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What are Non-Working Days?

Working day means any day except—

•   (a)  a Saturday, a Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 
Anzac Day, Labour Day, the Sovereign’s birthday, and 
Waitangi Day; and

•   (b)  a day in the period beginning on 20 December in any 
year and ending with 10 January in the following year. 

What is a Resource Consent? How is it different from Building Consent?

A resource consent is essentially the planning permission of the Council to undertake an activity that is not specifically permitted by District Plan. Resource consents are administered under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), while Building Consents are administered under the Building Act 2004. While the Building Act is concerned with the functional requirements of buildings and other structures, the RMA is concerned with sustainable management, such as effects on your neighbours and the surrounding area. It is common to obtain both resource consent and a building consent for a project. 

What are charges for processing and monitoring consents under the RMA?

Section 36 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) enables councils to charge applicants for receiving, processing and granting consents; and consent holders for administering, monitoring and supervising consents.

There are four key terms that need to be defined at the outset of this guidance note:

Fixed charges
: These are charges that cover the total cost of an application or compliance monitoring activity and which are levied at the start of the process. Fixed charges are not supplemented by additional actual and reasonable charges once the consent or compliance monitoring process is complete. Fixed charges are deemed to be 'actual' charges which are not subject to the rights of objection and appeal (s357B to s358).

Fixed initial deposit charges: 
These are charges levied at the start of the application process (or preceding a compliance monitoring activity). Fixed initial deposit charges are supplemented by additional actual and reasonable charges once the consent process is complete. Fixed initial deposit charges are not subject to the rights of objection and appeal (s357B to s358), but they need to be developed using the public consultative procedure set out in s83 of the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA).

Additional charges: 
These are actual and reasonable costs that are charged at the end of the consent application process (or completed compliance monitoring activity) under s36(3) that recover the council's full costs, less the fixed initial deposit charge already paid.  Additional charges are subject to the rights of objection and appeal (s357B to s358).

: The term 'occasioned' as used in s36(4)(b)(ii) of the RMA is taken to mean that it created a cause or reason to do something.

How much will it cost to process my application? Does the deposit fee cover all the costs?

An initial deposit is required at the time of lodging any resource consent application. The deposit is not generally expected to cover the full cost of processing the application. Resource consent processing is on a user pays basis. For notified applications further deposits are payable at the time of notification and prior to a hearing date being set.

How long will it take to process my application?

The Council has a maximum of 20 working days to process a non-notified resource consent application, excluding time where further information or the written approval of affected parties is sought.  The time taken to process each individual application varies; however a decision is often issued in well under 20 working days.

Publicly Notified and Limited Notified resource consents have a longer processing period - up to 70 working days.

What is a Certificate of Compliance (CoC)?

This is recognition from Council that your activity can take place without consent.  RMA provides that a council, on request, must issue a CoC if the activity can be done lawfully on the site without resource consent and the council fee is paid.

Information requirements for CoCs are rigorous and the onus rests on an applicant to provide the council with full information to demonstrate a CoC can be issued. If any element of non-compliance is identified, then a CoC cannot be issued. Gulab can assist you here if you wish to apply for a CoC.

My neighbour has asked me to sign an ‘Affected Party Approval Form’ for their development. What

This means they would like you to approve of their proposal. If you elect to provide your written approval, you essentially agree to any effects that the proposal may result. The Planner processing your application will need to disregard you from their assessment. Before providing your written approval you should understand the full extent of what is proposed and the likely impact on you. Contact Gulab for help.

Where do I find all the rules that apply to my property?

Rules relating to the bulk and location of buildings are located in the District Plan and District Plan Changes. You also need to carefully check through any documents that are registered on your certificate of title, including consent notices and covenants as these often contain additional requirements. Gulab can assist in this regard.

Why do I have conditions on my consent?

Conditions are placed on your consent activity to protect the natural and physical environment for current and future users. It is your responsibility to adhere to the conditions placed on your consent activity. They are designed to avoid or mitigate any negative environmental effects resulting from your activity.

How long does my resource consent last?

The 'term of consent' (the life of your consent once implemented) varies depending on the type of consent it is. The term of some consents are unlimited. If your consent has a limited term, this will be specified in your consent.

If you have a limited term consent, you may apply to replace your consent no less than six months before the expiry date. In this case you can continue to operate under the conditions of the original consent until your application to replace the consent is decided.

Can I change my consent conditions?

At any time, you can apply to change or cancel a consent condition:

o   For changes to conditions for applications that were not notified or were not the subject of submissions, this may be a simple process involving a report by the consent officer and an amendment of your consent.

o   For changes to conditions for applications that were publicly notified and were the subject of submissions, the process may involve obtaining agreement from the submitters, or may even require a hearing.

The expiry date of a resource consent cannot be changed by seeking a change of conditions.

Contact Gulab if you want condition(s) to be varied or cancelled.

What happens if I do not use my consent?

If you don’t use your consent within five years of your consent being approved, it will lapse and you will not be able to use it. There may be instances where conditions on your consent specify a shorter period than five years. If you don’t want your consent to lapse, you can apply for an extension of lapse time – but you need to do this before your consent lapses. Gulab can make this application for you.

Also, if you start using your resource consent then stop using it altogether for five years or more, Council can cancel it.

Can I surrender my consent?

Yes, if you no longer wish to undertake the activity which it authorises. Council must give notice of acceptance before the surrender takes effect. Prior to surrender you are liable for:

o   Any non-compliance with any consent conditions prior to surrender.

o   Any consent holder charges for the consent up to the time of its surrender. 

If there are any incomplete works at the time you apply to surrender the consent, Council may direct you to complete the works.

Gulab can assist you here for making an application to Council if you wish to surrender your consent.

Can I transfer my resource consent to someone else?

Resource consents relating to land use generally 'run with the land' and will be transferred when you sell your property or business and the new owner wishes to continue the activity authorised by the consent.

Regional consents such as air, discharge and coastal consents belong to the consent holder. They can be transferred but you will have to notify Council before any transfer takes effect.

What happens if I don't use my consent?

If you do not start the activity authorised by your resource consent within five years of it being granted (or the commencement date specified on the consent), the resource consent will automatically lapse. If a consent is exercised and then not exercised for a continuous period of five years Council can also cancel a consent by giving written notice to the consent holder.

You can apply to Council for an extension of the lapsing period provided you apply before the consent lapses.