RMA Changes (April 2015)

RMA changes affect subdivisions

The Resource Management Act Amendment 2013 came into play last month without much fanfare at all.  I guess that’s because it is business as usual for most of us working in this environment. 

The changes are designed to reduce ambiguity about what information needs to be included with an application to enable a decision to be made on it within the prescribed time frames.  Also in need of addressing was the ambiguity in the consent time frames and the inability for Council Officers to adopt all the information from an applicant’s report, which led to duplicated work and a corresponding increase in overall costs.  The overall intention of the recent change is to put the onus on the applicant to provide all the information so that Council can process the consent without delay.

The outcome has been that Schedule 4 of the RMA has been amended and expanded to include a list of all the information that Councils require for an application for resource consent to be accepted – rather than have the requirements spread throughout the Act as they were.

If an application fails to provide such information Council must now return it to the applicant without processing.

As well as requiring an assessment of environmental effects, site plans, a description of the proposal and consents required along with an assessment against the objectives and policies of the District Plan; Schedule 4 also requires the application to take into account the wider provisions of the RMA and other relevant planning documents, including regional plans and National Environment Standards.

This sounds like a lot of information to provide with every subdivision application; so what does this mean to the average punter you may ask.  In short – not a lot.  We have long been providing most of this information with our applications anyway.  An important clause in the amendment is that it requires ‘information to be provided in sufficient detail to satisfy the purpose for which it is needed’.

This means that we will continue to have the conversation with Council, around what constitutes sufficient detail, on a case by case basis.  This discussion needs to be had at a much earlier point in the process in order to determine Council’s attitude to the level of information requirements.  Without this feedback we cannot hope to balance the requirements of the Act with the reality of providing an economical and timely application on your behalf.

Whenever proposing development or subdivision of your land you will need a Resource Consent from Council and have to comply with the many technical conditions attached.  The first step is to discuss this with a professional surveying company experienced in the type of application required.  If you think we can help, don’t hesitate to give me a call. 

Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Coromandel, Waikato, and Bay of Plenty.  For further information call 0800 268 632 or email


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