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Variations to District Plans

A variation is a proposed change to a Proposed District Plan that is prepared by a council.

Does a variation have legal effect when considering an application for a Resource Consent?

Clause 16B(2) First Schedule of the Resource Management Act (RMA) provides that a variation has some effect on notification.

Case law based on that clause of the RMA confirms that the correct approach is:

  • That the Proposed District Plan provisions are disregarded, regardless of what stage they are at;
  • That the variation is afforded weight according to how far through the RMA process it is (for instance, if it has just been notified and awaiting submissions, minimal weight is applied; if a decision has been made, the variation is afforded closer to equal weight to the Operative Plan etc);
  • That the Operative District Plan is applied and given less weight as the variation moves through the process.

Active and completed variations

Nature of Variation/Plan Change Status Parts of the plan affected

Right homes; right place – Plan Change 5

Hastings District Council has prepared a change to the Hastings District Plan which will make it easier to build more houses on a site and assist with the provision for a greater range of housing types and affordable housing options in its Medium Density and General Residential Zones. Plan Change 5 will provide a more permissive approach to the consideration of housing developments in Hastings, Flaxmere and Havelock North by proposing:

  • Allowing houses up to three storeys high;
  • That the number of houses on a site be determined through using rules to control the portion of a site that can be covered by buildings, the amount of grass and landscaping on a site and the space allocated for outdoor living rather than using a site size minimum;
  • Turning the Medium Density Design Framework into an assessment tool to help ensure good design outcomes; and
  • If all the rules are met, that medium density developments can proceed without affected persons’ consent or neighbours approval.


  • Date notified: 29 October 2022
  • Submissions opened: 29 October 2022
  • Submissions closed: 25 November 2022
  • Summary of submissions are being prepared, opportunity for further submissions will be early in 2023. 
  • Further submissions opened: 25 March 2023
    Make a further submission at

Te Matā - Te Mata O Rongokako prohibited building area - Plan change 4

Hastings District Council has prepared a change to the Proposed District Plan to ensure that cultural and landscape values on the eastern face of Te Matā are appropriately protected . To this end a prohibited building area is being introduced, which affects the properties at 282 and 344 Waimarama Road.

  • Date notified: 22 October 2022
  • Submissions opened: 22 October 2022
  • Submissions closed: 21 November 2022
  • No further submissions received
  • Summary of Submissions notified: 3 December 2022
  • Decisions on Submissions notified: 25 March 2023
  • Appeal period closes: 10 May 2023

Plan Change 3 – Providing for Marae in the Rural and Plains Production Zones

Plan Change 3 amends Section 5.2: (Rural Zone) and Section 6.2 (Plains Production Zone) of the Hastings District Plan.  Currently the District Plan requires a resource consent for the establishment and development marae in these two zones. Plan Change 3 will provide a more permissive approach for marae in rural areas by identifying them as a permitted activity in the Rural Zone and the Plains Production Zone up to a maximum gross floor area of 1000m2.

  • Date Notified: 13 Feb 2021
  • Submissions Closed: 12 March 2021
  • Summary of Submissions Notified: 10 April 2021
  • Further Submissions Closed: 23 April 2021
  • Hearing date to be set

Plan Change 2 - Engineering Code of Practice

Plan Change 2 amends a number of sections of the partially operative District Plan to ensure that newly amended Engineering Code of Practice is correctly referenced in the district plan. The Plan Change also amends the  roading hierarchy to reflect the New Zealand Transport Agency’s One Network Classification hierarchy
  • Date Notified: 25 July 2020
  • Submissions open: 25 July 2020
  • Submissions can now be made at:
  • Submissions close: 21 August 2020
  • No submissions Received
  • Adopted by Council 8 December 2020
  • Operative Date 19 December 2020

Plan Change 1 (Variation 7) - Seasonal Workers Accommodation

Hastings District Council has prepared a variation to the Proposed District Plan to allow for seasonal worker accommodation within the Light Industrial zone and the General Industrial zones at Omahu and Irongate. The variation also places a more realistic scale for seasonal workers accommodation within the Plains Production zone.

  • Date Notified: 23 August 2019
  • Submissions open: 23 August 2019
  • Submissions closed: 27 September 2019
  • Date Summary of Submissions Notified: 12 October 2019
  • Further submissions closed: 29 October 2019
  • Hearing held 18 February 2020
  • Decisions Notified 2 May 2020
  • Appeal period closed 15 June 2020
  • 3 Appeals to the Environment Court have been lodged and mediation is pending. 
  • Appeals settled by way of Consent Order (1 December 2020)
  • Plan change operative

Amendments to Heritage Provisions

Hastings District Council has prepared a summary of submissions on Variation 6.

