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Growing Places e-newsletter

Here’s the latest information about building consents and resource consents from Waikato District Council.

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Covid-19 response

As well as processing consent applications and responding to customer enquiries, some of our planners and building inspectors also assisted in the North Waikato Emergency Operations Centre (NWEOC) during the lockdown in March, April and May. Building Quality Manager Merv Ballach was one of 4 shift Controllers, while others had key tasks in operations, logistics and communications roles, ensuring communities had the support they needed. This made a huge difference to people from all over the world. You can read more here.

Team Update

Consents Team Update

Since March 2020 Roxie Dow, Cameron Joe and Conor Von Kiesenberg have joined the consenting team, filling three vacant planner positions. Ella Makin has moved to the Principal Planner position, with Deborah Scott in the acting team leader role, and Keryn Bond also moving to senior planner. Several of our senior planners have also taken the opportunity to assist the Proposed District Plan (PDP) team. They are currently writing planner reports for different district plan chapters, scheduled for hearings later in the year.    

Building Team update

At the moment the consent numbers and inspection demand is very high. This may be impacted in the future with the expected economic downturn.

Changes in legislation around exempted work is due at the end of August. We don’t expect this to impact the number of consent applications but it may result in an increase in complaints about unauthorised building work.

Regrettably we are losing our Consent processing Team Leader Leanne Beal. Leanne is moving to take up a position as Team Leader Building compliance at Waipa District Council. This is an excellent career opportunity for Leanne and we wish her well.

Staff profile

Deborah Scott: Consents Team Leader

Deborah Scott joined Waikato District Council in January 2016 as a Graduate Planner and progressed over the following years to a Senior Planner role. Deborah has now taken on the role of Consents Team Leader for the eastern area of the Waikato District covering the Tamahere, Eureka, Hukunui-Waerenga and Whangamarino wards.

Deborah enjoys the challenge and variety this role offers between leadership, business improvement, problem solving, mentoring and working with customers.

Deborah gained her masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Victoria University of Wellington with a focus on revitalising and diversifying land use typologies in rural environments. This interest in land use activities and how they relate to the environment led her exploring planning as a profession. 

Outside of work Deborah enjoys spending time with friends and family and helping on the family farm.

Deborah Scott (1)

Processing statistics

Consents Statistics

Resource Consents lodged:
From July 2019 to July 2020 we received 938 resource consent applications. Over the months of April and May 2020 we received 108 applications, in comparison to April and May 2019 where we received 150 consents (a difference of 42 applications). 

Duty Planner Enquiries:
From July 2019 to 2020 we received 3945 Duty Planner enquiries, with the months April and May 2020 receiving 362 queries (a short fall of 295 from the same time in 2019).

Pre-application Meetings:
This is a similar trend. From July 2019 to July 2020 Council received 235 meeting requests. Over April and May 2020, the total number of applications were 24; in comparison, we received 37 requests for the same time in 2019.     

April and May 2020 was the Covid-19 lockdown period. Although numbers dipped from the previous year, Council planners were still very busy and, although we are now outside of lockdown, resource consent applications, duty planner enquiries and pre-application meetings have steadily increased each month. 

What's happening

New Pokeno Substation

Lines company Counties Power has enlivened a new $25m power supply project to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Pokeno area. A new indoor 110-22kV substation has been constructed, with additional project works including undergrounding of existing 22kV feeders in the area and new 22kV feeders to meet the needs of Pokeno township, industrial park and the rapidly growing greenfield residential subdivisions. 

Situated just south of the Bombay Hills, Pokeno has quickly expanded from a small village of 150 people to a township with more than a thousand new homes and an industrial centre. The area’s population is predicted to grow to 10,000 in the next ten years as it serves the expansion of Auckland. 

The building is designed to minimise visual impact on the community and deliver a safe and reliable power supply now and into the future.

Large industrial consumers in the area include Hynds Pipe Systems and infant formula manufacturers Synlait and Yashili. The additional works ensures redundancy of supply for the area and has the capacity to enable further growth for industries within the Pokeno area. 

A public open day was held for the local community before the substation went live, with around 500 people taking guided tours through the new substation. The Open Day was a unique opportunity to open the gates and present this project to the local community. 

View the Pokeno Substation Public Open Day video and photos on

Pokeno Substation_0H8A4681

Process focus

Stage 2 Proposed District Plan

Stage 2 of the Proposed District Plan was notified on 27 July 2020 and includes a review of the natural hazards and climate change topics. 

