A Far North businessman faces an anxious wait to hear whether he may be prosecuted for removing sand from a picturesque beach.

The Northland Regional Council has issued an abatement notice and is considering further enforcement action, after the Doubtless Bay man took about half a cubic metre of sand from Cable Bay without a consent.

The Northland Age was told a former local police officer who was holidaying there had been asked to move his vehicle so a digger could get access to the beach.

The council's Kaitaia area manager Peter Wiessing said he had spoken to the man, who took the sand under police supervision.


He had claimed that the sand was needed for the urgent repair of a burst sand filter at a motel with 100 guests, on the Karikari Peninsula.

Commercial quantities of sand had not been available, and the situation had been an emergency.

He accepted that (taking sand) was a discretionary activity, and had had "local opposition" to its removal, Mr Wiessing said.

The man had been told that an abatement notice would be served, and further enforcement action would be considered.

Northland Regional Council group manager regulatory services Colin Dall said removing sand from a beach anywhere in Northland required a resource consent, unless it was for 'investigative sampling purposes'.

Sampling was permitted provided no more than one cubic metre was taken per day, any drilling operation used equipment with a diameter of not more than 250mm to penetrate the sea bed, the disturbance would be able to be rectified by natural processes within days, and no contaminants were discharged into coastal waters or deposited on the foreshore or seabed.

"An example of investigative sampling is when someone collects sand samples to test them for a range of contaminants or other characteristics, such as particle/grain size," Mr Dall said.

"The Northland Regional Council does this on a fairly regular basis as part of its coastal state of the environment monitoring programme."