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On this page you will find the answers to frequently asked questions about the proposed district plan and related topics.

If you have any further questions, please contact the District Plan team.

Private Plan changes FAQs

What is a Private Plan Change?

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) allows any person to seek changes to the District Plan through a request for a private plan change.

All plan changes are required to go through a series of processes – including public notification, submissions and hearings, as well as the right of appeal to the Environment Court.

Private plan changes can be used to change or introduce new provisions into the District Plan, for a variety of situations, including but not limited to:

  • Rezoning of land
  • Addition of a building to the schedule of heritage buildings
  • Amendments to rules.

Should I apply for a private plan change?

If your proposal is site-specific, one-off, and/or a small-scale project, it may be more appropriate for you to apply for a resource consent. Resource consents essentially grant permission for an activity, while a private plan change alters the District Plan itself.

Waikato District Council (WDC) actively monitors the effectiveness of the District Plan, and regularly initiates plan changes to respond to emerging issues. If your proposal is not an issue that the Council is proposing to deal with through the plan change process, you may have the option of applying for a private plan change. Please refer to Schedule 1 - Part 2 - Clause 25(4) of the RMA.

Waikato District Council currently has a proposed district plan, can I still apply for a private plan change?

The Waikato Proposed District Plan is not yet operative therefore a Private Plan Change cannot be processed for two years from the operative date.

Can Council reject a private plan change request?

Waikato District Council can reject a private plan change request, either in whole or in part, for a number of reasons. Those reasons include that the request has been considered by Council or the Environment Court within the last 2 years or that the request is not in accordance with sound resource management practice or in the case of a proposed plan has not been operative for two years.

What does the private plan change process involve?

If you have decided to investigate undertaking a private plan change, you will need to familiarise yourself with the process below:

  1. The applicant lodges a private plan change request with Waikato District Council (WDC). This must be in writing, express your reasons for the plan change and describe the environmental effects of the proposal. You will need to produce a plan change document that includes an explanation of the proposed change and a report which considers the appropriateness of the plan change and assesses the costs and benefits of the environmental, economic, social and cultural effects anticipated as a result of the plan change.
  2. WDC processes the request. Council can request further information and commission reports if necessary.
  3. If necessary and/or appropriate, WDC may modify the request, with the applicant’s permission.
  4. The Council decides whether to adopt, accept or reject the plan change request, or to convert it to a resource consent.
  5. The Council publicly notifies that it has adopted or accepted the plan change, and calls for submissions, and subsequently further submissions, from the public.
  6. The Council holds a hearing if required, where it assesses the plan change and the submissions made. The Council will then publicly notify its decision.
  7. Any submitter can appeal the Council’s decision to the Environment Court within 30 working days of the decision being made public.

How long does it take?

A basic private plan change can take between six months and one year to process. A more complex plan change could take two years to process. An application which includes evidence of appropriate consultation and complete and correct information will take less time to process.

How much will a private plan change cost?

All costs associated with a private plan change are the responsibility of the applicant. Those costs include expert advice from a planning consultant which is required to prepare a private plan change.

Waikato District Council (WDC) requires that a deposit be paid upon receipt of a private plan change request, to cover the initial application processing costs. Because the initial payment is only a deposit, additional payments will likely be required.

The initial deposit payable is contained in WDC’s fees and charges and generally is as per the table below:

Table of Private Plan Change fees and charges

However, where the plan change to which the charges relate has any of the following attributes, the deposit may be increased up to a maximum of $27,000:

  • it involves a major change in policy
  • it affects a wide geographical area
  • it is likely to involve the Council in significant investigation or research • it has any other attribute that is likely to incur significant cost.

Once the costs incurred surpass the deposit paid, any other charges will be invoiced on a monthly basis.

The costs of processing requests for private plan changes are based on the specified hourly rates of the planners and technical experts required as noted in the fees and charges 2021-2024 on council’s website. These costs also include any time that is spent in meetings.

The total costs of a private plan change depend on the scope and complexity of the request.

How do I apply for a private plan change?

Before preparing your application, we recommend arranging a meeting with relevant Waikato District Council (WDC) staff members from the District Planning, Consents, Economic Development and Strategic Planning teams, so that they can consider whether the plan change fits within the bounds of various strategies for the district, such as Waikato 2070 the Districts Growth and Economic Development Strategy and the Future Proof Strategy 2022. It is also strongly recommended to hire a planning consultant to assist you with the preparation of your application.

