Waikato Franklin Lifestyle (May 2015)

Subdivision rules complex in Waikato

The subdivision rules in Waikato are complex to say the least, but opportunities still exist.  A number of recent changes have been further complicated by the amalgamation of part of the old Franklin District with Waikato when the super city was formed.  There are more changes to come.

Since that time we have had two sets of subdivision rules to work with.  In the original Waikato area recent changes have attempted to force new rural development into the towns and villages by reducing the number of properties eligible to subdivide.  Effectively pushing them further away from Hamilton.  In an interesting twist, the minimum size for a lifestyle block is now 1.6 hectares – over three times the minimum size allowed in the past.  Now you have to start with a property over 20 hectares that has an older title in order to qualify.  

The old Franklin District area of the Waikato had its rural subdivision rules set by an Environment Court ruling a couple of years ago.  These rules do not allow the subdivision of lifestyle blocks in the same way unless you have environmental features such as at least two hectares of wetland or native bush on your property that meet certain standards. 

The other main way to subdivide off any block smaller than 40 hectares is to transfer a title from somewhere else in Waikato area of the ‘old district’.  These titles can be obtained by either amalgamating exiting separate rural tiles into a single new title thereby releasing a title or by protecting an ecological feature somewhere else in the district.  By importing these titles you can potentially obtain one new title on a rural lot under 4 hectares in size or two on lots over 4 hectares. There are restrictions on exactly where titles can be transferred from and to.

Because this type of subdivision was available in the old Franklin District it can also be achieved in those parts of Franklin that went to Auckland City and Hauraki District as well as Waikato at present.  A visit to Council will clarify if your property would have the potential to absorb a transferable title.

Ecologically based subdivisions are also possible in the original Waikato area of the District with a different set of criteria of course, but it is not possible to protect an area on one property to generate a subdivision on another – unless they are adjoining perhaps.

We can arrange the purchase of transferable titles but you need to be aware that the cost type required varies significantly according to where you are transferring to and the quality of land that you are subdividing.  An assessment must be made on a case by case basis as to what title you are able to use.  The cost of the title alone could be anywhere from $70,000 to over $200,000.  

With a pending review of the Waikato Rules, I believe that it is unlikely that this transferable title method of subdivision will continue.  I also believe that Council will push up the minimum size of a subdividable lot to 40 hectares at the next review.   If you are interested to find out how the changes may affect you, feel free to give me a call and discuss your particular situation. 

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


Trig points and topographical surveying
theodolite - traditional land surveying equipment
Surveying Services Subdivision Planning Team Vehicle
Mt Maunganui Land Surveying