About the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities 2016

This page provides information on the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities 2016. It includes guidance on implementation.

Link to the NESTF 2016

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities) Regulations 2016 [New Zealand Legislation website]

What they are

National Environmental Standards (NES) are regulations made under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). They provide certainty about rules across the country by setting nationally consistent planning requirements for certain specified activities. A NES prevails over district or regional plan rules unless expressly stated that it does not. It must be consistent with the purpose of the RMA to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.

The National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities 2016 (NESTF) came into effect on 1 January 2017 and replaces the NESTF 2008.

Why they are needed

The NESTF 2008 provided a national planning framework that allowed network operators to install some low impact telecommunications infrastructure in road reserves without the need to apply for resource consent, provided they met specified conditions.

A review in 2013 of the NESTF 2008 by the Ministry for the Environment found that while it was largely meeting its objectives, it was becoming out of date in the rapidly developing telecommunications landscape.

To address the issues raised in the 2013 review, the NESTF 2008 was replaced. The NESTF 2016 widens the scope of the 2008 framework by providing national consistency for a greater range of low impact telecommunications infrastructure.

For the events in the development of the NESTF and associated publications see Developing the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities 2016.

What they do

The NESTF 2016 provides national consistency in the rules surrounding the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure across New Zealand while ensuring the effects on the environment are minimised and managed appropriately.

The NESTF 2016 provides rules for the following activities:

  • cabinets in the road reserve, outside the road reserve and on buildings
  • antennas on existing poles in the road reserve
  • antennas on new poles in the road reserve
  • replacement, upgrading and co-location of existing poles and antennas outside road reserve (with different conditions in residential and non-residential areas)
  • new poles and antennas in rural areas
  • antennas on buildings (above a permitted height in residential areas)
  • small-cell units on existing structures
  • telecommunications lines (underground, on the ground and overhead).


The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, with support from the Ministry for the Environment and the NESTF technical advisory group, has developed a users’ guide to help councils and the telecommunications industry understand and implement the NESTF.  The users’ guide is being published in draft and feedback is sought to ensure it provides appropriate information and guidance to support effective implementation of the NESTF.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities) Regulations 2016: Draft users’ guide 

Email feedback on the users’ guide to NESTF@mbie.govt.nz by 31 August 2017.

Material incorporated by reference

Public notice – Access to material incorporated by reference

The Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities) Regulations 2016 incorporate the following material by reference:

AS/NZS 2772.2:2016 Radiofrequency fields – Part 2: Principles and methods of measurement and computation – 3 kHz to 300 GHz

NZS 2772.1:1999 Radiofrequency fields – Maximum exposure levels – 3 kHz to 300 GHz.

NZS 6801:2008 Acoustics – Measurement of environmental sound

NZS 6802:2008 Acoustics – Environmental noise.

All the material incorporated by reference is available for inspection free of charge week days between 9.00am and 5.00pm at the Ministry for the Environment’s head office at:

3 The Terrace
Wellington 6011
New Zealand

To make an appointment to inspect the incorporated material contact the Ministry for the Environment:

Freephone: 0800 499 700

Phone: +64 4 439 7400

Fax: +64 4 439 7700

Email: info@mfe.govt.nz

Photocopying of incorporated material will not be permitted.

Purchase of Material

Material may be purchased directly from:

Standards New Zealand, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment,

15 Stout Street, Wellington 6011.

Freephone: 0800 782 632 (New Zealand)

Phone: +64 3 943 4259

Email: enquiries@standards.govt.nz

Copies of the regulations and related documents are available at National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication Facilities [New Zealand legislation website].

Find out more

To find out more about the NESTF contact info@mfe.govt.nz