Jump to content
PhilEvans

Waipa District Council Beekeeping rules

Recommended Posts

I have been in discussions with Waipa District Council (WDC) regarding their current District Plan rules for beekeeping, which are extremely restrictive, and are not really based on the realities of keeping hives on residential properties. Some facts as their rules currently stand...
An application for a Land Use Consent requires a deposit of $2100. A refund less actual costs will be processed once a decision is made.

Current rules are that only 2 hives can be kept, and they must be 10 meters from a boundary (was previously 25m), and 25 meters from a dwelling (was previously 50m), making it virtually impossible to legally keep bees in Te Awamutu and Cambridge. They do have limited discretion to reduce these distances, as they are currently "recommended" distances.

These rules were set in 2014, after about 30 submissions from beekeepers and clubs, which were basically ignored. The only change from previous rules was a reduction in distances as above, and mention that bees are beneficial. Waikato Bee Club submitted suggesting the distances were reduced to 2m and 5m. This was ignored. Even submissions from the National Beekeepers Assn and some very experienced beekeepers were ignored.

A Private District Plan Change process requires a ludicrous deposit of $58,450, and takes about 2 years.
A Council review of some District Plan Rules is being planned for early 2020. My communications with WDC in the last few weeks has ensured the Beekeeping rules are included in the list to be 'considered for priority'. 

 

I am sure most beekeepers would agree that the current rules are not based on the reality of bee behaviour, and the Council costs for a consent are prohibitive, even if most will be returned.

 

I have asked the Council if they would be willing to put a significantly reduced set fee a Consent Application in place, and temporarily apply significant discretion to the boundary and dwelling distances, until a Council review of the rules can take place. They have advised this could be early in 2020, when a number of District Plan rules will be looked at.

 

On the possible review, they have advised... "We would expect to have a better understanding early in the new year whether the bee-keeping rules are a priority for review and whether the Council will progress another series of plan changes."

 

The reason for this post, is to try and drum up support and momentum to make this a "priority" and ensure that WDC include reviewing their beekeeping rules in early 2020, and would like comments and suggestions from beekeepers in Te Awamutu and Cambridge, and anyone else around the country, to see if we can get their rules changed. I understand that WDC, Whangarei DC and a Council somewhere around Christchurch are the only 3 Councils out of 67 that have extremely restrictive beekeeping rules. It would be great if the whole beekeeping community could get behind a concerted effort to encourage Waipa and the others to use reality for their rules, instead of fear (which is evident in their decision back in 2014).

 

I have compiled quite a bit of info regarding WDC's rules, and can put that into this discussion to answer questions anyone may have, and I am prepared to front a campaign on behalf of potential beekeepers in TA and Cambridge, if necessary. When the time comes, anyone can put in a submission on the issue. I have asked for a link to the full 2014 submissions from WDC, and will post that link when I have it. The current document I have containing submission summaries and decision explanations is too big to upload here. I will try and extract the relevant 6 pages to post if I can find a way to do that.

 

Please comment with your suggestions, proposals, experience you have had with WDC. I will make a comment with contact details for the relevant Council person, so you can email him to request Beekeeping will be included in the review process early next year. The more people who do this, the more chance the rules can be changed. I will also post on the suggestions and options I have already proposed to WDC.

And just for the record, I have been a beekeeper for just over 2 years, and don't live in the WDC area, but I cannot stand when local or central government rules are clearly detrimental, and not based on reality. I have been discussing this issue with a resident of Te Awamutu, and started my communication with WDC in late 2017, when I was looking at placing one of my hives on a friends property in TA. That didn't happen because of the restrictive rules.

If anyone wants to help the process by requesting Waipa District Council review the rules for beekeeping, you can send an email to
Tony Quickfall at tony.quickfall@waipadc.govt.nz
He is Manager of District Plan and Growth.

 

I have got Beekeeping put on the initial list and early next year the list will be assessed by priority. Any email at this point should be about encouraging the Council to see this as a priority for change. Proposals, submissions etc, are not required at this stage, its just about getting beekeeping rules seen as a priority, and that will only happen if they get enough requests.

