Applying for a Resource Consent

Key steps in the resource consent application process

  1. Determine whether you need a resource consent for your project.
  2. Apply for a resource consent. You need to include:
    1. Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE).
    2. Written approval from affected parties (including signed AEE and plans).
    3. Other supporting documents (e.g. plans, site elevations, etc).
    4. Fee.
  3. Within 10 working days we will determine if your consent requires public notification (including the possibility of limited notification).
  4. If your consent is publicly notified we:
    1. Run an advertisement about your consent (or contact those parties directly affected by the proposal).
    2. Receive submissions from affected parties.
    3. Organise a pre-hearing meeting to try and resolve the issues
    4. Conduct a hearing.
  5. Within 20 working days we will make a decision on your application (which can be appealed).

How to apply for a resource consent

Before you lodge your applications for a resource consent, make sure you clearly understand your intended activity.  What is it exactly that you intend to do? Also, be sure to talk with us and any people who may be affected by your activity, such as neighbours.

Be aware of the time it might take to obtain your resource consent. Allow for this in your planning and do not wait for your building consent to be granted before applying for a resource consent.

Return the completed application form and the information below to us. 

  • The completed application form.
  • An Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE).
  • Site plans and elevation plans.
  • Written approvals from affected parties.
  • The deposit. (Further charges may be incurred depending on the time it takes to assess the application.)

What you can do to speed things up?

  • Fully explain your proposal and what effects it will have so that affected people can assess the environmental effects.
  • Provide a good quality AEE, which does not underestimate the scope or effects of what is proposed.
  • Provide good quality plans and elevations clearly showing the areas of non-compliance with the District Plan.
  • Ensure your application is complete.
  • Pay your deposit - an application will not be processed until the deposit is received.

How long will it take?

  • We must decide within 10 working days of receiving an application whether or not to notify it.
  • If it is non-notified, you can expect a decision within 20 working days.
  • If your application requires public or limited notification, the timeframe is at least three to four months.

If your application is incomplete any outstanding information must be provided in writing, within 15 working days. Processing your application will consequently take longer.

Certificate of compliance

If you want confirmation that your intended activity is permitted under the District Plan and can be carried out lawfully without a resource consent, you can apply for a certificate of compliance.

It is not necessary to get a certificate of compliance. However people often get one to provide certainty as it gives them up to five years to carry out the activity even if the District Plan changes in that time and makes the activity 'non-permitted'. For example, a person starting a business might get a certificate of compliance before buying the business, so that they are assured that any changed rules in the District Plan won't affect them after the purchase.

A certificate of compliance can also be useful when applying for finance. Under Section 139 of the Resource Management Act 1991, a certificate of compliance is deemed to be a resource consent.

Existing use certificate

An existing use certificate is required to confirm a right to use land for a use that was lawfully established before the relevant rule in the District Plan became operative or the proposed plan was notified and the effects of the use are the same or similar in character, intensity, and scale to those which existed.

Alternatively an existing use certificate can be issued where the land use was lawfully established by way of a designation and the effects of the use are the same or similar in character, intensity, and scale to those which existed before the designation was removed. Supporting information may be required to determine whether a certificate is issued.

An existing use certificate is different to a certificate of compliance as an existing use may not comply with the current rules of the District Plan.  An existing use certificate is treated as resource consent.

Note: Only the courts can issue binding interpretations of the Resource Management Act. Indications and guidelines issued by us are provided with the intention of helping people to understand the legislation. They are, however, offered on a no liability basis, and in any particular case those concerned should consult their own legal advisers.