Plan Ahead (September 2018)

Plan ahead or lose subdivision opportunities

Rules relating to subdivision are always changing – sometimes in a major way.  So, if you are managing a block of rural land you should keep abreast of the rules.  Too often we have people wanting to do what their neighbour did five of ten years ago and we must disappoint them.

Currently there are major plan changes under way in Waikato and Coromandel and minor tweaks are always on the go.  In the Coromandel, landowners recently lost the ability to subdivide with the average size of the resultant blocks being over 20 hectares.  They are now fighting in the Environment Court to get that rule back. 

In Waikato District, a recent announcement has opened opportunities for those in the old Franklin Council area and carried forward existing subdivision rules in the original Waikato area.  However, don’t be complacent if this offers you opportunities, as it may not last long.  What we can see, as with Coromandel, is that the final rule following Council Hearings is not what was advertised or what was requested in submissions.

There has been a huge shift towards directing lifestyle living into enclaves in the villages or on the outskirts of towns.  Typically, here, very small blocks more residential in nature are created – too small for some.  At the same time, other rural subdivision is being eliminated completely or limited to very large blocks.  Whilst this is understood in relation to large tracts of arable land, there is a place for subdivision on less productive land – it is claimed that small blocks can have a higher productivity than some pastoral land. 

By planning ahead, and taking advantage of past rules, many of our clients have established multiple adjoining titles.  This brings with it many opportunities to change the shape and size of these titles.  Most Councils allow some form of boundary adjustment.  This provides a huge advantage to some when they need to raise capital for a purchase, settle an independent family member or dispose of a house on the farm.

I don't see this trend being reversed in the future, short of an uprising by landowners.  So, my advice to everyone is to consider your options and plan ahead now.  Otherwise, if your circumstances change, and you want a smaller farm or some flexibility with your titles you will be forced to sell up and move.

If you are planning your future and wish to clarify any subdivision or boundary adjustment issues, 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 Waikato, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty.  For further information call 0800 268632 or email


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