About compliance, monitoring and enforcement by local authorities

This page provides information on the compliance, monitoring and enforcement responsibilities of local authorities under the RMA and links to a summary of council's approaches which can be used to inform policy and council practices.

Local authorities' compliance, monitoring and enforcement responsibilities

The promotion of sustainable management of natural and physical resources is the purpose of the Resource Management Act (RMA). 

Local authorities are responsible for monitoring activities in their areas to ensure activities meet requirements under the RMA, plan rules and resource consents. They have discretion to determine how to fulfil their statutory functions. They use education and awareness-raising as the preferred method for encouraging compliance. When necessary, local authorities use formal action to discourage and penalise non-compliance and direct remediation of the damage.

Improving knowledge about compliance, monitoring and enforcement

There has been significant gaps in the Ministry’s knowledge of compliance, monitoring and enforcement processes by local authorities. To fill these gaps the Ministry has produced a report based on recently held conversations with representatives from councils and stakeholders on their processes and data collected as part of the National Monitoring System and the RMA Survey of Local Authorities.

See the report: Compliance, monitoring and enforcement by local authorities under the Resource Management Act 1991

This report will:

  • inform our work in assessing the effectiveness of policy behind compliance, monitoring and enforcement
  • inform councils’ compliance, monitoring and enforcement practice -  by providing examples of other councils’ activities and outlining the strengths and weaknesses of certain approaches
  • inform the content of the data request set to all councils annually through the National Monitoring System
  • enable the public to better understand how councils carry out compliance, monitoring and enforcement.

Further resources for councils

Quality Planning website – this website developed by the Ministry and partners provides information and guidance on compliance, monitoring and enforcement.

Basic Investigative Skills for Local Government – the purpose of this document, drafted by Waikato Regional Council, is to provide council enforcement officers with generic investigative skills, including skills for investigations under the RMA.