Local Government


You local Council has the most influence on whether you have places to ride, places to learn to ride, and places to keep your horses.

Don't wait till it's too late!

Council control whether you can build (or use) an arena, ride on the local beaches or in the local parks, have a stable (and where you keep your manure pile) on your own property, and whether your local sports club has a lease on Council land.


Councils love plans. There are hundreds of them, and they spend a lot of time making them.

If you aren't in a plan,

you generally won't get anywhere.

Long Term Plans

are 10 year budgets.

This is like the supertanker of all plans, once it sets sail it is damn hard to get onboard, and damn hard to change course.

The Long Term Plan is reviewed every 3 years.

Annual Plans

Every year your rates are set, and the Council spends on items it has in the budget. This budget comes down from the Long Term Plan

District Plan (Unitary Plan)

This is slightly different. It says what you can do in what area, and whether you need a resource consent to do it.

This is where it states whether you can keep horses, build a stable, or an arena and whether you have to pay for a resource consent to do so.

Structure Plans

are mini-plans for infrastructure. Whether local areas are going to have cycle trails, or playgrounds or stormwater upgrades etc

Reserve Management Plans

All local parks and regional parks are (or should be) covered by reserve management plans.

They say what can happen in a park, where the historic or archeological areas are, and set out budgets for putting infrastructure into a park.

Reserve Management Plans are required by the Reserves Act 1977.


Councils can make bylaws. These are local laws, but they must not ban things that are legal (unless the law specifically says that Councils have control - like liquor laws)

Councils frequently try to ban horses from beaches, parks etc using bylaws.

Depending on the wording, this may not be legal and there may be no way for the Council to enforce the bylaw.

But you can also persuade the Council to change the bylaw, or even dump it entirely! We've been very successful in having beach riding bylaws dumped, or radically changed. Ask what the Council is trying to achieve, and offer a different solution. Better yet, show what is successful elsewhere, and you will often win!

Don't wait to be banned from paths.  Speak Up Now!

How to get into a plan

Councils do take note if they get lots of submissions on a particular topic, even if it is not in the right plan e.g. Auckland Regional Parks started looking at horse riding when there were lots of submissions to Annual Plans (even though nothing specific was requested in the Annual Plan).

Make sure

horse riding

features prominently in

Council plans

What's that mean?

Draft - draft plans are 'almost there'.

They are released for public comment, but be warned, a plan that has been released for comment can be hard to change!

Adopted and Operative - Both these terms mean that the plan or bylaw has been passed by Council and is now active.

It is very hard to change an operative plan or bylaw, unless you challenge it in court or kick up a hugely embarrassing stink (in the media).

You will have to wait till it comes up for review again - anywhere from 3-10 years!

What then?

Getting in to a plan, is just step one. Now, you still need to get the plan funded, and implemented (get the money to do it).

There are many, many, many plans sitting on shelves doing absolutely nothing for years... you must fight on.


And don't forget Resource Planning when a large farm is subdivided!!

Get bridleways and recreation trails put in place before the land is developed!

When your district plan is open for submissions, put submissions in to have bridleways created EVERY time large farms are subdivided