Changes to the Resource Management Act

RMA changes banner

Changes in the Resource Management Act to resource consents took effect on 18 October 2017. Here's what you need to be aware of now.

The changes come into effect for all resource consents lodged on or after 18 October 2017.  Below is some initial information, fact sheets 8, 9 and 10 on the Ministry for the Environment website have good summaries of the changes outlined below.

Changes to information required on subdivision applications – Natural Hazards

One of the big changes to the RMA is how natural hazards are assessed for subdivisions. As a result of the changes you are now required to provide a risk assessment as part of your geotechnical report submitted with your subdivision application to address the requirements of section 106 of the RMA. 

The Ministry for the Environment has provided the following information to assist you with understanding what is required to be submitted: 

When you are engaging your geotechnical engineer please make sure that you are providing them with this information and that they are undertaking a risk assessment in accordance with ISO31000:2009 as part of their geotechnical report. 

Permitted Boundary Activities

From 18 October you may be able to apply to Council for a Permitted Boundary Activity if you meet certain criteria set down by the RMA.  

You will need to demonstrate that you have only one infringement of a boundary rule and you have the written approval of the neighbour of that infringed boundary. 

A boundary rule means a District Plan rule, or part of a rule, that relates to -

(i)   the distance between a structure and one or more boundaries of an allotment, or

(ii)  the dimensions of a structure in relation to its distance from one or more boundaries of an allotment.

For example, within the TCDC District Plan a boundary rule could apply in respect to -

  • Yard setbacks (i.e. side and rear yards)
  • Height in relation to boundary (daylighting)

It is however, important to note that permitted boundary activities do not apply when measured in respect of a public boundary, or where additional resource consents are required.

If you do qualify for a permitted boundary activity your application will be required on a Council-specific application form along with all required accompanying information and an application fee. Council will have 10 working days to confirm you are either a permitted boundary activity, or you are not.

Fast-Track Resource Consent Applications

You may have heard that there will be a new fast-track process for resource consents.

The new legislation sets down that this process is only for controlled activity land use consents. If your activity is a controlled activity and you provide an email address for service you will qualify for a fast-track process and your application will be processed in a maximum of 10 working days instead of 20 days.  

If other types on consents are also needed as part of a resource consent application you will not qualify for the fast-track process. The fast-track pathway does not apply to consents required due to infringement of regional rules. You can also choose to opt out of the fast-track process at the time of lodgement.

Our application forms will be updated to include a section that applies to fast-track applications. We are also working on some guidelines to provide you with a list of all identified controlled activities in our district to help you know whether you qualify. If you do, you will be able to apply for this process from 18 October onwards. 

Changes to Notification Assessment

How we assess if an application needs to be notified has changed significantly as of 18 October.

There are certain types of applications that are excluded from public notification and, in some cases, limited notification. Residential Activities incorporate all zones under Residential Area in the Proposed District Plan (see Figure 3, Section 1 and Section 23.1).   The Residential Area is made up of the Coastal Living zone, the Extra Density Residential zone, the Low Density Residential zone, the Residential zone, the Village zone, and the Waterfront zone.

You can go to the Ministry for the Environment website, Factsheet 9, to read more about the notification changes.