The variation amendments seek to add Vidal House as a heritage item in Appendix 49 Heritage Buildings in the Te Mata Special Character Zone. Built in 1908, this house is located in Havelock North and was reputedly designed by William Rush. It was purchased by the Vidal family in 1937. Variation 6 also seeks to clarify the permitted activity status of internal alterations to heritage buildings in the Te Mata Special Character Zone (listed in Appendix 49).

It is recommended that this variation is read in conjunction with the section 32 evaluation report and the following supporting documents.

  • Date Notified: 22 November 2018
  • Submissions closed: 19 December 2018
  • Date Summary of Submissions Notified: 19 January 2019
  • Further Submissions closed: 1 February 2019
  • Decision Notified: 2 March 2019 (Variation 6 Public Notice)
  • Appeal period ends: 12 April 2019
  • No appeals filed to Environment Court therefore the Variation is in full effect

Inner City Living

Enabling inner city living in the upper floors of buildings in the Hasting Central Commercial zone.

View documents:

  • Date Notified: 22 November 2018
  • Submissions closed: 19 December 2018
  • Further submissions closed: 1 February 2019
  • Hearing held: 25 March 2019
  • Decisions notified: 15 June 2019
  • Appeal period ends: 26 July 2019
  • No appeals filed to Environment Court therefore the Variation is in full effect
  • Section 7.3 Central Commercial Zone;
  • Section 18.1 Heritage Items and Notable Trees; and
  • Section 26.1 Transport and Parking

Iona Residential Rezoning

The rezoning of land in Iona, Havelock North, from rural to residential has been completed.
  • Date Notified: 6 April 2018
  • Submissions close: 4 May 2018
  • The rezoning now has full effect (from 19 September 2018) and means that some 55 hectares of land is available for residential development.
Various parts of the plan affected

Howard Street Residential Variation

The proposal is to rezone 21.2 hectares of land from its current Plains Production Zone to General Residential Zone in between Howard St and Havelock Rd and adjoining the existing residential land on the southern side of Hastings city.

  • Date Notified: 16 July 2016
  • Submissions closed:  Fri 12 Aug 2016
  • Further submissions closed 16th September 2016
  • Hearing held 16 Dec 2016
  • Decisions notified 25 March 2017
  • Appeal Period ends 10 May 2017
  • Rezoning operative but appeal lodged by K. Cooper pertaining to storm-water management ENV-2017-WLG-44 (pdf 8950 KB)
  • Appeal Settled and Variation 3 now operative 13 March 2019
  • Designation for Road (RMA20180376) relating to rezoning area granted (D162)
  • Planning Maps
  • Appendix 80
  • Section 2.4
  • Section 7.2
  • Section 25.1
  • Section 26.1
  • Section 30.1

Irongate Industrial Variation

Hastings District Council has completed a variation to rezone land on the western outskirts of Hastings for industrial activity.

The rezoning means that some 118 hectares of land is now available for industrial use (dry industries).

  • Date Notified: 16 July 2016
  • Submissions closed:  Fri 12 Aug 2016
  • Further submissions closed 24th September 2016
  • Hearing held 2 Dec 2016.
  • Decisions notified 25 March 2017
  • Appeal Period ends 10 May 2017
  • Variation appealed by Bayley & Others ENV-2017-WLG-000045 (pdf 380 KB)
  • Appeal settled and Variation 2 now operative 24 January 2018
  • Planning Maps
  • Appendix 16
  • Appendix 26
  • Section 2.9
  • Section 6.2
  • Section 14.1
  • Section 26.1
  • Section 28.1
  • Section 30.1
  • Section 33.1

Omahu Road Variation and NoR

Hastings District Council has completed a variation to rezone land on the northern side of Omahu Road to allow industrial activity.

The rezoning means that some 63 hectares of land is now available for industrial land use. 

  • Date Notified: 21 May 2016
  • Submissions on Variation 1 and NoR closed:Mon 20 June 2016
  • Further submissions closed 5pm, 29 July 2016
  • Hearing held 1 Dec 2016
  • Decisions notified 25 March 2017
  • Appeal Period (variation) ends 10 May 2017
  • Variation appealed by Navilluso Holdings, Tumu Timbers, Carrfields Investments & M Walmsley ENV-2017-WLG-000046 (pdf 505 KB)
  • Appeal settled and Variation 1 is now operative
  • Section 2.9
  • Section 14.1
  • Section 30.1
  • Section 6.2
  • Appendices 17, 36 and 66
  • Planning Maps and Legend

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