Hawke's Bay flood works

A temporary law change is being proposed to make it easier to improve flooding resilience at specific sites in the Hawke’s Bay.

This proposed Order in Council was requested by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Recovery Agency.


Late May 2024 (expected)


31 March 2028

Why the proposed Order in Council is needed

Cyclone Gabrielle created significant loss and damage to the Hawke’s Bay region. Flooding resulted in significant areas of land that are no longer safe to inhabit without the development of new stop banks and other works to protect homes and communities from future flooding. This proposed Order in Council seeks to support the recovery of the Hawke’s Bay region by providing a streamlined consenting process to help these works to begin as soon as possible. 

The flood mitigation works this Order enables would allow approximately 975 properties which are currently categorised as Category 2A or Category 2C to be recategorised as Category 1 to reflect their reduced risk level. The flood works will also protect the Awatoto industrial area in Napier, including critical infrastructure as the town’s wastewater treatment plant is located there. 

What the proposed Order would do

This proposed Order in Council would modify the Resource Management Act 1991 to enable faster delivery of flood mitigation works in the Hawke’s Bay region. 

These works require resource consents under the Resource Management Act. Due to the complexity of these consents, a public notification process would usually be required, which can take up to 130 working days. To avoid these delays and ensure an efficient recovery, this proposed Order in Council would streamline the resource consenting process to give greater certainty to consent applicants. Specifically, this proposed Order would: 

  • Specify that any consents required are processed as a controlled activity. This means that the consent must be granted, but is subject to conditions to manage its environmental effects. 
  • Replace public notification requirements with a process for affected parties to make written comments. This is the same approach followed by previous Orders enacted earlier in the recovery. 
  • Prevent appeal rights under the Resource Management Act, but judicial review in the High Court would continue to be available. 

Where the Order would apply and when

The proposed Order would be limited to consent applications lodged by local authorities in the Hawke’s Bay, for eight specified sites. These sites are in Wairoa, Whirinaki, Waiohiki, Ohiti Road/Omāhu, Pākōwhai, Havelock North, Porangahau and Awatoto. 

The proposed Order would come into effect by late May 2024 and would expire on 31 March 2028. 

Technical guidelines, standards and management plans incorporated into this Order

To make sure the flood works meet appropriate environmental standards, the Order proposes requiring consent applicants to comply with relevant parts of the following technical guidelines, standards and management plans, to the extent practicable:

The Ministry proposes to incorporate these technical documents in full into the Order. This is because it would be difficult to identify specific sections as their relevance is context specific. It is expected that the full guidelines would need to be considered by the consent holder to check and understand their obligations.

The Ministry proposes to incorporate these documents without any changes.

Incorporating each of the technical guidelines, standards and management plans

“Incorporation by reference” is a legal way of making technical, lengthy, or complex information part of our law. The Legislation Act 2019 (section 64) and the Standards and Accreditation Act 2015 (section 30) allow for material to be incorporated into secondary legislation by reference and sets out requirements that need to be met. These include publicly notifying the intention to incorporate material by reference and inviting comments.

Please provide feedback to severeweather@mfe.govt.nz by 5pm, Friday 12 April.