If your Plan Change proposal is not consistent with the urban areas, densities or timing set out in the Future Proof Strategy 2022 ( you will need to complete the Out of Sequence/Unanticipated Development form and demonstrate how the development will meet the criteria in section B7 of the Strategy

Proposed Waikato District Plan Decision FAQs

How do I find out what the decision is on my submission? 
There were well over 1000 submissions, and 11,000 individual points so we have created a document for each submitter here. This document states your submission point, whether it is accepted, rejected or accepted in part and which decision report the matter is addressed in.    
What does accept in part mean? 
“Accept in part” is used where only part of the submission is accepted, or where an alternative solution has been developed by the Hearings Panel to the concerns raised.  
Why are there further submissions relating to my submission point? 
A further submission is where someone has supported or opposed your original submission. A further submission cannot extend the scope of an original submission.  
Where can I find the district plan maps?  
The decision version of the maps is here.  
Where can I find the rules?  
The decision version of the provisions is here.  
Which is the decision, the strikethrough version or the clean version? 
The Hearing Panel’s decision is here, and is the version structured into the National Planning Standards. The tracked change version is to help submitters understand the changes to each provision. If there are any discrepancies between the two versions, the clean version structured into the National Planning Standards prevails.
Who made the decision?  

The Waikato District Council appointed a seven-person independent panel to hear and decide submissions on the Proposed Waikato District Plan:

  • Dr Phil Mitchell (Chair)
  • Mr Paul Cooney (Deputy Chair)
  • Mr Dynes Fulton
  • Mr Weo Maag
  • Ms Linda Te Aho
  • Ms Jan Sedgwick
  • Ms Janet Gibb

Not all seven commissioners sat on each hearing however.

Why isn’t my submission specifically addressed in the decision reports?  
The Resource Management Act allows the decision to address groups of submissions according to the provisions of the plan to which they relate, or the matters to which they relate. A provision is an objective, policy or rule. There were over 11,000 individual submission points and it is not possible to discuss each point. 
Why does the Proposed Waikato District Plan look different from what was notified?  

After the Proposed Waikato District Plan was notified, the National Planning Standards were released by the Ministry for the Environment. The National Planning Standards standardise the structure of district and regional plans throughout the country.  

There were submissions seeking to implement the National Planning Standards through the district plan review process and the Hearings Panel agreed to implement these. The Hearings Panel’s decision is structured in accordance with the National Planning Standards. 

How do I find out where provisions have been relocated?  
We have created a document here which shows where each provision has been relocated to.  
When will the Plan become operative?  
Some provisions will become operative before others if there are no appeals received. Provisions that receive an appeal will not become operative until those appeals have been settled.  
How can minor errors be fixed?  
Clause 16 of the Resource Management Act allows Council to make amendments of minor effect, or to correct any minor errors. Any errors that are more significant can only be corrected through an appeal.   
Why was the Sleepyhead decision released in advance of the rest of the decisions on the Proposed Waikato District Plan?  
Ambury Properties Ltd asked the Hearings Panel for an earlier decision due to the expiry of existing leases in Auckland and the inability to find a suitable alternative facility in Auckland. Given the significant economic and social implications of the Ambury Properties Ltd Proposal for the Waikato District, the Hearings Panel agreed that the timing of the hearing on Ohinewai rezoning could be brought forward, and the decision issued in advance of the decisions on the rest of the Waikato Proposed District Plan.    
What happens now that a decision has been made?  
Any appeal against the decision must be lodged with the Environment Court and served on Waikato District Council within 30 working days from service of the notice of decision. Appeals closed on 1 March 2022.
How do I find out where provisions have been relocated?  
We have created a document here which shows where each provision has been relocated to.  

Appeals closed 1 March 2022, 5pm. 


If you want to see who has made an appeal please click here.


How long will appeals take?  
Appeals can take some time to resolve, although the Environment Court often sets tight timeframes for reporting back to the Court to ensure progress is made. There are a range of mechanisms available for dispute resolution such as Court assisted mediation, and parties are encouraged to explore these before an appeal progresses to a Court hearing.  
Can the decision change as a result of appeals?  
Parts of the decision may change through the appeal process, depending on the nature of the appeals.   
Will I be notified if there is an appeal to provisions I have submitted on? 
No, but all the appeals will be uploaded onto both the Council’s website here and the Environment Court website.
How will I know when the provisions relating to my submission point become operative? 
If you are an appellant or a section 274 party on a particular provisions or matter, you will be part of the settlement process and will know when those appeals have been resolved. For all other provisions, Council will have an appeals version of the Proposed District Plan (Appeals version) which will track which provisions are subject to appeal and which ones are operative. This will be regularly updated as the appeals process so keep checking the Council website for progress updates.  

