Using the Operative Hastings District Plan

Legislative background

The Hastings District Plan (the District Plan) provides the means for the people of the Hastings District to manage the effects of the use, development and protection of the natural and physical resources within the Hastings District. It guides and controls how land is used, developed or protected in order to avoid or lessen the impact of any adverse effects.

The District Plan is prepared by the Hastings District Council in response to its obligations under the Resource Management Act 1991 (the Act)

The District Plan includes objectives, policies and methods to achieve the integrated management of the effects of the use, development or protection (as appropriate), of land and associated natural and physical resources of the Hastings District.It meets the statutory provisions of the Resource Management Act, particularly Sections 31, 75 and 76, and Part II of the Second Schedule. Section 31 sets out the functions that territorial authorities have in terms of how the Act is put into effect. Part II of the Second Schedule gives more detail with regard to the functions established by Section 31, and emphasises that District Plans must be concerned with the effects of activities rather than the activities themselves. 

Section 75 of the Act sets out the way a District Plan must address the matters identified in Section 31 and the Second Schedule. This section requires the District Plan to identify the resource management issues which face the community and the environmental outcomes they are seeking to achieve through the District Plan. Section 76 allows a local authority, in achieving the objectives and policies of the District Plan, to carry out its functions under the Act, and to make rules to prohibit, regulate or allow activities.

Sustainable management

The purpose, function and contents of district plans are directed towards achieving the purpose of the Act, which is ‘to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources’. Section 5 of the Act defines sustainable management as:

‘Managing the use, development and protection of natural and physical resources in a way, or at a rate, which enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety while -

(a) Sustaining the potential of natural and physical resources (excluding minerals) to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations; and

(b) Safeguarding the life-supporting capacity of air, water, soil and ecosystems; and

(c) Avoiding, remedying, or mitigating any adverse effects of activities on the environment”.

Section 6 of the Act also places a duty on Council to recognise and provide for a range of matters of national importance, and Section 7 identifies other matters which Council must have regard to in exercising its functions and powers under the Act. Section 8 of the Act requires Council to take into account the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Related plans & documents 

The Act requires the integrated management of the environment. The District Plan alone cannot achieve a sustainable Hastings District. As such, the District Plan forms part of a group of inter-related planning and policy. The intention of the Act is that all these plans and documents should work together to achieve the integrated management of natural and physical resources.

While each Plan deals with the management of natural and physical resources, there is a requirement that District Plans must not be inconsistent with national policy statements or regional policy statements and plans. The planning and policy documents are discussed below.

References to the Resource Management Act 1991, other acts of parliament, statutory regulations, national policy statements, regional policy statements and regional plans were accurate at the time this Plan was approved.

National level

At the National level the Act provides for:

National Policy Statements: which are intended to state policy on matters of national significance relevant to achieving the purposes of the Resource Management Act. National Environmental Standards and Regulations: which are technical standards in the form of regulations with regard to the use, development and protection of natural and physical resources.

Regional level

At the regional level there are policies and plans produced by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

These include:

Regional Policy Statement: which is a compulsory policy document which provides an overview of the resource management issues of the region and policies and methods to address the integrated management of the natural and physical resources of the whole region.

Regional Plans: which are optional and are intended to focus on particular issues and areas and to assist the Regional Council in carrying out their functions under the Resource Management Act. The Hastings District Plan must be consistent with the intent of any Regional Policy Statement or Plan.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has indicated matters of regional significance for which local authorities should have regard. These include waste discharges, soil loss, protection of the coast, air pollution, ecosystems, landscape features, natural hazards, energy use, waste management, transport, hazardous substances, and the built environment.

The Regional Council is also concerned that development does not compromise the natural values of the coast and waterways. The sustainable use of our coastal environment is promoted by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Coastal Environment Plan

The management of waterbodies and the management of discharges from land activities either to the air, ground or water, requires Council to have a working relationship with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council These two councils have established a clear understanding of the functions, duties and powers of each, and have established clear lines of demarcation. 

Issues identified as being of regional significance also necessitate a level of integration with the District Plans of adjacent territorial authorities. Issues such as rural residential housing, urban expansion, transportation, industrial development and landscape features have impacts on the Napier City Council’s District Plan, while coastal management and Tangata Whenua issues impact across all boundaries from Wairoa to Central Hawke’s Bay.

