Making Plan Operative

Making Plans Operative

The Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2013 introduces a streamlined plan-making process that only applies to the development of the first Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP). This guidance note has not been amended to include changes to the AUP plan-making process, rather it focuses on plan-making prescribed by the Resource Management Act 1991. For information about the process for the first AUP, refer to the Ministry for the Environment’s Fact Sheets

Making proposed regional policy statements, regional plans and district plans (including plan changes) operative is the final step in the plan-making process established in sections 60, 64, 65, 73 and Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). While certain actions are specified in the RMA, making a policy statement or plan operative also follows internal processes, such as the specific delegations in a particular council. As well as ensuring the correct process is followed, councils must consider the impact of making a plan operative as it may trigger other actions and have wider implications for the council and the community.


Making a policy statement, plan or plan change operative can often take more time than anticipated. The administrative process may also vary for different plans. For example, it may be possible in a plan change to carry out all required actions outlined above concurrently, whereas the process may be more iterative for a whole plan. As a result, the initial operative date may change after you have worked through the process and considered all the implications. An example is provided of the process for making a plan change operative, as described in the guidance note.

A number of differences in making regional coastal plans operative are covered later in this guidance note.

When reading the following guidance, the term 'plan ' should be taken to include proposed policy statements, plans and plan changes, unless expressed otherwise.

This guidance note on making policy statements or plans operative addresses the following. Click on the graphics below to access more information or download the entire guidance note.  pdf

What can be made operative





Post operative processes


Regional coastal plans

Confirm what can
be made operative


Steps to follow
to determine a possible
operative date


Obtaining the
appropriate resolutions