What is the District Plan?

A District Plan is a document which sets out the guidance and rules on how you can use and develop your land.

Every development project needs to be assessed under the Waikato District Plan to determine if resource consent is required.

The best way to view the District Plan is online as it is always up to date. You can also view a hard copy of the District Plan at Waikato District Council head office in Ngaruawahia or at any one of our outer offices and libraries.

Why is the District Plan being reviewed?

Under the Resource Management Act, each provision of a District Plan has to be reviewed every ten years. Much of the review blends the Franklin and Waikato sections into a single District Plan with a consistent approach to development and growth for the first time since the district’s boundary changes in 2010.

Review of the District Plan allows communities to reassess environmental outcomes and priorities, and to redefine their vision for the future of the district.

How does the District Plan affect me?

The district plan affects the way you and your neighbours can use and develop your properties. It identifies a range of activities that are anticipated in the district, where they should occur and regulates these activities through the objectives, policies, rules, explanations and definitions.

The positive outcomes achieved through the district plan generally go unnoticed for most people and it is often not until someone wants to start a new activity or redevelop their property that they become aware of the district plan regulations and the intended outcomes.

Some common ways the district plan can affect property owners are:

  • How close to the boundary you can build or extend your house, garage or other buildings.
  • How many dwellings you can have on your property.
  • Whether you can subdivide your property.
  • Whether there are any 'special values' relating to your property.
  • Whether you can operate a business from your home.
  • The organisation of festivals and events.


What's the process for reviewing the District Plan? Can I have a say?

The process for reviewing the District Plan looks like this:


We’re seeking further submissions on the Proposed District Plan (Stage 1) until 9am Monday 27 May.

Stage 1 includes all District Plan issues and provisions except for natural hazards and climate change, which are in Stage 2.  The same opportunities for making submissions and further submissions will be provided for all issues being handled as part of the Proposed District Plan (Stage 2).

We're expecting to publish a draft for Stage 2 later in 2019.

Consultation in more detail: Since work on preparing the Proposed District Plan started in 2015, it has involved comprehensive consultation with:

  • Iwi through an Iwi Reference Group that was established (following consultation) as a forum for issues and options to be discussed
  • The wider community – first through open days and opportunities to comment on the draft plan, then through a three-month period for formal submissions after the Proposed District Plan (Stage 1) was notified in July 2018, and now through a period for further submissions
  • Key stakeholders with specific interests (such as other local authorities, and New Zealand Transport Agency), who have been consulted throughout the plan development
  • Landowners who have been directly affected by a proposed provision (such as a heritage building or a Significant Natural Area) were invited to one on one meetings or been contacted by phone.

What is the Summary of Submissions?

The Council staff have analysed all the submissions that were made on the Proposed District Plan (Stage 1) after it was notified in July 2018, and they have compiled a summary of the decisions requested. For the sake of simplicity we call this a Summary of Submissions, and we publish this summary in two ways – first, by alphabetical order of submitters, and second, by order of the chapter in the Proposed Distict Plan. These documents are prepared so people can quickly decide if a submission is of interest to them, and whether they wish to make a further submission to support or oppose the original submission.

You can find a copy of the original submissions and summary of submissions here

What is a further submission?

A further submission is a written statement that allows you to support or oppose other people’s submissions. It also gives you the opportunity to comment on how a submission may impact you, and to have your views considered by the hearings panel along with the original submission.

Who can make a further submission?

You are entitled to make a further submission if you can demonstrate a special interest in the Proposed District Plan. So please take care to show either that your interest is greater than that of the public in general, or that you are representing a relevant aspect of the public interest.  If in doubt, please simply make a further submission and the hearing panel will decide whether it can be considered.

A simple example is an original submitter requesting a rezoning of a block of land (which includes your property) from Rural to Residential. If you consider this request has merit, you may lodge a further submission in support. Alternatively, if you consider that a residential zoning would be inappropriate for your property, you may lodge a further submission which opposes that original submission. In both cases, you need to provide reasons.

You do not need to have made an original submission to make a further submission.

What happens next?

Once the further submission period closes, council staff will analyse all the further submissions and make sure they’re linked to the original submission and the appropriate plan provision.

The original submissions, as well as the further submissions, inform reports that council staff prepare ahead of the hearings.

What is the difference between the Proposed Waikato District Plan, the Long Term Plan and the new Waikato District Blueprint?

The Long Term Plan summarises Council activities and how we expect to fund these over the next 10 years.

Our Blueprints are intended to capture your priorities for how we work together to build liveable, thriving and connected communities.

The District Plan sets the rules for how we manage, use and develop land.

What issues does the District Plan deal with?

The District Plan plays a big part in how the Waikato district develops, addressing such diverse issues as character, amenity, heritage and landscape, open spaces, urban growth, subdivision and coastal management.

The District Plan says how Council will manage significant resource management issues. This might include:

  • Building development and earthworks
  • Land use activities such as residential, retail and industrial activities
  • Subdivision of land and associated earthworks
  • Protecting historic heritage and natural areas
  • Managing natural hazards
  • Hazardous substances
  • Contaminated land
  • Noise control
  • Activities on the surface of water in rivers and lakes

It also manages more minor matters such as the minimum distance a garage should be located from a property boundary.

What issue doesn't the District Plan deal with?

Under the Resource Management Act, the District Plan does not address the following matters. Waikato Regional Council considers these matters in its Regional Policy Statement, Regional Coastal Policy Plan and Regional Plan.

  • Soil conservation
  • The maintenance and enhancement of the quality of water
  • The maintenance of the quantity of water
  • The maintenance and enhancement of ecosystems in water
  • The taking, using, damming and diversion of water
  • Discharges of contaminants into or onto land, air, or water and discharges of water into water
  • Activities in the coastal marine area (below the high tide mark)

How do I know which rules from the District Plan apply to me?

A copy of the District Plan is available online or can be viewed at any of the Council offices or libraries. This plan contains 'rules' for each of our zones (Rural, Residential etc). To find which zone your property is in, check out the District Plan planning maps online. Once you have found which zone you fit within, you can view the relevant rules in the appropriate section of the District Plan online.