Local level

At the local level, the Act provides for:

District Plans: a compulsory regulatory document which provides objectives, policies and methods to achieve the integrated management of the effects of the use, development and protection of land and associated natural and physical resources of the Hastings District.

Other plans

Section 74 of the Resource Management Act also requires the District Plan to take into account a range of other plans. These are discussed below.

(a) Long Term Plan and Annual Plans

The Long Term Plan is a visionary document which describes the activities of the Council and outlines the nature and direction for District growth and development, over the next 10 years.

It also establishes a vision of the type of community which the Hastings District’s people wish to see develop. Some elements of the Long Term Plan are reflected in this District Plan. However, a great deal of the Long Term Plan’s vision is related to longer term development issues including socio-economic development and infrastructure planning. As such it is a complementary document providing a policy direction for matters which cannot be dealt with by the District Plan.

The Annual Plan is concerned with identifying the nature, scope and financing of the activities which the Council will undertake in the next year.

This allocation of Council’s financial resources is undertaken within a policy framework of objectives and policies which also form part of the Annual Plan. A number of the District Plan methods recognise the role of the Annual Plan. In addition, a number of the District Plan’s financial mechanisms are updated regularly through the Annual Plan.

(b) Iwi Management Plans

The development and adoption of Iwi Management Plans will, over time, provide a guiding document that Council can refer to when administering activities located within areas of iwi and hapu influence. Development Plans will also be formulated that will reflect the individual hapu/iwi aspirations, where there are particular differences between the various locations and Marae.

(c) District Plans of Adjacent Territorial Authorities

Hastings District shares territorial boundaries with five other local authorities. The most significant of these is with Napier City, which Hastings District encompasses. The common movement of people and goods between these two authorities and the proximity of industrial, residential and commercial centres means that the planning undertaken by each authority will have potential implications for its adjoining neighbour. Hastings District and Napier City have worked together to achieve some consistency of the rules that apply to activities that cross the district boundaries.

A number of the common boundaries with the Hastings District are formed by waterbodies. The management of land based activities in the water catchment, and the direct management of activities on the surface of waterbodies requires some consistency to ensure that the goals and aspirations of both communities are achieved. In addition to the joint waterbodies, both Hastings and Napier Councils have worked collaboratively to align policies and rules in several areas of their Plans.

The Hastings District’s Tangata Whenua also cover areas of Wairoa, Napier, and Central Hawke’s Bay, in addition to the Hastings District. It is important for their rights and aspirations to be mutually respected by the different local authorities and for complementary provisions to be in place for the management of Papakainga, Waahi Tapu and Marae.

(d) Historic Places Register

The Historic Places Register which is established by the Historic Places Act 1993, lists buildings, places and sites which are of special or outstanding historical or cultural significance or value (Category I) and those of historical or cultural heritage (Category II). 

The Register can include buildings, sites, archaeological sites and waahi tapu. A copy of the Historic Places Register containing such sites located in the Hastings District is held by the Hastings District Council.

(e) Plans for Public Reserves

Within the Hastings District there are a number of reserves administered under the provisions of the Reserves Act 1977 as well as being controlled by the District Plan. The appropriate use and development of such reserves is controlled by individual Reserve Management Plans that ensure any uses are consistent with the reserve’s classification.

The Reserves Act, which is primarily administered by the Department of Conservation, makes provision for the acquisition, control, management, maintenance, preservation, development and use of public reserves, and for public access to the coastline and countryside.

(f) Conservation Management Strategy and Conservation Management Plans

All natural and historic resources that are managed by the Department of Conservation are subject to Conservation Management Strategies and Conservation Management Plans formed under the Conservation Act 1987

Natural and historic resources include protected natural areas and walkways. Conservation management strategies are designed to implement general policies and establish objectives for the management of the natural and historic resources managed by the Department.

Conservation Management Plans implement Conservation Management Strategies, and establish detailed objectives for the management of conservation assets.

Hastings District Plan

District Plan format

The Hastings District Plan has been prepared as a single document which brings together all the resource management issues facing the Hastings District. The document should be viewed as a whole so that the common themes and inter-relationships between the various sections can be understood and appreciated. In the process of formulating the District Plan the Council has been guided by a vision and set of principles which were developed at the start of the process.

