top of page

Jetties- They need consent too!

Sitting on the weathered decking of a little timber jetty with your feet dangling over the edge, letting the incoming tide swirl between your toes. Nothing paints a more quintessentially Kiwi picture. However compared with development on land jetties and other coastal structures can involve some quite unique considerations when it comes to resource consent (coastal permit) processes.

In essence the coastal marine area can be likened to a water based public playground and thoroughfare that is owned by the crown. Jetties that are not involved in marine based industries are mainly used for access to, from and within the coastal marine area and for recreational use.

What should you consider if you’re thinking about building a jetty?

Construction and location: The construction process needs to be undertaken with appropriate precautions to ensure the drilling and piling often involved in installing a structure in the marine environment does not bring about serious impacts on water quality, habitat or coastal flora and fauna.

A jetty in a more modified environment, where there are similar and complementary uses may be more appropriate, compared with a jetty located close to where rare or endangered birds nest, roost and forage.

Landscape values: There are also landscape matters to consider. In some locations the sight of a jetty extending into the water can add to people’s appreciation of those particular landscape surroundings. However a jetty stretching far out into the middle of a remote bay, with lots of natural character and a distinct absence of any other built feature or structure may be another matter. Especially if it serves the access and/or recreational needs of one or a small number of individuals.

Functional need: Because the structure is within the public realm rather than on private land, these issues are more closely scrutinised. It is for this reason planning documents are often more encouraging of public and multiple use structures, with a strong emphasis on the structure having a ‘functional need’ to be in the coastal marine area.

Balance: There are also issues of balancing the needs of other coastal marine users and not unduly restricting public access, both at the landward and seaward end of the structure. Should a jetty be located in a bay that is known to be popular for the short-term anchorage of boats or use by kayakers? Should a jetty extend a long way in open coastal waters to enable all tide access, or in balancing the other competing interests in the environment is partial tide access sufficient ?

A jetty may impact on users like boaties or day tripping kayakers in a restrictive way or it may enhance their use of the coastal environment if the jetty is also available for their use. The maintenance and enhancement of public access to and along the coastal marine area is a matter of national importance with the RMA. Because of this most jetties in the coastal marine area are available for public use, unless consent conditions indicate otherwise.

Iwi: Iwi issues are also at the forefront of processing resource consents in the coastal marine area. Iwi use this part of the environment for customary uses and cultural activities and the coastal environment as a whole contains highly valued taonga for these groups.

Natural hazards: These days issues of sea level rise and coastal hazards also need to be factored in.

Types of consents: When a resource consent (coastal permit) for a jetty is approved, the consent holder in essence obtains three permits in one. Under section 12(1) of the RMA they are authorised to do the works involved in constructing the jetty and the associated disturbance to the seabed and foreshore. Under section 12(2) RMA they are effectively given a right to occupy the common marine and coastal area, being the marine and coastal area below mean high water springs owned by the crown. Finally under 12(3) RMA they are authorised to undertake the activity associated with the use of the jetty (access, boat berthage etc) within the coastal marine area.

As you can see, if you’re undertaking work in the coastal marine area there are lots of things to consider, and many of these are different to land based development. If you are looking to undertake a development in the coastal marine area like a jetty, give us a call for a chat!

Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.

Anne Hessell is a Senior Planner at

Planning Plus and has over 17 years

of resource management experience,

including involvement with coastal

permit applications for over 15 years.

601 views0 comments


bottom of page