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Celebrations to avoid noise complaints

Fri, December 05, 2014

With the party season in full swing, our noise control officers are gearing up for a peak in noise complaints that come from the many Christmas and New Year celebrations.

While many people like to throw Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties, there are just as many people that look forward to a quiet peaceful break and many others who will still be working.  Party Hosts can adopt some simple measures to avoid disgruntled neighbours and protect their celebrations from noise complaints:

  1. Be considerate towards your neighbours. Maintain a reasonably moderate level of music and noise, and reduce volume levels after midnight.
  2. Inform your neighbours about your party or even invite them to it! They are less likely to complain if they are prepared for the event or are attending.
  3. Establish a set end time for the party and make sure everyone is aware of it.
  4. Don’t allow guests to stand around in groups outside the venue in residential areas as groups talking often become very loud.
  5. As it gets later in the evening shut doors and windows and encourage people to move indoors to minimise noise from escaping.
  6. Consider hiring a professional security officer to provide assistance in dealing with any disruptive behaviour that may contribute to noise levels.
  7. Keep an eye on your guests and how much they are drinking. Be prepared to take action if things get out of control.
  8. Wind-up the party by gradually turning down the music.
  9. At the end of the night, encourage guests to go home quietly and not linger outside the venue or in surrounding streets.

Know the Rules:

  • The Resource Management Act 1991 is the main control over noise in New Zealand.
  • Under The Resource Management Act 1991, when a noise control officer attends to a complaint they must decide whether the noise is excessive.
  • Excessive noise is defined as any noise that is under human control and of such a nature as to unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person.
  • When investigating a complaint, if the attending noise control officer believes the noise is excessive they will issue a direction notice to the person responsible for the source of the noise to reduce the noise to a reasonable level. This may be done verbally or in writing.
  • This direction must be enforced in most cases for 72 hours. If this is breached and excessive noise continues, a noise control officer accompanied by a Police Officer may take any steps necessary to stop the noise. This usually includes but is not limited to: seizing the source of the noise e.g. a stereo, removing parts from a noise source or locking up the noise source so it can’t be used.
  • Breaching a noise direction can lead to an instant infringement notice fine of $500 or a fine of up to $10,000 after prosecution.