 

Just a simple email saying something like, this.

"I understand there may be a review of District Plan rules for keeping bees in residential areas (Te Awamutu and Cambridge) early next year. I support a review, to hopefully bring your Councils rules into line with 64 of the 67 Councils that allow keeping beehives on residential properties with only Animal Nuisance guidelines, and very few restrictions. This is a priority for anyone wanting to keep a few hives on their properties as a hobby, and has been unable to because of the current rules and costs."

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update 23/10/19
I have discovered that the 9 submissions supporting beekeeping in Te Awamutu and Cambridge, from 2012 were completely ignored.
In the Staff Report,  (emphasis added by me)
section 4.10.3 The reason why a rule relating to the keeping of bee hives in the Residential Zone has been added relates to the potential adverse effects from poorly positioned and maintained hives. In preparing this report this matter has been discussed with the Council’s Enforcement Officer. It is understood that the Council has received a number of complaints and enquiries from people about bee hives being located in Residential Zones. People are concerned about the position of hives, particularly when they are close to fences and property boundaries, swarming of bees and potential effects from stinging particularly when people are allergic.

 

There is nothing in the guidance document about the reality of keeping bees. 2 submissions wanted beekeeping banned, with 1 stating possible effects of stings and poorly managed hives swarming, but neither had actual personal experiences of any problems. Submissions from experienced beekeepers were ignored, as most had stated distance from boundaries was less important that location in relation to flight path over wash lines. The Rules refer to distances of 10m from a boundary and 25m from a dwelling, yet say nothing about position and flight paths. 2 beekeeping organisations submitted asking that distances be 2m and 5m, but was ignored. The National Beekeepers Assn extensive submission of 6 typed pages, was totally ignored.

 

The current rules are based on fear, possible concerns of stings and swarming, and also ease of prosecution, of which I doubt there has ever been a prosecution by a Council regarding bees in residential areas anywhere in the country.

 

I have today asked the Council's Policy Manager to put a hold on any current and future Consent Applications until the current rules can be re-assessed, and made realistic to actual beekeeping practices. The current Rules in the District Plan are not based on any facts.

 

Again, I ask for any comments and suggestion about this, so the nonsense rules currently in place can be changed.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Hastings District Council were quite helpful when we had discussions with them  and amended rules to make beekeeping in town easier. I doubt anyone knows the exact number of hives there were in Hastings at the time but I believe only one or two were registered legally with the council which would account for probably less than  1% of the hives in the town . I generally have no problem with people keeping hives in town but I have seen some  pretty stupid placements at times and also some pretty large apiarys where one or two hives would have been much more appropriate. Some beekeepers out there don't do much to help the cause.

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, PhilEvans said:

The National Beekeepers Assn extensive submission of 6 typed pages, was totally ignored.

Who is this organisation please @PhilEvans as the NBA has not been in existence for about 5 years.  Do you mean ApiNZ or some other group.

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, john berry said:

The Hastings District Council were quite helpful when we had discussions with them  and amended rules to make beekeeping in town easier. I doubt anyone knows the exact number of hives there were in Hastings at the time but I believe only one or two were registered legally with the council which would account for probably less than  1% of the hives in the town . I generally have no problem with people keeping hives in town but I have seen some  pretty stupid placements at times and also some pretty large apiarys where one or two hives would have been much more appropriate. Some beekeepers out there don't do much to help the cause.

Stupid placement .........

 

MH have a reasonably large apiary right next to our  Road .

Those that know it will be familiar with the regular clattering of bees hitting the wind screen .

They should know better 

Edited by M4tt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Who is this organisation please @PhilEvans as the NBA has not been in existence for about 5 years.  Do you mean ApiNZ or some other group.

 

Thanks

As submissions are always public record, I can post the details here..... The current rules in Waipa DC were signed of in the District Plan in 2014.
The submission was from The National Beekeepers Assn - Waikato Branch, dated 27/7/12 and signed by Stephen Black, address in Taranaki... The submission was 4 pages, not 6.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, PhilEvans said:

As submissions are always public record, I can post the details here..... The current rules in Waipa DC were signed of in the District Plan in 2014.
The submission was from The National Beekeepers Assn - Waikato Branch, dated 27/7/12 and signed by Stephen Black, address in Taranaki... The submission was 4 pages, not 6.
 

