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Press Release

PR: Zoning takeover of private land

Jamie McFadden

Groundswell NZ rejects claims that it is mischief-making over zonings affecting hundreds of property owners on the West Coast.  

How would you feel if you received a letter in the mail completely out of the blue stating that your entire property had been zoned a significant site and that the rules take immediate legal effect? This is what happened last week to property owners on the West Coast, and many are in a state of shock, particularly given there was no prior consultation.

Feedback from across New Zealand is that the theft of private property is going to a new level, impacting not just rural landowners, but thousands of urban property owners too. These issues stem from multiple national regulations founded on both unprecedented state control and a complete lack of respect for people or private property. Councils are the meat in the sandwich as the Government are forcing them to introduce regulations that neither they nor their communities want.

Claims that many of the sites mapped as Sites of Significance to Maori have no rules applying to them miss the point. Even if they don't currently have rules, that can all change at any step of the planning process or even at a later date. There is no certainty with zonings applied under the national legislation.

Once property owners have zoning placed over their land, they are captured into a frustrating process that takes years to resolve, if at all. This is no minor matter for people who have had their lives turned upside down with the stroke of a bureaucratic pen.

It doesn't matter whether it is SNAs, cultural sites, or landscape zones, they are all impacting private property rights and compromising property values. The number of regulatory zonings is increasing and the irony is property owners that have done the most to care for natural and historical sites on their land are penalized the most.

New Zealand's environmental regulations are unworkable and causing significant unnecessary suffering for thousands of property owners. Groundswell NZ are committed to standing up on behalf of the people of New Zealand in seeking workable regulations.


A photo of one of the Te Tai o Poutini letters to landowners is available at

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