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Section 32 Reports

The purpose of section 32 of the Resource Management Act is to ensure all proposed statements, standards, regulations, plans or changes are robust, evidence-based and are the best means to achieve the purpose of the RMA. The purpose of the RMA is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.

Section 32 requires evaluation reports to examine whether the objectives are appropriate and that the provisions will realise those objectives.

Section 32 report summaries are shown below.

The Far North has a number of urban centres spread over a large area. Many are experiencing growth which is expected to continue, while others may decline.

This chapter’s changes include:

* Consolidation of residential zones into one General Residential Zone
* A Mixed Use Zone to replace the Commercial Zone
* Light and Heavy Industrial Zones replacing a single Industrial Zone

  • Strengthening of rural subdivision provisions to prevent inappropriate land fragmentation and preserve highly productive land for primary production activities.
  • Activity based rules to minimise incompatible activities in rural zones that may compromise primary production activities.
  • A new rural lifestyle zone that specifically enables rural lifestyle blocks
  • A new horticulture special purpose zone, surrounds parts of Kerikeri and Waipapa to: 
    • protect the significant established horticulture industry and supporting water infrastructure
    • providing for its growth due to its high economic contribution to the District
    • preserve this highly productive land for horticulture use.
  • A new Rural Residential special purpose zone that provides for lots as small as 2,000m2
  • A new Settlement zone to support rural communities, to provide for housing, community services, and business opportunities.



This chapter focuses on creating three separate zones – Open Space, Natural Open Space, and Sport and Active Recreation Zone to allow better management of activities. Changes in language and the introduction of activity-based rules will also be introduced.

The Far North has a rich cultural identity, with a strong Māori population across our district’s communities. Key changes in the Proposed District Plan are:

  • A new Tangata Whenua chapter
  • A new Treaty Settlement overlay for general title land that has returned to iwi or hapū.
  • A new Māori Purpose Zone – land administered under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993
    • Enabling provisions to provide for the relationship of tangata whenua with their land and foster social, economic and cultural wellbeing.
    • New provisions to protect the cultural significance of the Te Oneroa-a-Tōhe Beach Management Plan Area.

A settlement zone has been applied to 35 small coastal and rural settlements across the district, to provide for residential activities as well as a range of other activities such as community and business development, provided there is adequate on-site infrastructure services.

There are three airports in the Far North – Kaitāia, Kaikoke and Kerikeri (Bay of Islands). This chapter focuses on:

  • Creating an airport zone to protect regionally significant infrastructure
  • Provisions to align with the proposed district plan’s hybrid approach
  • Facilitate the continued operation of airport activities
  • Includes standards relating to the location of buildings, structures and vegetation to protect the airspace

The Carrington Estate Zone includes a country club, golf course, accommodation and winery. Changes in this chapter will align structures and formats with National Planning Standards 2019 and introduce a ‘hybrid approach’, focusing on effects and activity-based rules.

The Horticulture Processing Facilities Zone provides for large-scale processing and storage facilities. Changes in this chapter include additional facilities in Kerikeri, Waipapa, and Awanui. Structure and format changes will align with the hybrid plan approach.

There are three hospitals in the Far North – Kaitāia, Bay of Islands (Kawakawa), and Rawene. The proposed District plan approach is to introduce a Special Purpose Zone to allow the hospitals to operate, expand, and develop to meet the needs of their communities. The new Zone will provide clear direction for the hospitals regarding the type of activities anticipated.

Kauri Cliffs is an international standard golf club with accommodation, conference and dining facilities. Changes in this chapter include alignment with the National Planning Standards and additional restrictions on development consistent with an international golf course.

Kororāreka Russell is a historically significant location in the Bay of Islands. This chapter focuses on a multi-layered approach to managing development through a Kororāreka Russell Township Zone and a Kororāreka Russell Heritage Area Overlay, which outlines the unique heritage values, context and landscapes requiring protection, with objectives, policies and rules to achieve this.

Moturoa Island lies in the Bay of Islands. Changes in this chapter include additional restrictions on earthworks and building development. Other changes will align with the Regional Policy Statement for Northland, including Significant Natural Areas, outstanding natural landscape, natural character and coastal environments.

Orongo Bay is in a sensitive coastal environment, where key issues are protecting the environment, the impact of infrastructure, and the provision of commercial activities. Changes in this chapter will address the requirements of the National Planning Standards 2019.



This chapter relates to telecommunications, electricity generation and transmission, radio communications and three waters infrastructure. Infrastructure rules are updated to be more user-friendly. Changes include recognising the benefits of regionally-significant infrastructure and provisions for development, clearer direction on balancing infrastructure needs with environmental impacts and managing adverse effects.


This chapter includes provisions to retain more control of large-scale renewable electricity projects or those that could impact the environment, balancing the needs of renewable energy projects with the protection of sensitive areas. A new rule framework for small and community-scale renewable energy projects should see growth in electricity production from renewable sources.


The Far North’s transport infrastructure includes roads, rail, walking and cycling paths, public transport, and parking areas. The Transport chapter recognises the network as ‘regionally significant infrastructure’, focusing on the economic, cultural, environmental, and social wellbeing benefits and the impact on historical, cultural and natural values. It gives clearer guidance on balancing the needs of the network with any adverse effects.




The Natural Hazards chapter, manages river flood hazards, land instability and wildfires. The coastal hazards rules are in the Coastal Environment chapter in accordance with the National Planning Standards. There is a broader scope of controls on landuse / subdivision in the coastal and river flood hazard areas as they are mapped and now apply district wide. Land instability will continue to be managed at the time of subdivision, but with specific framework and associated definition. There is a precautionary approach to manage risk and protect vulnerable activities in natural hazard areas.



