Minden WBOP (February 2018)

Subdivision rules change lifestyle focus in Western Bay

Following a major rewrite of the rural subdivision rules in the Western Bay District (WBOP), the Minden Lifestyle Zone has become the focus for rural residential subdivision in the Bay. The change in rules took away the ability to subdivide ‘on site’ for many rural landowners and gave them the opportunity to sell their ‘rights’ to others located in the Lifestyle Zone. These rights, commonly known as Transferable Subdivision Rights, trade for around $20,000.  Older sites over 4 hectares in size can sometimes have these available to sell. TDRs can also be created by protecting ecological features and amalgamating existing titles together in the rural zone. 

Without purchasing these TDRs you cannot subdivide in the Lifestyle Zone.   This cost obviously adds significantly to the cost of subdivision in the Lifestyle Zone, however lot values have risen in recent years and many subdivisions have now been given approval.  Out of about 250 available under this plan change, 143 have been applied for according to Council’s latest update on their web site – most of these over the last five years.

The number of lots available were restricted by NZTA and the ability to safely access the State Highway.  According to NZTA, the construction of the Tauranga Northern Link is due to start this year. Once completed, Council have indicated that more sites will be released.  This will particularly be welcomed by landowners who access the highway at the Wairoa Bridge.  This area was limited initially to 30 sites which were taken very quickly indeed.

Elsewhere in the WBOP District, lifestyle subdivisions are very limited now.  The major opportunity is where your property has wetland over half a hectare in size, native bush or stream margins that can be planted out 20m wide in native vegetation – 500m on one side required.  Council will also allow some subdivision where you are providing land for public use such as a reserve or access thereto.  Other subdivision rules provide for horticultural blocks with a minimum of 6 hectares and 40 hectare rural blocks.

The emphasis for rural living blocks is now in the Minden Lifestyle Zone, although I would describe this as more of a rural 'residential' zone than lifestyle.  The blocks here are a minimum of 2500 square metres with many being closer to 5000 square metres.  This allows for a house with spacious yards but not for animals or any production.  Those seeking a true lifestyle block will generally have to find an already established larger block of a few hectares in size.

If you wish to clarify any subdivision strategies mentioned here please feel free to give me a call.  I am happy to discuss the situation with you to see if it is worth pursuing.

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


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