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Auckland Council

Introduction to the Waitākere plan rules

Auckland Council District Plan - Operative Waitākere Section 2003 introduction to the rules

The rules section of the plan contains four sets of rules:

  • the city-wide rules
  • the natural area rules
  • the human environment rules
  • the subdivision rules

For many proposed activities, there will be relevant rules that apply to that activity in each of these four parts. All four parts should therefore be consulted for relevant rules applying to an activity. The plan generally contains cross-references in each part to other relevant parts.

The operative plan has been amended as a consequence of the decisions made by council, and appeals (references) which had been resolved as at November 2004. In respect of outstanding appeals (references) the Plan has been annotated as follows:

Where a provision is subject to notice(s) of appeal, the text to which the appeal relates will be indicated by the relevant appeal number in brackets as follows:
retail goods are confined to goods produced on the site; and (A63) where a notice of appeal seeks the addition of a provision not currently contained in the rules, the following annotation has been used to indicate the section where that provision would most logically be located (see also A91).


Introduction to natural area rules

There are a number of 'natural areas' identified in the plan. Every part of Waitākere City is within one or other of the natural areas. These natural areas are the basis for rules which appear in the natural area rules.

The natural areas are:

  • General natural area: covering developed parts of the city, generally with low or little native vegetation cover. Important natural resources include trees, water systems, landforms and ecological linkage opportunities.
  • Restoration natural area: covering areas in the city which have been identified as having significant native vegetation, but of a lower quality than that identified as managed natural area.
  • Managed natural area: covering areas which are characterised by significant native vegetation, wildlife habitats and water systems. The area is also an important landscape feature. This natural area is primarily located in the Waitākere Ranges, although there are sizeable portions in the rural areas and eastern lowlands.
  • Coastal natural area: covering an area extending along the West Coast, around the Manukau Harbour and alongside parts of the Waitemata Harbour. It is an area of outstanding coastal landscape quality, and it also includes important areas of native vegetation, wildlife habitat and streams and lakes with high water quality and aesthetic values.
  • Protected natural area: covering areas close to the coast which have outstanding landscape quality and all other areas in the city (all being in the Waitākere Ranges) which have been classified as having outstanding native vegetation. Outstanding native vegetation is vegetation of the highest value and importance in the city. This area also includes all of those parts of the city which have been classified as outstanding natural features and the whole natural area includes important wildlife habitats and sensitive water systems.
  • Riparian margins/coastal edge natural area: covering an area extending around coastlines and adjoining important streams, rivers, wetlands and lakes. This natural area forms an ecological buffer beside natural water systems and does not provide for public access to private land.
  • Sensitive ridgelines: Sensitive ridgelines, headlands, cliffs and scarps cover areas of ridgelines, headlands, cliffs and scarps that are sensitive to inappropriate subdivision, use and development. The rules managing buildings on ridgelines, headlands, cliffs and scarps are contained in the human environment rules. Otherwise refer to the relevant Natural Areas that underlies the sensitive ridgeline, headland, cliff or scarp.

All of the above natural areas are shown on the natural area maps. The natural areas maps also indicate natural landscape elements, which are the subject of separate rules within the human environment rules.

The policy section of the plan provides further explanation of these natural areas and the natural resources that these areas have.

Introduction to human environments

The human environments reflect areas within the city which have noticeably different characteristics, and possible effects on the environment, due to their past, present and possible future development. The human environments, which are shown on the human environment maps and covered by rules in the Human environment rules are:

  • Living environment: covering urban and suburban residential areas of the City.
  • Community environment: covering the town centres, suburban shopping centres and blocks of shops.
  • Open Space environment: covering land owned or managed by the Council, the Auckland Regional Council or other public agencies.
  • Working environment: covering the industrial/employment areas of the city.
  • Waitākere Ranges environment: covering areas within the Waitākere Ranges in private ownership and generally bush-covered large sites.
  • Bush living environment: covering areas within the Waitākere Ranges in private ownership, generally bush-covered and smaller sites.
  • Countryside environment: covering the rural area to the north of the City’s developed urban area.
  • Foothills environment: covering that area between the developed urban area westwards to the bush covered parts of the Waitākere Ranges.
  • Rural villages environment: covering the villages located in rural parts of the City, Herald Island, Whenuapai and Waitākere.
  • Coastal villages environment: covering the settlements along the Tasman Sea and Manukau Harbour Coast - Te Henga, Piha, Karekare, Huia, Cornwallis and Parau.
  • Transport Environment: covering all of the roads in the city which are owned by the council or Transit NZ, and the railway corridor.

