Noise Complaints

This page explains the legal situation relating to the management of noise under the Resource Management Act 1991.

Property Owners Responsibilities

While noise is a constant companion in our daily lives, we have an individual responsibility under legislation to ensure we do not create a noise nuisance for other persons.

The owners and occupiers (tenants) of land including buildings are responsible for ensuring noise caused on their property does not create a nuisance for any other person.

Be a good neighbour.  Be mindful at all times of the impact of your noise on your neighbours.

If you are intending to hold a party, carry out any building work or any other noisy activity on your property discuss your intentions with your neighbours first.

Comply with any agreement made with your neighbour.

Ensure building and vehicle alarms are correctly installed, adjusted and regularly serviced.

Mow your lawns at reasonable times during daylight hours. Avoid early morning mowing particularly at weekends and on public holidays.

Comply with any resource consent noise restrictions for commercial land development or construction work.

Definition of "excessive noise"

The Resource Management Act 1991 defines the term "excessive noise" as being any noise under human control which unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort, and convenience of any other person and includes noise made by any:

  • Musical instrument
  • Electrical appliance
  • Machine however powered
  • Person or group of persons
  • Explosion or vibration.

It does not include any:

  • Aircraft being operated during, or immediately before or after flight.
  • Vehicle driven on a road.
  • Train, other than when being tested (when stationary), maintained, loaded, or unloaded.

While maximum noise levels are not set by legislation, the Porirua City District Plan prescribes permissible levels in the City on a zone-by-zone basis as follows:

  • D1 City Centre Zone Standards.
  • D2 Industrial Zone Standards.
  • D2A Business Park Rules and Standards.
  • D3 Suburban Zone Standards.
  • D4 Rural Zone Standards.

Excessive noise complaints

Council may act under the Resource Management Act 1991 to alleviate excessive noise.  Porirua City Council provides a 24 hour 7 days per week noise control response service

Although neighbourhood problems are best resolved on a face-to-face basis, you may choose to report a noise problem directly to us. 

In most cases, the personal approach is sufficient to remedy the problem and also promotes good neighbour relations.

Council Officers respond to noise complaints during normal office hours. A Noise Control contractor responds at all other times and on public holidays.

Resolving noise complaints

When a noise complaint is received, Noise Control Officers will respond to the address concerned, objectively assess the noise and initiate action if any, based on their assessment.

The test of reasonableness is applied in all cases. Where action is required the Noise Control Officer may:

  • Verbally require the occupant to immediately abate the noise nuisance; or
  • Issue a Noise Directive under the Resource Management Act 1991. This requires the immediate cessation of the noise; or
  • If the nuisance continues after a directive has been issued the Noise Control Officer and Police may enter the property and remove and impound the stereo and/or other equipment causing the nuisance; or
  • Issue an Abatement Notice that is a blanket prohibition on the emission of noise from the property with no time limit.

Property owners may be billed for the cost of the noise control response action particularly where noise is an ongoing problem or requires specialist assistance (i.e. locksmith, alarm company etc).

Reclaiming impounded stereos and other equipment

Impounded stereos or other equipment may be returned to its owner at our discretion.

To reclaim your impounded property you will need to:

  • Complete the Application for Return of Impounded Property Form, and submit it to us.
  • Provide proof of your identity and ownership of the property.
  • Pay all impounding fees due when you submit the application.

Links to more noise control information


Porirua City Council links:

External links: