Land may be used in a manner that contravenes a rule in the District Plan or Proposed District Plan (i.e. without resource consent) if either:
- The use was lawfully established before the rule became operative or the proposed plan was notified; and
- The effects of the use are the same or similar in character, intensity, and scale to those which existed before the rule became operative or the proposed plan was notified:
However, existing use rights do not apply if:
- The reconstruction or alteration of, or extension to, the building increases the degree to which the building fails to comply with any rule in a District Plan (or Proposed District Plan); or
- The use of land has been discontinued for a continuous period of more than 12 months after the rule in the Plan became operative or the Proposed Plan was notified, unless an application has been made to the territorial authority within 2 years of the activity first being discontinued and the territorial authority has granted an extension.
Existing use rights are provided for under section 10 of the Resource Management Act 1991.
A person may request the Council issue an Existing Use Right Certificate. An Existing Use Right Certificate normally is requested when a person wants the existing use right documented for legal certainty. An existing use rights certificate is treated as a resource consent.