Local Body Requirements

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Zoning and massage therapy

The district plan for each city and town within New Zealand defines zones (areas within the town/city). Each zone is characterised by the activities which are permitted within it (e.g. commercial, residential, industrial, etc.).

Operating a massage therapy practice is a commercial enterprise, and accordingly it is permitted to operate a massage practice within commercial zones.

Individual district plans may permit massage therapy to be undertaken in other areas. Massage therapy may be legally practiced in non-permitted areas if resource consent is applied for, and is successful.

Operating within a Residential Area

In Dunedin, there is an exemption for home occupation rights where the massage therapist is working out of a room within their house, but the major use of the property is for residential purposes. This exemption allows a massage therapist to work within a residential zone. They cannot however employ other massage therapists to come in and work in their family home (without resource consent)

If a massage therapist or a group of massage therapists wished to operate in a residential area of Dunedin City then they would need to apply for a Resource Consent to permit that activity. The Dunedin City Council would decide what neighbours were affected by the proposal and they might also decide that there would be an affect on the broader neighbourhood including the transportation division of the Dunedin City Council. In that case the application would become a ‘notified application’ so members of the public could object as well as the neighbours. The process of application can be very expensive.

Breach of local body requirements

If a massage therapist breaches the rules regarding the operation of a massage therapy practice then the Dunedin City Council can issue a notice requiring the person or business to cease the activity until such time as they obtain a Resource Consent.

A District Court may, on the application of the Dunedin City Council, grant an injunction restraining a person from operating a massage practice. This is governed by Section 162 of the Local Government Act 2002.

In addition to this local authorities can establish bylaws imposing penalties.