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Plan Change 6 - Category 3 Lifestyle Subdivision Provisions for Displaced Landowners


Following the devastating impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle, the worst hit areas were deemed to pose too high a risk to life for continued residency. Those areas were noted as Category 3 and, with Government, plans and policies to assist those who wanted to relocate were put in place.

Understanding the importance of community and what living in a particular place could mean to a whānau, Council has created a pathway for property owners to relocate to an area that is within relatively close proximity of their home.

Plan Change 6 provides Category 3 property owners with a two-year window (from the time of signing of the voluntary buy-out agreement) to locate a piece of land outside hazardous areas but within a 5km distance from their original house, on which to build a home.

Plan Change 6 is being managed using the Resource Management Act ‘streamlined planning process’. Utilisation of the streamlined planning process was provided for under an Order in Council enacted by Government after the cyclone. This streamlined planning process can be used only for replacement housing purposes. The streamlined process includes public consultation and submissions, but limits matters on which appeals can be made. The final decision cannot be appealed to the Environment Court unless it is on a matter of law. More information can be found at here.

Why are we making the change?

Council wants those impacted to have opportunities that work for them; noting that this plan change relies on landowners being willing to sell sections to cyclone-affected property owners. While some residents will not feel safe or comfortable living in the area others will want to stay in their community. Council wants to support that, in a safe and sustainable way.

The details

The plan change would enable Category 3 property owners who have signed a voluntary buy-out agreement to source a rural or rural residential-zoned piece of land within a 5km radius of their original property. 

The land cannot be within the categorised area and would need to be reviewed.

Noting that subdivision may not currently be allowed on the newly sourced land, this plan change would allow the new property’s original use to be changed via resource consent without as many constraints as usual.

Being able to move to and build on the desired land is not guaranteed. The resident/landowner would apply and it would be reviewed, assessing the normal subdivision criteria for lifestyle sites.

Under the plan change the current allowed use of the land can change to meet the needs of the displaced resident. The land will still need to be assessed for the new use and, if approved, the normal Building Consent process followed.

For more information, see our FAQs below. If you don’t see your question there, email the

Frequently Asked Questions

Plan change

Category 3 property owners who have accepted a voluntary buy-out offer.

No, it would be the responsibility of the landowners to find their replacement site and have the conversation with the landowner willing to sell. Council would be able to offer advice on the suitability of a future site.  

Normal subdivision fees would apply. They would be the responsibility of the landowner who is selling the land to the new owner. 

That depends on how quickly the conditions of the normal subdivision consent can be met.

A range of options were considered. The favoured option, included in the proposed plan change, was that 5km was close enough to an affected Category 3 home to be considered within proximity of the original community, while broad enough to provide as much flexibility as possible.

This plan change only applies to land within the Hastings District boundary. If you are seeking a site within Napier you would need to talk their planning team.

Submission process

Feedback can be submitted between Saturday 24 February and Friday 22 March. Submissions must be in writing and can be made online at or a form can be completed at the Hastings District Council Customer Service area, or at any of the Hastings District Libraries. You can also write out a submission (it does not need to be on the form) and post it to: Hastings District Council, Private Bag 9002, Hastings 4156; Attn: Plan Change 6.

Any resident in the Hastings District.

Submitters can often raise points that had not been thought of in the process of drafting a plan change. It can also be beneficial to affected landowners to be able to talk to the Hearings Committee about their own personal circumstances or experiences.

It is hoped that the plan change process will be completed by mid-2024.

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