When is a Resource Consent Needed?

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) is a legislative document that was enacted to promote the sustainable management and protection of natural and physical resources in a way that would enable communities to provide for future generations.

Section 73 of the RMA requires all districts to have at all times a district plan.   The District Plan sets out zone rules relating to specific activities that ensure a district meets their legal obligations set out in the RMA.  The rules relating to activities in the district plan also help council take a consistent approach in how activities are managed, and which ones do and don’t require a resource consent.

When considering a Resource Consent, the Council must be satisfied that the effects on the surrounding environment and on neighbours are not significant and that the proposal is compatible with the purpose of the zone.

In many cases an activity may be permitted, subject to meeting any standards prescribed in the district plan/s. Activities that aren’t permitted in the permitted activity table, or those which don’t comply with a permitted activity condition, will require a resource consent before they are carried out. These activities are classified as controlled, restricted or limited discretionary, discretionary, non-complying or prohibited. 

Resource Consent Timeframes   

Statutory timeframes for Resource Consents are set out in the RMA.

Applications assessed as Controlled Activities can be fast tracked to 10 working days at the request of the applicant, providing the applicant has supplied an electronic address for service. 

All other Resource Consent applications are generally processed within 20 working days, however if further information is required under section 92 the clock stops and will not be restarted until the relevant information has been received. If a resource consent application requires notification, this must be assessed as such by council within 20 working days of lodgment (or 10 working days for a fast track application). Notification can also be at the request of the applicant and can also extend the timeframe for processing up to several months in some cases. 

Resource Consent Costs 

All processing of Resource Consents is based on a user-pays system.  When an application is lodged a deposit is required.  Depending on the accuracy, the amount of information received, whether experts need to be engaged, and/or whether the application requires notifying, an applicant may receive a partial refund or may be required to pay additional costs.  

The actual and reasonable costs associated with the processing of Resource Consents are the cost of Council Staff time, which are calculated in accordance with the Schedule of Fees and Charges. Things such as postage and copying are charged at the actual cost. 

Reduce Processing Costs 

Costs can be reduced if an application is not rushed and the appropriate research and guidance is obtained. Before you lodge an application, initial queries can be directed to the Council Duty Planner, you can contact the Duty Planner directly via email at customer.services@tcdc.govt.nz

  • Ensure you thoroughly research the District Plan and relevant sections related to your proposed activity;
  • Consult and where possible seek the written approval of all affected parties;
  • Ensure all relevant plans and reports associated with your proposed activity are submitted with your application;
  • Correctly complete all forms;
  • In some instances, seeking assistance from a professional planner may also reduce overall processing costs.

Ongoing Costs

Some Resource Consents require on-going monitoring, reporting or management where fees are applicable; you may be charged an annual fee or the cost of staff time which is calculated in accordance with the Schedule of Fees and Charges. 

Development Contributions 

Development Contributions may be payable on some resource consents and is generally payable when an additional demand on council infrastructure will occur from an activity.