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Legislative Framework

Image for the Legislative Framework page.
This page provides some background on the main legislative framework that Council operates within.
Updated: 20/03/2020 10:27 a.m.

Everything Council does is governed by a legislative framework.

Some of the key laws and documents that govern and empower Council to fulfil its functions are the:

Local Government Act 2002

The Local Government Act 2002 sets out the purpose of local government, the general powers of councils and the associated planning and accountability requirements.

Local Government (Rating) Act 2002

The Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 sets out the methods by which councils raise revenue through rates.

Resource Management Act 1991

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) promotes the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. The Ministry for the Environment is responsible for administering the Resource Management Act and ensuring that it is implemented effectively.

The Act prescribes a variety of policy statements and plans to guide resource management activities and decision-making, primarily for regional and district/city councils.

Under the Act if central government wants to give local councils some direction on environmental issues, it can issue national policy statements or set environmental standards.

The Resource Management Act 1991 (NZ Legislation website. Opens in a new window)

Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

The Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 sets out:

  • the procedural requirements for meetings of local authorities,
  • the publication of the agenda,
  • procedures for discussion with the public excluded and
  • access by the public to the minutes of meetings.

It also covers the disclosure of information by an elected member of any information held by that member to a member of the public and requests for official information by the public.

Local Electoral Act 2001

The Local Electoral Act 2001 sets out the process for council elections.

Long Term Plan (LTP)

All councils are all required to consult on and publish a Long Term Plan once every three years - covering 10 years into the future. 

Our Long Term Plan describes Council’s activities, priorities and work programmes. It is a key planning tool which outlines everything we do, how it fits together and what it will cost.

The Long Term Plan also contains information on our Community Outcomes, which are consulted on with the community to assist in developing and confirming the focus of a Long Term Plan.  

Annual Plan

All councils are also required to consult on and publish an Annual Plan in each of the two years when a Long Term Plan is not produced. This highlights any changes or variations from the Long Term Plan for the coming year.

A council may also decide to produce an amended Long Term Plan at this time if they are planning a major change from those outlined in the existing Long Term Plan.

Annual Report

Councils are required to publish an Annual Report each year telling the community whether they have done what the Annual Plan said they intended to do.

The Annual Report also details what has been spent, and may include what progress has been made toward achieving Community Outcomes.

Annual Reports must be adopted by October each year, and must be audited before they are finalised.

District Plan

Territorial authorities are primarily responsible for controlling the impacts of land use within their district, including the preparation of District Plans, and the determination of applications for land use and subdivision consent.

Our District Plan is a legal document required under the Resource Management Act 1991 which sets out policies and objectives for managing the natural and physical resources of the Whangarei District.

If anyone wishes to undertake an activity that is not permitted in accordance with the rules of the District Plan then they must apply to Council for a resource consent.

National and regional policies and strategies

For certain issues, central government provides direction for local authorities through various policies and strategies. Often local authorities are required by law to incorporate these strategies into their own planning activities. 

Regional policy and strategy, such as the Northland Regional Pest Management Strategy, can also influence Council activities.

Other planning documents

Council from time to time undertakes additional focussed planning projects to support its various statutory planning activities. These projects are usually designed to assist decsion making in relation to longer term planning issues.

Non-statutory planning exercises are usually designed to include a consultation process so that the public can have their say in these matters before any decisions are incorporated into the formal planning processes such as the Long Term Plan and the District Plan.

Activity and Asset Management Plans

Activity and Asset Management Plans describe in detail how the various departments of Council will be managed to support objectives for the well-being of the district’s population.

These are agreed through the Long Term Plan process and provide more detailed content on the asset or the activity, what long term issues exist and financial planning matters in relation to the asset or activity.

For example: a Transportation Activity and Asset Management Plan will include information about the standard of roads of the district and will outline in detail which roads will require maintenance or upgrades over at least the 10 years of the Long Term Plan, usually more.

Further Acts of Parliament

A list of further Acts of Parliament and local legislation (Acts that apply specifically to Whangarei District Council can be found below:

  • Accident Compensation Act 2001
  • Animal Welfare Act 1999
  • Animal Products Act
  • Archives Act 1957
  • Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Act 2014
  • Biosecurity Act 1993
  • Building Act 2004
  • Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016
  • Burial and Cremation Act 1964
  • Bylaws Act 1910
  • Citizenship Act 1977
  • Civil Aviation Act 1990
  • Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002
  • Climate Change Response Act 2002
  • Commerce Act 1986
  • Companies Act 1993
  • Conservation Act 1987
  • Consumer Guarantees Act 1993
  • Copyright Act 1994
  • Crimes Act 1961
  • Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act 1975
  • Dog Control Act 1996
  • Dog Control Amendment Act 2003
  • Electricity Act 1992
  • Employment Relations Act 2000
  • Environment Act 1986
  • Fair Trading Act 1986
  • Fencing Act 1978
  • Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013
  • Financial Reporting Act 2013
  • Fire Service Act 1975
  • Food Act 2014
  • Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977
  • Freedom Camping Act 2011
  • Gambling Act 2003
  • Goods and Services Tax Act 1985
  • Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996
  • Health Act 1956
  • Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
  • Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014
  • Housing Act 1955
  • Human Rights Act 1993
  • Impounding Act 1955
  • Income Tax Act 2007
  • Insolvency Act 2006
  • Judicature Act 1908
  • Land Act 1948
  • Land Transfer Act 1952
  • Land Transport Act 1998
  • Land Transport Management Act 2003
  • Land Transport (Road Safety and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2011
  • Land Transport (Speed Limits Validation and Other Matters) Act 2015
  • Litter Act 1979
  • Local Authorities (Members’ Interest) Act 1968
  • Local Electoral Act 2001
  • Machinery Act 1950
  • Minimum Wage Act 1983
  • New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990
  • New Zealand Library Association Act 1939
  • New Zealand Maori Arts and Culture Institute Act 1963
  • New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000
  • Oaths and Declarations Act 1957
  • Ombudsmen Act 1975
  • Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987
  • Privacy Act 1993
  • Property Law Act 2007
  • Protected Disclosures Act 2000
  • Public Audit Act 2001
  • Public Bodies Contracts Act 1959
  • Public Bodies Leases Act 1969
  • Public Finance Act 1989
  • Public Records Act 2005
  • Public Works Act 1981
  • Rating Valuations Act 1998
  • Rates Rebate Act 1973
  • Remuneration Authority Act 1977
  • Reserves Act 1977
  • Residential Tenancies Act 1986
  • Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012
  • Secret Commissions Act 1910
  • Smoke-free Environments Act 1990
  • Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941
  • Shop Trading Hours Act 1990
  • Summary Offences Act 1981
  • Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993
  • Transport Act 1998
  • Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975
  • Trespass Act 1980
  • Unit Titles Act 2010
  • Wages Protection Act 1983
  • Walking Access Act 2008
  • Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 2006
  • Wild Animal Control Act 1977

In addition to the legislation that applies to all local authorities, Council is also bound by local legislation (Acts that apply specifically to it). These include:

  • Whangarei Airport Act 1963
  • Whangarei City Empowering (Information Centre) Act 1976
  • Whangarei Borough Council Empowering Act 1962
  • Whangarei Borough Empowering Act 1928
  • Whangarei Borough Land Vesting Act 1914
  • Whangarei City Council Empowering Amendment Act 1974
  • Whangarei County Council Empowering Act 1926
  • Whangarei Drill-shed Act 1892
  • Whangarei Harbour Board Empowering Act 1925



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