Noise Control


Making a Noise Complaint

Call us when the noise is happening so we can take action – day or night. You can call us anytime on the following numbers:

06 370 6300 (office hours) or (06) 370 3088 (noise control out of office service)

Things you should know before you call:

  • Your name won’t be given out.
  • Some levels of construction noise are allowed during the day
  • Noise rules don’t apply to unplanned emergency works, like water mains breaks.
  • We do not monitor noise from moving vehicles (aircraft, boats, trains and cars).
  • We can investigate noise from parked cars on private property (alarms, car stereos and engine revving).

When you make a noise complaint, we send a noise control officer to visit the site, investigate and determine if noise is excessive. 

Check out our Noise Control Pamphlet (PDF, 2MB)

A quiet word about noise – Everyone should expect some degree of noise in their neighbourhood from time to time. Noise control is not intended to regulate everyday residential activities such as mowing lawns and vehicles driving on the road. If you are concerned about the noise coming from your neighbour’s property, often a friendly word over the fence is all that is required. Talk to the person or company responsible for the noise and point out the problem. You may find they are unaware that they are disturbing you.


What happens when I make a noise complaint?

When you make a noise complaint, we will go out to investigate. This is why you need to make a complaint when the noise is happening.

To judge if the noise is excessive or not, we will consider:

  • Volume
  • The time of day
  • Frequency
  • Tone/type of noise.

We do not use any monitoring equipment to decide if the noise is excessive. If we decide that the noise is too loud, we may issue an Excessive Noise Direction (END). An END notice lasts for 72 hours. If there are more noise complaints during that time, the officer will visit the site again to determine if the noise is still excessive. If the noise is found excessive a second time within 72 hours, the enforcement officer and police will seize the noise-offending equipment.


How do I know if noise is excessive?

Excessive noise is any noise that is under human control and unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person. This is defined under Section 326 of the Resource Management Act.

Examples of excessive noise include:

  • a loud party
  • stereo
  • band practices
  • loud alarm or machinery.

There are no set times of the day or decibel levels for excessive noise. See construction and maintenance noise below if you’re concerned about noisy construction.


Construction and Maintenance Noise

The hours when noisy construction work is allowed depends on the location and days of the week. Construction sites often have a resource consent or building consent that allows for different noise levels or working hours. Contact us to find out more information.


Ongoing Problems with Noise

For reoccurring noise problems, call 06 370 6300 during working hours and ask to speak to an Environmental Health Officer. We can issue infringement notices for repeat offenders. These notices require the offenders to pay a fine for:

  • Not complying with an excessive noise direction notice.
  • Not complying with an abatement notice for noise.

We can issue an abatement notice where there are ongoing issues with noise. This is an official letter requiring the offender to reduce noise to a reasonable level. We use a sound level meter to take noise readings that can be measured against the permitted levels in the Wairarapa Combined District Plan, before issuing an abatement notice. The notice sets out timeframes for specific works required to achieve compliance.


How to prevent a noise complaint

You can’t get a noise permit for parties or playing your stereo on full volume. There are some things you can do to reduce noise and show consideration for your neighbours:

    1. Keep noise levels down at night.
    2. Inform neighbours if you are planning a party or invite them.
    3. Keep your music equipment inside and close doors and windows where possible.
    4. If you think that noise may be a problem keep party guests indoors. Ask them to keep the noise down when entering and leaving.
    5. Tell neighbours of planned work on your section that may be noisy.
    6. Ensure burglar alarms cut off after 15 minutes and have to be manually reset.
    7. Ensure car alarms are installed correctly and are no oversensitive or faulty.
    8. Do not start up noisy equipment such as chainsaws early in the morning or late at night


Noise complaints against you

If a complaint is made against you and you feel it’s unjustified, you can contact us to discuss your concerns.

Getting seized equipment back

We only return equipment if we are satisfied it will not be used to create further noise problems.  If we refuse to return your property, you can appeal to the Environment Court.

To request your property back, you need to:

  • Contact us to arrange an interview
  • Pay all costs relating to the seizure (i.e. call outs, storage, administration and delivery)

Bring to your interview:

  • Proof of identity, such as a driver’s licence or passport
  • The original copy of the seizure notice (so we return the property to the rightful owner)
  • Pay all costs relating to the seizure (i.e. call outs, storage, administration and delivery)

To find out where to collect your goods, contact us on 06 370 6300.