Waikato Regional Council Proposes Increase (January 2021)

Waikato Regional Council proposes an increase to minimum area for subdivisions.

If you have been watching Council proposals for updating rural subdivision rules in the Waikato District you will well know that change is afoot.  Be aware that this may take away some ‘rights’ that you currently enjoy.

Whilst some farmers in Northern Waikato (the old Franklin District) may benefit from this change if they haven’t subdivided in recent times, the impact for those within the old District Boundary could well be negative, depending on the size of their current titles.

Following amalgamation of Waikato with part of Franklin some years back now, Council needs to create a single set of subdivision rules for the entire District.

In the Franklin area there have been more restrictive subdivision provisions over recent years, with most options relating to either environmental protection blocks or transferable titles – a complex process involving the amalgamation of titles to justify the creation of lifestyle blocks on less productive soils.  That rule is destined for history now since the current Council does not support this type of subdivision. 

It is a different story for those farmers located within the old Waikato District Boundary where the subdivision of lifestyle blocks has been allowed in the past but appears to be being quickly stamped out.  Even though the proposed subdivision rules support the status quo, we believe that following hearings they will change.

The reason is that Regional Council have opposed the continuation of the lifestyle subdivision rule which enables subdivision where your title is at least 20 hectares in size.  They submitted that a minimum title size of 40 hectares should be required before you can subdivide a lifestyle block off.  In my opinion, Regional Council will fight this right through to the Environment Court, and they have the finance and clout to achieve their goal. I personally see it as a fate accompli.

Therefore, there is some urgency for landowners, particularly those with titles between 20 ha and 40 ha, to instigate an application to Council.  If such an application was lodged prior to Council’s decision following hearings being announced, then it is likely that a subdivision consent could be granted. 

With this decision due soon, time is running out for those who wish to create a lifestyle block for sale or family reasons, and you should act now to avoid disappointment.

There are many technical details to be considered when proposing a subdivision, apart from the land size, so it is important to consult a specialist subdivision company for initial advice pertaining to your land, prior to proceeding with a subdivision proposal.  If you have any desire to create additional titles from your land, please feel free to give me a call to discuss your options before it’s too late.

Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Hauraki, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty.  For further information call 027 499 3778 or email

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