Use of Commissioners

This guidance has been updated to include changes to the RMA as a result of the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA17). The final part of the RLAA17 came into effect on 18 October 2017. For more information about the amendments refer to the RLAA17 - Fact Sheets and technical guidance available on the Ministry's website.


Commissioners are delegated responsibility for carrying out statutory decision-making duties on a council’s behalf or they as an independent adviser to the council in the making of those statutory decisions. It is vital that commissioners provide sound advice and /or make sound decisions without any conflicts of interest that could open the path for challenges. This guidance note aims to provide best practice guidance to assist councils in appointing commissioners and developing a clear policy for using commissioners as part of the resource consent, plan making, plan change and notice of requirement processes.


This guidance note provides an:

  • introduction into the role of a commissioner

  • overview of the use of independent commissioners and councillor commissioners

  • outline of the skills required of commissioners.