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Hearings for District Plan submissions to begin

From Monday 27 May a panel will begin hearing submissions and evidence on the Proposed District Plan during a series of 20 hearings set out over 18 months. Each hearing will cover a different specialist topic.

The District Plan affects all landowners and residents in the Far North by providing strategic direction and rules about where you can undertake certain activities, as well as controlling how land can be used, developed and subdivided.

The council is reviewing the current District Plan and has proposed an updated version. The process of adopting the Proposed District Plan (PDP) includes a written submission process which gives landowners, the wider community, tangata whenua and stakeholders the chance to tell the council what they think of the proposed changes. Council staff and external experts review submissions and make recommendations to the Hearings Panel. Submitters also have the option to speak directly to the Hearings Panel on their submission.

These hearings are not compulsory for those who made a submission. However, submitters who asked to be heard will be invited to a hearing covering the topics relating to their submission. Submitters who choose not to attend hearings will still have their submission considered by the panel.

The first three hearings are:

Hearing 1 – Introduction, General Provisions (starts 27 May)

  • Reporting topics – strategic direction, Tangata Whenua, Part 1 including introduction, how the plan works, and national direction instruments

Hearing 2 – Special Purpose Zones (starts 17 June)

  • Reporting topics – airport, hospital, Quail Ridge

Hearing 3 – Special Purpose Zones (starts 19 June)

  • Reporting topics – Orongo Bay, Ngāwhā Innovation and Enterprise Park, Moturoa Island zone

The panel is made up of an independent Chair, four independent commissioners, and up to two elected council representatives. From this group a quorum of two is required for any hearing.

Hearings are scheduled to run through to September 2025. Once all points have been heard, the Hearings Panel will make recommendations to the council about changes to the PDP. The council will make decisions based on the recommendations received.

Information about the hearings process, the dates and what topics are covered is available on our website.