The RMA Quality Planning Resource

In addition to performing an important audit function, keeping records of resource consents can also be used to:

    • identify areas where improvements can be made in council practices, including feedback to plan development staff
    • monitor council performance
    • maintain consistency in procedures
    • supporting council decisions on key stages in the process such as notification and whether to grant the consent.

Effective record keeping will also assist council’s in addressing the following requirements described below:

National Monitoring System

The Minister for the Environment is responsible for monitoring the implementation and effectiveness of the RMA. Similarly, councils have a duty to monitor their RMA functions and processes to ensure these are carried out effectively.

The Ministry has been working with councils to develop a National Monitoring System (NMS) to improve monitoring of the RMA functions and processes.

The NMS represents a more transparent, robust and coordinated approach for monitoring how effectively the RMA is being implemented. It will improve the availability, consistency, comparability and timeliness of RMA information and achieve efficiencies by streamlining the collection of information.

The NMS replaces the biennial RMA Survey of Local Authorities.

Gathering information to tell a national RMA story

The NMS gathers information, which will be used to tell a better story about how effectively the RMA is being implemented locally, regionally and nationally.

The implementation of the NMS has been staged, starting with the collection of a priority information dataset (Priority Information) for the 2014/2015 financial year.

The Priority Information closely reflects the information previously captured by the RMA survey of Local Authorities. However, a key change is the requirement to report information for each individual plan-making process and resource consent, rather than a summary of that information.

It is proposed that the Priority Information be supplemented by additional information requirements to develop a comprehensive understanding of the RMA implementation and council performance.

Further scoping work will be undertaken by the Ministry to define the additional information, and to understand the implications for councils, including the design of data management processes and IT solutions to streamline collection, analysis and reporting.

Further information

For more information on the NMS refer to the:


Duty to gather information, monitor, and keep records

Sections 35 and 35A of the RMA require every council to gather sufficient information and undertake research as necessary to carry out its functions or regulations under the RMA.

Section 35 Duty to gather information, monitor and keep records

Section 35(2) requires councils to monitor matters such as the efficiency and effectiveness of policies and rules in its policy statement or plan. This reinforces the fact that councils are responsible for their performance.

Section 35(3) requires every council to keep records of certain information so the public is better informed of the duties, functions and powers of the council, and are able to participate effectively under the RMA. Section 35(5) requires councils to include records of all:

  • policy statements and plans, including requirements for designations and heritage orders
  • material incorporated by reference in any plan under Part 3 Schedule 1
  • decisions relating to submissions on any proposed policy statements or plans not yet operative
  • Orders in Council served under s154(a) (only applicable to coastal tendering and regional councils)
  • national environmental standards or national policy statements or the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement
  • resource consent applications received
  • decisions under s37A (requirements for waivers and extensions)
  • decisions on direct referral under s87E
  • notification decisions under ss95 to 95F
  • requests and decisions by requiring authorities for designations or heritage protection authorities for heritage orders under ss198C and 198H
  • resource consents granted
  • transfers of any resource consent
  • written complaints received in the past five years concerning alleged breaches of the RMA or a plan and how each complaint was dealt with
  • natural hazards
  • in the case of territorial authorities, locations and areas of all esplanade reserves, esplanade strips and access strips in the district
  • in the case of regional councils,  every protected customary rights order or agreement relating to a part of the common marine and coastal area within the region.

Section 35A Duty to keep records about iwi and hapū

Section 35A requires councils to keep and maintain records about each iwi and hapū within its region or district. This includes:

  • the contact details of each iwi authority; and
  • planning documents recognised by iwi and lodged with council; and
  • any area where iwi or hapū exercise kaitiakitanga.

This information is important to facilitate consultation with tāngata whenua and ensure that Māori interests are taken into account.

Resource Management (Discount on Administration Charges) Regulations 2010

It is important that the processing time frame is closely monitored as part of the administration of the application to help ensure the statutory time frames prescribed in the RMA are met.

This is particularly important considering the Resource Management (Discount on Administrative Charges) Regulations 2010 (Discount Regulations). The Regulations require a discount of 1 per cent for each day an application is processed over the statutory timeframes, up to a limit of 50 working days. Therefore, for consent applications that take longer than 50 working days over statutory timeframes, the maximum discount that will apply is 50 per cent.

Councils are able to adopt their own more generous discount policy if they choose.

Further information

For more information on the Discount Regulations and how they should be implemented refer to the Ministry for the Environment’s Resource Management (Discount on Administrative Charges) Regulations 2010 Implementation Guidance (PDF). This guideline also includes basic forms for discount invoicing.