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Waipa District Council Beekeeping rules


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15 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

Previous posts in this thread, alleging the actions of this particular council would indicate to me, if the allegations are correct that there are people creating a job for themselves being draconian money making bureaucrats to fund their employment.  Individuals such as these contribute majorly to the expensive cost of living in NZ, and other than their own salary do not produce a needed product or service.  I sometimes wonder when NZers will say enough is enough!

 

 

 

 

Ok then, you've determined Waipa DC's trajectory with this issue is not a very straight one, how would a meeting YOU chair progress any beekeeping rule update ?

It's very easy chucking rocks from the outside....

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It is great the you have joined this debate. Nothing I have said is out of order, or defamatory, but I can understand why WDC is defensive. Hopefully this discussion will highlight how silly the curre

Just had a great meeting with one of the Te Awamutu Councillors. He is fully on board, and understands that the current rules should not be there. He has promised to ensure the beekeeping rules are su

Thankyou for your reply .Good to have you along . I’ve always found the WDC very good to deal with with the occasional questions I ask of them .    For what it’s worth , I’m pleased you ar

4 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

Unfortunately the bureaucrats are making tradies lives a misery; often unnecessarily

They never bothered me?

Although as more emphasis when on Workplace safety more of these type positions were created and Im sure that my income was affected by this in that their budget needed to be found.

However I appreciated not being exposed to Dope heads, P heads and flying scaffold tubes.
 

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I would like to think that sense would prevail, and if I wanted to improve the issue I would be looking at positive ways other district councils have got around the issue and why they should persue an amicable way forward.  The reality is the rate payer is the customer, some e.g. the Selwyn District Council forget.  In the townships here, it costs $300 for an apiary consent.  I don't know how long the consent is for.  The town boundaries keep extending, and even if the boundary is still encompassing a paddock a commercial beekeeper is expected to pay, and this is clover production! I am sure that there are larger councils than Waipa that have gained a satisfactory conclusion; taking into account all stakeholders. 

On 27/11/2019 at 8:09 AM, Sailabee said:

Do as we did in Auckland, get those with backyard orchards as well as beekeepers to front up. We got enough to force the council to hold several sessions to hear all those who had put in submissions, and the elected councillors attended and we were sitting at tables - about 8 people/councillor or senior planner, and it worked, and they dropped the fees they had proposed.

 

I would be looking at why those particular consents are so expensive and what happens to that money.  And how much it cost to produce the wording of Phil's post earlier today.  I think there would be a few getting massive pay cuts if I were the chair!  

And because this particular Chair is so in Love With Bees, I would decree that Waipa have a massive bee friendly garden, every household must have 1-2 honey production hives, I would decree instead of planting pinus radiata plantations that non manuka native florals be planted, and all the bureaucrats that have been made redundant can run the Waipa Council Honey Extraction Plant, and all their secretaries can pack and market the honey; and thereby as primary producers will contribute overly to NZ GDP!  Haha haha And of course I would rock up and tell the Waipa Beekeeping Council Employees how to produce large numbers of quality queen cells!

And of course their will be a training programme for Waipa Council Staff to sell the native floral honeys in China

 

I will utilise the council dog pound.  It will be the sniffer dog training base

Edited by Maggie James
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On 19/01/2020 at 3:39 PM, Maggie James said:

and other than their own salary do not produce a needed product or service.  I sometimes wonder when NZers will say enough is enough!

 

That is precisely what I am trying to do...

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I have today received the Agenda for Waipa District Council's meeting next Tuesday that will discuss the possible changes to the current beekeeping rules for Te Awamutu and Cambridge.

Council's recommendation proposes that:-

 

Recommendation That the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee resolve to:
a) Receive the report of Tony Quickfall, Manager District Plan and Growth titled ‘Beekeeping in the Residential Zone’ (document number 10364339);
b) Review the District Plan provisions relating to beekeeping in the Residential Zone as part of Group A matters to be reviewed.

 

The provisions in the District Plan relating to beekeeping in the Residential Zone have been evaluated against the assessment criteria and merit being reviewed because the provisions are ineffective. It is recommended the Committee accept this report and approve a review of the beekeeping in the Residential Zone rule.

 

Group A is the items Council want Councillors to approve to get started on changing, so this is great news... and it shows that Council now see the current rules as ineffective. 😄

 

The meeting on Tuesday is just to get the ball rolling to move forward. No other decisions will be made on Tuesday, and there will be opportunity for anyone to make submissions when the time comes. As soon as I have an indication of how long this process might take, I will post here. At this stage it looks likely to be around mid 2020.
Below is the Report prepared by Staff and presented to Councillors today along with the Agenda.

 

Background

The District Plan currently contains a rule in the Residential Zone that requires a discretionary resource consent for “the keeping of up to two beehives”. This rule has been requested to be reviewed by a member of the public, on the basis that “[it is] extremely restrictive, and [is] not really based on the realities of keeping hives on residential properties”.

