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What is a resource consent? | When do I need one? | How long does a take? | How much will it cost? | What can I do to reduce the processing costs involved? | Are there any ongoing costs? I Development Contributions I Is a resource consent confidential? | What next? I Resource consent application form.

What is a resource consent?

The Resource Management Act (RMA) is the main piece of legislation that sets out how we should manage our environment. It is based on the idea of the sustainable management of our resources, and it encourages us (as communities and as individuals) to plan for the future of our environment.

Every local authority in New Zealand is required to produce a City Plan (the “Plan”) which specifies the rules relating to development or use of land within a local authority’s authorised jurisdiction.

There are some activities that may be specifically authorised by the RMA or may be permitted activities authorised by rules in the Plan. Any activities that are not permitted by the RMA or by a rule in a Plan require a resource consent before they can be carried out.

When do I need a resource consent?

When you wish to build or use your land in a way that does not comply with the rules of the Plan or the RMA, you need to get a resource consent.

Whether you need a resource consent at all or what type of consent you need depends on what you want to do and how it is classified in the Plan.

The Plan  sets out rules and related information that will help you decide whether or not you need a resource consent. When you look through the Plan, you will see that many things are described as permitted activities in the Permitted Activity Table at the beginning of each chapter (e.g. the Residential Chapter  has a table listing permitted activities that you can do without consent). You do not need resource consent for permitted activities if you comply with the relevant Permitted Activity Conditions (eg building setbacks and parking). It is therefore important that you take the time to read the relevant parts of the Plan before you make any changes to your property or start an activity.

Activities that are not permitted in the Permitted Activity Table, or those which cannot comply with a permitted activity condition, will require an application for resource consent before they can be undertaken. Activities that are not Permitted may be classified as Controlled, Restricted or Limited Discretionary, Discretionary, Non-Complying or Prohibited. The Council must grant a resource consent for a Controlled activity (with a couple of exceptions), but can refuse to grant a resource consent for activities with the classification of Restricted/Limited Discretionary, Discretionary or Non-Complying. No application can be made for resource consent for a Prohibited activity.

In some instances, you will need to demonstrate your activity or building’s compliance with the Plan. This means you will have to apply for a Certificate of Compliance.   A Certificate of Compliance officially recognizes that the activity is permitted.

The Plan is legally binding and if you breach it or don't obtain a resource consent when you need one, you may face penalties.

How long does it take?

Generally speaking, a resource consent is to be processed by Council within 20 working days of the application being lodged. However, there are factors that can change this timeframe.

  • If the planner requires further information under section 92 of the RMA, the ‘clock’ stops and doesn’t start again until the appropriate information is received
  • Also, the Council can decide to notify the consent within the first ten days.  Notification can also be requested by the applicant. If a consent is notified then the timeframe is extended by four months (and sometimes even longer depending on requests for information and appeals).

The resource consent process as depicted by the Ministry for the Environment.

How much will it cost?

Council operates a user-pays policy for processing all consent applications so you will pay a deposit/lodgement fee when you submit an application. You will need to pay a lodgement (deposit) fee when you lodge your application.

Once a decision has been made, if total processing cost is more than the deposit, you will be asked to pay the balance of costs incurred in processing your application. The total amount will vary depending on many factors including the accuracy and amount of information you provide, the number of different experts who need to become involved and whether or not your application is notified. The actual and reasonable costs are the cost of council staff time plus the actual cost of any disbursements. Staff time is calculated according to a schedule of hourly rates which are outlined on the fees and charges page. 

What can I do to reduce the processing costs involved?

  • Talk to us before you prepare your application by organising a meeting.
  • Do your research and work through the City Plan thoroughly.
  • Talk to us before you prepare your application.  
  • Apply for all required consents at the start. 
  • Consult all affected parties
  • Obtain written approvals from affected parties before lodging your application where possible. 
  • Ensure that forms are complete and the correct supporting material is included
  • If your application is notified, attempt to resolve any submissions.

Are there any ongoing costs?

If your consent requires ongoing monitoring, reporting or management you may be charged an annual fee or the cost of staff time calculated according to the schedule of hourly rates.

Development Contributions

Tauranga City Council requires development contributions for some resource consents. Development contributions may also be payable on your development before you are able to commence work.

Is a resource consent confidential?

Once submitted your application becomes public information. If requested, Council may agree to keep some of the material private if it is clearly identified as being commercially sensitive.

What next?

Check out how to apply for a resource consent.

Last Reviewed: 11/04/2017