Consulting on a Resource Consent

Resource consent applicants need to consult with affected people. The aim of this is to give affected people the opportunity to have their say about possible impacts and to give written approval for your project. They are likely to be more supportive of you and your proposal if they feel you have made an effort to take their views into account.

It is also a requirement of the Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) to include a statement that details what consultation was undertaken. The statement should include any responses you have to the views of those consulted.

In cases where we believe it would be unrealistic to identify all the affected people, it is likely that your application will have to be notified. Similarly, if you have consulted with affected parties and some do not give their approval, your application will have to be notified.

How to consult

Consultation is not merely telling, presenting or notifying people about your proposal. Consultation should be seen as an opportunity for you to explain what you propose to do and to allow people to decide how it may affect them. They may ask you to modify your proposal to address their specific concerns, so it is important to enter consultation with an open mind.

It is good practice to identify the actual and potential effects of the proposal on the parties you are consulting with before you begin consultation. You might need to provide further information following the initial consultation.

In your consultation you should provide enough time and accurate information for the affected parties to make informed and well thought-out decisions. You should consider preparing some written material and sketches of your ideas to help the people you are consulting with to get a clear idea of what you are proposing.

How to identify affected people

Ask us to identify who (if anyone) they consider to be adversely affected by your application for a resource consent. We assess who is affected by a proposal on a case-by-case basis. The level of consultation required will depend on the nature and scale of the resource consent application. You need to consult with all affected people.

People who might be adversely affected by your proposal include the following:

  • Owners and occupiers of the land.
  • Owners and occupiers of adjacent, nearby and/or downstream land.
  • Tangata whenua.
  • Downstream resource users.
  • Any minister of the Crown with statutory responsibilities for an area or a site that could be adversely affected.
  • The relevant district or regional council.
  • Those people or organisations whose use or enjoyment of an area might be adversely affected.
  • Environmental groups.
  • Community groups.

Do I need to consult with tangata whenua?

Yes. Consultation with tangata whenua will clarify whether or not they will be affected by the proposed activity. Some tangata whenua groups prefer consultation to be undertaken by us, while other groups are happy to be approached directly by the applicant.
We can help you identify the correct tangata whenua group or groups and can inform you of the process for consulting with them.

How to get the written approval of affected parties

After you have consulted with us, affected parties and tangata whenua, and you are happy that the environmental effects of your proposal are addressed in your AEE, you can then seek the written consent of affected parties.

  1. Identify everyone who is likely to be affected by your proposed activity.
  2. Finalise your plans before seeking the approval of affected people. If you revise your plans after approval has been obtained, you will need fresh written approvals from those people.
  3. Show the affected parties your complete resource consent application – including the application form, plans and the AEE.
  4. Make sure each affected person, or someone who has power of attorney to sign on their behalf, signs a full copy of the plans and the AEE unconditionally. Ensure that approval is obtained from all of the people registered on the property's certificate of title.

Site and elevation plans

Accurate well-drawn site plans and elevation plans are an essential part of most resource consent applications. 

The site plan needs to be to scale, showing:

  • North orientation.
  • Title or reference number.
  • Date the plans were drawn.
  • Topographical information.
  • Natural features, including significant trees, indigenous vegetation and water courses.
  • Site boundaries.
  • Road frontages.
  • Original ground levels.
  • Location of existing buildings and their dimensions and distances to boundaries.
  • Buildings on adjacent sites.
  • Layout and location of proposed building and activity.
  • Earthworks design and contours.
  • Landscaping.
  • Car parking, manoeuvering space and access points. 
  • Details of any signage, e.g. sign design, dimensions and location on buildings.

Elevation plans should be to a recognised metric scale and:

  • Show the dimensions for all structures.
  • Be from at least two aspects which should include the views from adjoining properties and the road.
  • Show original and finished ground levels.
  • Show external appearance of buildings.
  • Show height, and height in relation to the boundary.
  • Show the floor plan of the interior of the buildings.

All plans should be able to be photocopied, and preferably drawn in ink. Where plans are larger than A3 in size, A3 or A4 reductions of the plans which clearly show the reduced scale are also required.

What if an affected person changes their mind?

Once an affected person has supplied their written approval of an activity we cannot take into account any adverse effects that activity may have on them. However, if someone who has given written approval changes their mind after signing their form, they may withdraw their approval at any time prior to a decision being made on the application. To withdraw their approval of an application, the affected person must advise us in writing.

What’s next?

When we receive your application, it will be thoroughly assessed to see if all adversely affected parties have given their approval. If this is not the case, you may be asked to approach additional people to seek their written approval so that your application can be processed on a non-notified basis.