This page explains the legal situation relating to the management of noise under the Resource Management Act 1991.
Property owners are responsible for managing noise on their properties
While noise is a constant companion in our daily lives, we have an individual responsibility under legislation to ensure we do not create a noise nuisance for other persons.
The owners and occupiers (tenants) of land including buildings are responsible for ensuring noise caused on their property does not create a nuisance for any other person.
Council enforces the noise control laws
Council may act under the Resource Management Act 1991 to alleviate excessive noise. Porirua City Council provides a 24 hour 7 days per week noise control response service for this purpose.
The term "excessive noise" is defined by legislation
The Resource Management Act 1991 defines the term "excessive noise" as being any noise under human control which unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort, and convenience of any other person and includes noise made by any:
It does not include any:
Aircraft being operated during, or immediately before or after flight.
Vehicle driven on a road.
Train, other than when being tested (when stationary), maintained, loaded, or unloaded.
While maximum noise levels are not set by legislation, the Porirua City District Plan prescribes permissible levels in the City on a zone-by-zone basis as follows:
D1 City Centre Zone Standards.
D2 Industrial Zone Standards.
D2A Business Park Rules and Standards.
D3 Suburban Zone Standards.
D4 Rural Zone Standards.
Property occupiers can take action to alleviate noise
Be a good neighbour. Be mindful at all times of the impact of your noise on your neighbours.
If you are intending to hold a party, carry out any building work or any other noisy activity on your property discuss your intentions with your neighbours first.
Comply with any agreement made with your neighbour.
Ensure building and vehicle alarms are correctly installed, adjusted and regularly serviced.
Mow your lawns at reasonable times during daylight hours. Avoid early morning mowing particularly at weekends and on public holidays.
Comply with any resource consent noise restrictions for commercial land development or construction work.
You may complain about excessive noise
Although neighbourhood problems are best resolved on a face-to-face basis you may choose to report a noise problem directly to Council’s Customer Services Centre.
In most cases the personal approach is sufficient to remedy the problem and also promotes good neighbour relations.
Council Officers respond to noise complaints during normal office hours and a Noise Control contractor responds at all other times and on public holidays.
Noise Control Officers may take action to resolve noise complaints
When a noise complaint is received Noise Control Officers will respond to the address concerned, objectively assess the noise and initiate action if any, based on their assessment.
The test of reasonableness is applied in all cases. Where action is required the Noise Control Officer may:
Verbally require the occupant to immediately abate the noise nuisance; or
Issue a Noise Directive under the Resource Management Act 1991. This requires the immediate cessation of the noise; or
If the nuisance continues after a directive has been issued the Noise Control Officer and Police may enter the property and remove and impound the stereo and/or other equipment causing the nuisance; or
Issue an Abatement Notice that is a blanket prohibition on the emission of noise from the property with no time limit.
Property owners may be billed for the cost of the noise control response action particularly where noise is an ongoing problem or requires specialist assistance (i.e. locksmith, alarm company etc).
Owners may reclaim impounded stereos and other equipment
Impounded stereos or other equipment may be returned to its owner at Council’s discretion.
To reclaim your impounded property you will need to:
Print off the Application for Return of Impounded Property Form, complete it and submit it to Council’s Customer Services Centre.
Provide proof of your identity and ownership of the property.
Pay the impounding fee due in full when you submit the application.
Party planning guidelines
For advice on planning a party or other function where liquor will be consumed go to the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC) web page at the link below.
Links to more noise control information
Porirua City Council links: