The subdivision process

The subdivision process involves the following stages:

  1. Subdivision consent
  2. Survey plan approval
  3. Section 224c certification
  4. Lodgement with Land Information New Zealand
  5. Certificate of title

(1) Subdivision consent

District plans identify whether subdivision is a permitted, controlled, restricted discretionary, discretionary, non-complying or prohibited activity. In almost all cases, an owner of land wishing to subdivide will need to obtain a resource consent and even if subdivision is a permitted activity an owner of land wishing to subdivide will need to obtain a certificate of compliance. 272  Activities associated with a subdivision, such as earthworks and vegetation clearance, may also require resource consent(s) from the district or regional council.

In addition to the general requirement for a resource consent application to include an assessment of environmental effects, a subdivision consent application must include information defining: 273

  • The position of all new boundaries
  • The areas of all new allotments
  • The locations and areas of new reserves to be created, including any esplanade reserves and esplanade strips
  • The locations and areas of any existing esplanade reserves, esplanade strips, and access strips
  • The locations and areas of land below mean high water springs of the sea, or of any part of the bed of a river or lake, to be vested in the Crown or local authority under section 237A of the Resource Management Act 1991
  • The locations and areas of land to be set aside as new roads

A subdivision consent application will generally be determined in the normal manner. However a consent authority must give consideration to refusing the grant of a subdivision consent, or impose conditions, if it considers that: 274

  • There is significant risk from natural hazards; or
  • Sufficient provision has not been made for legal and physical access to each allotment to be created;
  • An assessment of the risk from natural hazards requires a combined assessment of (a) the likelihood of natural hazards occurring, (b) the material damage to the land that would result from natural hazards, and (c) any likely use of the land that would accelerate, worsen to result in that material damage. 4541

In addition to the general power to impose resource consent conditions, 275 a territorial authority may grant a subdivision consent subject to the following conditions: 276

  • where an esplanade strip is required, a condition specifying the provisions to be included in the instrument creating the esplanade strip;
  • a condition requiring an esplanade reserve to be set aside;
  • a condition requiring the vesting of ownership of land in the coastal marine area or the bed of a lake or river;
  • a condition waiving the requirement for, or reducing the width of, an esplanade reserve or esplanade strip;
  • a condition providing for the amalgamation of land or the holding of land in the same ownership to provide for legal access;
  • a condition that any allotment be subject to a requirement as to the bulk, height, location, foundations, or height of floor levels of any structure on the allotments;
  • a condition that provision be made for the protection of the land against erosion, subsidence, slippage, or inundation;
  • a condition that filling and compaction of the land and earthworks be carried out to the satisfaction of the territorial authority;
  • a condition requiring that any easements be duly granted or reserved;
  • a condition requiring that any existing easements in respect of which the land is the dominant tenement and which the territorial authority considers to be redundant, be extinguished.

The subdivision consent must be ‘given effect to’ within 5 years of grant of consent, 277 by obtaining approval of a survey plan. 278 Following approval of a survey plan, the consent holder must obtain a section 224(c) certificate within 3 years. 279

A council has no power to extend the 3 year period. However, a new survey plan may be submitted to a council (provided the 5 year period has not passed) even if a survey plan has previously been submitted but a section 224(c) certificate was not obtained within the 3 year period. 280

(2) Approval of survey plan

An owner of land who holds a subdivision consent or a certificate of compliance may submit a survey plan 281 to the relevant territorial authority for approval. The territorial authority must determine whether the survey plan conforms with the subdivision consent or certificate of compliance, including determining whether the conditions of consent have or will be satisfied. If the survey plan is compliant, the territorial authority must approve the survey plan. If the survey plan is not compliant, the territorial authority must decline to approve the survey plan. The territorial authority must approve or decline the survey plan within 10 working days of receiving it. 282

(3) Section 224(c) Certification

Before a survey plan can be deposited, a certificate must be lodged with the Register-General of Land stating that the territorial authority has approved the survey plan and all of the conditions of the subdivision consent have been complied with to the satisfaction of the territorial authority or some conditions of the subdivision consent have been complied with to the satisfaction of the territorial authority and in respect of conditions that have not been complied with: 283

-  A completion certificate has been issued, stating that the owner has entered into a bond binding the owner to carry out the work or make the financial contribution 284
-  A consent notice has been issued, in respect of a condition which is to be complied with on a continuing basis by the subdividing owner and subsequent owners 285
-  A bond has been entered into by the subdividing owner, where required by a consent condition to secure the ongoing performance of conditions relating to long-term effects 286  (s108(2)(b))

(4) Land Information New Zealand

Next, legal title documents and the survey plan must be lodged with Land Information New Zealand for approval. Land Information New Zealand checks the documents meet the legal requirements, including whether the survey plan meets the required standards of accuracy to correctly fit into the national cadastral database (an electronic database called Landonline).

(5) Certificate of title

Finally, the existing title is cancelled and new certificates of title are issued for each new parcel of land shown on the survey plan. Certificates of title must be issued within three years from the date of the s223 approval. 287

  1. Section 223(1)(b) Resource Management Act 1991

  2. Form 9, Schedule 1, Resource Management (Forms, Fees and Procedure) Regulations 2003

  3. Section 106 Resource Management Act 1991

  4. Section 108 Resource Management Act 1991

  5. Section 220 Resource Management Act 1991

  6. Section 125 Resource Management Act 1991

  7. Section 223(1)(a) Resource Management Act 1991

  8. Section 224(h) Resource Management Act 1991

  9. Ruck v Horowhenua District Council [2013] NZEnvC 175

  10. A survey plan shows a property‚Äôs legal boundaries, areas and dimensions. Under the RMA, survey plan means (i) a cadastral survey dataset of subdivision of land, or a building or part of a building, prepared in a form suitable for deposit under the Land Transfer Act 1952; and (ii) a cadastral survey dataset of a subdivision by or on behalf of a Minister of the Crown of land not subject to the Land Transfer Act 1952. Cadastral survey dataset is defined in the Cadastral Survey Act 2002.

  11. Section 223 Resource Management Act 1991

  12. Section 224(c) Resource Management Act 1991

  13. Section 222 Resource Management Act 1991

  14. Section 221 Resource Management Act 1991

  15. Section 108(2)(b) Resource Management Act 1991

  16. Section 224(h) Resource Management Act 1991

  17. Section 106(1A) Resource Management Act 1991

Last updated at 2:29PM on January 8, 2018