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The Resource Management Act: Key Facts About Local Authorities and Resource Consents in 2010/2011

About the RMA survey of local authorities

Every two years the Ministry for the Environment carries out the Resource Management Act (RMA) survey of local authorities in New Zealand. The survey includes questions about key aspects of RMA implementation:

  • the numbers and types of resource consent applications processed
  • the time taken to process resource consent applications
  • charges to applicants for resource consent applications
  • good practice in resource consent processing
  • monitoring, compliance, complaints and enforcement
  • Māori participation in RMA processes
  • the numbers and types of plan changes and variations.

The purpose of the survey is to:

  • help the Minister for the Environment monitor how the RMA is being put into practice
  • highlight trends over time in implementing the RMA, as well as areas where performance by local authorities may require greater attention
  • promote good practice under the RMA and improve local authorities’ performance
  • enable each local authority to compare its performance with others
  • provide local authorities with information so they can more accurately respond to enquiries about RMA processes.

This brochure highlights the key facts on RMA processes for the 2010/2011 financial year for the 78 local authorities that responded to the survey. The full report on the Resource Management Act: Survey of Local Authorities 2010/2011 can be found on the Ministry for the Environment’s website at: RMA Survey of Local Authorities.

Five key facts from 2010/11

  • 36,154 resource consent applications were processed through to a decision.
  • 0.56 per cent (203) of resource consent applications were declined.
  • 6 per cent (2263) of resource consent applications were notified in some way (publicly notified and limited-notified).
  • 95 per cent of resource consent applications were processed on time.
  • 68 per cent of consents that required monitoring were actually monitored.

Resource consent application processing

  • 36,154 resource consent applications were processed through to a decision.
  • 4 per cent (1414) of resource consent applications were publicly notified.
  • 2 per cent (849) of resource consent applications were notified to affected parties only (limited notification).
  • Local authority officers acting under delegated authority made 91 per cent of decisions on resource consent applications.
  • 0.56 per cent (203) of resource consent applications were declined.
  • 1 per cent (357) of resource consent decisions were appealed.

Number of consent applications processed to a decision, 1997/98-2010/11

Resource consent applications processed on time

  • Overall, 95 per cent of resource consent applications were processed on time.
  • 87 per cent of notified resource consent applications were processed on time.
  • 86 per cent of limited notified resource consent applications were processed on time.
  • 95 per cent of non-notified resource consent applications were processed on time.
  • Section 37 was used to extend the time limits for 15 per cent of all resource consent applications.

Percentage of resource consent applications processed on time, 1997/98-2010/11

Charges for resource consent applications

The range of average median charges to applicants for resource consent application processing varied depending on the type of notification and issuing authority.

Average changes to applicants for resource consent applications

NOTIFICATION TYPE TERRITORIAL AUTHORITIES
SUBDIVISION LAND USE
Notified $10,562 $19,499
Limited notified $3,174 $5,651
Non-notified $1,312 $934
NOTIFICATION TYPE REGIONAL COUNCILS AND UNITARY AUTHORITIES1
SUBDIVISION LAND USE WATER COASTAL DISCHARGE
Notified $11,521 $8,514 $17,866 $9,947 $9,928
Limited notified $6,537 $4,779 $4,168 $2,385 $4,699
Non-notified $1,581 $832 $1,277 $970 $1,119

 1 These are combined average median charges for regional councils and unitary authorities.

Source: 2010/2011 RMA survey data.

The total value of all discounts provided by local authorities in 2010/11 was $204,109.

Monitoring, compliance, complaints and enforcement

  • 68 per cent of resource consents that required monitoring were monitored.
  • 72 per cent of monitored resource consents complied with their conditions.
  • 124,172 complaints about alleged breaches of the RMA were received.
  • Excessive noise directions (81 per cent) were the most used formal enforcement option to resolve complaints, followed by abatement notices (11 per cent).
  • 1800 infringement notices and 1290 abatement notices were issued.

Percentage of local authorities monitoring and reporting on their responsibilities

RESPONSIBILITY REGIONAL COUNCILS UNITARY AUTHORITIES TERRITORIAL AUTHORITIES ALL
State of the environment Monitor 100% 83% 43% 54%
Report 91% 83% 23% 37%
Suitability and effectiveness of policies and plans Monitor 91% 33% 64% 65%
Report 45% 17% 38% 37%
Delegated/ transferred functions Monitor 55% 50% 34% 38%
Report 27% 33% 25% 26%
Compliance with resource consent conditions Monitor 100% 83% 89% 90%
Report 91% 67% 48% 55%
Compliance with permitted activities Monitor 91% 67% 46% 54%
Report 82% 67% 15% 28%

Source: 2010/2011 RMA survey data.

Māori participation in RMA processes

  • All councils provided advice to applicants that their resource consent application may be of interest or concern to iwi or hapū.
  • 97 per cent of local authorities had standard resource consent conditions covering the discovery of sites or items significant to iwi/hapū.
  • 15 per cent of local authorities involved iwi/hapū in resource consent monitoring.
  • 54 per cent of local authorities made a budgetary commitment to iwi/hapū participation in RMA processes.
  • 51 per cent of local authorities had written criteria or a set policy for staff to determine when iwi/hapū should be considered an affected party to resource consent applications.
  • 24 per cent of local authorities had a policy requiring a cultural impact assessment as part of the resource consent application when a site, species or resource is of concern to iwi/hapū.
  • 72 per cent of local authorities had formal memoranda of understanding, protocols, joint management agreements, or service-level agreements with iwi/hapū, and 63 per cent had informal agreements.

