Waikato (March 2012)

Waikato landowners get subdivision reprieve

It is business as usual for those wanting to subdivide in the Waikato District.  The proposed change, restricting subdivision, has been appealed by several parties.  This means that we can use the old rules to subdivide whilst the appeal is processed by the Environment Court.

So, subject to your property qualifying in terms of size and date of title, you can proceed again to subdivide two lifestyle blocks off down to a size of 5000 square metres (1.25 acres) each.  This opportunity has a 'use by' date, governed by the time the Environment Court takes to deal with the appeals.  This time frame can be as little as several months, but there are examples around where appeals have taken years to resolve.

The appeals mainly relate to the size of the parent title that is to be subdivided and the number of resultant blocks.  Most are suggesting the rules return to where they were before the change was notified, however the Waikato Regional Council are pushing for the parent block to be over 40ha before any subdivision is allowed to take place.  If they win the day, any future lifestyle blocks will be located well away from the current population centres, amongst the larger farming operations.  Lifestyle blocks close to town will be limited to what they are today with a subsequent lift in value, I believe.

The Environment Court proceedings are open only to those who have made original submissions and then either appealed themselves or registered as interested parties to the appeal, which we have.  As such we will be monitoring the situation carefully on behalf of our existing and future clients to see what opportunities arise or are likely to disappear.

If you have just considered subdivision in the past you may like to seek another opinion now.  Whilst there may be many months before this is settled and new rules in place, applications take time and that time will quickly disappear.

I am betting that the outcome of this proposed rule change has the potential to be far worse that the notified rules once the Environment Court and Regional Council have finished with it so you shouldn't even count on getting the one lifestyle lot, particularly if you have less than 40ha to start with.  What we have here is a reprieve, not a result, so if you are one who has been procrastinating over how to get the best value out of your land – now is the time to act, before it is too late.

Hauraki, Matamata Piako, Waipa and Thames Coromandel are all reviewing rules following Western Bay of Plenty earlier.  If you are interested to find out how the changes may affect you, feel free to give me a call. 

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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