x__32__fill__social media twitter voice record__64__outline__user profile avatar contact person volume sound users member human speaker record voice recorder speach speak apartment__64__fill__building home house hotel apartment property flat residence

How is the PDP relevant to me?

Why should I care about the District Plan?

Because it impacts on almost everything you do on the land (whether you are a landowner or not), and how you do it. The plan minimises the need for regulation by providing a framework to control land use. The level of management is focused on the potential for adverse effects. Some of the most common ways the District Plan can affect you are:

  • Intensity of land use
  • Location and design of a new development
  • What kind of business can operate next door to you
  • Whether you or your neighbour can subdivide land and for what purpose
  • How our indigenous biodiversity, and cultural and historical heritage are managed and protected
  • The different type and scale of commercial activities for different locations
  • Noise standards for different activities
  • Whether your property is at risk from natural hazards.
What information will be put on LIMs as a result of the Proposed District Plan?

There will be a generic note on all new Land Information Memoranda (LIM) reports to advise that the Proposed Plan has been notified and that some rules have immediate legal effect. Where a property is subject to a rule that does have immediate legal effect, then there will be a specific notation advising of this. During the review of the current District Plan, the council undertook a number of technical investigations to help inform the new District Plan. As a result of some of these investigations, a new LIM report for a property may also have another new note. For example, in relation to natural hazards, if a property is identified as being in an area at risk of certain natural hazards, the LIM report will refer to that. This is now a legal requirement.

Will my rates or development contributions change because of the Proposed District Plan?

Any changes to current rates and development contributions will be considered by the council through future annual and long-term plans.

How do I know which rules apply to me?

To find out how the Proposed District Plan affects you and which proposed rules may apply to you, go to the Proposed ePlan here. If you can’t access it online, you can view a hard copy of the plan at the council’s Kaikohe, Kerikeri and Kaitaia service centres. Make sure you open the Proposed ePlan in Chrome, Edge, Safari or Firefox browsers. It doesn’t work in Internet Explorer. In the Proposed ePlan, search for a property by typing the address into the search bar. For more detail on the property search results and how to find your way around the ePlan, check out the How to navigate the Proposed Far North District Plan guide. You can also contact the council’s District Planning Team by emailing pdp@fndc.govt.nz or calling 0800 920 029.

What's a District Plan?

A District Plan is how we manage land use and subdivision. It’s essentially a 10-year ‘rule book’ that makes clear what activities you can do as of right (permitted activities) and what activities you or your neighbour will need a resource consent for. In addition to regulating what you can or cannot do on a property, the District Plan also controls any adverse effects your activity could have on the neighbours and vice versa. For example, how much noise you can make or how close to a boundary you can build your house. The District Plan also protects the uniqueness of our district, for example by looking after our cultural and historic heritage, and natural environment and biodiversity.

Why is the current District Plan being reviewed?

The current District Plan was notified in two volumes in 2000, with the majority of provisions being made operative in 2007. Since then our district has changed a lot and our current plan is out of date. We are also required by law (the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA)) to review our District Plan every 10 years. We need to check if it is up to date with all the national policies and regulations that have come into force since the last District Plan was prepared. The new District Plan has been under development for several years. We have now reached the stage where the Proposed District Plan has been notified for further public participation in the plan making process.

What is the Proposed District Plan notification?

The release of the Proposed District Plan is a formal process guided by the RMA. It involves:

  • Formal public notification
  • A submissions and further submissions process
  • A public hearing process  The release of decisions
  • Appeal rights to the Environment Court.
How is a District Plan different from a Long Term Plan?

While the District Plan is the rule book, the Long Term Plan details the council’s budget plan and work programme over a 10-year period.

How is the Proposed District Plan different from the current Operative District Plan?

The Proposed District Plan is supported by a large amount of research and technical evidence, which has been developed during the review of the current Operative District Plan. It has also been informed by engagement with tangata whenua, key stakeholders and the wider Far North community. Key differences between the Operative and Proposed District Plans are:

  • The Operative Plan is an effects-based plan. The Proposed Plan is considered an activities-based plan, which gives plan users more certainty around what activities fit better in particular places
  • Instead of two volumes like the current District Plan (PDF Text and Maps), the Proposed Plan is contained in an ePlan.
  • The Proposed Plan includes strategic objectives to provide an overarching tone and direction for any new activities in the district.
  • The Proposed Plan simplifies the rule structure by using colour coding to indicate status (i.e. does an activity require a consent) and uses a format with a logical flow through different activity types.

For further information, please visit: Proposed District Plan home Far North District Council and read the section 32 report relevant to your situation Section 32 Reports Far North District Council.

Some guidance has been prepared to assist with Papakainga provisions promoted in the Proposed District Plan. This guidance is not to replace the PDP objectives, policies, rules and methods, or the section 32 reporting associated with eh Proposed District Plan. It provides some graphic representations of the methods promoted in the plan and is not part of the Proposed District Plan.

Papakainga provisions guidance

Are there any rules in the Proposed Plan that apply now?

