Surveying Services - The Degree of Difference

Limited rural subdivision now in Western Bay

Published May 2016

With increased demand for lifestyle building now, the blocks will be increasingly hard to find. Several years ago the Western Bay of Plenty District Council had a huge change in direction with subdivision. The upshot was that they introduced the Minden Lifestyle Zone and most people with existing subdivision rights had to transfer them to landowners in the Minden area in order to obtain any benefit.

Most blocks being created in this zone will be around 4000 square metres, somewhat less than the true life-stylers need. Those wanting a few hectares will have to compete for the existing blocks or rely on the comparatively few lots still allowed under other rules.

Some larger lifestyle blocks can still be created in the rural zone in conjunction with protection of ecological features such as 'over half a hectare of wetland' or 'protection of 250 metres of planted stream bank' - significant cultural sites and view shafts can also comply. This is a rule that has found favour, as it is a win win for the landowner and the general public. Rural subdivision is also available to those who can achieve a minimum productive lot area of 6ha and those with over 12ha may even qualify for a bonus lifestyle lot.

Boundary adjustments between existing titles or relocation of existing titles is another popular way of creating rural blocks to meet the market. Generally these can be adjusted in size along the way to keep the majority of productive land in the farm. Prior to the changes, WBOPDC had a rather flexible subdivision regime that many would argue allowed too much fragmentation of the productive land. Unfortunately this went on too long and rather than tweaking the rules, Council felt that they needed to change abruptly. However as a conciliation, Council allowed those that hadn't used their 'rights' under the old rules to sell them to land owners in the Lifestyle Zone. Many properties with older titles have this ability and those with multiple titles can amalgamate titles in order to free up more for sale. Detailed advice should be sought before doing the latter.

These 'rights' are called transferable development rights (TDRs) and sell for up to $20,000 at present. TDRs can also be created by protecting ecological features. Without purchasing a TDR you cannot subdivide in the Lifestyle Zone.

Development in the Minden Zone is limited, pending construction of the Tauranga Northern Link. Some parts are now reaching their capacity, due to restricted access on to the State Highway. We believe that progress is slowly being made on plans to upgrade this highway, although it is anyone's guess when it will finally happen. If you wish to clarify any subdivision strategies mentioned here please feel free to give me a call. I am happy to discuss the situation with you to see if it is worth pursuing.

By Brent Trail Managing Director

Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty.
For further information call 07 838 1571 or email

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