Stage 2 FAQs

What is Stage 2 of the Proposed District Plan?

Stage 1 of the Proposed District Plan was notified on 18 July 2018 and consisted of all resource management topics except the natural hazards and climate change. Stage 2 of the Proposed District Plan includes a new set of proposed objectives, policies, rules and definitions (provisions) and hazard overlay areas (shown on the planning maps) to manage the risk of natural hazards, and to mitigate and/or adapt to the effects of climate change. Stage 2 also includes a variation to some of the provisions in Stage 1 to ensure that there is a consistent approach to the management of natural hazard risk across the whole district plan.

My property is still showing a Significant Natural Area, but the decision report says that the Significant Natural Areas have been deleted from all sites that have not been verified with a site visit. Why is this?
There was an unfortunate error with the planning maps and the Significant Natural Areas were left on many sites. We are expecting to be able to resolve this anomaly through the appeals process.

What hazard overlay areas are included in Stage 2 and what are they based on?

There are seven hazard overlay areas and three coastal sensitivity areas shown on the Proposed District Plan (Stage 2) planning maps. These are based on the most up to date expert technical assessments and modelling.  The hazard overlay areas identify land where certain types of natural hazards are present.  Sensitivity areas identify land that may be impacted by coastal inundation or erosion over a period of 100 years.  Stage 2 hazard and coastal sensitivity overlay areas are as follows:

  • 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 – 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), Coastal Sensitivity Area (Open Coast) 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 subdivision of land and other activities such as multi-unit development are proposed. Flood and ponding areas have not been mapped apart from the areas described above.  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.

What does the 1% AEP mean?

AEP means Annual Exceedence Probability, which is sometimes described as a 1 in 100 year flood.  It is an exceptionally large flood event.  AEP is used to express the probability of an event of a certain size occurring in any one year. The probability is shown as a percentage, and in relation to flooding, it generally refers to a storm event of a specified size occurring in any given year. For example, a 1% AEP flood event has a 1% chance of occurring in any one year and is equal to a 100 year Annual Recurrance Interval (ARI) event.

For example:

  • A 1% AEP has a 1% chance of occurring in any one year, or is a 1 in 100-year flood event;
  • A 2% AEP has a 2% chance of occurring in any one year, or is a 1 in 50-year flood event;
  • A 5% AEP has a 5% chance of occurring in any one year, or is a 1 in 20-year flood event.

How do I know if the provisions in Stage 2 affect my property and what does it mean if my property is within a hazard area?

All properties in Waikato district are subject to rules on land instability, wild fire, flood ponding and liquefaction. Areas where these hazards occur are not mapped (with the exception of two ponding areas in Huntly) and these hazards will be assessed when subdivision of land and activities such as earthworks and multi-unit development are proposed.

The proposed objectives, policies and rules in Stage 2 of the Proposed District Plan apply mostly to areas where hazards have been identified on the planning maps. You can search for your property on the planning maps to see if any of the hazard overlay areas apply to your property. If there is a hazard overlay area on your property, you can then have a look at the rules that apply to that hazard area within Chapter 15 of the Proposed District Plan. Each section of Chapter 15 applies to a different hazard area, with the exception of liquefaction, which applies across the entire district. Each set of rules includes activities that may be permitted in a hazard area, and those that will require a resource consent. Please note that compliance with rules in Chapter 15 is required in addition to compliance with any relevant rules in Chapter 14 – Infrastructure and Energy, as well as the rules in the relevant zone chapter.

What doesn’t it mean for my property?

The new natural hazards provisions in the district plan will not affect the current activities and development on your property.  The new provisions may affect you if you want to subdivide, to construct a new building or utility or carryout earthworks.  In the case of any of those activities you will need to check the new provisions to confirm that the activity is permitted or if a resource consent is required from Council.

Will Stage 2 hazard information be included on my LIM or PIM?

The Land Information Memorandum (LIM) is a summary of information that a council holds about any specific property.  It is not necessary for Council to include information on the LIM if the information is already publicly available through the District Plan.  However, LIM reports generated by Waikato District Council do include a reference to information that may be relevant to the property in the Operative and Proposed District Plans. 

Information relating to natural hazards will be included in the Project Information Memorandum (PIM).

