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Frequently Asked Questions

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Every Council is required to have a District Plan. It is a ‘rule book’ that directs how we will use, develop and subdivide land in our district. It includes Council's environmental objectives and policies and sets out the rules to help us achieve those goals. It specifies what can and can’t be done without a Resource Consent, and the standards that must be followed. District Plans ensure that our current needs, including economic and residential growth, are balanced with protecting the natural environment for our residents today and for future generations.

District Plan maps show future land use designations and the district’s zoning:

  • Residential
  • Rural
  • Commercial/ Retail
  • Retail
  • Industrial / service
  • Open Space
  • River Corridor
  • Conservation
  • Airport

Everyone is affected by the District Plan because it helps shape how we live, work and play in Central Hawke’s Bay. Its policies are designed to ensure the environment, and the things people love about living here are protected.

No-one can use land in a way that disregards the District Plan – even visitors need to follow rules relating to things like hazard management and noise.


Our district, values and people are quite different from the time our current District Plan was prepared nearly 20 years ago. As good practice, a District Plan should be reviewed every 10 years.

A District Plan plays a big part in how we manage growth in the district, addressing a range of issues including character, amenity, heritage and landscape, open spaces, urban growth, subdivision and coastal management.

You may be interested in big picture aspects of the District Plan like outstanding landscapes, or just what you can and can’t do on your property – subdividing, building a new garage or deck, or starting a home business.

A Proposed District Plan is one that is not finished yet, so anyone can give feedback on it by making a formal submission. This is your chance to let the Council know what you think of the policies and rules they’re proposing.

The Proposed District Plan has been developed from a Draft District Plan, prepared with the oversight of a sub-committee (Mayor Alex Walker, Deputy Mayor Ian Sharp, Councillors David Tennent and Tim Aitken, and Tamatea O Taiwhenua representatives Dr. Roger Maaka and Brian Gregory) with advice from subject matter experts. Following comprehensive public consultation on the draft plan, Council has now prepared the Proposed District Plan for formal public consultation. For comprehensive information on the process and the next steps read our May 2021 Proposed District Plan brochure.

To help explain the provisions of the Proposed District Plan, five key themes have been developed. Click here to read about the key themes.

Yes, there are several ways that you can contact us for more information or to have your questions answered. You can call in at one of our drop-in sessions being held in June, July and August (click here to see the calendar); go here for places, dates and times; you can book a time to meet a planner or talk to one on the phone by ringing Council on 06 857 8060; or you can email us.

Fill in the submission form found here (it’s also available at the Council office in Waipawa, Waipawa Library and Pop up Service Centre in Waipukurau) or use it as a guide to write your submission. On the same page, we have provided tips on how to write a good submission.

Here’s how you can lodge your submission:

Online: Click here


Post: Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, PO BOX 127, Waipawa 4240

Drop off: Central Hawke’s Bay District Council Offices, 28 – 32 Ruataniwha Street, Waipawa

You have to make a submission in order to participate in the hearings. If you make a submission on the Proposed District Plan, you can indicate in your submission whether you’d like to participate in a hearing or not.

  • Once the Proposed District Plan has been notified the Council must use both the Operative and the Proposed District Plans. The ‘weight’ given to each Plan depends on what stage the Proposed District Plan is at, and the kinds of submissions people make. So, for a while, every situation could be different and the plan ‘weight’ will change as the process moves along. Please contact the Planning Department if you need help. For a detailed explanation of how both plans will be used, here is the legal advice we’ve received. 
  • The subdivision rules and performance standards in the Operative District Plan will continue to be operative until submissions have been received and/or until the District Plan Hearings Panel has made decisions on the Proposed District Plan. If we don’t receive any submissions that oppose a rule in the Proposed District Plan, that rule may become operative before the hearings panel has made any decisions 
  • The new minimum lot size in the Proposed District Plan won’t come into effect until:
    • Submissions and further submissions have been received, and none of the submissions oppose the minimum lot size rules, or
    • The District Plan Hearings Panel makes a decision on the minimum lot size rules and performance standards.
  • If you want your subdivision application to be considered under the Operative Plan, you should submit your application before the Proposed District Plan’s submission/further submission period closes.

Council created a sub-committee made Mayor Alex Walker, Deputy Mayor Ian Sharp, Councillors David Tennent and Tim Aitken, and two members of Tamatea O Taiwhenua, Dr. Roger Maaka and Brian Gregory. Together they considered and discussed the individual sections of the Operative District Plan, and they took advice from a range of subject matter experts before recommending changes that formed the Draft District Plan.

We have worked closely with tangata whenua while preparing the plan, including partaking in hui, field trips and presentations, and having Taiwhenua o Tamatea representation on the plan sub-committee. The plan includes specific chapters addressing cultural values, sites of cultural significance, and papakāinga and kaumatua housing.

Your property may be shown on the planning maps as being in a significant natural area. This means you have a special area on all or part of your land that has high biodiversity value. Provisions in the Proposed District Plan will ensure these areas are protected for future generations, and include some controls on vegetation clearance. Have a look at the plan review documents to read the technical reports that led to these provisions.

Check the Operative and Proposed District Plan to see how your activity is classified:

  • Permitted - allowed if you follow the standards outlining how the activity must be done
  • Controlled - requires resource consent but will be approved if meets standards
  • Restricted discretionary - requires resource consent and Council has discretion over certain matters when deciding whether to grant a resource consent
  • Discretionary - requires resource consent and effects will be assessed and resource consent granted or declined on a case by case basis
  • Non-complying - resource consent granted only under exceptional circumstances
  • Prohibited - not allowed at all, even with a resource consent

Once you have approval you need to ensure your activity is undertaken within the plan’s rules and standards.

Once our Proposed District Plan is notified, some of the rules will come into effect immediately.

The rules in the Proposed District Plan that have immediate legal effect are in Part 2 of the Proposed District Plan, in these chapters (as per section 86B(3) of the RMA):

  • Ecosystems and Indigenous Biodiversity
  • Historic Heritage
  • Notable Trees
  • Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori

Most of the rules in the Proposed District Plan do not have immediate legal effect.

Rules in chapters not listed in the question above will only have legal effect once decisions on the Proposed District Plan are made, or possibly earlier if none of the submissions oppose them.

Resource Consent applications will be considered under both the Operative District Plan and any relevant sections of the Proposed District Plan until the Proposed District Plan becomes fully operative (when submissions, hearings, and appeals are finished).

Once the Proposed District Plan is notified, objectives and policies may be relevant when resource consents are assessed under the Operative District Plan. They won’t have very much weight at first, but will be given more weight as the proposed plan process goes on.

If the Operative District Plan requires a Resource Consent, a relevant Proposed District Plan rule (that does not have legal effect yet) would not change the activity status of the consent application. Once consent is granted, it will be valid even after any new Proposed District Plan rules take legal effect (i.e. you won’t have to get another Resource Consent).

If a Resource Consent is not required under the Operative District Plan, while we’re operating under the two plans the activity will be permitted - even if the Proposed District Plan requires a consent.

Activities not allowed as of right on your land may require a resource consent (authorisation) from Council to proceed.



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