Structure of the plan

Part A Introduction And Strategies

Part A provides an overview of the Hastings District, its resources, the vision that the community has for the District, the District Plan’s role in achieving the vision, the guiding principles that will be used to work towards the vision and its outcomes.

The strategic directions of the Council are also outlined in this section. These include the Council’s aim of achieving a sustainable environment for the future and the steps that have been taken to date to achieve this.

One of these steps towards a sustainable environment is recognising that the District is made up of distinct environments and the reviewed  Plan has adopted a place-based approach to recognise these spatial differences. There is an explanation that there will be different design drivers for the different “places” of the District. 

The introductory section of the District Plan also outlines the various Council strategic documents that have formed a part of the decision-making process for planning for a sustainable environment, such as the Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy and the Coastal Strategy

The District Plan will give further effect to this aim through the objectives, policies, and methods contained in part B of the District Plan.

This section of the Plan will also outline how effect is to be given to the national policy statements, regional policy statements, plans, and the various strategies that the Council has adopted.

Part B Strategic Management Areas and Zones

The District Plan recognises that the effects of activity differ by location, intensity, and as a result of particular environmental characteristics. A place-based approach has been adopted for the Plan. This follows the premise that particular parts of the District have characteristics and values that are unique to that location and that activities must be assessed against criteria that will maintain and enhance those ‘place’ values.

The District Plan identifies those parts of the District that have special characteristics/values referred to as the Strategic Management Unit, the different zones that fit under those units, and the District Wide Activities to enable the effects of activities to be managed.

  • Strategic Management Areas (SMA) - the Hastings District has been divided into a number of areas according to their special characteristics or the values that they exhibit. Each of the SMA areas will provide a description of the characteristics of ‘the place’ which is what sets it apart from other parts of the District to warrant a set of provisions that are unique to that place. There will be a set of overarching objectives and policies for each of the Strategic Management Areas. The more detailed urban design elements that are considered essential to maintain the unique characteristics of the SMA will also be outlined
  • Land Use Activity Zones – each of the Strategic Management Areas will be divided into a number of land units or zones. These will be managed according to the different environmental outcomes that are being sought for each zone. Activities within the zones are managed according to the anticipated environmental effects and the ability to meet the desired outcomes

Part C District Wide Activities and Rules

These are specified activities/effects that can occur across the Hastings District irrespective of zones.

In some cases, such as noise and advertising devices and signs, these effects and activities have been considered on a joint basis between both the Napier City Council and the Hastings District Council so that the activity/effect will be assessed in the same way despite its location.

The District Wide Activities and Rules have been split into three categories:

  1. Restrictive District Wide Activities,
  2. Permissive District Wide Activities and
  3. District Wide Rules.

These categories have been defined to create a hierarchy of which activities take precedence.

Each activity has its own objectives, policies and methods to address the issues identified in the District Plan. In determining permitted activity status, consideration has already been given to the effects of such activities on the relevant pbjectives and policies of the Plan. Applications for District Wide Activities which have a Controlled or Restricted Discretionary activity status and which require assessment against the objectives and policies of the Plan will be assessed in terms of those objectives, policies and methods for the District Wide Activity, which are relevant to the matters that the Council has retained control over, or restricted the exercise of its discretion to.

Part D Subdivision and Land Development

This section includes objectives, policies and methods that specifically deal with subdivision and land development.

Part E Designations/Monitoring

Designations identify land required for public works or projects. Once a designation is included in the District Plan, it overrides the zone provisions of that District Plan and any resource consent provided the land is being used for the designated purpose.

The monitoring section identifies the need to constantly monitor the District Plan to ensure the outcomes of the plan are being achieved.

Part F Definitions

Definitions provide alternative wording to specific words throughout the Plan which may have a slightly alternative meaning to that which is used in everyday language. Definitions shall be used to clarify terms which could have alternate meanings. Where a word in the Plan is has an associated definition, it will be underlined throughout the plan to ensure the appropriate meaning of the word is utilised.


A number of appendices are referred to throughout the District Plan. These appendices are included at the end of the District Plan document. These include inventories of special resources, and technical information pertaining to development standards within the Hastings District.

Planning maps

The planning maps identify the zoning for the area and any designations, scheduled sites, heritage items and waahi tapu.