OK.  Thanks for that.  So the paper was 7 years old.  All good.  I was just a bit confused.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It amazes me that some cities allow beehive placements, but not towns with a rural aspect - Gore District Council has such restrictions, but not as sever as Waipa District Council. Good luck with your endeavour Phil, keep us posted.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, BeeGirl said:

It amazes me that some cities allow beehive placements, but not towns with a rural aspect - Gore District Council has such restrictions, but not as sever as Waipa District Council. Good luck with your endeavour Phil, keep us posted.

I am trying to get the Council to hold off accepting any further applications for consent until this can be reviewed, so current and potential beekeepers in the towns don't have to hire lawyers or pay $2100 deposit. I am also trying to get statistics from Hamilton City Council about complaints and prosecutions for the last few years, as further evidence of the invalid justification for making the rules in the first place. One of the main reasons for the current Waipa District Plan rules was "ease of prosecution", rather than a simple Bylaw for Animal Neusance, as most other Councils have. I doubt anyone has ever been prosecuted for anything related to keeping bees in residential areas, in any Council anywhere in the country, ever. If there has, I would love to know what for. I would guess that all complaints have been handled amicably or through mediation if necessary, and resolved.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An update on the Waipa beekeeping consent process for Te Awamutu and Cambridge.

I asked for the number of existing consents for Te Awamutu urban area, and was sent a list of 7 Current consents, all for Rural delivery addresses around Te Awamutu, and NONE within the town boundary. We have it on good authority that there are more than 66 hives within Te Awamutu.

We have also managed to get the Council to put a hold on what seems like the first beehive consent application since 2014, as the RMA process of amending/removing the beekeeping rules are up for review early next year.

So if anyone gets approached by Waipa District Council to apply for a consent for their TA hives, please let me know. They have no idea how many hives exist, and haven't been looking. Proves their rules are pointless, as they focus on complaints (which there have not been any for years). The current application was only initiated by a query by a prospective buyer for a neighbouring property. They saw hives over the fence and called the Council. No complaint has been laid.

Hamilton has had only 21 complaints in the last 6 years, plus 1 about a swarm. They related to were resolved amicably, through re-positioning, reducing numbers, and general advice and education.

  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great work on this @PhilEvans thanks for keeping us updated

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update: WDC have refused to put a hold on consents for beekeeping in Te Awamutu. A requirement is for a beekeeper to get signed consent to allow the hives, but the form states the neighbour gives away all and every right to everything to do with bees from that point on, so should the bees be an issue to them at a later date, they cannot do anything about it. I probably wouldn't sign it either.

 

A standard consent costs $2100, but a notified consent when a neighbour doesn't sign costs a staggering $7,165.... for 2 hives. In this case they have been there for 2 years already with zero complaints from any neighbour. No wonder there have been no approved consents in Te Awamutu.

 

This is quite staggering and nonsensical, and shows the absurdity of some aspects of bureaucracy. You've heard of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut... this is using a planet to squish a bee.

  • Confused 1
  • Sad 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, PhilEvans said:

Update: WDC have refused to put a hold on consents for beekeeping in Te Awamutu. A requirement is for a beekeeper to get signed consent to allow the hives, but the form states the neighbour gives away all and every right to everything to do with bees from that point on, so should the bees be an issue to them at a later date, they cannot do anything about it. I probably wouldn't sign it either.

 

A standard consent costs $2100, but a notified consent when a neighbour doesn't sign costs a staggering $7,165.... for 2 hives. In this case they have been there for 2 years already with zero complaints from any neighbour. No wonder there have been no approved consents in Te Awamutu.

 

This is quite staggering and nonsensical, and shows the absurdity of some aspects of bureaucracy. You've heard of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut... this is using a planet to squish a bee.

