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Āhea whakamahia ai te whakaaetanga taiao

When is a resource consent needed

If you want to build or use your land in a way that does not comply with the rules of the City Plan or the Resource Management Act, you need to get a resource consent.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) is the main piece of legislation that sets out how we should manage our environment. The RMA requires all local authorities produce a city plan; we also call this the Plan. This specifies the rules relating to development or use of land within their jurisdiction.

Any activities that are not permitted by the RMA or by a rule in the Plan require a resource consent before they can be carried out. The plan specifies whether you need a resource consent at all or what type of consent you need.

Once submitted your application becomes public information. If requested, Council may agree to keep some of the material confidential if it’s commercially sensitive.

The Plan sets out rules and related information that will help you decide if you need a resource consent. It is 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.

There is a permitted activity table at the beginning of each chapter of the Plan. You do not need resource consent for permitted activities if you comply with the relevant permitted activity conditions, such as building setbacks and parking.

Activities that aren’t permitted in the permitted activity table, or those which don’t comply with a permitted activity condition, will require a resource consent before they are carried out. These activities are classified as controlled, restricted or limited discretionary, discretionary, non-complying or prohibited.

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. You can’t apply for a 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.

Resource consent timeframes

A resource consent is usually processed within 20 working days of the application being lodged with Council.

The resource consent process and timeframes are set out by the Ministry for the Environment. However, there are factors that can affect this timeframe, such as:

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

Council can decide to notify the consent within the first ten days of lodgement. If a consent is notified the timeframe is extended by four months (sometimes longer depending on requests for information and appeals). Notification can also be requested by the applicant.

Resource consent costs

Council operates a user-pays policy for processing all consent applications. A deposit or lodgement fee is required when you submit an application – refer to Council’s fees and charges schedule. Please note that the deposit or lodgement fee do not always cover all of the costs of processing an application. Where processing costs exceed the specified deposit, the actual costs will be invoiced separately in accordance with section 36(3) of the RMA.

The total amount may vary depending on a number of factors, including the accuracy and amount of information provided, if experts need to be engaged and whether the application is notified.

The actual and reasonable costs are the cost of council staff time. Staff time is calculated according to a schedule of hourly rates outlined on the Council’s fees and charges schedule and disbursements such as copying, postage etc. will be charged at the actual cost. 

Reduce processing costs

Talk to us before you prepare your application by arranging a pre-application meeting and make sure you:

  • do your research and work through the city plan thoroughly
  • apply for all the required consents at the start
  • consult all affected parties and if possible get written approval before lodging your application.
  • ensure that forms are complete and the correct supporting material is included
  • if your application is notified, attempt to resolve any opposing submissions.

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 

Some resource consents require development contributions. Development contributions may also be payable on your development before you are able to commence work.

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