The High Court at Christchurch has ruled Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee was wrong to use his special powers to fast track housing development following the earthquakes.
The court has set aside Mr Brownlee's decision to take zoning changes out of the Environment Court, where they had stalled, and make them active.
It follows the seeking of a judicial review by a group of landowners who say they were disadvantaged by the decision.
The move brought into force noise restrictions preventing some housing developments underneath the flight path of aircraft landing at Christchurch Airport, while allowing others to proceed.
In his ruling, Justice Chisholm said the granting of the review was not a challenge to changes which have already been made to zoning rules.
Work has already started on a subdivision at Kaiapoi north of Christchurch that would not have been possible without the changes the minister brought in.