Queenstown Lakes District Plan

Hi folks,

Just been looking at the QLDC proposed distrcict Plan. It is extremely anti mining for any activity in the bed of a river or lake. Proposed rule states Mining activity will not be undertaken in the bed of a lake or river, and if you need a consent, it is a Non-complying activity. This is harder than southland, westland or any other district in Otago.

Clearly miners have not expressed their concerns in this process. Appeal date closes around 28 May. After that you have 15 working days to be able to lodge a s274 appeal on the proviso you have an interest greater than the general public. if you are a claim holder in the riverbed you would meet this test. This would then need to go to mediation to get the Council to become a restricted discretionary or discretionary activity like other areas, but you will need a RMA solicitor…this is a genuine issue for dredgers in QLDC country when they come to seek consent or renew consent.

If you are concerned, seek legal advice …


Thanx for this, I will get right on to this.

I have rock and rolled up to the QLDC, and there is an element of confusion as they also have a rule under 21.4.something or other where small scale mining with suction dredging up to 10 hp is a permitted activity. However the rule you have identified is vertually going to exclude any mining in ONL, particularly in the beds of lakes and rivers. The good news is that existing lawfully established claims will have existing use rights. Planning round here is a debarcle, we have campers poohing left right and centre and making a disgraceful impact on the environment, and people who just want to go bush and try their luck are getting excluded. The ONL is a landscape criterial, and this the most difficult criteria to seek approval under for any activity, so while one rule is a permitted activity and align with the ORC, the landscape rules are going to make it extremely hard to establish the right to mine, more than likely will be a notified activity so every one will have a say, and I can imagine the conditions imposed if successful, would even allow you to fart in your wetsuit.

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I would also like to ad, that unless you made a submission, you cant object to any rukles now, so good luck folks trying to establish a new claim. There were appaerently some submissions by mining companies and it was suggested that it would be possible to piggy back on their submission, but you would definately need to get a move on.


Good work GoldenEel,

Existing use rights are a curious beast. You must not have a 12 month gap between mining and must be able to prove this. The onus is on the miner, not the Council…

basically, this is a balls up.
You need to find out what mining companies put in a submission and piggyback as a s274 party…or kiss goodbye to dredging in many QLDC rivers

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obviously the Queenstown district council allow over development of all the areas around the town for houses ,and yet are against small scale dredging for hobby interests. small scale dredging is a very low impact activity which has no measurable impact on turbidity , or measurable impact on fish life. less impact than jet boating! urban houses are high impact ,even more than the old sluicing claims! farmers should realise they could easily be looked at in the same way ,and stripped of their right to farm and thus should oppose this rule.this rule is a possible precdent to other harmful rules. this rule is obviously generated by people that are indoctrinated by activists,and as such should be opposed . there needs to be a sensible approach from council in all areas , not unbalanced judgement. as such it could be worth a large group challenging the council for compensation under human rights for asset stripping of ordinary people.


“established claims will have existing use rights”

What a nightmare. Feels like they’re trying to push everyone out.
Oh well if they do, we’ll all have to dig for gold in the moonlight.

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Existing use rights are fraught and the subject of plenty of environment court appeals.just google DCC v Saddle Hill Estate. It went to the High Court and they still couldnt work out who had what…

All I know is a non-complying activity is a high hurdle to get a consent by.

Here is some info from the Quality Planning website:

Existing use rights - sections 10, 10A and 20A of the RMA

Existing use rights are a consideration in terms of a local authority’s duty to enforce a plan. A person who proves an existing use right applies has the protections set out in sections 10, 10A and 20A of the RMA (whichever is relevant).

A question arises as to the relationship or differences between an existing use right and a transitional resource consent. The latter is a consent deemed to have been granted under the RMA, but actually granted under previous (specified) legislation in force immediately before the date the RMA commenced (section 383 and onwards).

After the commencement of the RMA, the activity approved by the original planning permission (and now deemed consent) may become subject to new requirements under a plan change. If so, it will be subject to those requirements unless it qualifies for existing use rights.

The case law on existing use rights is extensive; it should be referred to in some detail when considering whether such rights apply. This section provides only an outline. Note that when taking enforcement action, a local authority is not required to prove that an existing use right does not exist before proceeding. It is for the person responsible for the activity to satisfy the council, and the Court, of this. However, in practice a council may wish to provide an opportunity - with timeframes - for the person responsible for the activity, to produce relevant evidence that their activity qualifies for existing use rights (to save itself the costs of a wasted enforcement effort).

The appropriate test to apply when determining whether a use was lawfully established is, on the balance of probabilities. The onus is on the person seeking to establish that a use qualifies as an existing use, and to satisfy the Court that the character, intensity and scale of the activity have not changed to a greater extent than is allowed for under the Act.

Existing use rights for land use - s10 of the RMA
Section 10(1) of the RMA addresses existing use rights for land use. Under this section, land may be used in a manner that contravenes a rule in a district plan or proposed district plan if both:

the use was lawfully established before the rule became operative or the proposed plan was notified
the effects of the use are the same or similar in character, intensity and scale.
Section 10 of the RMA does not apply to activities that have been discontinued for a continuous period of more than 12 months after the new rule became operative or the proposed plan was notified.

