The RMA Quality Planning Resource

Issuing consents

This guidance has been updated to include changes to the RMA as a result of the Resource Management Amendment Act 2013(RMAA13). The final part of the RMAA13 came into effect on 3 March 2015. For more information about the amendments refer to the RMAA13 Fact Sheets Available from the Ministry's website.

 

This guidance note provides good practice advice on issuing a resource consent.

To access the guidance note scroll down or download the entire guidance note here.pdf
 

Sign-off of consent: Quality assurance

Before a resource consent is signed-off by a council and issued to the applicant, it is good practice to carry out checks to ensure each step of the consent process has been completed correctly and that the file is complete.

It is helpful to have a list of the quality assurance matters to be completed.  This list could include checking that:

  • the applicant's contact details are correct
  • if the applicant is a company, evidence that the Companies Office Register was checked to ensure the company is registered
  • the property data is correct
  • the details of the consent are correct (ie, the proposal, activity status, relevant rules)
  • the approved plans are stamped/marked 'approved ' to distinguish them from other versions of the plans
  • any outdated plans on file have been stamped/marked as 'superseded '
  • all relevant information is logged into the council database
  • appropriate delegations have been used
  • the statutory timeframes are recorded:
    • date lodged and that it matches date stamp on application
    • date of any s92 requests, their responses and a note as to whether the processing 'clock' was stopped
    • date notified
    • date of any request by the applicant under section 91A and the date that the processing of the application is recommenced under 91B or returned under 91C
    • date any request for direct referral received and the subsequent steps in the process
    • date consent granted/declined, commencement date, and lapse date
  • statutory procedures have been followed:
    • written approvals - all necessary approvals obtained correctly
    • notification decision made correctly (and s95A to 95F report on file)
    • notification undertaken correctly
    • direct referral processes - including decision on a request for direct referral and the preparation of a report for the Environment Court
    • pre-hearing meetings recorded and circulated
    • mediation meetings recorded
    • submissions receipted
    • evidence provided before the hearing
    • s37 time extensions recorded correctly, including details of the special circumstances leading to the extension, and/or the agreement of the applicant in writing under ss37A(4) or 37A(5)
  • decision information recorded
  • compliance monitoring:
    • inspection requirements set up
    • monitoring officer assigned
    • self-monitoring requirements set up if appropriate.

It is good practice to prepare a checklist that lists the quality assurance matters to be covered off when issuing the resource consent, which can be included in the file.

It is also good practice to prepare a standard notice of decision template to provide consistency and minimise the risk of errors.

The notice of decision template for a notified application should include the following:

  • the reasons for the decision
  • the relevant provisions of all statutory documents considered
  • a summary of the evidence heard
  • the main findings on the principal issues that were in contention
  • the date the consent was granted/declined
  • date of commencement of consent and, if appropriate, date of expiry of consent. If a consent is granted for a shorter duration than specified in the application, the reasons for deciding on the shorter duration should be explained.
  • information regarding rights of appeal and/or objection, including the timeframe for appealing and/or objecting to the decision

Instead of repeating material the decision may adopt and/or cross-reference all or part of the assessment of effects provided by the applicant, or any report prepared under ss41C, 42A or 92 (s113(3)).

Non-notified decisions need only state the reasons for the decision (s113(4)). However the date the consent was granted/declined, the date of commencement and expiry (where applicable), and information regarding rights of objection, should also be provided when the consent is issued.

Section 133A enables an amended decision to be issued to correct minor mistakes or defects in the original decision within 20 working days of the granting of consent. 

To help others referring to the file in the future, ensure all details of the approved proposal and plans, including the consent decision, are held together on file.