Introduction to special areas

Locations within the city that have special characteristics which separate them out from the above human environments - Monterey Park (for Visitors), Westpark Marina, Corbans Estate, (Bible) College, Quarry, Balefill, Harbourview, (Waitākere) Hospital, (Te Atatu) Boat Club, Peripheral Growth Area, Lincoln Centre and Lincoln Park.

There is also a part of the human environments rules covering “scheduled sites”. These are sites containing activities such as service stations and shops which are within a suman environment generally not catering for that type of activity, but where the Plan gives the activity special recognition and protection.

Introduction to subdivision

The subdivision rules apply to all proposals for subdivision in the city. There is a general rules section with specific rules relating to each of the human environments. Rules cover design (lot size, etc.) and engineering (service provision etc.) matters.



Resource consents and notifications

Types of resource consent

There are two types of resource consent in this plan.

These are:

  • Land use consents - which relate to the use and development of land, including buildings on land.
  • Subdivision consents - which relate to the subdivision of land.

There are a number of categories within which land use and subdivision are classified in the plan. These categories are critical to the structure of the plan, and in particular to the consideration which will apply in relation to different types of development, and the opportunity for neighbours and the community generally to be involved.

Permitted activities

Are permitted 'as of right' by the plan. No resource consent is required under the plan for a permitted activity.

Controlled activities Δ7

Are allowed only if the resource consent is obtained. However, the council’s discretion is limited to the rules and terms specified in the plan in respect of the activity. The plan also states that controlled activities need not be publicly notified, and written approvals will not be required, nor will the service of notice to adversely affected persons under the limited notification provisions of the Act be required. A consent must be given to a controlled activity (except in the case of some subdivisions) but may be subject to conditions.

Limited discretionary activities Δ7

Are allowed only if a resource consent is obtained. Assessment of a limited discretionary activity is limited to the rules and terms specified in the plan in respect of the activity. The plan states that limited discretionary activity applications need not be notified and written approvals will not be required, nor will the service of notice to adversely affected persons under the limited notification provisions of the Act be required. However, conditions may be imposed on resource consents, and resource consents may be refused.

Discretionary activities

Are allowed only if a resource consent is obtained. The plan may contain rules and terms relating to a discretionary activity. It will normally be the case that a written consent or consents from affected persons will be required or the application will be publicly notified. A resource consent may be subject to conditions, or may be refused.

Non-complying activities

Are activities which do not meet specific rules set out in the plan and can only proceed if a resource consent is obtained. The council cannot grant a resource consent for a non-complying activity unless it is satisfied:

  • that adverse effects on the environment will be minor, or
  • the granting of consent will not be contrary to the objectives and policies of the plan.

Even if council is satisfied on the above tests, resource consents for non-complying activities can be refused, or only granted subject to conditions.

Prohibited activities

No resource consent application can be made for a prohibited activity.

Written consents and notification - discretionary activities and noncomplying activities

The following is a guideline only to assist applicants and interested parties. It is not intended to limit the council’s discretion or responsibilities under Section 94 of the Act.

1. For discretionary activity applications seeking resource consent in respect of the following matters, applications will generally not be notified:

  • Minor additions or alterations to existing non-residential activities which do not significantly change the character or overall scale of the activity.

2. For discretionary activity applications seeking resource consent in respect of the following matters, applications will generally not be notified if the written consents of the owners of adjoining sites are submitted.

  • building height
  • yards
  • height in relation to boundaries
  • privacy and amenity
  • car parking and outdoor storage areas
  • building development or design and location (community, working, and transport environments only)
  • building coverage
  • outdoor storage.

3. For discretionary activity applications seeking resource consent in respect of the following matters, applications may not be notified, if the written consents of affected persons are submitted:

  • residential activities/density
  • building location - natural landscape elements
  • pipes having an above ground length not exceeding 100m
  • above ground infrastructure where the proposal involves extensions to or upgrading of existing infrastructure, or where the proposal involves connections between existing above ground infrastructure
  • odour, dust, vibration and lighting
  • street trading
  • Community Environment Rule 11.3(c) Residential Activities {A203, A211, A217}
  • Living Environment Rule 2.3(c) Residential Activities {A203, A211, A217}.

4. For discretionary activity applications seeking resource consent in respect of the following matters, applications may not be notified after having regard to council’s responsibilities under Sections 93 and 94 of the Act:

  • subdivision in the Living Environment
  • vegetation clearance and/or earthworks associated with any subdivision in the Living Environment, which is a Permitted Activity, Controlled Activity or Limited Discretionary Activity under the Subdivision rules
  • Living Environment Rule 2.3 (a) and (b) Medium Density Housing and Apartments in Living L5) Environment.