This review has resulted in the development of a new set of proposed objectives, policies, rules and definitions to manage the risk of natural hazards, and to mitigate and/or adapt to the effects of climate change. Stage 2 also consists of the variation to amend some of the provisions some sections of Stage 1 of the Proposed District Plan to ensure that there is a consistent approach to the management of natural hazard risk across the whole district plan.

The Proposed District Plan (Stage 2) includes mapping of areas that are subject to one or more natural hazard(s). The hazard areas are based on the most up to date technical assessments and modelling and identify land where certain types of natural hazards are present. Stage 2 planning maps include the following hazard areas:

  • Floodplain Management Area – shows the extent of flooding from the Waikato and Waipa Rivers during a 1% Annual Exceedence Probability (AEP) flood event (see below for an explanation of Annual Exceedence Probability);

  • Ponding Area – only two ponding areas have been identified on the planning maps. These are located adjacent to the eastern bank of the Waikato River in Huntly south and around Lake Waahi and Lake Puketirini in Huntly West;

  • High Risk Flood Area – these areas are a subset of the Floodplain Management Area and are areas where the depth of flood water during a 1% AEP flood event exceeds 1 metre and the speed of flood water exceeds 2 metres per second. The High Risk Flood Areas have only been identified adjacent to the main stem of the Waikato River between Horotiu and Ohinewai and a small length of the Waipa River from Saulbrey Road in Ngaruawahia to the confluence further north in Ngaruawahia;

  • Defended Area – this overlay area identifies land that would be at risk of flooding during a 1% AEP flood event if flood protection was not provided by a stopbank. These areas are generally located along the length of the Waikato River from the southern boundary of Huntly township to Otaua in the northern part of the district;

  • Mine Subsidence Risk Area – This area identifies land in Huntly East that is currently at risk of subsidence due to historic underground coal mining activities and the subsequent closure and refilling of the Huntly East underground mine;

  • High Risk Coastal Hazard (Erosion) Area and High Risk Coastal Hazard (Inundation) Area – these overlay areas identify land where there is significant risk from either coastal erosion or coastal inundation resulting from existing sea level and coastal processes. These areas have been identified in Raglan and Port Waikato urban areas and Whale Bay.

  • Coastal Sensitivity Area (Erosion) and Coastal Sensitivity Area (Inundation) – these overlay areas identify land that is potentially vulnerable to either coastal erosion or coastal inundation over a 100 year period to 2120, assuming a sea level rise of 1.0 metre as a result of climate change.

Not all hazards have been mapped. The location and extent of hazards such as land instability, wild fire and liquefaction have not been specifically identified. These hazards are to be assessed when proposing subdivision of land and other activities such as multi-unit development. In addition, only flooding and flood ponding adjacent to the Waikato and Waipa rivers have been identified on the planning maps. With the exception of the two identified flood ponding areas, any other flood ponding hazard will need to be assessed on a site-by-site basis when proposing to construct a building, carry out earthworks or undertake a subdivision.

The planning maps identify land that may be at risk of coastal erosion or inundation as a result of future sea level rise. In these areas the policies and rules focus on mitigation and, where mitigation is not possible, encourage adaptive measures, such as relocatable buildings, to ensure the risk to people and structures can be managed over the long term.

Existing public and private development located on land vulnerable to natural hazards is also recognised within Chapter 15. Adaptive management planning processes are encouraged in coastal areas as a means to manage risk to existing development and to build community resilience.

For Consents:
For applications lodged after 17 July we expect to see an assessment against the proposed objectives and policies of stage2.

Changes to be aware of

Amendments to the Resource Management Act 

Changes to the Resource Management Act 1991 (‘RMA’) were passed by Government on 30 June 2020. 

Some of the changes take effect immediately. Others will come into effect later this year and in 2021. Here is a summary of the changes: 

From 1 July 2020: 

  • The time period to lodge retrospective resource consent applications for emergency works is extended to 60 working days (s 330B).
  • The restriction on submitters to only appeal matters that were raised in their original submission is removed (s 120(1B)).
  • Subdivision activity reverts to the original presumption of being “restricted” (s 11(1)(a)).
  • The provisions in the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 which removed the ability to impose financial contributions as conditions of resource consents, and which required financial contributions provisions in RMA plans to be removed, which were set to be implemented in 2021, are repealed.
  • Financial contributions may not be recommended or imposed on a notice of requirement lodged by the Minister of Education or Minister of Defence as a requiring authority (s 171).

