Resource Consents

Find out how resource consents, the District Plan, Resource Management Act (RMA) and National Environmental Standards work.

Resource consents and the district plan

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) provides the legal framework for resource management decision-making. Under the RMA, councils must prepare plans (known as district plans) for the area they administer. Each plan has zones, and each zone has objectives, policies and rules to encourage or deter activities. District plans promote the RMA’s purpose, which is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.

The Kaipara District Plan 2013 and the National Environmental Standards set the planning framework for our beautiful district, and outline what you can do as a permitted activity and what you need resource consent approval for. The District Plan is developed with public input and is an important document to inform future development.

When you need resource consent

You need resource consent if your proposed building work, development or activity does not comply with the District Plan or a National Environmental Standard.

At Kaipara District Council we deal with two types of resource consents: subdivision and land use consents.

  • subdivision consent is needed to legally divide land or buildings for separate ownership, for example into new lots or sections (fee simple or a boundary adjustment), or as a unit title, cross lease, or company lease.
  • A land use consent may be needed for particular activities such as extending or constructing a new building, or for setting up a new business activity in a residential area that may create a lot of traffic.

Northland Regional Council looks after all other types of resource consents such as discharges, regional land use, water diversions water takes.  In some instances, you may need consent from both us and the regional council such as if you were to need to divert stormwater for your new subdivision.

Why resource consents exist

A resource consent is basically an assessment of your proposed building or activity against the relevant district plan rule or rules. We check to see if your proposal is acceptable under these rules, or if it will affect the environment, your neighbours or other affected parties, so much that it needs to be notified.

The Kaipara District Plan is an effects-based plan, rather than a prescriptive plan, and does not contain rules that explicitly require resource consent for certain activities in particular locations.  Rather the parameters of an activity are controlled via performance standards – such as limits on earthworks, vegetation clearance, building bulk and location, noise, traffic generation, etc.

When you look through the Plan, you will see that many activities are given an activity status. You do not need Resource Consent for permitted activities if you comply with the relevant performance standards. It is therefore important that you read the relevant parts of the District Plan before you make any changes to your property or start an activity likely to affect the environment or other people.

Activities that are not classified as permitted, or those which cannot comply with performance standards will require a Resource Consent before they can be legally undertaken. Activities that are not permitted may be classified as Controlled, Restricted Discretionary, Discretionary or Non-Complying.  The Council must grant a resource consent for a controlled activity but can refuse to grant a resource consent for all other activity types.

A planner will process your application and decide if a resource consent will be issued and the conditions that apply. If needed, the planner will get input from other experts, such as an ecologist, or a traffic or acoustic engineer. The planner will decide if there are any affected persons and if the application needs to be notified.

The Ministry for the Environment has more information on what's involved in the resource consent process and your rights as an affected person.

If your proposal complies with the District Plan or a National Environmental Standard, you can apply for a Certificate of Compliance (this is different to a building Code Compliance Certificate). This confirms the activity is permitted without resource consent and it's our only way to confirm this formally in writing.

National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land

The National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land came into effect on 17 October 2022. It has been prepared by Central Government and introduces additional controls to the Kaipara District Operative District Plan 2013, in relation to the subdivision and development of highly productive land (Land Use Class 1 to 3 soils) in the Rural zone. It is intended to preserve productive land for future generations. Kaipara District Council is obliged to implement it when assessing certain types of land use and subdivision consents and in preparing the Proposed District Plan (to be notified in mid-2023) and any Private Plan Changes lodged with Council.

Soil classification maps are available from Manaaki Whenua (Land Research). These maps will be eventually replaced by Northland Regional Council mapping to be completed by 2025.

View a list of New Zealand Soil Science Professionals.

Additional guidance from the Ministry of Environment is also available from their website.

Please email or call via the Customer Services Centre.

Vertical datum for resource consents

The current Kaipara District Council Engineering Standards refer to One Tree Point (OTP) for the required vertical datum used in consent applications. From 2022 Kaipara District Council will only accept data in the new vertical datum NZVD2016. This change is in line with current good practice and allows Kaipara District Council to provide assurance across the District that levels data is consistent.

The New Zealand Vertical Datum 2016 (NZVD2016) is the official vertical datum for New Zealand and its offshore islands. From 27 June 2016 New Zealand Vertical Datum 2016 (NZVD2016) replaced the NZVD2009 as the official national vertical datum for New Zealand. NZVD2016 is formally defined in the LINZ standard LINZS25009 (Standard for New Zealand Vertical Datum 2016).

More information can be found at LINZ.

Getting a resource consent

Early discussions with us will help you make informed decisions about your application and avoid unnecessary processing delays.

If you have a basic question about a simple project, you may only need an email or telephone call with our Resource Consents Help Desk.  The Resource Consents Help Desk provides 15 minutes of free assistance. Please email or call via the Customer Services Centre - 0800 727 059.

For more specific enquiries, we recommend you have a pre-application meeting before making your resource consent application, especially if your proposal is for a more complex development such as multiple dwellings, commercial development, or subdivision. This is a paid service.

Once we receive your application we aim to process it within 20 working days, unless it is a notified consent.  However, the process can take longer if you don’t supply the correct information, or if we require additional information to understand what you are proposing.  That’s one of the reasons why we recommend speaking to one of our planners before you lodge your application.

It’s important to note that you must get resource consent from us before you start work. Failing to do so could lead to building delays while you get your consent, or costly changes to your proposal.  Make sure you prepare early and leave yourself plenty of lead in time for your project.  If you start work without a required resource consent you could end up with a visit from our compliance team, and longer delays to your project.