5. For discretionary activity applications seeking resource consent in respect of the following matters, applications will generally be notified:

  • all activities covered by the natural areas rules, except as specified in (4) above
  • non-residential activities
  • any discretionary activity for shops pursuant to working environment rule 5.2
  • traffic generation
  • noise
  • heritage
  • infrastructure not covered in (3) above
  • air discharges, odour, dust, glare and vibration
  • esplanade reserves
  • contaminated sites and hazardous facilities
  • signs
  • any discretionary activity for scheduled sites
  • any discretionary activity for special areas
  • any discretionary activity for commercial sex activities
  • Community Environment Rule 5A Building Design - Street Frontages - New Lynn
  • Community Environment Rule 6A – Building Height - New Lynn {A224}.

6. For discretionary activity applications seeking resource consent in respect of development in the open space environment, those applications will be assessed against the notification provisions of the Act.

7. For non-complying activity applications resource consents will generally be notified, and in particular the following:

  • Residential activities in the working environment (New Lynn).

Notified/non-notified resource consent application procedure


The procedures adopted for notified, limited notified and non-notified applications are as indicated in the Act. Particular points to note are:

  • it is essential to submit sufficient information with the resource consent application
  • consideration of the application will not commence until sufficient information has been received
  • there is a fee for resource consent applications
  • the council is generally obliged under the Act to (on the receipt of full information):
    • process non-notified applications within 20 working days
    • process notified applications to the hearing stage within 60 working days(Note that there are provisions in the Act allowing for an extension of time in certain circumstances and there is a period over Christmas/New Year which is not included in “working days”);
  • in some circumstances an applicant dissatisfied with a decision can lodge an objection to the council (see section 357 of the Act)
  • decisions of the council can be appealed to the Environment Court.

Administrative charges

Section 36 of the Act provides for charges to be made for a wide range of matters. Only actual and reasonable costs can be recovered. The council’s funding and rating policy sets out, in general terms, cost recovery standards for resource management matters. In some cases partial or no cost recovery is sought and in others charges will be made to cover full costs. Reference should be made to the funding and rating policy for details of cost recovery percentages. Costs information is available from the council on request in relation to any category of charge or any specific charge made.

The following is a guideline to applications, procedures, information and action for which the council may charge a fee or recover costs. This guideline shall not limit council's ability to impose charges authorised by section 36 of the Act.

Charges may be made for:

  • land use consents (non-notified)
  • land use consents (notified)
  • subdivision consents (non-notified)
  • subdivision consents (notified)
  • certificates of compliance
  • requests for plan changes
  • processing of requirements for designations and heritage orders
  • the provision of further information in relation to the above, whether provided by the applicant or the council, or as required by conditions of resource consent
  • the monitoring or supervision of resource consents,
  • as required by conditions of resource consent
  • plan material - policy, rules and maps
  • the provision of information relating to resource consents.

Cross boundary concerns

Waitākere City abuts Rodney District to the North, Auckland City to the south and North Shore City (across the Upper Harbour Bridge) to the east.

Cross boundary concerns which may arise include:

  • land use activities and development strategies which may give rise to adverse environmental effects in a neighbouring district
  • roading and transportation matters, drainage systems, and infrastructure which start in one district and cross over into one or more of the adjoining districts
  • resource consent matters primarily the concern of the regional council, which may impact on one or more territorial authority districts.

In considering these issues, the council will be guided by the contents of the Regional Policy Statement, any regional plan and the contents of this plan.

The council will consider significant resource management issues arising in the district of an adjoining local authority which affect the city. In appropriate cases, submissions will be prepared to that local authority in relation to such issues.

Where the council receives an application for a land use consent which is to be notified and the activity may give rise to adverse environmental effects in a neighbouring district, affected land owners in that district and the relevant Council will generally be notified.

The council will, where appropriate, participate in joint hearings with other territorial Councils, as provided for by section 102 of the Act, in situations where:

  • the land use consent concerns roading, drainage systems or other infrastructure or any similar network use which extends into a neighbouring district; or
  • a requirement for a designation for such matters has been served on the council.


The following are general guidelines to the enforcement approach which will normally be taken by the council. They do not constitute rules or invariable procedures or policies. They do not replace or limit the council’s discretion or responsibilities under the Act, and they do not themselves constitute specific decision-making criteria applied by the council.

