Noise Control

When noise annoys - At any time of the day or night you have the right to have excessive noise stopped or reduced.

Council noise control officers will investigate, assess the noise level and ensure it is reduced if it is considered excessive under the Resource Management Act 1991. 

Council enforces the noise control laws

Council may act under the Resource Management Act 1991 to alleviate excessive noise. 

What is considered 'excessive noise'?

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:

  • Musical instrument;
  • Electrical appliance;
  • Machine, however powered;
  • Person or group of persons;
  • Explosion or vibration.

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.

Complaining 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.

In most cases the personal approach is sufficient to remedy the problem and also promotes good neighbour relations.

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 on-going problem or requires specialist assistance i.e. locksmith, alarm company etc.

What action can property occupiers take 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.

Seized stereo or equipment

Why was my stereo sized?

A Council warranted Noise Control Officer under the authority of the Resource Management Act 1991 can seize stereos or noise-generating equipment. Under this law, Council may seize equipment if there has been a breach of an Excessive Noise Direction or an Abatement Notice.

The Excessive Noise Direction need not be handed to the occupier or the owner of the stereo and can be considered to be delivered by handing it to any person who appears to be responsible for causing the noise, or if that person refuses to take it, dropped at their feet. An Excessive Noise Direction can also be delivered verbally, by phone, by text or by email.

Seized stereos or noise equipment are held at a secure storage site until Council authorises their release. Any property seized under section 323 or section 328 of the Resource Management Act 1991 not claimed within 6 months of its seizure may be disposed of by the Council or the police.

What is the cost of getting seized equipment returned?

Council will not automatically release seized equipment. Council must be satisfied that the return of the seized equipment will not lead to further excessive noise.

A release fee is required for the release of the seized stereo or equipment. This fee covers the seizure costs of the equipment, its transportation and storage costs, and the costs of staff time in researching the noise history of the property, interview time and administration. To find out the current release fee, please contact us.


How to get your confiscated equipment back

If your equipment has been seized by a Council noise control officer, you may be able to get it back.

When your equipment is seized, the Council officer will give you a seizure notice with this process, as well as an application form to have your equipment returned.

  1. Complete the application form and send it to:
    Kaipara District Council
    Private Bag 1001
    Dargaville 0340
  2. A noise control officer will contact you to arrange an appointment to discuss the seizure notice and how to get your equipment back, as well as an estimated timeframe for the process.
  3. If the interviewing officer is satisfied that you will not use the equipment to produce excessive noise, the process to return your equipment can begin.
  4. Before your equipment is returned you must pay a fee. This fee covers the cost of seizing and storing your equipment, as well as administration costs. The noise control office will tell you how this can be paid.
  5. Once you have paid and presented the receipt to your interviewing officer, they will arrange the release of your equipment.