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Noise control

Whakahaere Turituri

We respond to complaints about excessive or unreasonable noise and take action when the noise unreasonably interferes with your peace and comfort.

Some level of noise is normal and everyone should expect a degree of noise from time to time. However, it is your responsibility to ensure the noise on your property does not create a nuisance for any other person.

The noise might be coming from stereos, musical instruments, alarms or machinery. This may occur at any time of the day or night.

The Resource Management Act 1991 [RMA] is the legislation that deals with noise. The 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, the local authorities and the police to work together to control noise.

How to make a complaint

Call us any time on 0800 492 452.

Our team will ask for you contact details, this remains strictly confidential. If contact details are not provided then we will not be able update you on the outcome of our investigation.

It is important to call when the noise is occurring, as the volume will need to be assessed. When we receive a noise complaint we send out a noise control officer to determine if the noise is excessive. The noise control officer is contracted to Council and we aim for them to be on site within an hour of receiving the complaint.

Factors taken into account when making the assessment regarding the noise include:

  • The activity producing the noise
  • The location of the noise source
  • Time of day or night
  • Duration of the noise
  • Noise history – have there been repeat situations
  • Noise level
  • Potential to stop the noise
  • Special audible characteristics.

If you want to follow up further on a complaint you can contact us during business hours and ask to speak with an Environmental Health Officer. Check out our Contact us page for details

Excessive party and stereo noise

A reasonable expectation is for excessive party or stereo noise to cease from 10pm-6am.

Factors taken into account when making the assessment regarding the noise include:

  • The activity producing the noise
  • The location of the noise source
  • Time of day or night
  • Duration of the noise
  • Noise history – have there been repeat situations
  • Noise level
  • Potential to stop the noise
  • Special audible characteristics.

The assessment is subjective and no noise measurements have to be taken.

If the Noise Control Officer considers that the noise is excessive, the officer or a member of the Police can direct the person responsible for causing the noise to immediately reduce it to a reasonable level. The direction lasts for 8 days from the time it is issued. If, at any time during the 8 day period the direction is in force the person responsible for the noise does not comply with the direction, a Noise Control Officer accompanied by a member of the Police may enter the premises and:

  • Seize and remove equipment responsible for contributing to the noise
  • Render the equipment inoperable
  • Lock or seal the equipment to make it unusable.

In these circumstances it is important to understand that there may be delays before the equipment can be seized as the Noise Control Officer must wait for the Police to attend and is therefore dependent on the availability of Police resources.

Construction and industrial noise

Certain types of industrial, commercial and business related noise cannot be reduced or stopped immediately. In these situations noise measurements are normally required over a period of time.

Noise from building and construction activities are also controlled by Council. Noise from these activities is required to comply with the NZ Standard on Construction Noise which allows construction-related noise Monday to Saturday within set hours.

The Resource Management Act also requires all noise makers to adopt the best practicable option to avoid the emission of unreasonable noise. This duty is in addition to the duty to comply with specified noise limits.

Being a good neighbour

You cannot get a permit to make noise for a party, or play your stereo on full or to use any other noisy equipment, but there are some things that you can keep in mind:

  • Be aware of the impact of your noise on your neighbours
  • Turn down the noise at a reasonable hour at night (10pm)
  • Ensure burglar alarms are cut off after 15 minutes
  • Ensure car alarms are installed correctly and are not overly sensitive or faulty
  • 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. It's a good idea to avoid mowing early in the morning at the weekend or on public holidays
  • Comply with any resource consent noise restrictions for commercial land development or construction work.
Reporting a barking dog
To find out more information or report a barking dog, head to our Report a dog or animal issue page.

Persistent noise problems

If there are ongoing complaints, further action can be taken in the form of issuing a formal abatement notice for ongoing noise problems.

Non compliance with this notice carries heavy penalties.

Immediate infringement fines are also available for non compliance with an excessive noise direction or an abatement notice.

What happens to equipment that has been seized?

The noise control officers may remove equipment, like stereos and amplifiers if the owners don't reduce excessive noise to a reasonable level.

Equipment seized by Noise Control Officers can be reclaimed by applying at Council’s Ngaruawahia Office. The equipment will only be returned if we are satisfied that its return will not lead to a resumption of the noise.

To claim the equipment you will need to:

  • Contact us to arrange a suitable time and for an interview
  • Provide proof of ownership of the equipment, such as warranty, sale or hire purchase documents showing if possible serial numbers of the equipment
  • Provide proof of ID – eg driver licence
  • Complete a form saying that the excessive noise won’t continue if the equipment is returned to you
  • Pay a fee to cover the costs incurred of removing and storing the equipment.

If the equipment is unclaimed or we have refused to return it, we will store the equipment for at least six months after which time we will dispose of it.