Can we not help you to get this overturned

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Bighands said:

Can we not help you to get this overturned

Yes you can. Please read my first comment. It provides an email address for the policy manager, who has stated the issue is on the list for "prioritisation" early next year. Apparently it involves a briefing to Councillors on a few issues in the District Plan that need changing. There is no gaurentee that it will make it past the "prioritising stage" and that is where other beekeepers can possibly help. 

Emailing Tony Quickfall and asking him to ensure that this is reviewed, and that Councillors be fully encouraged to review it, because it is just plain wrong, and basically stops all beekeeping activity in urban Te Awamutu and Cambridge. I have provided Tony with a good number of reasons why and how the rules are stupid, but more and repeated info will always help.
The current sticking points are distance from boundary (10m) and dwellings (25m) and neighbours consent will force the consent application to be declined. Flight paths and hive placement seems to be totally misunderstood by Council staff.
And then there are the costs......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update:

Waipa District Council have clarified their Rules around distance from boundaries/dwellings.

The distances defined in the District Plan are 10 meters from a boundary, and 25 meters from a neighbours dwelling.

 

It now seems that if the beekeeper gets signed consent from all neighbours to site the hives within those distances, then that is sufficient, and a consent should be granted.
The beekeeper does not need neighbours consent if the hives are at, or further than the distances above.

  • Good Info 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the way they are squashing houses into Te awamutu it will be pretty hard to site hives 25 metres from the next door dwelling.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about the cost of the consent?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, olbe said:

the way they are squashing houses into Te awamutu it will be pretty hard to site hives 25 metres from the next door dwelling.

 

 

That is why there are no consents granted for residential Te Awamutu. If you read the Rules, it appears that the distance AND the neighbours consent is required.

2 minutes ago, Bighands said:

What about the cost of the consent?

The deposit is $2100 to lodge a Land Use Consent Application, but they will not say what the actual cost is. The Discretionary Actuvity status, which beekeeping falls under, mainly deals with fixed building, changing use of buildings, and extensions etc. The costs and extent of application requirements is extensive, and massively unnecessary for siting 2 beehives.

 

If a neighbour doesn't sign consent, the cost of a contested application is $7165.

 

To lodge a Private Rule Change for something in the District Plan, is, from memory, about $78,000

 

All those figures have been advised that they are "actual costs"

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

UPDATE:

Waipa District Council are finally coming to the party, and have announced a significant drop in the costs of gaining consent to have 2 beehives.

A deposit of $2100 was required at the time of application, with an unknown refund given if the Council process allowed. There has never been any indication of what the actual costs were.

 

Today, Waipa DC has advised there will be a Fixed Fee of $564 on application if either, 10m & 25m distances are exceeded, OR all neighbours sign the consent for hives to be closer. They have clarified this is for 2.5 hours of Planner time, and 0.5 hours of Team Leader time.

 

The start of the email to the applicant reads... "As this issue is reasonably topical at the moment,..." It seems as though enough pressure is being applied to get them to look seriously at this. The next step is to get the issue properly before the new elected Councillors to fully review, and hopefully get a major overhaul, or retraction in line with the vast majority of other Councils. I am drafting a basic info pack to bring this to their attention, so they are aware of the stupidity of the current rules.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, PhilEvans said:

UPDATE:

Waipa District Council are finally coming to the party, and have announced a significant drop in the costs of gaining consent to have 2 beehives.

A deposit of $2100 was required at the time of application, with an unknown refund given if the Council process allowed. There has never been any indication of what the actual costs were.

 

Today, Waipa DC has advised there will be a Fixed Fee of $564 on application if either, 10m & 25m distances are exceeded, OR all neighbours sign the consent for hives to be closer. They have clarified this is for 2.5 hours of Planner time, and 0.5 hours of Team Leader time.

 

The start of the email to the applicant reads... "As this issue is reasonably topical at the moment,..." It seems as though enough pressure is being applied to get them to look seriously at this. The next step is to get the issue properly before the new elected Councillors to fully review, and hopefully get a major overhaul, or retraction in line with the vast majority of other Councils. I am drafting a basic info pack to bring this to their attention, so they are aware of the stupidity of the current rules.

