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Plans, policies and reports
Plans, policies and reports

Hauraki Gulf Islands  review

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Issues and options papers

Non-statutory Documents

The principal mechanism for controlling development throughout the Hauraki Gulf Islands is the District Plan. Section 73 of the Resource Management Act (RMA) 1991 requires territorial authorities to prepare a District Plan. A territorial authority prepares and changes its District Plan in accordance with its functions under Section 31, the provisions of Part II of the RMA, its duty under Section 32 of the RMA and any regulations. When preparing or changing a District Plan a territorial authority must have regard to the regional policy statement, any regional plan, management plans and strategies prepared under other acts.

The regional policy statement is the primary instrument by which the integrated management of a region's significant resources is to be achieved. Therefore, both regional plans and District Plans must comply with it. Non-statutory documents such as The Rakino Way and Essentially Waiheke are adopted Council policy and have widespread support amongst the community. However, while desirable, there is no requirement for territorial authorities to have regard to non-statutory documents when preparing a District Plan.

Section 104(1)(c) of the Resource Management Act allows consideration of any other matter the consent authority considers relevant and reasonably necessary to determine the application. While it may be appropriate to consider non-statutory documents when assessing a resource consent application, there is no requirement for the consent authority to do so.

The main purpose of 'Essentially Waiheke - A Village and Rural Communities Strategy' is to establish a community-approved framework for Waiheke's development and to signpost directions towards a sustainable future, where opportunities for development are facilitated and the Island's community values and outstanding natural environment are respected and nurtured.

Concerned residents have queried some planning decisions they considered contrary to Essentially Waiheke. Questions have been asked about whether it would be possible to include reference to Essentially Waiheke or The Rakino Way in the Hauraki Gulf Islands District Plan through a plan change or the review process.

However, the recent Environment Court decision No. A054/2004 notes that extreme caution must be taken in referring to documents in a District Plan that have not been through the processes of the First Schedule of the RMA, and which could at any time be changed without any reference to those processes.

Furthermore, given the broad nature and wording of documents such as Essentially Waiheke, if they were to be included or referenced in the District Plan it is unlikely that they would restrict some of the developments that have caused concern to residents.

The Local Government Act (LGA) provides an alternative statutory process that the Council can use to control various matters. For example, signs are controlled through the Part 27 - Signs of the Consolidated Bylaw, which is managed through the LGA. Is the LGA an appropriate vehicle for dealing with non-Resource Management Act documents such as those identified above?

Possible approaches

You may have a better or alternative approach to those outlined below. If so, we would like to hear from you.

  • Status quo, whereby there is limited reference to non-statutory documents in the District Plan.
  • Incorporate some of the relevant issues that are currently in documents such as Essentially Waiheke into the District Plan.
  • Review whether the Hauraki Gulf Island Development Code should be referred to in the District Plan.
  • Re-develop the relevant non-statutory documents through the District Plan review process and refer to them in the District Plan.
  • Consider the Local Government Act as a means of process for managing issues and documents not controlled by the Resource Management Act.


While this issue paper can be read in isolation, it is best read in association with the issue papers relating to: