't be able to subdivide any longer unless you have in excess of 80ha or you are amalgamating two farms and cutting off one of the houses onto a maximum half hectare site.  Council also appear to have killed any rule allowing practical boundary adjustments by dictating that any lot cannot be made smaller if it is already under 40 hectares in size.

Unless there is a successful appeal against the rules, this is the end of the road for the plains farmers having control of their land for varied development and retiring on their block.  Unless they have an existing title of a manageable size they will have to move to town. 

Some have used the existing rules to set themselves up for this proposed change, but all are not well-informed on the changes or have been in a financial position to create themselves opportunities in this economic environment.

If the new rules are appealed, you still have a last chance to subdivide whilst that process is under way, however both sets of rules have to be considered in each application.  Most Councils allow applications to go through under the old rules during this period.

Under the old rules many landowners are allowed to subdivide off a small lifestyle block from their farm and most, with the better land, can even subdivide the farm into six hectare blocks if they wish.  This opportunity is fast disappearing in favour of the 40 hectare minimum.  Council are also proposing to increase the minimum size for town sections to 525 square metres from the current 350 square metre minimum. 

The six hectare rule will remain in the Waihi Basin on high class land and more lifestyle blocks will be allowed in other areas.  This is generally all the land to the west of State Highway 27 and to the east of State Highway 25, and includes other hilly areas of the District.  A variety of sizes from 5000 square metres will be available here depending on the size and age of the existing title. 

Thames-Coromandel is next on the list for an overhaul of the rules so keep a look out for their draft in the next month or so.  If you are interested in finding out how any of these changes may affect you, please feel free to give me a call. 

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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