The Resource Management Act 1991 [RMA] is the legislation that deals with noise. This Act is designed to protect people from unreasonable or excessive noise; provide effective noise control in our community; protect the rights of people and industry to make a reasonable level of noise; and allow the public, Council and the police to work together to control noise.
Property owners or occupiers are responsible to make sure noise on their property does not create a nuisance for any other person.
The RMA defines the term "excessive noise" as being any noise under human control which unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort, and convenience of any other person and includes ... this is the RMA meaning of excessive noise(external link)
Be a good neighbour
Be aware at all times of the impact of your noise on your neighbours. If you intend to have a party, carry out any building work or any other noisy activity on your property talk to your neighbours first.
Mow your lawns at reasonable times during daylight hours. At the weekends or on public holidays, avoid mowing early in the morning.
Comply with any resource consent noise restrictions for commercial land development or construction work.
Complaints about excessive noise
You can report any excessive noise problem to customer service. It's better to report the noise when it's happening, not the next day.
Phone 867 2049 or 0800 653 800, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
We have appointed noise control officers to investigate noise complaints. The officer is either a council environmental health officer or an employee of CSL. They will respond to noise complaints any time of the day or night.
If the noise is a dog barking
Talk to the dog's owner first, politely let them know their dog's barking disturbs you. If the problem cannot be resolved by talking, contact us and our animal control staff will deal with the complaint.
What happens when you make a noise complaint
When a complaint's received, a noise control officer will go to the address and assess the noise. They'll decide if the noise is reasonable or excessive. If it's excessive, the officer may:
• issue a Written Direction under the RMA. This requires the noise to be reduced to an acceptable level. A Written Direction remains in place for up to 72 hours from the time it is issued. If further complaints are received after a Written Direction has been issued and the noise is deemed excessive, a noise control officer and the police will enter the property and remove and impound the stereo or other equipment causing the noise.
• or they may verbally require the occupant to immediately reduce the noise. This action would be used in the case of a tangi or after-funeral function.
If a number of Written Directions are issued to a property, then an Abatement Notice may be issued. This means that if justified noise complaints are received, the stereo or noise making equipment may be removed by the noise control officer and the police without a Written Direction being issued.
If the police are not able to accompany the noise control officer, or there's a risk to safety, then it would be dealt with the next working day.
If a noise complaint is in a rural township, we will contact the police to deal with it - they will attend if they're able.
How is noise reduction enforced?
The person making the noise is given a Written Direction. If the excessive noise is not stopped, the noise control officer together with the police can enter the premises and remove whatever is making the noise, take away working parts, lock up or seal off the object making the noise or take any other steps needed to reduce the noise. Further legal action may also be taken.
What happens to equipment that's seized?
Any equipment taken by a noise control officer can be reclaimed from our customer service counter. Impounded stereo or other equipment may be returned to its owner at our discretion. To reclaim impounded property you'll need to provide proof of your identity and ownership of the property and pay the impound fee of $220 in full.
Noise from an industrial or commercial property
Noise complaints received about industrial or commercial activities are assessed with the District Plan noise levels or their consent conditions. The noise control officer will carry out noise monitoring. If the noise levels are exceeded then a Written Direction and/or Abatement Notice can be issued.
An Abatement Notice requires the noise level to be reduced to comply with the District Plan or consent conditions. If the company fails to comply with the Abatement Notice then fines can be issued each time the offence is committed. Court action can also be taken if there is a continual non-compliance.
If you believe that any notice or action taken to reduce noise is not fair, you can appeal to the Environment Court. The noise must be reduced until the appeal is heard.
Links to more noise control information
Resource Management Act 1991(external link)
Resource Management Act - Meaning of excessive noise(external link)
Resource Management Act - Duty to avoid unreasonable noise(external link)
Resource Management Act - Compliance with noise direction(external link)