This report is being presented separately due to a potential conflict of interest with another member of staff being involved in the bee-keeping industry in a personal capacity.

Council is obligated to follow up on complaints received on breaches of the District Plan. Six complaints have been received in the last two years relating to beehives in the urban areas of the District, and another nine queries in relation to existing beekeeping operations, or the requirements for keeping bees in their own garden or a council reserve. The complaints were all in the months between October and March, the warmer months when bees are at their most active.

While there are not a significant number of complaints, there is an issue of significant non-compliance with the current rule in the District Plan. Information received from the Management Agency - National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan, the agency with which all beehives must be registered, shows that within the Te Awamutu urban area there are 19 apiaries (sites) and 128 beehives, and within the Cambridge urban area there are 29 apiaries and 235 beehives. These figures include only those beehives that are registered. There are likely to be more that are not registered.

Council records show that there has only been one resource consent for keeping beehives in the Residential Zone in the last five years. This consent was applied for and granted in 2019. Clearly the rule in the District Plan is not effective because there are a large number of unconsented beehives in the Residential Zone.

The need for a review of the rule has been evaluated against the assessment criteria. Staff evaluation is that the rule should be reviewed because it is ineffective.

 

Pre-Determining the Outcome

At least one member of the public has suggested that the rule is unnecessary and asked that the rule be deleted from the plan under urgency. Staff have not made an assessment on the merits of the rule and so are unable to advise on the outcome of the review. As with the other provisions to be reviewed, it is important that staff and elected members do not predetermine an outcome before having undertaken a statutory analysis of the provision. The RMA requires a prescribed process to be followed for evaluating any plan rules. Pre-determination of an outcome, ahead of the policy analysis, runs the risk of legal challenge around process. It is equally important for any plan rules that staff and elected members are careful in making public statements around the merits of particular rules, again to avoid any predetermination.

In terms of priority, this particular rule is ineffective, but the high degree of noncompliance and low level of complaints indicate that it is not having a significant impact on either bee-hive owners or neighbours. Relative to other provisions that need review, this provision needs a review, but is not a matter of urgency.

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Democracy in action eh .....  

We had some gypsies living on the farm here. They had been here for a quite a few years living in a home built house out  of recycled tin and pallets.  Someone in the neighbourhood complained.

Two officers from the council arrived and handed us, as landowners, an eviction  and deconstruction notice.

The Gypsies complied and half deconstructed half heartedly, and then left.

We never saw the council again. We never saw the Gypsies again. We dug a hole and cleaned the mess up.

 

I'd just plonk bees in there and give the council the fingers .

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It is interesting that in the last 2 years, there were 6 complaints, and 9 queries about bees, (a far higher rate than in Hamilton City where there are over 1400 hives) that resulted in the only (one) consent being issued, and that going back 5 years. We were told that Council had to act, and enforce compliance whenever they were made aware of bees in urban areas. I wonder if in all those 14 other cases, the beekeeper just moved the hives away, rather than comply with a consent process designed for making modifications to buildings...

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Waipa District Councillors have this morning voted in favour of reviewing the current District Plan rules for beekeeping.

The report presented to Councillors today showed a significant number of beehives in both Te Awamutu and Cambridge, and described the current rules as "ineffective".

The process now goes through the rigorous RMA process of review (which I think is overkill for this issue) but it is what it is. 

I will keep adding to this thread as the process progresses... and will definitely advise when submissions are called for...

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1 hour ago, PhilEvans said:

Waipa District Councillors have this morning voted in favour of reviewing the current District Plan rules for beekeeping.

The report presented to Councillors today showed a significant number of beehives in both Te Awamutu and Cambridge, and described the current rules as "ineffective".

The process now goes through the rigorous RMA process of review (which I think is overkill for this issue) but it is what it is. 

I will keep adding to this thread as the process progresses... and will definitely advise when submissions are called for...

Unfortunately, knowing the speed of the wheels of bureaucracy, it's going to be a mighty long thread.  Well done though for getting it this far

Edited by Maggie James
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Yesterday I asked WDC how they will be handling the 363 beehives that they now know are currently in Cambridge and Te Awamutu. This morning I got the following response from the District Plan Policy Manager...

 

"Enforcement is on a case by case basis.  We are not intending to proactively enforce hives in residential areas, but if we do receive further complaints, then we do have an obligation to follow up on complaints received.  We can’t lawfully hold off enforcement pending a possible rule change, but we can use different approaches and enforcement tools depending on the particular circumstance. 

If we do receive complaints, we will look at the effects associated with any complaint, take into account where the rule review is in the process, and make a call from there. "

 

I would like to thank Tony for his very fair report to Councillors yesterday, and @WaipaDC Councillors for voting to review. As @Maggie James said above, the process could drag on, but at least it has started...

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

This is an article written following last Tuesdays Council meeting. I have spoken to a couple of non bee people who found it confusing, as it doesn't say why the rules are being reviewed...

