Meeting Room:



Friday 6 June 2014


Reception Lounge, Town Hall
301-305 Queen Street


Rural Advisory Panel






ITEM   TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                         PAGE



A.      Geoff Smith - question/issue for RAP - Unitary Plan/Equine Centre                    3

5          Rural Broadband - response to 2/5/14 (Geoff Smith) tabled issue

A.      6 June 2013 - Item 4 Rural Broadband PowerPoint presentation                         7

Rural Advisory Panel

06 June 2014


Question / Issue for Rural Advisory Panel



31 May 2014


Geoff Smith


Unitary Plan / Horse training Centre


Can a without prejudice litmus test of the proposed Unitary Plan be conducted to determine whether or not a Horse Training Centre which provides for the housing and training of 15 or more horses on a permanent basis can include:

(a) Accommodation for staff, physically attached to the stables, of up to 100 sq mtrs gross floor area; and

(b) One relocatable house of  up to 200 sq mtrs gross floor area for a foreman or trainer, provided it has identifiable separate curtilage of at least 100 sq mtrs, for every 15 or more horses housed and trained on the site. One further such relocatable dwelling may be included for each additional 15 horses permanently housed. This is in addition to any primary residence permitted on the site?


This matter has arisen as the Auckland Council and the ARC before it opposed the provision as approved by the then Franklin District Council, for the development of Byerley Park as a horse training centre. The matter has dragged its way through several years of bureaucratic and legal quagmire including the Environment Court (2013 NZEnvC90) and the High Court (CIV-2013-404-2949 [2013] NZHC 3402).

The Environment Court found at p4 [12] “We have concluded as a fact that a necessary part of a horse training centre is the onsite availability of staff to care for the horses…

The Court, at p6 [22] noted, “Our view is that PC30, in adopting the definition of ‘horse training centres’, clearly included within it the words ‘facilities’ – those things which are necessary for horse training. We have already concluded that that factually must include accommodation for some staff.

The Auckland Council appealed the Environment Court’s Decision noting it had been made on the basis of errors of law on a number of counts. Of particular relevance in this matter at p1 (2)(b) they claimed, “The Environment Court erred in concluding that the respondent’s submission seeking to add ‘accommodation for staff and their families’ to the definition of ‘Horse Training Centre’ was a submission ‘on’ proposed Plan Change 30 to the District Plan…”

Further, they claimed at p 3 (2) (c) (i) the Court erred in “failing to apply the plain and ordinary meaning of the words ‘facilities for the housing and training of thoroughbred and standard bred horses…from applying the plain and ordinary meaning…

The High Court upheld the Auckland Council’s appeal, noting at p13 [34] “…Creating additional rights to house people in a rural zone goes beyond clarification of a definition which has never included reference to housing and accommodation…

It is not my intention to expect a re-litigation of these matters. Nor is it my intent to advocate in this instance particularly for Byerley Park, rather to ask for a ‘litmus test’ of the proposed Unitary Plan. The test would determine whether or not the plan is explicit in its ‘plain and ordinary meaning’ that accommodation, as determined by the Environment Court would be permissible facilities for a Horse Training Centre.

If that litmus test determines ‘no’, then the proposed Plan has not considered this common sense safety provision, nor the submissions of the Auckland Equine Industry Group, nor the intention of the Franklin District Council, nor the findings of the Environment Court. In so doing the plan renders the existing provisions a nonsense. We want to be sure the plan explicitly acknowledges a necessary part of a horse training centre is the onsite availability of staff to care for the horses, and that  ‘available’ means accommodation as noted in my question. We do not want to wait for the Plan to be locked and loaded and find any subsequent cases such as that of Byerley Park fail on this point.

I have also noted this test would be without prejudice. By that I mean the outcome is not something the Council should be held to, nor would it be relevant in any legal challenge or future applications. Rather, it is to help parties wishing to make submission on the Unitary Plan before the opportunity is lost, make more informed submissions to ensure the intention of an enabling plan is achieved for the Equine Industry.



Rural Advisory Panel

06 June 2014