When are applications notified?

Prior to 2009, there was a statutory presumption in favour of notification – reflecting the general policy of the RMA that the consent process is to be public and participatory. This presumption was removed by the Resource Management (Simplifying and Streamlining) Amendment Act 2009. The Court of Appeal has suggested that the 2009 amendments to the RMA may mean that older case law is no longer applicable. 805 The notification provisions were substantially altered again in 2017. The key changes were some new preclusions on public and limited notification, primarily for housing-related resource consents. 

A council must have sufficient and reliable information before determining not to notify a resource consent application otherwise it runs the risk of committing an error of law that may make the decision on the application vulnerable to judicial review. 806

The step-by-step process for determining whether public notification is required is: 4519

Step 1: An application must be publicly notified if the applicant requests public notification if public notification is required under section 95C (request for further information) or the application is made jointly with an application to exchange recreation reserve land. 

Step 2: An application cannot be publicly notified if a rule or NES precludes notification, the application is for a controlled activity, a restricted-discretionary or discretionary application for a subdivision of land or a residential activity, a boundary activity or an activity prescribed in regulations. 

If the application is for multiple activities, each individual activity must be precluded from public notification for the application as a whole to be precluded from public notification.

If the application is precluded at Step 2, the application does not need to consider Step 3 but must consider Step 4.

Step 3: Other than those activities in Step 2, public notification is required if a rule or NES requires public notification or if the assessment of environmental effects (under section 95D) determines that the activity will have, or is likely to have, adverse effects on the environment that are more than minor. 

Step 4: If notification is precluded under Step 3 and isn't required under Step 3, consideration must be given to whether special circumstances exist that warrant public notification of the application. If special circumstances exist, the consent authority must notify the application. 

If the application is not publicly notified, the consent authority must determine if limited notification is required under section 95B. 

The step-by-step process for determining whether limited notification is required is:

Step 1: If the consent authority determines certain people or groups are affected, they must be given limited notification. These people or groups include protected customary rights groups, customary marine title groups or an affected person under section 95E (if the consent authority determines the activity's effects on the person are minor or more than minor).

Step 2: An application cannot be limited notified if a rule or NES precludes notification, it is for either a controlled land use activity under a district plan and/or an activity prescribed through regulations. 

If the application is for multiple activities, each individual activity must be precluded from limited notification for the application as a whole to be precluded from limited notification. 

If the application is precluded at Step 2, the application does not need to consider Step 3 but must consider Step 4.

Step 3: If not precluded by Step 2, any other affected persons determined under Section 95 E must be notified. For boundary activities and for activities prescribed in Section 360G(1)(b), only those determined to be affected persons under Section 95 E must be notified.

Step 4: If the consent authority determines special circumstances exist that warrant limitied notification of the application to any other persons not already determined to be eligible for limited notification, the council must give limited notification to those persons. 

If the consent authority does not give public or limited notification of an application under the new stepped process, the application can proceed on a non-notified basis. 

  1. Coro Mainstreet Inc v Thames-Coromandel District Council [2013] NZCA 665

  2. Mt Victoria Residents Association Inc v Wellington City Council [2009] NZRMA 257.

  3. Section 95A, RMA

Last updated at 11:05AM on January 5, 2018