Under section 84 of the Act the council is required to observe and, to the extent of its authority, enforce the observance of its plan. The council has a discretion as to how it enforces its Plan. It may do so by persuasion, by prosecution, by enforcement order, by abatement notice, by combinations of those means, and in some circumstances by other means which become available.

The council’s response to relevant breaches of the provisions of the Resource Management Act and/or the district plan will depend upon the particular circumstances - including for example the nature of the breach, the effects of the breach, and the conduct and attitude of those responsible for the breach.

  1. In respect of a significant breach of a natural areas rule, the council’s response will normally be immediate - with a view to taking appropriate action to have the activity cease as soon as possible. Generally it will be the approach of the council to initiate prosecution action for significant breaches in such cases - with or without other measures.
  2. In respect of a significant breach of a rule relating to noise, odour, vibration, air discharges, dust or safety, the council’s response will also normally be immediate with appropriate action taken to have the activity cease as soon as possible. Prosecution action may be initiated.
  3. Where a significant breach is occurring and continuing in relation to any rule concerning the erection or alteration of buildings, the council’s response will again normally be immediate with action taken to have the activity cease as soon as possible. Again, prosecution may be initiated.
  4. In relation to breaches of rules relating to signs, the council may:
    • if the sign is on property such as a road or a park owned by the council, remove the sign immediately;
    • if the sign is on property owned privately, take action in accordance with 5(i)-(iii) below.
  5. In the case of a breach of any rule not covered by 1-4 above, and in respect of breach of conditions of resource consents, the following procedure may be utilised:
    • An investigation will be carried out by the council as soon as possible.
    • If the investigation substantiates the complaint of breach, the site owner and/or person responsible for the breach will be contacted, advised of the breach, and asked to remedy the breach within a specified time.
    • If suitable action is not taken to remedy the breach within the appropriate period, further enforcement action may follow e.g. a prosecution, abatement notice and/or enforcement order or interim enforcement order application.

Where it is unclear whether the activity constitutes a breach of a rule, a declaration from the Planning Tribunal may be sought under section 311 of the Act.

In relation to noise issues a separate procedure is available in some instances under section 327 of the Act. This allows a direction to be issued for the reduction of excessive noise. If the direction is not complied with the noise source can be removed or made inoperable. Such actions must be taken by the police or in conjunction with the police.

Plan changes

The plan has a statutory ten year life. In recognition of this, considerable effort has been placed into developing a plan which will be generally appropriate over at least a ten year period. However, it is also the intention of the council that the plan be a “live” plan, with reaction, where necessary and if possible, to changes in the environment or better methods of dealing with environmental effects. Needs for district plan changes may arise through council’s own monitoring mechanisms or through approaches or applications for plan changes made by others (see section 73 of the Act).

Consents required under other legislation

This plan covers only some of the rules and requirements that may apply to a proposed activity. Developers and users of land or buildings should check whether they also need consents under other legislation.

Amongst consents most frequently required are those for:

  • erection of buildings and consideration of fire safety (building consents - Auckland Council)
  • arrangements for treatment and disposal of sewerage - discharge permits
  • discharge of polluted or unpolluted storm water (discharge permits)
  • diversion/damming or taking of fresh surface or underground water (Auckland Council)
  • disposal of trade wastes (Auckland Council)
  • undertaking of offensive trades (Auckland Council)
  • use of premises for the sale of food (Registration certificates under the Health and Safety of Premises Regulations - Auckland Council)
  • storage of dangerous goods (Dangerous goods licences - Auckland Council)
  • modification, damage or destruction of an archaeological site or waahi tapu (authority to modify, damage or destroy an archaeological site - Historic Places Trust, Historic Places Act 1993).

There may be other consents required. It is the responsibility of the developer or user of land or buildings to ensure that all consents required by law are obtained.



This part outlines monitoring strategies carried out or to be carried out by the council to meet its obligations under the Act. The general aim of monitoring is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources, taking into account the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti O Waitangi. Where monitoring suggests that action needs to be taken to ensure compliance with the intent of the Act, the council will initiate such changes in the plan or procedures as necessary. The results from monitoring will be reported both to the council and to the public, utilising the Local Government Act annual plan process and other appropriate procedures.

Monitoring programme

Auckland Council’s monitoring programme is divided into four main areas:

  • state of the environment monitoring
  • monitoring to gauge suitability and effectiveness of the plan
  • procedures monitoring and resource consents monitoring.

State of the environment monitoring

Periodic reports will be prepared on the state of the environment, and will be made available by the council for public submission. The State of the Environment Report will include three sections - pressures on the environment, state of the natural environment and state of the human environment. Details of the monitoring strategy will be published each year in the annual plan.

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