I was asked for my reasons for asking for the review, and gave the reporter heaps of info, which he completely ignored...

https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/119970866/waip-beekeepers-fly-under-the-radar-avoiding-resource-consents

Edited by PhilEvans
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It is a legal requirement thrust on councils they have to review all their bylaws periodically. This is from central government and is separate from a request for a review that any other entity might ask for. This is designed to ensure that all bylaws are regularly reviewed and fit for purpose. It is I think normally every 5 years and so far as I am concerned central and local government has always been disfunctional. However, in practise nobody in the community wants to change anything but the council staff use these reviews to push their own particular point of view. So, they can slide in these kinds of changes pretty much without anyone noticing at every ~5 year opportunity.

 

So, I will bet that is what happened during 2014 as you describe in your OP. With regards to 'maybe' reviewing the bylaw, I think if you look into it you may find there is a period of time where this HAS to be reviewed i.e. they have no choice. Yes they can vote to bring it forward but no they can't change the central government law about council bylaws.

 

If you can go back through previous editions of the bylaws and their changes you may find a time where the bylaw was quite sensible you might have some strong ground to go back to the old bylaw if no evidence was provided for changes since. Not that you need stronger grounds, but just giving you my 5c.

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44 minutes ago, yesbut said:

Seeing as how you  have worked for TNZ you should be able to spell dysfunctional proppley please

haha, yes that is so very very true. My apologies that should NOT have happened with so much expertise at my disposal.

By the way you should have spelt that ETNZ. There was no dysfunction with Sir Peter Blake and we were all young and dumb working for Michael Fay.

Edited by ChrisM
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21 hours ago, yesbut said:

Seeing as how you  have worked for TNZ you should be able to spell dysfunctional proppley please

It sounded right to me

I was presenting a talk to WBOP council, and one of the councilors asked what can be done about a bekeeper 2 doors down from him who had many hives all over his property. I know the beek and yes he did at that time.

I said you guys are the boss make a rule about it, I went on to explain how we worked with Zespri and the local BOP hobbyist club to come up with a plan for tauranga, they said when we do our next review we will look into it.

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I agree. But the heart of the matter is that our law in NZ is based on the premise that each person should be free to peacefully enjoy their own property. Issues about "nuisance" arise when either the beekeeper or the non-beekeeper impacts on the other preventing peaceful enjoyment aka causing a nuisance. There isn't actually any reason or need to invent a new law or bylaw about nuisance. However it is simpler for council officers and for the warring parties to have something of a local standard about where to draw the line. If the beekeeper two doors down gives copious honey to all of his immediate neighbours and those immediate neighbours all like having those the bees there. Then I suspect councillor two doors down who does not get any honey is out of luck. Indeed this is one honey pot he hasn't got his mitts in.

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On 18/03/2020 at 6:09 PM, ChrisM said:

It is a legal requirement thrust on councils they have to review all their bylaws periodically.

This particular issue about bees is not a bylaw, it is actually set in the District Plan, which is managed under the Resource Management Act.

I am not sure how long beekeeping rules have been in the DP, but they were reviewed in 2012/2014, and back then, public submissions were asked for.

One of the councillors at the recent council meeting where this was voted on to go to review, said he was part of the council that set the current rules, and seemed upset that 1 person (me) could complain and see the rules up for review. I don't think he appreciated learning that one of his DP rules was actually not fit for purpose.

 

If you read the background on the 12/14 review, it was stated that putting the rules in the DP allowed for greater prosecution powers... But the reports didn't bother looking into other councils prosecution rates, of which there are very few, if any. The current boundary distances were reduced from what must have been rural distances, but were still 5 times greater than recommended in a submission by Waikato Bee Club's submission.

 

I currently have 4 ives about 1.5m from a fence line, and the neighbour never sees any of the bees, except a few on his flowers. The reason is a 6 foot high fence that forces the bees up and well above head height. THAT is what is needed in residential areas. A 1.8m fence, even if some of it is trellis, to keep bees above head height... Distance from boundary is irrelevant if fences are 1.8m high. If they are 1.2m high, the bees fly through neighbours properties at chest/head height - and that is where the problem is. The rules need to recognise fence height, and not distance from boundary.

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15 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

sounds to me that they are totally out of control when other councils can operate with only a modestly worded bylaw.

Is there an ombudsman for crazy councils?

Obviously not, or else Auck would have unloaded lecherous Len before he started his second term. But on second thoughts, we would need a seperate one just for the lunacy of our super skitty.

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4 hours ago, ChrisM said:

sounds to me that they are totally out of control when other councils can operate with only a modestly worded bylaw.

Is there an ombudsman for crazy councils?

I wouldn't say out of control as such, but definitely ignorant of the reality of bee behaviours, and focusing on ease and power of prosecution, rather than bee stuff.
I have been accused of defamation by criticising council staff, but in this case, back in 2012/14, there was definitely a lack of understanding ob how bees actually work, and I will stand by that criticism...

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