Existing use rights under section 10 do not apply to:

reconstruction, alteration of, or extension to, any building that increases the degree to which the building fails to comply with any rule in a plan or proposed plan
use of land controlled for the purposes specified in s30(1)©
restrictions of use of the coastal marine area under s12
restrictions on uses of lake and river beds under s13.
Existing use rights on the surface of lakes and rivers - s10A
Section 10A of the RMA deals with existing use rights for activities on the surface of water in lakes and rivers. Where an activity was lawfully established before the rule in a plan became operative or the rule in the proposed plan was notified, and the activity now requires a resource consent, the activity may continue if both of the following criteria are met:

the effects of the activity are the same or similar in character, intensity and scale
the person carrying on the activity applies for a resource consent within six months of the rule in the plan becoming operative.
Where an application for resource consent has been lodged, the activity can continue until such time as a final decision on it is made.

Existing use rights in relation to proposed regional plan rules - s20A of the RMA
Section 20A of the RMA provides that any existing activity that was formerly a permitted activity, or that otherwise could have been lawfully carried out without a resource consent as a result of a rule in a proposed plan, may continue until the plan becomes operative if the factors in sections 20A(1)(a) to © are present.

Activities that were permitted, or were lawfully carried on without a resource consent, but which become controlled, discretionary or non-complying activities as a result of a new rule in a regional plan, may be continued for a limited period in the circumstances defined in s20A(2).

An application for a resource consent must be made within six months of the rule becoming operative. Where an application for resource consent has been lodged, the activity can continue until such time as the final decision on it is made.


Hi Mangrove,

Thank you for the heads up,

Could you please post the link to where you found rule
I found 21.4 in section 21 of the following place https://www.qldc.govt.nz/planning/district-plan/proposed-district-plan-stage-1/proposed-district-plan-chapters/

I can’t find the rule that you refer to.
The QLDC web page looks like something designed by a team of bureaucrats… Funny that!

I’m not going to give up on this without a fight.

@Mangrove has there been any other district councils looking at following suit with regards this proposed ban. Do you think it will set a president ie ORC ?
I thought the ORC setup around suction dredging would trump anything the QLDC stipulates?


Try this…its the decisions for the Proposed District Plan. Rule

You need to go into Council, ask to speak to a policy planner (hopely the one who is lead author in the plan change) who is designated to answer public enquiries. You then you need to know what submitters have appealed rule 21.11 relating to mining (in particular in the bed of waterbodies)

Prich, it could create a precedent, however you could potentially with more work and costs, get a consent granted as a non-complying activity- the second hardest and one short of prohibited activites.

ORC addresses water quality, QLDC manages land use

I did speak to policy planner two days ago and they were going to email me with the list of objectors, to date nothing has been recieved. He did agree that the rules, particularly the non-complying required clarification. Shame I dont have endless hrs to chase this. rule 21.2.5 does set out some policies and objectives to be achieved. So my guess is the intent is there for small low scale activities. I will ask for clarification with respect to suction dredge mining, and a list of criteria that needs to be addressed with respect to a 10 hp dredge in a ONL area.

yay, we can give our thanks for this minor mess to the Forest and Bird folks, who some how influenced the planning panel.

Hi I’m keen to follow up and try and help make sure the new district plan rules don’t unduly restrict suction dredging. Has anyone found out if submissions or further submissions can still be made and if so what the closing date is? Cheers

Gidday Littlebay,
no submissions and further submissions are closed. the decision has been released. Only an appeal and mediation will change it now. Some on here are looking at who originally submitted and who can then join up and challenge it. its not a big deal, $100 to join if you can find an orginal submitter to challenge it…


I’m an affected person I have a mining permit on the Kawarau river I want to lodge an objection under the s274 appeal provision but need to find someone who has made a submission objecting to the proposed change to QLDC new district plan so I can piggy back my objection on theirs. I only found out about this three days ago just wish I had known about it earlier so I could have made a submission before it got to this stage. So if there is anyone out there who has objected and would not mind me coming in to help with pushing this further now that submissions have finished and been ignored please post your details so I can make contact.

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Having had my own battles with resource consent for gold dredging and with how the sentiment towards mining is evolving I’m of the opinion that soon enough we will only be able to dig up gold with balaclavas on in the dark of night.

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If posters find a miner who submitted and will appeal, I am happy to draft s274 notices for people to join and offer free planning/ RMA advice in terms of mediation etc…

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I have now looked at both submissions from Straterra, and NZ tungsten mining. The straterra submission has made suggested amendments to clauses throughout section 21, but has not dealt at all with our concerns with respect to suction dredging and river beds, while the Tunsten mining submission is with respect to mining in general with no references at all to River beds, so of the two submissions Straterra might be best if we are able to ad amendments to there submissions with respect to suction dredging. I will find out more