From 30 September 2020: 

  • Applicants can suspend the processing of their non-notified resource consent applications (new ss 91D to 91F).
  • Council can suspend the processing of resource consent applications until fixed administrative charges are paid (lodgement and notification) (new s 88H).
  • Public notification and appeal preclusions for resource consents for subdivision and residential activities is removed (s 95A).

From 31 December 2021 

  • Councils must have regard to emissions reduction plans and national adaptation plans under the Climate Change Response Act 2002 (as amended by the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act) when making and amending regional policy statements, regional plans and district plans – in force from 31 December 2021.

The Bill is now called the Resource Management Amendment Act 2020.

Helpful tips and reminders

Easement Wording

We’ve received number of Land Transfer Plans at s.223 stage with easement wording that doesn’t align with the Land Transfer Regulations 2008.

Please be aware that the water easements ‘right to drain wastewater/stormwater’ are incorrect. The correct terminology is ‘right to drain sewage/water’ as per the regulations. There may be times where the consent condition states ‘wastewater/stormwater’ incorrectly. Please make sure that all easements for water are correctly termed as per the regulations. 

Iwi Consultation

We’ve noticed that applications for both Land Use and Subdivision are being lodged with Council without assessment of the cultural values. Please keep in mind that if cultural values have not been adequately addressed in your application Council may look to return your application or issue a section 92 to ensure that these matters are addressed. Further information is provided below:

Iwi Consultation

Did you know that applications for any resource consent where the activity is within the Waikato River Catchment (refer to the planning maps) are expected to include details of consultation and any outcomes reached with local iwi/hapuu?

Chapter 19.2 of the Waikato Section and Part 52 of the Franklin Section sets out the information required to be submitted with all applications:

-       Chapter 19.2

-       Part 52

Cultural Values Assessment

In addition, where cultural effects are relevant, resource consent applications need to address actual or potential adverse effects on cultural values.

The best way to identify these values and take these into account is through consultation with the relevant iwi/hapuu.

Cultural values may be affected by an activity subject to or involving:

(a)    a site of historical or cultural significance to tangata whenua such as urupaa (burial sites), waahi tapu (sacred sites), known archaeological sites, or nohoanga sites (seasonal occupation sites);

(b)    flora and fauna of cultural significance to tangata whenua such as a mahinga kai (food resources) or species used for other cultural practices such as weaving (raranga) or traditional medicine (rongoaa);

(c)     areas of historical or spiritual importance to tangata whenua;

(d)    areas with significant landscape values to tangata whenua, including areas identified as cultural landscapes;

(e)    waterways or wetlands of importance to tangata whenua;

(f)      significant areas for tangata whenua within the coastal environment such as tauranga waka (canoe landing sites), mahinga kai areas (food resources and gathering) or waahi tapu.

As part of the resource consent process, an application may need to provide a Cultural Values Assessments (CVA), prepared by iwi/hapuu or their nominee. Not all resource consent applications will require a CVA. This needs to be decided by the relevant iwi/hapuu. After consultation, iwi/hapuu may advise that a CVA is not required.

If you are unsure what iwi/hapuu groups are interested in where you are developing, please feel free to get in contact with our Iwi and Community Partnerships Team via who can provide you with contact details for the relevant groups.

Common Further Information Requests on Building Consent applications

5 Top RFIs

  1. B1 Structure – Lintel fixings are incorrect or not supplied. 
  2. E2 External Moisture – Nogs to match cavity batten spacing for vertical cladding. 
  3. F5 Construction Hazards – Mitigation to be clearly noted on plans. 
  4. G4 Ventilation – Flow rates for extractor fans in wet areas to be noted on the plans.
  5. G12 Water supply – Safe trays and overflows detailed correctly for HWC.

5 reasons CCCs fail

  1. Documentation required as part of the Building consent not provided. 
  2. Documentation provided but with incorrect or missing details. 
  3. Missing inspections. In some instances we can work around this but ultimately if inspections have been missed and Council are not satisfied then the CCC would be failed. 
  4. Changes from the consented plans but no amendment has been provided. 
  5. Owners care items. On occasion the developer will carry out most of the work and leave some items for the owner to complete. For example landscaping , ground heights non-compliant at the final inspection also another common owners care item are the wet areas and tiling/ waterproofing of bathroom , ensuite etc. Regardless of who does this work it needs to be completed in order to issue a CCC.


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