The Resource Consent Process

What happens when the application arrives at Council?

The application is checked by our planners to make sure that all the required information and the appropriate fee deposit have been submitted.

If any information is missing or inadequate, we will reject the application by returning all the submitted documents with a letter stating the additional information/payment that is required. If the application is not rejected you will be sent an acknowledgement letter and the application will be sent to our relevant stakeholders.

The processing planner then assesses the application for completeness and may request any further information if required. Section 92 of the RMA allows councils to request further information and/or commission a report, at any reasonable time before the hearing of an application or before the decision to refuse or grant consent.

Additional information should only be requested where it is needed to allow a council to make an informed decision on a proposal. Generally this information is needed to better understand any potential adverse effects.

The applicant has the right to refuse to provide further information or for a report to be commissioned, but in any event must respond within 15 working days stating what they intend to do. When an applicant does not respond or refuses to provide information or agree to the commissioning of a report, then Council can publicly notify your application or refuse consent.

How long will it take?

We have 20 working days to process your application after it is formally received, if your application is not notified. The application can however be placed on hold if there is insufficient information to properly assess. Council may also in special circumstances extend the 20 working day timeframe pursuant to s37 of the RMA. Non-notified applications are generally able to be approved under a delegated authority and do not need to go to a Council hearing.

If the application is to be publicly notified this time frame is extended to allow for affected parties to make submissions, hold a hearing and to carry out deliberations before a decision is issued.

A resource consent that is notified generally takes up to 70 working days to process. After the submission period, a planning report is prepared and a hearing will be held if necessary. Anyone wishing to voice their opinions or concerns can attend the hearing. Written notice of the decision is sent to the applicant and any submitters and if an applicant or submitter is unhappy with the decision, they have a right of appeal to the Environment Court.

Will my Application be Notified?

Most resource consent applications are able to be processed without the need to notify the general public as the environmental effects of the activity are perceived as minor, and/or all affected people have given their written approval.

Your application will be notified if we, after due consideration of the information submitted, cannot be satisfied that the environmental effects of your proposal will be minor. We must also consider the effect of the proposal on affected persons. The idea behind the notification process is to enable the community to be involved in the decision-making process on applications that may affect them.


There are some activities where the RMA states that they need not be notified. These are permitted activities and controlled activities, or other activities for which written approval has been obtained. If your application is not notified, it will not be advertised for submissions.

Limited notification

Once your application has been assessed, our planners will determine whether the effects of your proposal are at least minor and checks will be made on whether you obtained written approvals from everyone who is likely to be affected. If any of the affected parties have not given their written approval, we may notify these individuals and invite them to make a submission on the proposal before a decision can be made.

These people will be able to make a submission, either supporting or opposing your application. A hearing will then be arranged if there are submissions in opposition.

Public Notification

If we determine that the effects of your proposal are more than minor, we may decide to publicly notify your application by issuing:

  • A public notice in the local and regional newspapers and on our website;
  • A site notice outlining the application, on the proposed development site;
  • A notice to the affected people and people we are required to notify under the RMA.