Councils play an important role in advising, facilitating and, in some cases, initiating consultation for resource consent applications.
Before lodgement of an application, councils should:
- advise applicants if they think consultation may be warranted at the earliest possible stage
- assist applicants to determine the level of consultation that may be required
- assist the applicant in identifying potentially affected parties from a proposal or activity, while clearly stating that a formal assessment of who may be adversely affected under s95E will only be undertaken once the application is lodged
- help applicants facilitate consultation with affected parties where appropriate. For example, where the council has established communication channels with hard-to-reach groups or tangata whenua. Where facilitating, councils need to be clear and agree up-front with the applicant about the respective roles and protocols for engagement as part of the wider consultation process.
- provide guidance to applicants on consultation, including providing RMA planning brochures, booklets and/or council web based information relevant to consultation
Councils can also direct applicants to An Everyday Guide to the RMA - Consultation for Resource Consent Applicants which provides general information for applicants on how to consult, and the benefits of consultation.