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UPDATE: Tamahere Country Club | Notified Application for Consent has Been Granted

Image Source: Tamahere Country Club - Sanderson Group

The Sanderson Group / Tamahere Country Club Application has been granted.

Attached is the the decision of the hearing commissioner for the expansion of the Tamahere Country Club, approving both parts of the planned expansion (Council unsuccessfully opposed the Southern part)
The link to all the paperwork and plans is:

we feel this will be beneficial to our community. It also fits in with our view that the land between Airport Road and the Southern Links bypass should be rezoned to Country Living Zone

Previous posting: In August last year Sanderson Group / Tamahere Country Club made a Notified Application to the Council to expand the Country Club in a manner which makes total sense for its development, the land area currently occupied and that which can be expanded onto to accomodate growth.

For some unknown reason, the Tamahere Country Club did not consult with the Tamahere Community Committee (despite our support to help get the Club established on the old Johnston Demolition site), nor did the Council give us a heads up once the Application was filed. 
As our Councillors you did not draw this to our attention either, so it has not been specially considered by our Committee!

please find the Councils s.42A report and the Sanderson Group / Tamahere Country Club AEE lodged with Council … enough to get to grips with the issues before Council for the hearing.

Tamahere Community Committee interest in this Application

As representatives of the Tamahere community, we are publicly elected to assist the Council on specific matters of interest to the Tamahere Ward and its ratepayers.

Last year our Committee reviewed and updated the Blueprint for Tamahere - supposedly an important document for the allocation of funds under the Councils LTP to prioritise work to be done in the Tamahere Ward. A crucial issue is the Zoning of the land between Airport Road and the new Southern Links designation - mostly Rural Zone.

Our Committee considered this and determined the rural zone should be changed to Country Living Zone (no one on the Committee has an interest in land in this area so there is no bias or influence), with the result it was documented in the Blueprint which the Council has on its website -

is the second time our Committee has presented this to Council. The first time Council staff unilaterally dumped this proposal with no discussion or consultation with our Committee …. "Council have taken a strong position on providing for no more Rural Residential or Large Lot Residential development in the District. Last Updated: 17-May-2022 Donna Tracey - Strategic Planning Team Leader”. This internal staff position is a serious concern to our elected Committee. It is not democratic and it detrimental to our long term future.

The current Council has philosophically committed to meaningful engagement with the community, so the Tamahere Community Committee expects and requires the Council to have a meaningful discussion with it going forward, particularly relating to future growth and development and the allocation of funds via Blueprint or the proposed Community Plan.

At this stage we have not considered our current position with respect to the hearing of the Tamahere Country Clubs Notified Application for Consent to expand - so we will provide the Sanderson Group / Tamahere Country Club with a copy of this email and they can manage what is presented to the hearing.

The new Coalition Government has identified the adverse consequences of Government (Central and Local) red tape and the Waikato District Council is becoming aware that its District Plan (which is a complete mess) is not fit for purpose as it is so prescriptive that almost nothing can be initiated except at great cost and after a long and protracted process. 

RMA reform is now signalled as a high priority of the Government to rid the country of its red tape and Council rules which stifle innovation and growth.

In the s.42A Report "The Applicant’s planner Ms Drew and myself Planner for the Council, have a difference of opinion in relation to Rural Character and Settlement Pattern matters”

This sees the Councils Planner saying in the s.42A Report:

Proposed District Plan Objectives and Policies

Ms Drew acknowledges some inconsistencies with both proposals in relation to the Objectives and Policies of the GRUZ (General Rural Zone). However, considers that the specific Policy GRUZ P15 is to be applied, and applied with more weighting than policies in which the proposal is inconsistent with. This policy provides for alterations and additions to Retirement Villages already existing in the rural zone.

My view is that due to the definitions in the Plan for alterations and additions, the activity status and the context of other policies, this application is not captured as an alteration or addition to an existing village, and therefore the policy is not relevant to this application and cannot be used to outweigh the other policies of the rural zone that seek to limit non rural activities from establishing within the zone.

I have found both the Eastern and Southern Extensions to be contrary with the Objectives and Policies of the PDP.

Waikato Regional Policy Statement

Decisions to Change 1 of the Waikato Regional Policy Statement recently (Nov 2023) updated the urban and rural enablement areas for growth throughout the Region. This change was undertaken to give effect to the NPSUD that seeks compact urban form and well functioning urban environments, as well as embed the 30 year regional Growth Strategy (Future Proof 2022) into Statutory Documents.

Ms Drew acknowledges the proposals to be inconsistent in some respect to these Policies as the Tamahere area and the sites are outside an identified urban or rural enhancement area where growth is to be directed. Ms Drew considers that minimal regard should be applied to the RPS as the effects of the proposals are acceptable, the proposals are an extension to an existing village, and the environment in which the site is located is already compromised in terms of its rural nature.

My view is that the growth policies are established to address the long term consequential cumulative adverse effects of growth and settlement patterns. Whilst the existing environment is somewhat compromised already, to weigh heavily in favour of this, over the policies that are newly introduced to give effect to compact urban form relies on “planning creep” arguments and incrementally proliferates the change in character and use of the environment from rural use to urban use whilst undermining directive settlement patterns determined under a statutory framework. The proposal therefore undermines the Objectives and Policies of the RPS and NPSUD in relation to well- functioning urban environments and compact urban form.


My Recommendation to the Commissioner is that the Eastern Extensions suite of consents should be GRANTED and the Southern Extension Suite of consents should be DECLINED.

There is strong support from our community for what the Tamahere Country Club has developed and proposed (ignoring isolated NIMBY comment) and the quality of the vision, and its implementation, is something of a flagship for positive community focus if the Council is “big picture focused”.

Without becoming involved in litigating this specific case, the Tamahere Community Committee will be appalled if the Commissioner and the Council does not look at the development of the area holistically with a long term view of what is best for the area and what it is likely to look like in decades to come (best case scenario). The subjective opinions expressed in the Councils s.42A Report is a serious concern for the future and reflects terrible red tape, not innovation and positive growth for our community.

Please do your very best to hurry up the reforms that the Council must make and please ensure that Council staff take notice of elected Councillors/Committees/Boards before their small minded red tape rules dominate the landscape at the ongoing expense to our communities

Charles Fletcher - TCC Chair