Hearing held

The applicant and any submitter who stated they wished to be heard at the hearing may speak (either personally or through a representative) and call evidence. 871  The applicant and submitters who stated they wish to be heard must be given at least 10 working days' notice of the hearing. 872

The council will usually commission a council officer or a consultant to prepare a report on the application. The report,and briefs of evidence for any witness to be called by the consent authority, is required to be circulated to the applicant and submitted who stated they wish to be heard at least fifteen working days before the hearing. The report is generally very useful for preparing submissions to the hearing panel.

The applicant is required to provide brief of evidence for any witness it intends to call at least ten working days before the hearing. A submitter who wishes to call evidence must provide briefs of evidence at least five working days before the hearing. 4176

The hearing must: 874

  • Be held in public, unless otherwise required for the protection of sensitive information;
  • Be appropriate and fair in the circumstances;
  • Avoid unnecessary formality;
  • Recognise tikanga Māori where appropriate;
  • Not permit anyone other than members of the hearing body to question any person; and
  • Not permit cross-examination.

Consent authorities have broad powers to manage hearings. They can:

  • Limit the ability of parties having the same interest to speak or call evidence, if it considers there is likely to be excessive repetition; 875
  • Proceed with a hearing if the applicant or a person who stated they wished to be heard fails to appear at the hearing, if it considers it fair and reasonable to do so; 876
  • Take actions to maintain order; 877
  • Summon witnesses; 878
  • Direct applicants to provide briefs of evidence at least 10 working days before the hearing; 879
  • Direct submitters who are calling expert evidence to provide briefs of evidence at least 5 working days before the hearing; 880
  • Direct the order in which evidence and submissions will be presented; 881
  • Direct that evidence and submission be recorded, taken as read or limited to matters in dispute; 882
  • Direct that evidence and submissions be presented within a prescribed time limit; 883
  • Ask submitters to provide further information before or at the hearing and applicants to provide further information at the hearing; 884
  • Commission a person to prepare a report on a matter on which the consent authority requires further information; 885
  • Direct a submitter not to present the whole or parts of the submission which are irrelevant or not in dispute; and 886
  • Exclude the public from a hearing or restrict the publication or communication of information presented, if necessary where the protection of sensitive information outweighs the public interest in making that information available. 887

Consent authorities can strike out submissions before or at the hearing on the basis that they are frivolous or vexatious, disclose no reasonable or relevant case, would otherwise constitute an abuse of process, supported only by evidence that purports to be independent expert evidence but is not, or contains offensive language. 888  

There is no direct appeal right in respect of such a strike out decision but there is a right of objection to the consent authority under section 357. A decision on the objection can then be appealed to the Environment Court.

The chairs of hearings panels are to be accredited and the majority of hearings panel members are to be accredited. 889

No decision will be rendered invalid, however, if this requirement is breached. 890  The Minister for the Environment approves qualifications establishing a person's accreditation. 891

If an application was publicly notified, the hearing must be completed within 75 working days of submissions closing. If an application was limited notified, the hearing must be completed within 45 working days of submissions closing. 4177

  1. Section 40(1) Resource Management Act 1991

  2. Section 101(3) Resource Management Act 1991

  3. Section 39 Resource Management Act 1991

  4. Section 40(2) Resource Management Act 1991

  5. Section 40(3) Resource Management Act 1991

  6. Section 41(1) Resource Management Act 1991

  7. Section 41(1) Resource Management Act 1991

  8. Section 41B Resource Management Act 1991

  9. Section 41B Resource Management Act 1991

  10. Section 41C Resource Management Act 1991

  11. Section 41C Resource Management Act 1991

  12. Section 41C Resource Management Act 1991

  13. Section 41C Resource Management Act 1991

  14. Section 41C Resource Management Act 1991

  15. Section 41C Resource Management Act 1991

  16. Section 42 Resource Management Act 1991

    1

  17. Section 41C Resource Management Act 1991

  18. Section 39B Resource Management Act 1991

  19. Section 39C Resource Management Act 1991

  20. Section 39A Resource Management Act 1991

  21. Section 103B RMA

  22. Section 103A RMA

Last updated at 11:08AM on January 5, 2018