If the council has entered into a Mana Whakahono ā Rohe with an iwi authority, any consultation (including forwarding resource consent applications for comment) must be undertaken in accordance with the arrangement, if that arrangement gives details as to how the council consults iwi in relation to resource consent applications.
In any case, many councils have existing arrangements with tangata whenua to send them copies of all or some of newly lodged applications for resource consent and/or summarised lists of applications received. These arrangements are primarily used to identify whether the tangata whenua group have any interest and/or concerns about the application(s), and whether they want to see a full copy of an application (where a list is used). Statutory acknowledgements may also require that councils forward summaries of all applications to a particular tangata whenua group.
It is important that you know whether your council has an existing arrangement for consultation with tangata whenua or specific administration processes outlined in a Mana Whakahono ā Rohe. If they do, then the applicant needs to know what this means, for example, will someone from the tangata whenua group make contact? Or is that the responsibility of the council? Will there be a bill for such input? If tangata whenua have provided an electronic address for service, Councils must send any lists of applications to this electronic address, otherwise they can choose to mail them, , or arrange for a tangata whenua representative to review the applications at a specially convened meeting. Any process should be efficient, effective and well understood by both tangata whenua and council.
Arrangements for distribution and review of applications can form the basis of operational agreements between councils and tangata whenua. These agreements can provide an effective 'safety-net ', ensuring that tangata whenua are given the opportunity to have input into the resource consent process where:
- applicants have not consulted them
- the applications are generally straightforward and are less significant
- a number of tangata whenua groups may have a potential interest.