That’s still far too dear . I can’t fathom how that is going to encourage honesty with the cost of registering as a beekeeper as well via afb.org.nz , which sounds like doubling up to me , for a hobbiest with a couple of hives 

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, M4tt said:

That’s still far too dear . I can’t fathom how that is going to encourage honesty with the cost of registering as a beekeeper as well via afb.org.nz , which sounds like doubling up to me , for a hobbiest with a couple of hives 

Yes I absolutely agree. But it is a big backdown on the ignorance and arrogance shown by the Council staff. Sadly, because the rules exist as they do in the District Plan, they are required to enforce those rules, and their own policy requires them to recover all costs. It is the fact they charge $188 per hour that is absolute robbery. It certainly doesn't take someone that long to read 10 or so pages of info required in the application. It is still a big backdown from what they has said up until this point.

We also know there are approximately 60 hives in Te Awamutu, and no consents have been issued by the Council inside the TA boundary, so fronting up has not been happening.
The only reason the current enforcement is happening is because a new neighbour saw the hives over the fence, and contacted the Council... 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

bloody new neighbours always are a pain in the Ass, every time we get a new neighbour we always seen to get a call from the local council,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, M4tt said:

That’s still far too dear . I can’t fathom how that is going to encourage honesty with the cost of registering as a beekeeper as well via afb.org.nz , which sounds like doubling up to me , for a hobbiest with a couple of hives 

M4tt, dont lump afb.org.nz into this, this has nothing to do with the pest management plan. the way you worded that post, some will assume afb have something to do with this stupid council.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

M4tt, dont lump afb.org.nz into this, this has nothing to do with the pest management plan. the way you worded that post, some will assume afb have something to do with this stupid council.

Oh heck no , not meant like that at all .

 

Sorry about that 

 

To clarify , beekeeper  registration is valid and should be paid .

 

The council fee is outrageous 

 

Polar opposites 

 

For all you forum readers , this is the important one 

https://afb.org.nz/new-to-beekeeping-apiary-registration-form/

Edited by M4tt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good afternoon.  These posts have been brought to the attention of Waipa District Council.  While we support debate and diversity of opinion, we are concerned about posts relating to staff professionalism and integrity.  We have had extensive discussions with Mr. Evans  on this matter, and we are working directly and amicably with the current consent applicant. 

 

We wish to advise that some of the information in posts in this thread are misleading and we are concerned about the integrity and professionalism of staff being called into question, which raises potential grounds for defamation.  We ask that posts remain focussed on the issue, not the people.

 

For clarification:

1. The current rule in the District Plan is on Waipa DCs list of rules for possible review.  There is a strict legal process that we must follow for any plan changes, which is open to legal challenge.  We also advise that the Environment Court has clearly established that petitions and lobbying carries little or no statutory weight in influencing such decisions, which must be based on evidence and merits.   The beehive rule is currently one of a number of possible changes to the District Plan.  We welcome reasoned, rational and evidence-based information from experts in the industry to better inform our planning process.  In the meantime, we are obligated to work within the current rule.

 

2. Enforcement and monitoring is based on priority of issue and their effects, and complaints. As such residential beehives are a low priority for our monitoring and enforcement, in respect of impact and effects. We don't keep and are not required to keep records of permitted beehives, and don't have the resources to pro-actively hunt out residential beehives that may not be permitted, so we don't keep records of un-consented beehives. If we do receive complaints, we are obligated under our statutory functions to investigate and follow up.  

 

3. We are obligated to follow the resource consent process, and our fees and charges policy applies for all applicants.  In this case, on the merits of the current application, we have initiated a fixed fee approach.  This fees remission was initiated by Council staff (not at the request of any party), in response to the current resource consent application.  We prefer to view this as an example of positive and proactive response around customer service, rather than a back-down, as we have applied our remission policy, rather than impose the full actual fees, which we are entitled to charge.  For further information, see Council's website, search for "fees and charges".

 

  

  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...