The Hurunui District Council is empowered under the Resource Management Act (RMA) 1991 to control the effects of excessive noise and appoint Noise Control Officers to carry out these duties.
The Act is designed to protect people from excessive or unreasonable noise. Excessive noise generally relates to musical instruments and stereos, electrical appliances, power machines, people or groups of persons.
Points to consider when planning any activity or event that will generate excessive noise:
- consider your neighbours
- keep noise at a reasonable level
- tone noise down at a reasonable hour
- don’t let your good time be at the expense of neighbours
If you are having problems with noise:
The Hurunui District Council operates a 24 hour noise complaint response service. All complaints, no matter what time of day or night, should be phoned through to the Council number on (03) 314 8816.
The Act provides for one or more of the following actions to be carried out:
- seizure of equipment
- the imposing of fines
- disposal of equipment
Property owners are responsible for managing noise within their properties.
While noise is a constant companion in our daily lives, we have an individual responsibility under section 327 of the Resource Management Act to ensure we do not create a noise nuisance for other persons.
The owners and occupiers (tenants) of land including buildings are responsible for ensuring noise caused on their property does not create a nuisance for any other person.
Council enforces the noise control laws.
Council may act under the Resource Management Act 1991 to alleviate excessive noise. Hurunui District Council provides a 24 hour 7 days per week noise control response service for this purpose. If you have an issue of excessive noise you can call 03 314 8816 anytime.
The Resource Management Act 1991 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 noise made by any:
- Musical instrument
- Electrical appliance
- Machine however powered
- Person or group of persons
- Explosion or vibration.
It does not include any:
- Aircraft being operated during, or immediately before or after flight.
- Vehicle driven on a road.
- Train, other than when being tested (when stationary), maintained, loaded, or unloaded.
There are sound levels set down in the District Plan which define the conditions a business can operate within so that they do not create unreasonable noise.
Property occupiers can take action to alleviate noise.
Be a good neighbour. Be mindful at all times of the impact of your noise on your neighbours.
If you are intending to hold a party, carry out any building work or any other noisy activity on your property discuss your intentions with your neighbours first. Comply with any agreement made with your neighbour.
Ensure building and vehicle alarms are correctly installed, adjusted and regularly serviced.
Mow your lawns at reasonable times during daylight hours. Avoid early morning mowing particularly at weekends and on public holidays.
Comply with any resource consent noise restrictions for commercial land development or construction work.
You may complain about excessive noise.
Although neighbourhood problems are best resolved on a face-to-face basis you may choose to report a noise problem directly to Council’s Customer Services Centre. In most cases the personal approach is sufficient to remedy the problem and also promotes good neighbour relations.
Council Officers respond to noise complaints during normal office hours and a Noise Control contractor responds at all other times and on public holidays.
Noise Control Officers may take action to resolve noise complaints.
When a noise complaint is received Noise Control Officers will respond to the address concerned, objectively assess the noise and initiate action if any, based on their assessment.
The test of reasonableness is applied in all cases. Where action is required the Noise Control Officer may:
- Verbally require the occupant to immediately abate the noise nuisance; or
- Issue a Noise Directive under the Resource Management Act 1991. This requires the immediate cessation of the noise; or
- If the nuisance continues after a directive has been issued the Noise Control Officer and Police may enter the property and remove and impound the stereo and/or other equipment causing the nuisance; or
- Issue an Abatement Notice that is a blanket prohibition on the emission of noise from the property with no time limit.
Property owners may be billed for the cost of the noise control response action particularly where noise is an ongoing problem or requires specialist assistance (i.e. locksmith, alarm company etc).
Owners may reclaim impounded stereos and other equipment
Impounded stereos or other equipment may be returned to its owner at Council’s discretion.
To reclaim your impounded property you will need to:
- Print off the Application for Return of Impounded Property Form, complete it and submit it to Council’s Customer Services Centre.
- Provide proof of your identity and ownership of the property.
- Pay the impounding fee due in full when you submit the application.
Party planning guidelines
For advice on planning a party or other function where liquor will be consumed go to the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC) web page.
Links to more noise control information
- Resource Management Act 1991
- Resource Management Act 1991 – Meaning of excessive noise
- Resource Management Act 1991 – Duty to avoid unreasonable noise
- Resource Management Act 1991 – Duty to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects
- Resource Management Act 1991 – Scope of abatement notice
- Resource Management Act 1991 – Issue and effect of excessive noise direction
- Resource Management Act 1991 – Compliance with noise direction