Hauraki DP (June 2011)

Confusion reigns over future subdivision rules - Hauraki first under new legislation

There is always going to be confusion over what rules apply once Council announces a Proposed District Plan with new rules.  The latest amendment to the Resource Management Act (RMA) has clarified this somewhat but there are still some grey areas.

Hauraki District Council are the first local authority in this region to notify a Proposed District Plan under the amended RMA.  As such they are understandably challenged by some aspects relating to their ability to enforce the new rules.  There are some exceptions relating to protection of soils and significant features of value to the community, but basically their proposed subdivision rules cannot be introduced until they are beyond public submission and appeal.

That means that we are still free to make applications for subdivision and land use under the old rules of the Operative District Plan.  Many people are under the misconception that the rules have changed – that is simply not true.  There is still time to get approval under the old rules.

In Hauraki the Proposed District Plan was announced last September and we are expecting the Council hearing of submissions to be held within a few months.  So it could well be over 12 months from the start of the process before we see Council's decision.  Following the decisions, submitters have the opportunity to appeal to the Environment Court if they are not satisfied with the result.

Currently many of the Rural District Councils in the region are working through a review of their District Plans, including subdivision rules.  Along with Hauraki, Otorohanga, Waikato, (which now includes part of the old Franklin District) and Western Bay of Plenty are part way through the legal process.  Waipa is due to announce their Proposed District Plan soon.  Other Districts including Thames-Coromandel, South Waikato, Rotorua and Matamata-Piako have all signalled their intention to review their rules and will embark on the legal process in the months ahead.

In most areas rural subdivision will be harder to achieve in the future, so if you have plans you should consider instigating them sooner rather than later.  The process of making a subdivision is a lengthy process, however you only initially need a resource consent under the old rules and that is still well achievable in most districts.  Once you have that approved by Council the rest of the process can be spread out over eight years, giving you the opportunity to spread the costs if you don't need the titles immediately.

For specific advice on your property's subdivision potential you should immediately contact a professional surveying company very familiar with the evolving subdivision rules.

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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