Good practice by local authorities

The results of the RMA survey are used to highlight and monitor the use of good practice by local authorities to improve performance in resource management functions.

  • 82 per cent of local authorities provided applicants with a checklist defining the environmental effects that must be addressed in resource consent applications for controlled and restricted discretionary activities.
  • 77 per cent of local authorities followed a structured process to identify and address environmental effects.
  • 68 per cent of local authorities had internal notes or checklists to guide staff on when to notify a resource consent application.
  • 53 per cent of local authorities had internal guidance notes or checklists to help staff identify potentially affected parties.
  • All local authorities check each resource consent application for completeness within 5 working days of its arrival.
  • 82 per cent of local authorities ran customer satifaction surveys. Of those providing full information, 91 per cent reported that most customers were either ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’.
  • The average number of staff over the survey period was 943. Forty-three per cent of these staff are planners.

Plan changes and variations

  • 108 council initiated and 35 privately initiated plan changes to operative district or regional plans were completed.
  • 35 variations to proposed district or regional plans were completed.

Resource consent applications processed by individual local authorities

Local authorities are grouped according to their authority type and, in the case of the 61 territorial authorities, the volume of resource consent applications they process.

Resource consent applications processed by local authorities and the percentage processed on time and the use of section 37

GROUP LOCAL AUTHORITY 2010/11 USE OF S37 (2010/11)
% ON TIME % OF TOTAL CONSENTS PROCESSED
Territorial authorities group 1 Carterton District Council 100 4
Central Hawke’s Bay District Council 100 6
Clutha District Council 100 0
Gore District Council 98 4
Grey District Council 97 7
Hurunui District Council 98 3
Kaikoura District Council 96 7
Kawerau District Council 100 0
Mackenzie District Council 88 14
Masterton District Council 99 3
Opotiki District Council 97 6
Otorohanga District Council 99 5
Rangitikei District Council 100 0
Ruapehu District Council 98 3
South Waikato District Council 98 0
Stratford District Council 100 0
Tararua District Council 91 0
Waimate District Council 78 2
Wairoa District Council 100 3
Waitomo District Council 100 0
Territorial authorities group 2 Ashburton District Council 98 3
Buller District Council 100 12
Central Otago District Council 98 5
Hauraki District Council 99 15
Horowhenua District Council 98 5
Invercargill City Council 99 15
Kaipara District Council 93 72
Kapiti Coast District Council 93 4
Manawatu District Council 94 1
Matamata−Piako District Council 96 8
Napier City Council 93 0
Porirua City Council 99 3
Selwyn District Council 99 2
South Taranaki District Council 100 1
South Wairarapa District Council 92 0
Southland District Council 95 12
Taupo District Council 100 5
Timaru District Council 100 2
Upper Hutt City Council 97 6
Waimakariri District Council 74 4
Waitaki District Council 98 5
Wanganui District Council 99 17
Western Bay of Plenty District Council 100 5
Westland District Council 99 12
Whakatane District Council 90 7
Whangarei District Council 91 17
Territorial authorities group 3 Far North District Council 95 3
Hamilton City Council 94 6
Hastings District Council 95 2
Hutt City Council 99 2
New Plymouth District Council 98 9
Palmerston North City Council 77 1
Rotorua District Council 98 3
Tauranga City Council 98 9
Thames−Coromandel District Council 98 13
Waikato District Council 96 16
Waipa District Council 96 7
Territorial authorities group 4 Christchurch City Council 90 10
Dunedin City Council 99 5
Queenstown−Lakes District Council 96 0
Wellington City Council 99 9
Regional councils Bay of Plenty Regional Council 100 27
Environment Canterbury Regional Council 92 27
Environment Southland 92 8
Greater Wellington Regional Council 99 18
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council 98 15
Horizons Regional Council 98 42
Northland Regional Council 99 46
Otago Regional Council 99 23
Taranaki Regional Council 100 28
Waikato Regional Council 90 40
West Coast Regional Council 98 14
Unitary authorities Auckland Council 92 9
Chatham Islands Council 100 0
Gisborne District Council 96 13
Marlborough District Council 95 6
Nelson City Council 89 19
Tasman District Council 99 32

Source: 2010/2011 RMA survey data.

Future surveys

The Ministry is working collaboratively with councils to develop an integrated framework to monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the RMA. This will build on existing monitoring knowledge, processes and systems to improve reporting of RMA data. The project will help clarify what RMA data will be collected, from where and when, and will reduce the handling of data. Over the long term, the project will build on the existing RMA survey process.

Disclaimer: Results presented in the 2010/11 survey were derived from data provided by local authorities. Data was collected through the Resource Management Act online survey. All reasonable measures have been taken to ensure the quality and accuracy of the information contained herein.

Published in September 2011 by the

Ministry for the Environment
Manatū Mō Te Taiao
PO Box 10362
Wellington 6143
New Zealand

This document and the detailed survey results, Resource Management Act: Survey of Local Authorities 2010/2011, are available in the Ministry for the Environment’s website: RMA Survey of Local Authorities.