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Make Noise With Consideration This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and with El Niño set to wipe away La Niña and deliver a hotter, drier summer rather than the constant wet, people are turning their thoughts to summer holidays and with them, DIY activities and hosting parties.

But sometimes these activities can inadvertently make life uncomfortable for neighbours; loud music, the sound of endless sawing and drilling or unmonitored alarms going on for hours, can be hard to take.

And in the middle of the summer break there is the ubiquitous New Year’s Eve party, a time for celebration.

Auckland Council’s Manager Licensing Environmental Health Mervyn Chetty says the holiday season is time for everyone to enjoy a break.

“At these special times in the calendar year we need to co-exist and while tolerance levels are generally higher as many people choose to stay up later to enjoy the midnight entertainment, we still need to be thoughtful to help keep onside with neighbours.”

From January to 13 December 2023, the council received 35,647 noise complaints, down around 11,000 on the same period last year.

“A combination of factors accounts for the decrease; ongoing cooler, wet weather dampening enthusiasm for outdoor parties being the main one.

“If people are planning parties over the holiday season, show consideration for those around you when making plans; there are many precautions you can take to reduce noise,” adds Mr Chetty.

What is Excessive Noise?

Like all cities, Auckland can be noisy – it is a fact of city life.

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You are entitled to make a certain amount of noise as you work or play – but there are limits.

Excessive noise is any noise under human control and of such a nature as to unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person.

Examples of excessive noise may include a loud party, stereo, band practices, audible alarm or machinery.

Some noise cannot be dealt with by noise control like vehicles being driven on the road, trains or aircraft in flight.

Noise control can’t help if the party is too loud for others inside, but if the noise goes out of that property (including individual flats,. Units or apartments) and causes a problem to another, noise control can help.

How to be a good neighbour

There is no permit you can get to make noise for a party, to play your stereo on full, or to use that musical skill, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • be considerate of your neighbours
  • ensure burglar alarms automatically reset after a reasonable period
  • ensure car alarms are installed correctly and are not overly sensitive or faulty
  • inform neighbours in advance about a party or invite your neighbours
  • advise neighbours of planned work on your section that may be noisy
  • minimise noise travelling from your property by keeping doors or windows closed
  • don’t start up any noisy equipment like chainsaws early in the morning or late in the evening

and the biggie!

  • turn down the noise at a reasonable hour at night.

What time can I complain?

Excessive noise can be reported at any time of the day or night, but it is important to phone when the noise is occurring.

What happens when Noise Control is called out?

If an Enforcement Officer is called out to investigate the noise they will undertake a subjective assessment and determine if the noise is reasonable or not. Enforcement Officers do not use any monitoring equipment to determine if the noise is excessive. If the noise is deemed to be excessive, an Enforcement Officer may serve a written direction to reduce noise, which is in force for up to eight days. Failure to obey the direction can result in equipment seizure, an infringement fee of $500 or prosecution in the District Court with a potential fine of up to $10,000.

What happens if the noise continues?

If the noise continues, you will need to phone back to advise the noise is still disturbing you and to find out what action has been taken by an Enforcement Officer and lodge a further complaint.

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