The Resource Consent Process

A resource consent is a formal approval required if your proposal or activity does not comply with a rule/s of the Waimakariri District Plan or the Resource Management Act 1991.  Resource consent is also required when subdividing your land.

The Waimakariri District Plan is created by the Council with community input and legislative requirements under the Resource Management Act 1991.  It relates to the management of land use and subdivision within the district. District Plan rules ensure that buildings and other activities within a zone are in keeping with the surrounding area and provide a reasonable level of amenity and privacy for neighbours. The requirements in the District Plan cover things such as noise, retail activities, earthworks and the bulk and location of any buildings.

The Resource Management Act 1991 and the District Plan set out the matters the Council must consider when granting resource consent for different types of proposals. The Council needs to be satisfied that the effects on the surrounding environment and on neighbouring properties are less than minor. Once your resource consent has been approved, it allows you to build (once building consent has been obtained) or use your land in accordance with the conditions of the decision of your consent.

Before you start any activity that may affect your neighbours, your wider community or the environment, please consider contacting the Waimakariri District Council and speaking with one of our Planning Officers regarding your proposal.

To find out what type of Resource Consent you require and how to apply visit the Types of Consent page or speak to one of our Planners for a Pre-Application meeting.

Hearing Process

A resource consent hearing is a formal public meeting held by the Waimakariri District Council, where an independent Commissioner consider publicly notified or limited notified resource consent applications. The applicant and any expert witnesses, along with submitters present evidence in relation to the proposal.  The hearing follows certain procedures designed to give all parties a fair opportunity to present facts and put forward their case.

Commissioners are independent, with professional expertise in the area of resource management, who have authority delegated by the Council to hear and make decisions on resource consent applications.

Procedures followed before and at the hearing

NOTE: Each Commissioner runs a hearing their own way, but as a general rule, most hearings are run as follows:

  1. Prior to the hearing, the Council sends out to all parties a copy of a hearing notice, detailing the dates, time and location of the hearing.  This is sent to ALL submitters, regardless of them wanting to be heard or not.
  2. 15 working days prior to the hearing, the Planning Officer’s s.42A Hearing report is sent.  This allows time for all parties to read through the information of the proposal before the hearing.
  1. The Commissioner conducts introductions of everyone at the hearing.
  2. The Commissioner checks if there are any procedural matters.
  3. The applicant presents their case first. Commissioner may ask questions to the applicant.
  4. Submitters then present their cases.  They may speak directly or through a Solicitor, friend, Planning Consultant or agent.  Experts may also be called in support. Commissioner may ask questions.
  5. The Council officer then summarises their report and clarifies any new information which may have arisen from the hearing.
  6. The applicant has the final Right to reply in the hearing.  A Right of reply can be spoken, or in some cases, the Right of reply may be writing after the hearing closes.
  7. If the Commissioner is satisfied they have all the information required to make a decision, they will close the hearing.  If the Commissioner seeks further information the hearing will be adjourned.   It is not unusual for this to happen and the Commissioner to issue a minute to all parties.
  8. The Commissioner will provide their decision to Council within 15 working days of the formal closing of the hearing.  This decision is then sent to all parties.

The Commissioner has the delegation to make a decision on the consent application. Timeframes on the decision is up to 15 working days.  The decision is notified in writing and posted and/or emailed to all parties.  Any party has the right to appeal against the decision within 15 working days of the decision being notified.  Information about appeal rights and lodging an appeal is sent out to all parties with the Council’s decision. If you propose to lodge an appeal, we recommend that you seek professional advice, i.e lawyer.


Under section 357A of the Resource Management Act you are able to object to the Council's decision relating to the conditions of your resource consent application. If you do not agree with the decision which the Council has made on your application, you can write a letter outlining your objection to the conditions proposed.

You are able to object if:

  • Your application was not publicly notified
  • Your application was publicly notified or served on your immediate neighbour(s)
  • No submissions were received or if there were submissions, they have since been withdrawn.

Objection process

  1. The Planning Officer, where possible, will also consider the objection within 20 working days
  2. A report will then prepared on your objection which will include a recommendation on your objection
  3. If a resolution cannot be reached through informal discussion, a hearing will be held to consider the objection
  4. You will receive written notice at least five working days prior to the hearing (including the date, time, and place of the hearing)
  5. The objection may be dismissed or upheld in whole or part. The decision will be issued in writing, within 15 working days of the hearing
  6. If you are dissatisfied with the decision on your objection, you have the option to appeal to the Environment Court  within 15 working days of the date you received the objection decision.
Last reviewed date: 09 Aug 2023