Hazardous substances can pose a threat to the health and safety of communities and the natural environment.
Main changes to proposed management include:
* Changes to regulation in response to Resource management Act 2017 amendments.
* Introduction of definitions for ‘sensitive activities’ and ‘significant hazardous facilities’.
* Provisions that include activity-based rules


The Historic Heritage chapter introduces standards to protect and manage the effects of development. A Heritage Area Overlay chapter focuses on areas in the Far North with a significant cluster of known heritage sites, with provisions to protect them from inappropriate use, development and subdivision.




Notable trees have historical, ecological, cultural and amenity values. Changes to this chapter will give a more flexible approach to managing the district’s notable trees. Trees that don’t meet the points criteria will be removed as ‘notable’, and others nominated through a 2017 public consultation will be included. The public will have another opportunity to request notable tree status via submissions.






The chapter seeks to protect, maintain and restore significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna in a way that recognises the statutory requirements whilst enabling people and communities to provide for their economic, social and cultural well-being.

This chapter relates to the Far North’s extensive rivers, streams, lakes and waterways. Main changes include:

  • A dedicated chapter on the natural character of wetland, lake and river margins
  • Changes in language
  • A new definition for ‘wetland, lake and river margins’
  • Alignment with the hybrid approach of the Proposed District Plan


The Far North is rich in unique landscapes, and modifications to these have been minimal due to remote locations and historic heritage. This chapter aims to align with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and Regional Policy Statement for Northland. Key changes include:

  • Updated activity rules
  • Updated mapping and changes in language
  • Changes in thresholds and activities
  • Alignment with the hybrid approach of the Proposed District Plan

The chapter is largely a rollover of the Operative District Plan provisions consolidated into a 'Public access' chapter to align with the National Planning Standards; the primary difference being the removal of identified ‘Esplanade Priority Areas’ and the requirement for the creation of esplanade reserves where lots greater than 4ha in area are created.  Public access to coastal and riparian margins is also addressed in other chapters, including natural character, coastal environment and subdivision.

The Subdivision chapter will provide clear direction for people seeking to subdivide. The key changes include:  New minimum allotment sizes and stronger policy direction around protection of highly productive land, a focus on integrated, accessible and connected subdivision, streamlining of rules for clarity, integration of new Council engineering standards.

There are many rivers and lakes in the Far North, but human activity can negatively impact these fresh-water bodies' ecological, cultural, and natural characteristics. The main changes include:

  • A dedicated chapter on activities on the water surface
  • Provisions for a stronger policy direction for activities
  • A hybrid approach, focusing more on activity-based rules
  • Provisions for discretionary activity status to structures, commercial, and residential activities on the water surface

The Far North’s coastline is vast and has seen increasing pressure for development. This chapter aims to align with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and the Regional Policy Statement for Northland. Key changes include:

  • Use of mapping to identify the coastal environment, high natural character, outstanding natural character
  • Changes in language
  • Provisions to align with the hybrid approach of the Proposed District Plan.

Earthworks will mainly be managed through the earthworks chapter (some chapters such as coastal environment will have specific earthworks rules to manage coastal amenity). It will contain new and amended rules and standards that:

  • Set time-period, volume, and area thresholds appropriate for each zone and overlay.
  • Provide for a range of activities across zones and overlays.
  • Permit earthworks that comply with guidelines and recommendations contained in the Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines for Land Disturbing in the Auckland Region 2016 (GD05).
  • Remove the need to have a bylaw managing earthworks.

The current plan manages lighting on land zoned residential, coastal residential, rural living, Russell township, south Kerikeri inlet and coastal living. Changes to lighting provisions will address requirements set out in National Planning Standards 2019 (Planning Standards) and reflect updated best-practice.

Excessive noise can be annoying and diminish enjoyment of the local environment, particularly in urban areas where it affects a greater portion of the population. Changes for Noise includes new and amended rules that: Apply different time limits for noise in rural zones, apply revised noise controls around the airport, revise methods and policies for managing noise sensitive activities.

This chapter address the requirements of the Planning Standards as well as providing further clarity between the roles of the District Plan and Signage Bylaw. The framework provides for and manages signs across a range of zones, recognising their differing character and amenity values.

There are no significant changes in this chapter on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), with the status quo considered the most appropriate way to manage the issue. Changes only relate to the structure, layout and minor amendment to rule language, to align with the new format of the other chapters.

Temporary Activities can boost the social, economic, and cultural wellbeing of communities. Key changes in this chapter include a wider range of activities in more locations and more frequently. These changes are subject to a definition for temporary activities, modification of the overview on the range of activities provided for, and revision of policies to manage adverse effects.

Mineral resources have social and economic importance, but extraction has the potential to adversely affect the environment. Changes to the management of quarrying and mining include:

  • Having a dedicated chapter for the management of commercial mineral extraction activities
  • Using a district wide overlay vs a Mineral zone
  • Enabling the expansion of existing activities within the Mineral Extraction Overlay
  • Providing for activities ancillary to mineral extraction
  • Protecting mineral extraction occurring in these locations from sensitive activities that could sterilise these regionally significant resources
  • An improved response to iwi and hapū environmental management plans

The purpose of the Quail Ridge zone (QRZ) is to provide for a residential and retirement development of a mixed typology as a country club or village in accordance with the Quail Ridge Concept Master Plan (Master Plan). Quail Ridge is currently provided for as a Special Area within the Operative District Plan (ODP).

Last updated: 15 Apr 2024 6:06pm