What is the Floodplain Management Area and what level of flooding is it based on?

The Floodplain Management Area shows the location and extent of flooding from the Waikato River and Waipa River during a 1% Annual Exceedence Probability (AEP) flood event. It includes the High Risk Flood Area and two mapped ponding areas (in western and southern Huntly). Development within this area is carefully controlled to ensure that the risk to people and damage to property from flooding is minimised.

What is the High Risk Flood Area?

The High Risk Flood Area is located within the Floodplain Management Area and is an area where the depth of flood water during a 1% AEP flood event exceeds 1.0 metre and the speed of flood water exceeds 2.0 metres per second. This area has been specifically identified in the flood modelling for the Waikato River between Horotiu and Ohinewai and for the Waipa River between Saulbrey Road and the confluence at Ngaruawahia. New buildings, earthworks and subdivision are strictly controlled in this area, as it is considered that there is the potential for serious damage to property and potential for loss of life or serious injury during a 1% AEP flood event.

How do I know if my property is subject to flood ponding in a 1% AEP storm event?

Information on flood ponding on a property is required when applying for a building or subdivision consent. If your property is not within an identified flood or flood ponding area but may be subject to flood ponding, then this will need to be assessed and confirmed by a suitably qualified professional. 

How do I work out the minimum floor level above a specified flood level?

New buildings applications will be required to confirm that there is a minimum freeboard between the 1% AEP flood or flood ponding level and the floor of the building. “Freeboard” means the minimum height of the lowest part of the floor of a building above the defined flood level. This information is to be assessed and confirmed by a suitably-qualified professional.

How were the coastal hazard areas determined?

Land affected by current or future coastal hazards was assessed as part of the Waikato District Coastal Hazard Assessment (see Appendix 5(f) of the Stage 2 Section 32 Report).

High Risk Coastal Hazard Areas are shown on land that is currently at risk from either coastal erosion or coastal inundation with current sea level and coastal processes. The mapping of high risk areas has been carried out on the more densely-developed land in the urban areas of Raglan and Port Waikato.

Coastal Sensitivity Areas for erosion and inundation are shown on land that may be at risk of either erosion or inundation with 1.0 metre of sea level rise. Different mapping criteria have been used to map Coastal Sensitivity Areas, depending on whether the land is located in urban areas, rural areas within the estuaries and mouth of the Waikato River, at the entrance of an estuary, or on the open coastline. The criteria for mapping these areas can be found in the response to the peer review of the Coastal Hazard Assessment in Appendix 5(h) of the Stage 2 Section 32 Report.

Why did council create these maps?

Council has a legal obligation to ensure that any new land use and development in the district is not at risk from natural hazards. Its main objective in producing these maps is to get a better understanding of the location and spatial extent of natural hazards such as flooding, ponding, coastal erosion and inundation and mine subsidence, and to understand the level of risk each hazard poses to different types of land use and development.

Damage caused by these hazards can have a major impact on property, individuals and the community. The impact is not only economic, but social, emotional and in some cases can be life-threatening.

The maps help Council to ensure that risk to future development in hazard areas is appropriately assessed so that it either avoids high risk hazard areas or is designed to reduce hazard risk where appropriate to do so.  Appropriate assessment of natural hazards also helps to ensure that new development does not increase the risk to surrounding properties.

Will these maps affect my property value?

House prices vary continuously with changes in the real estate market, and are based on a large range of criteria including location, schools, unique characteristics such as views, and house type.

Many areas in New Zealand are subject to natural hazards, and this does have some influence on people’s decisions on where they want to live.

It is important to note that these maps do not create a natural hazard, but rather they just illustrate where hazards are likely to already occur, and in the case of coastal sensitivity areas, may occur in the future. 

Will the hazard maps affect insurance?

Insurance companies are in the business of knowing how much risk a property carries (including from natural hazards), whether a Council identifies them in a district plan or not. Insurers have a high level of awareness of natural hazard risk throughout the country and regularly evaluate this risk.

Prior to insuring a property, insurers consider the likelihood and impact of all risks to the property.  Property owners and potential purchasers should seek specific advice from their Insurance provider.

Why have I received a letter about natural hazards mapped on my property, when I can’t see anything on the map?

