FAQs – Seeking a Resource Consent


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FAQs – Seeking a Resource Consent

  • A resource consent is the approval of a local authority to carry out a project or activity that has an impact on the environment, or could affect other people. It is approval to undertake an activity that is not a permitted activity and may not occur "as of right" under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), or the various formal plans governing the use of natural and physical resources in Marlborough and its coastal areas.

    The resource consent may come with conditions that help manage the adverse effects of your activity. For example, if you remove trees or vegetation to build your house, your resource consent may include a condition that requires you to plant some native trees after building completion.

    Marlborough District Council’s Resource Management Plans classify activities as:

    • Permitted
    • Controlled
    • Restricted Discretionary
    • Discretionary
    • Prohibited

    You do not need resource consent for a permitted activity, (unless the permitted activity does not comply with permitted activity standards/rules/conditions) and you cannot apply for resource consent for an activity classified as permitted or prohibited.

    There are five types of consent:

    • Land use consents
    • Subdivision consents
    • Water permits
    • Discharge permits
    • Coastal permits

    Some activities may require more than one type of consent depending on the complexity of the proposed activity. You can apply for several consents at the same time in the one application; this is called a ‘bundled application’.

    Some activities do not require consent because they are permitted in the Resource Management Plan. However, the project may have aspects that do trigger a requirement for resource consent.
    As an example, residential activity is anticipated in a residential zone but the construction of a dwelling may trigger standards in the resource management plan that governs the proximity of buildings to a boundary and/or the percentage of coverage of a property by buildings.

    It is important to check the zone rules and the general rules in the resource management plan to see if any are affected by your proposed activity. The Duty Planner Service can assist you but for more complex projects we recommend you engage the services of a consultant.

  • You are now able to apply for resource consents online. You can access the online application tool on Councils website:

    Go to Resource Consents online

    You will need to create a login in order to use this service.
    The login will give you additional usability, such as the ability to save partially completed applications and return to them later.

    Follow the ‘Apply for a resource consent online’ link to the application tool. This is where you will be prompted to login or to register to create your login.

    Alternatively you can access a PDF application form on the website to print out. Completed applications can then be posted or delivered in person to Council's Blenheim Service Centre or Picton Customer Service Centre.

    You are also able to contact Council on (03) 520 7400 or via our Contact Us page to request a hard copy of the application form to be sent to you by mail.

    Go to our Contact Us page

  • There are fixed initial application fees which are minimum charges for the resource consent applications and are fixed charges under Section 36(1) of the Resource Management Act 1991 (and are therefore not subject to objection rights).

    All consent processing charges, which exceed the fixed initial application fee, are considered to be additional charges pursuant to Section 36(3) of the Resource Management Act 1991 and may be charged on a monthly basis or invoiced at the end of the consenting process.

    The final cost of processing each resource consent application will be based on actual and reasonable costs, and will include the charging of staff time at the rates in the schedule of fees for staff hourly processing rates and disbursements. Where charges are lower than the original application fee paid, a refund will be made. Failure to pay at any stage will result in Council stopping the process until the charges are paid.

    The schedule of Fees for Resource consents can be found below.

    Visit the schedule of fees for resource consents

  • Council must decide whether to notify an application for resource consent. If required, notification is at 20 working days after the application is lodged. The notification process directs Council to determine whether there are any parties who may be affected by the proposed activity. This process is limited where the proposed activity is subject to rule or a national environmental standard that precludes notification.

    The other factor to consider is if the person or entity that is deemed to be affected has provided a completed an ‘Affected Parties Approval’ form to Council. By signing this form, (and every page of the application indicating they have read and understood it), the person or entity is in effect removing themselves from the process overall and any effects upon them will not be considered by Council when deciding on the application for resource consent. So, they should be certain that they fully understand the extent of the proposal. They may sign an ‘Affected Parties Approval’ form at any time prior to making a decision on the resource consent application.

    If an application is changed the proposal must be assessed again for the affected parties. If required, the applicant will be given the opportunity to revisit the parties and any new parties to seek their approval to the amended application.

    The applicant is under no obligation to consult on applications for resource consent or notices of requirement, or to seek a written party approval from an affected person.

    Schedule 4 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) describes all of the information required in an application for resource consent. This includes amongst other things an assessment of environmental effect (AEE). The AEE must include, amongst other things, an identification of the persons affected by the activity and a description of any consultation undertaken and the responses received. It is important to note that this places no obligation on the applicant to consult.
    However, it is in the applicant’s interest to fully understand the extent of the effect of a proposed activity on others and discussing the proposal with them is a way to achieve this.

