Tukanga whakaaetanga rawa taiao

The resource consent process

Applying for a resource consent

Before making an application for resource consent, carefully consider what your application should include.

It's important to talk to our planning staff early in your application planning.

Also discuss your proposed activity with any person who may be affected.

To save time and money before preparing your application for resource consent, we recommend you:

  • detail all your ideas and gather as much information as you can
  • look into what rules may affect your project
  • talk to anyone who may be affected by your proposed project.

Consult, prepare and lodge your application. Consultation is best done early.

We offer pre-application advice for proposed activities that need resource consent.

We provide guidance to make sure you have a good understanding of what needs to be done before you lodge your application.

The first hour of our planner's advice is free.

Meeting with us before you lodge your application, we will:

  • provide an overview of the Resource Management Act.
  • Help you understand the planning rules and what consents you may need.
  • Explain how the process works, including potential costs and times.
  • Confirm and identify what type of consent(s) you may need.
  • Help identify what information you need to include, such as an environmental assessment of effects.
  • Identify others that may be affected by your proposed activity.
  • Explain the situations that determine if your application is publicly or limited notified.

When you're ready with all your information, contact our duty planner to arrange a meeting.

We recommend you talk to anyone who may be affected by your proposed activity or who may have an interest in the activity site in general.

Who are the affected parties?

An affected party is someone who may experience an adverse effect as a result of your proposed activity. Depending on the nature and type of your activity, these may include but not limited to:

  • Owners, occupiers and users of adjacent and nearby land.
  • Downstream water users.
  • Tangata whenua
  • Department of Conservation
  • Fish & Game NZ
  • Land occupiers living down wind of a proposed discharge to air.

We're happy to guide you on who you may need to talk to.

Assessing environmental effects - any effects whether positive or negative, long or short term need to be identified.

It's unlikely that an activity will have no effects.

You require a resource consent if we anticipate an activity may have effects.

The effects need to be identified in an Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE).

An AEE explained

An AEE is a written statement about the effects of your proposed activity or structure on the environment. Even if there's no effects an AEE is required to explain why.

In your AEE you need to identify ways that any effects can be avoided or reduced.

Here's some helpful tips on preparing an AEE

To understand the potential effects of a proposed activity on people and the environment - cultural effects must be addressed within the Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) section of a resource consent application.

It's good practice to consult with tangata whenua where an activity might effect the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.  See Part 2 of the RMA

An assessment of cultural effects with sufficient detail must then be included with an application.

If an application engages with Māori ancestral lands, water, waahi tapu or any other taonga, effects on these matters must be addressed. You may need to talk to or seek written approval from the relevant tangata whenua.

Where this information is not provided, applications will be considered against the requirements of Section 88 of the RMA and may be returned if they are incomplete.

Where you consider these matters are not relevant, you need to explain the reasons why in your application.

If you require assistance with engagement or identifying the iwi, hapū or whānau, please contact our Resource Management Māori Engagement Advisor.

Tangata whenua’ refers to iwi, hapū, whānua, or orther group who holds mana whenua over an area of interest.

Notification - we will assess your application to determine if it needs to be notified or not.

When we receive a resource consent application, we assess its environmental effects.

If the environmental effects are more than minor, the application will need to be notified under Section 95A of the RMA.

Not all applications are notified.

Your application may not be notified if we're satisfied that the activity will have only minor effects on the environment or all potentially affected parties have provided written approval.

Your application will be processed faster and cost less if you gain approval from all parties that may be affected.

There are 2 types of notification

Limited notification applies when the effects of your activity are considered to be generally minor, but haven't obtained written approval from potentially affected parties.

We'll send a letter to all affected parties advising them of your proposed activity and any likely effects that may arise if your proposed activity was granted.

Those identified parties can then make a submission on the proposed activity. If submissions or issues can't be resolved then the proposed activity will go to a Council hearing.

Public notification applies when we believe the effects of your proposed activity will be more than minor. A notice will be placed on our website, in the public notices section of the local newspaper, and a sign will be placed at the site of the proposed activity. The notice and sign will state the applicant's name, what consents are being applied for and the site of the proposed activity.

We will also send a letter to all potentially affected parties advising them of the proposed activity.

If submissions or issues can't be resolved in a pre-hearing meeting, then the proposed activity will go to a Council hearing.  
If no submissions are received, the consent may not need a hearing and the consent can be processed and the decision issued.

See the current notified consents

When you're ready to submit your application - see our application form for your activity

Resource consents for entities

A resource consent can only be issued to a legal entity. If you're applying for a resource consent for a trust, you must be an incorporated charitable trust or a Māori land trust.

Please provide proof of incorporation status.

What you need to know

Planners will check to make sure your application is complete and has all the supporting information needed.

If your application has insufficient information, Council may reject the application on the basis of insufficient information in accordance with section 88 of the RMA.

If the application is accepted, Council may subsequently request further information from you in accordance with section 92 of the RMA.

RMA - Making an Application for Resource Consent

The time taken to process an application depends on the complexity of the application, the application status and whether or not a hearing is required.

A non-notified application has a 20-working-day timeframe to issue - from receipt of the completed application.

Notified applications will take longer if a hearing is required - they can take up to 4 months.

A resource consent may also be needed if you're applying for a building consent. 
See information on building consent

Under the Resource Management Act resource consents are grouped under 5 types: land use; subdivision; water use; discharge to water, land, air; coastal - any activity in the coastal marine area such as beach races, building a jetty etc.

Some examples of the types of activities that may require resource consent:

  • subdividing a property
  • additions or alterations to a house or building
  • changing the use of a building or property
  • discharge waste into water, into the air, or on to land
  • divert a stream
  • divert or discharge flood-waters
  • build a bridge over a watercourse
  • clear significant areas of vegetation
  • take water, other than for domestic use, and depending on the use
  • undertake major earthworks
  • build a wharf or jetty.

Resource consents are usually issued with conditions to mitigate any environmental effects and bring the application in line with District Plan requirements.

The consent holder is responsible for consent compliance.

Non-compliance with conditions may result in enforcement action.

For any consent, you can only start work on your project once you receive the Resource Consent Notice of Decision.

Any other permits and authorisations must also be approved before you begin work.

Your resource consent will lapse on the date stated in the consent.

If no date is specified then it will expire 5 years after the date of commencement of the consent unless the approved activity is fully completed; or you have made application to Council for a time extension.