The council wrote to everyone with some part of their property included in a mapped hazard area,  even if only a small area is affected.  Very small areas cannot be shown clearly on the printed  maps.  You may get a clearer impression by looking at the online maps

There's no stopbank by my house

Properties in the area shown on the planning map as “Defended Area (Residual Risk Area)” are protected by existing stopbanks.  No new stopbanks are planned at present.  The stopbank may be a kilometre or more away and not visible from your property.   The residual risk is that a flood might possibly affect this land in an exceptional case.  This is unlikely, but the proposed plan is seeking to cover the risk by restricting earthworks and the placement of new buildings within 50 metres of a stopbank, and requiring specific information around subdivisions.  If you have questions about the proposed plan please contact us at Waikato District Council.  If you have questions about the stopbanks, please contact Waikato Regional Council, which owns and maintains them.

General FAQs

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.


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:


Stage 1 includes all District Plan issues and provisions except for natural hazards and climate change, which are in Stage 2. 

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 then 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 a person to support or oppose other people’s submissions. It also gives people the opportunity to comment on how a submission may impact them, and to have their views considered by a 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 analyse the further submissions and make sure that they’re linked to the original submissions and the appropriate plan provisions.

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 issues 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 in the District Plan apply to me?

The District Plan can be viewed online. The 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.

What is an appeal?

An appeal is filed with the Environment Court where a submitter or further submitter disagrees with any aspect of the decision. This can be narrow or broad. It could be an appeal on a single rule such as the maximum height of buildings, or a much broader topic such as management of growth.

The appeal process is different to the previous process which was managed by Council and the independent Hearings Panel. Appeals are managed by the Environment Court.  This means that the Court determines the process, although it often seeks input from Council (and its advisors) and all other parties (both appellants and interested parties).

Who can make an appeal?

Any person who made a submission or further submission on a provision or part of the Proposed District Plan may appeal to the Environment Court.

Where can I see the appeals?

We have put all the appeals on Council’s website here.

How long will appeals take to resolve?

Appeals can take some time to resolve, although the Environment Court often sets tight timeframes for reporting back to the Court to ensure progress is being made. There are a range of ways that appeals can be worked through, such as negotiation and Court-assisted mediation, and parties are encouraged to explore these before an appeal progresses to a Court hearing.

Can the decision change as a result of appeals?

Yes, parts of the decision are likely to change through the appeals process, depending on the nature of the appeals. 

I have received notification that an appeal has been made – what does this mean?

When an appeal is filed with the Environment Court, there is a requirement to provide a copy of the notice to everyone who made a submission about the subject matter of the appeal within five working days. Appellants often send their notice of appeal to a wider group of submitters than may actually be necessary.

Please read the notice of appeal carefully as it may be on a topic that you are interested in.

It is possible that an appellant has not correctly identified all the submitters, so it pays to check the appeals. 

How can I be involved in the process if I disagree with an appeal?

If you have received notice of an appeal and you made a submission on the subject matter of that appeal, you can give notice to the Environment Court that you wish to join the appeal by becoming what is called “a section 274 party.” A section 274 party to an appeal is someone who wishes to support or oppose an appeal point.

 If you did not make a submission on the subject matter of an appeal, you may be eligible to become a party to an appeal if you meet the specific criteria.  Not everyone can become a party to an appeal. To be a section 274 party, you must be either:

  • the Minister for the Environment;
  • a local authority;
  • a person who has an interest in the proceedings that is greater than the public generally (excluding any person or business who may be a trade competitor and is acting to prevent the applicant from engaging in trade competition); or
  • a person who made a submission about the matter.

When are section 274 notices due?

Any eligible person who wishes to become a party to any appeal under section 274 of the Resource Management Act must give notice to do so to the Court, the Waikato District Council and the appellant within a further 15 working days after the period for lodging appeals ends.

If you are considering becoming a section 274 party, we suggest that you seek your own legal advice.

When can rules in the Plan be treated as operative?

Section 86F of the Resource Management Act requires a rule to be treated as operative where:

(a) no appeals have been lodged; or

(b) all appeals have been settled; or

(c) all appeals withdrawn or dismissed.

This means some rules can be “treated as operative” before others if no appeals are received. Rules that receive an appeal cannot be “treated as operative” until all the appeals on that rule have been settled.

If a rule can be “treated as operative”, the corresponding rule (if any) in the operative district plan falls away and no longer applies.

How do I know when rules can be treated as operative?

An “appeals” version of the Proposed District Plan on the website. This version will highlight all of the provisions, including rules and maps, that are subject to appeals.

Where Council is satisfied that a rule is not expressly referred to in an appeal and could not be altered as a consequence of relief sought on another provision in an appeal, it can be treated as operative.