New subdivision rules following moving day (June 2023)

With the annual migration of herds over for 2023, you might sense that you have crossed the border into a different country, rather than just another council area, if you were to check out the local subdivision rules. And any hopes of leaving the red tape behind will probably have faded already.

Shifting on to your first farm, or taking a plunge on a larger block might have looked attractive a while back when you decided to move. But now that interest rates have climbed and commodity prices look to have less upside, some might be looking to flick a lifestyle block to keep the bank manager happy.  Some might have even planned it that way at the outset. Either way, forget what you know and talk to the local council or, better still, an experienced subdivision company if you have less time to spare.

So, regardless of where you moved from, if you have crossed the border into a new council area different rural subdivision rules will apply. But, I hear you say, “we are still in New Zealand and governed by the same Resource Management Act aren’t we?” Well yes, but different councils have a different take on the legislation and approach growth in a different way. Also land use characteristics, including contour and soil fertility, vary from place to place.  Some councils place more emphasis than others on environmental enhancement through subdivision and then, of course, there are local politics at play.

Many of the opportunities for subdivision of rural land today revolve around environmental protection and the enhancement of natural features that once may have degraded due to a push for higher productivity. Today, many custodians of the land are focused on restoring wetlands, native stands of bush and regenerating scrublands. This hard work is rewarded with opportunities in many district plans for the subdivision of lifestyle blocks.  Typically these will take out only minor amounts of arable land or be located on the least productive land. This benefit gives the landowner some return for their contribution to the sustainability of the wider ecosystem.

Another opportunity landowners have is to rearrange the existing titles that they own, or work with a neighbour to realign their common boundary to a practical position.  Titles can often be changed in shape or size and even relocated to a different position on the farm.  This provides a vehicle for creating appropriate titles for family members who are retiring or starting out on their own. It also creates an opportunity to move some capital out of the farm to provide for personal security. Many farms have multiple titles because previous owners have taken advantage of past subdivision rules.  Perhaps it might be time to consider this yourself.

If you would like to explore your options, we are happy to give you the time to discuss the full potential of your land so feel free to give us a call and discuss your situation.