Timeframes and costs associated with plan-making processes

This page reports on timeframes and costs associated with plan-making processes. 

RMA requirements

Local authorities must publicly notify decisions on matters raised in submissions no later than two years after the proposed policy statement or plan was publicly notified. However, section 37 of the RMA enables local authorities to extend this two year period if necessary. 

2014/15

  • The shortest time taken between public notification of the plan-making process and public notification of decisions on submissions was 84 working days. It was for a change to an operative regional plan.
  • The longest time taken between public notification of the plan-making process and public notification of decisions on submissions was 1,198 working days. This was for a private plan change request (accepted by council) to an operative district plan.
  • The estimated total costs (ie, from the date the process commenced to the date it became operative) associated with plan-making processes are highly variable.
  • The lowest estimated total cost for a plan-making process completed in 2014/15 was $8,549. This was for a technical amendment to an operative district plan.
  • The highest estimated total cost for a plan-making process completed in 2014/15 was $9.5 million. This was for the development of a new combined regional policy statement and regional plan.
  • A low number of plan-making processes became fully operative in 2014/15, so it is not possible to determine whether there is a clear relationship between the time-taken and the cost of the process. However for changes to operative district plans, the data suggests that the longer a plan-making process takes the greater the cost.

Drill down into the data using our data tool.

Download the complete dataset for plan-making [Excel, 545 KB].

Limitations and local authority practices

  • Data on costs associated with plan-making processes was not provided by all local authorities. In some cases figures provided were a local authority’s best estimate of the costs of the process.
  • It is not clear whether costs provided are inclusive or exclusive of GST.
  • The National Monitoring System did not seek data on local authorities' use of section 37 of the RMA to extend the specified time period for plan-making (see RMA requirements below).
  • Local authorities had the option to provide commentary on their plan-making processes. While commentary was not provided by all local authorities, it highlighted a number of factors that could affect the time and costs associated with plan-making processes. ​These factors include, but are not limited to:
    • local authority resourcing
    • subject matter (eg, technical amendments are likely to be less costly and take less time than the development of rules for water allocation) 
    • scope of the plan-making processes (eg, development of a new plan versus a change to a section of an operative plan)
    • delays to align with other plan-making processes, including the processes of other local authorities
    • level of public interest (including number of submitters to plan-making processes).
  • Due to the differing nature of previous survey data, no meaningful comparisons between historic and current data can be made.
  • One local authority did not provide data on the preparation of policy statements and plans, changes and variations.

See the Act

For more information on the RMA related to this page see the following section of the Act on the New Zealand Legislation website.

Section 37 of the RMA 

Reviewed:
14/06/16