Proposed Amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunications Facilities

Kia ora,

The Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment are inviting you to provide feedback on proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunications Facilities (NESTF). 

A discussion document outlining the proposals and an online consultation tool is now on our website www.mfe.govt.nz/rma/rma-legislative-tools/national-environmental-standards/nes-telecommunication-facilities-1.

The aim of these proposals is to ensure the NESTF continues to meet its objectives by bringing it up to speed with the rapid changes in telecommunications technology and use since its introduction in 2008.

To achieve this, the Minister for the Environment and Minister for Communications are proposing that the NESTF be expanded to provide national consistency for a wider range of telecommunications facilities. In particular, the discussion document sets out the Ministers proposals to classify the following telecommunication activities and facilities as permitted activities:  

  • The above and underground placement of cables;
  • The placement of new masts in road reserve;
  • The location of some telecommunication facilities (masts, antennas, cabinets) outside the road reserve subject to controls on height and location; and
  • Larger antennas to reflect new mobile technologies

Classifying these activities as permitted will mean that they can be undertaken as of right without the need for a resource consent under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

However, any of these telecommunications facilities would continue to be managed by the district plans in areas identified as having particular significance or subject to natural hazards.  This means that if the plan requires a consent for these activities to be carried out in a certain area then that consent would still be required.

There is no proposal to change the limit for exposure to radio-frequency fields. 

Overall, the amendments seek to achieve a balance, ensuring that network development is facilitated while avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse environmental effects. 

We invite you to consider the proposals in the discussion document and to offer feedback on the proposals.  We will be accepting written and electronic submissions until 5.00pm, 17 April 2015. Officials will then consider submissions and report back to Cabinet in mid-2015. 

Please email standards@mfe.govt.nz if you have any questions regarding this discussion document.


 Emma Whalley  – Analyst, Resource Management National Direction

Ministry for the Environment – Manatu Mo Te Taiao
Website: www.mfe.govt.nz
23 Kate Sheppard Place, PO Box 10362, Wellington 6143


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