Most of the rules in the Proposed Plan will not come into effect until after the council has released decisions. It’s expected that the new District Plan will become fully ‘operative’ within two years of notification. Until then, current rules in the operative District Plan apply. However, some proposed rules (which have immediate legal effect) do apply as soon as the Proposed Plan is notified. These are rules addressing aspects like listed historic items and their settings, notable trees, Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori, and ecosystems and indigenous biodiversity (see table below for more detail). In these cases, resource consent may be required under either or both the operative and proposed district plans. Rules with immediate legal effect may change because of submissions and subsequent decisions on the plan.

Chapter in Proposed District Plan

Provision that has legal effect

Hazardous Substances

The following rules have immediate legal effect:

Rule HS-R2 has immediate legal effect but only for a new significant hazardous facility located within a scheduled site and area of significance to Māori, significant natural area or a scheduled heritage resource

Rules HS-R5, HS-R6, HS-R9

Heritage Area Overlays

All rules have immediate legal effect (HA-R1 to HA-R14)

All standards have immediate legal effect (HA-S1 to HA-S3)

Historic Heritage

All rules have immediate legal effect (HH-R1 to HH-R10)

Schedule 2 has immediate legal effect

Notable Trees

All rules have immediate legal effect (NT-R1 to NT-R9)

All standards have legal effect (NT-S1 to NT-S2)

Schedule 1 has immediate legal effect

Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori

All rules have immediate legal effect (SASM-R1 to SASM-R7)

Schedule 3 has immediate legal effect

Ecosystems and Indigenous Biodiversity

All rules have immediate legal effect (IB-R1 to IB-R5)


The following rules have immediate legal effect:

SUB-R6, SUB-R13, SUB-R14, SUB-R15, SUB-R17

Activities on the Surface of Water

All rules have immediate legal effect (ASW-R1 to ASW-R4)


The following rules have immediate legal effect:

EW-R12, EW-R13

The following standards have immediate legal effect:

EW-S3, EW-S5


The following rules have immediate legal effect:


All standards have immediate legal effect but only for signs on or attached to a scheduled heritage resource or heritage area

Orongo Bay Zone

Rule OBZ-R14 has partial immediate legal effect because RD-1(5) relates to water

To alert ePlan users to which chapters or particular rules in the notified Proposed Plan have immediate legal effect, a note at the beginning of the chapter (like the one below) and an orange gavel symbol next to the relevant provision have been added.

I have an issued Building Consent or Resource Consent. Does the Proposed Plan now apply to my development?

Where a building consent or resource consent has been issued prior to the notification of the Plan (27 July 2022) it protects the proposal from being considered against the provisions of the new Plan that have immediate legal effect.  If, however you want to do work outside the scope of the approved consent, the proposed plan may by infringed.  To discuss whether a resource consent would be required, contact duty.planner@fndc.govt.nz or calling 0800 920 029.

My activity was permitted activity under the current Operative Plan – does the Proposed District Plan apply?

If the activity was commenced and completed prior to the notification of the Proposed District Plan and was permitted under the current Far North District Plan, then it does not need resource consent under the Proposed District Plan (e.g earthworks or vegetation clearance).

I lodged a PIM / Building Consent or Resource Consent prior to the 27 July 2022 but it has not been issued prior to notification – how will it be assessed?

From the date of notification (27 July 2022), the development may be assessed under both the current plan and the Proposed District Plan.

If it is a resource consent application, you or your agent will be informed of any new rule breaches not addressed by your application and it will be requested that you agree to modify the application to include this identified new rule breach. The status of the application will not change i.e. if it was a controlled activity under the current plan, and it breaches a discretionary rule under the Proposed District Plan, it will retain the controlled status.

If it is a building consent or PIM application, then a planning check will now have to be done against the Proposed District Plan. This may result in a resource consent being required where previously it was a permitted activity, or that further information be provided to demonstrate the activity is permitted under the new plan.

What are existing use rights?

In situations where an activity is ongoing and was permitted under the current plan or an earlier one but now requires resource consent under the Proposed District Plan, the activity is protected by existing use rights under s10 of the RMA and no further resource consent is required.  This is the same for an activity that was established by way of resource consent.

However, the protection is only for the activity as it was lawfully established under the current or earlier plan.  It must remain the same or similar in terms of scale, intensity and character as existed prior to Proposed District Plan notification, and must not cease for more than 12 months. If you have any doubts whether an activity can rely on existing use rights, then contact the council Duty Planner at duty.planner@fndc.govt.nz or call 0800 920 029.  An application can be made under s139A (Existing Use Rights certificate) of the RMA that confirms lawful establishment and ongoing operation.

What technical information has been gathered to inform the Proposed District Plan?

District plans require a large amount of evidence and technical information to support their direction and provisions. Technical reports and other relevant documents which have been developed during the review of the current Far North District Plan can be found on our supporting information webpage.

What impact does the RMA reform have on the Proposed District Plan?

A government-commissioned report recommended that the RMA be repealed and replaced. The report also recommended that over 100 plans currently prepared by regional councils and territorial authorities in each region, including district plans, be combined into just 14 plans. While the government report considers that new legislation could be enacted by 2022, transition to new legislation could take up to 10 years. The Proposed District Plan will provide a sound platform for integration into a combined regional plan and will provide a more streamlined and up-to-date approach to achieving the environmental, economic, social and cultural outcomes during a transition period.

Last updated: 15 Apr 2024 6:06pm