    Council follows a process defined in the RMA to its assessment of affected parties. The persons or entities identified may or may not align with the persons or entities identified by the applicant or agent. An applicant or agent may elect to wait for Council to make its assessment before contacting affected parties.

    A person or entity that has provided ‘affected party approval’ can withdraw approval by providing notice in writing to Council before the decision on the application has been issued. Withdrawal of ‘affected party approval’ may impact on the decision regarding notification of the application. It also means that the effects of the activity upon that affected person, may once again be taken into account by the decision making deciding the resource consent application.

    See sections 95D to 95G of the RMA.

    Go to the Resource Management Act

  • Council processes applications in accordance with procedures defined in the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). Council staff will assess the proposal and will typically visit the site in the process. Applications will follow one of three pathways:

    • Non-notified applications (not advertised or provided to any person).
    • Limited notification applications (not advertised but provided to identified affected persons).
    • Publicly notified applications (advertised in a newspaper, Council’s website and served on identified affected persons and other statutory parties).

    The decision on which of the above pathways your application will take depends on whether the activity will have an adverse effect on the environment and the extent of that effect, the extent to which people or certain groups are affected and also whether those persons have provided approval in writing for the proposed activity. Sections 95 to 95E of the RMA set out the process for deciding which notification pathway to follow.

    Once notified, people have 20 working days to lodge a submission in support of, or in opposition to, the application. Depending on the submissions and the assessment of the application against the provisions of the Resource Management Plan and higher statutory framework, Council will either issue a decision or progress the application to a hearing before a panel, or an independent decision maker.

    See sections 95 to 95C of the RMA.

    Go to the Resource Management Act


    Council has a maximum of 20 working days from lodgement of the application in which to notify the application.

    If the application is not notified and a hearing was not required, Council has a maximum of 20 working days to process the application and issue a decision.

    If the application is notified and a hearing is also not required, the decision must be issued within 20 working days after the closing date for submissions. See section 115 of the RMA.

    Where an application is not notified, but proceeds to hearing, the hearing must commence within 35 working days of the lodgement of the application. See section 101 of the RMA.

    Go to the Resource Management Act

    Limited notified resource consent applications that proceed to hearing have an additional 45 working days in which to compete the hearing.

    Publicly notified applications that proceed to hearing have an additional 75 working days in which to complete the hearing.

    Thereafter, the decision must be issued within 15 working days after the close of the hearing.

    See section 103A of the RMA.

    Go to the Resource Management Act

    Timeframes may be extended or suspended under sections 37, 91 to 91C and 92 of the RMA in certain circumstances.

  • If an application is publicly notified any person or entity can make a submission about it to Council, except on matters relating to trade competition.

    If an application is limited notified only a person or entity served with notice of the application can lodge a submission on it to Council, except on matters relating to trade competition.

    The timeframe for the lodging of submissions is 20 working days following notification of the application.

    You can access the submission form on Council’s website using this link:

    Access the submission form

    You can also use the online tool to lodge your submission electronically. You will need to create a login in order to use this service. The login will give you additional usability, such as the ability to save a partially completed submission and return to it later.

    The submission must be completed and lodged with Council before the closing date for submissions. The submitter may state whether they support/oppose or are neutral to the application.

    The submitter may also state whether they wish to be heard on their submission at a hearing.

    The submitter should provide a copy of their submission to the applicant (or their agent).

  • A hearing is required when Council considers it necessary, or the applicant requests a hearing on the application, or the person or entity that made a submission has indicated on the form a ‘wish to be heard’ and has not subsequently advised they no longer ‘wish to be heard’. A ‘wish to be heard’ means to be heard by a decision maker in a hearing.

    Persons attending a hearing have to pay for their own costs, such as travel to and from the hearing, time off work, and lawyers’ and professionals’ fees.

    A hearing panel of elected Councillors (the Resource Hearing Sub-Committee) or an Independent Commissioner will be appointed to hear the application. Where an applicant requests the application be heard by an Independent Commissioner(s), the applicant will be charged the additional costs of the Commissioner(s), over and above what it would cost if a panel of Resource Hearing Sub-Committee members heard and decided the matter.

    The same will apply to a submitter who requests an Independent Commissioner and the applicant has not also made the same request.

    The charges related to the hearing of an application for resource consent will be payable regardless of the decision on the application.

    You can access a hearings guidelines brochure setting out the hearing process below.