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Resource Consent Processing Statistics

 

This section provides information on the processing of resource consent applications under the Resource Management Act (RMA). Specifically, it reports on:

  • number of resource consent applications processed
  • number of certificates of compliance
  • number of changes to consent conditions
  • proportion of resource consent applications notified
  • proportion of resource consent applications by activity type
  • proportion of resource consents where further information was requested
  • pre-hearing meetings
  • resource consent decision-makers
  • resource consents declined
  • resource consent decision objections and appeals.

Eighty-four authorities were able to provide information relating to the total number of consents. Timaru District Council was unable to provide information and has traditionally been in group two, processing between 111 and 300 consents.

Number of resource consent applications processed

Local authorities were asked for the number of resource consents (defined in section 87 of the RMA) processed through to a decision and asked to break them down by consent type.

In 2005/2006, 51,768 consents were processed through to a decision. This compares to 54,658 consents in 2003/2004 and 49,012 consents in 2001/2002. Territorial authorities processed 68.68% of applications lodged, with 23.63% processed by regional councils and 7.69% by unitary authorities.

Table 1 shows a time-series of the change in consent numbers processed by each local authority type and Appendix 1 reports on the number of consents processed by each local authority.

Table 1: Number of resource consents processed by local authority type

Local authority type

1999/2000 ( n=86 )

2001/2002 ( n=86 )

2003/2004 ( n=86 )

2005/2006 ( n=84 )

Regional

8,037

11,643

10,794

12,235

Territorial

36,000

33,159

39,556

35,554

Unitary

4,008

4,210

4,308

3,979

All

48,045

49,012

54,658

51,768

Source: RMA survey of local authorities 2005/2006 and 2003/2004, question 1.1; and 2001/2002 and 1999/2000, question 1.3.

As with previous surveys, the majority of resource consents processed were land-use consents, though the proportion (59%) was slightly lower for this survey when compared with surveys in previous years.

Table 2: Percentage of resource consents processed by consent type

Survey period

Subdivision

Land-use

Coastal

Water

Discharge

1999/2000 (n=86)

26%

61%

3%

4%

5%

2001/2002 (n=86)

20%

62%

5%

6%

6%

2003/2004 (n=86)

24%

63%

3%

5%

6%

2005/2006 (n=84)

24%

59%

3%

5%

8%

Source: RMA survey of local authorities 2005/2006, question 1.6; 2003/2004, question 1.5; 2001/2002, question 1.7; and 1999/2000, question 1.8.

Note: Due to rounding, not all percentages in rows will add to 100%.

Number of certificates of compliance

Local authorities were asked for the number of certificates of compliance (under section 139 of the RMA) processed through to a decision. In 2005/2006, 1,097 certificates of compliance were processed through to a decision. This compares to 1,251 processed in 2003/2004 and 1,069 in 2001/2002.

Number of changes to consent conditions

Local authorities were asked for the number of applications for changes to resource consent conditions (defined in sections 127 and 128 of the RMA) processed through to a decision. In 2005/2006 sections 127 and 128 were asked about separately for the first time. Some councils do not yet have the facility to distinguish between applications made under these two sections so the combined results are reported here. This also allows comparison with previous years.

In 2005/2006, 3,438 applications were processed through to a decision. This compares to 2,223 applications in 2002/2003 and 1,690 in 2001/2002.

Proportion of resource consent applications notified

Local authorities were asked for the number of resource consent applications processed through to a decision for each consent type that were notified, limited notified or non-notified. This is the first time we have a full year's information on limited notification as it came in part way through the last survey period.

In 2005/2006, 4.1% (2,129) of consents were notified and 1.5% (768) of consents had limited notification - a total of 5.6% (2897) of consents that had some sort of notification. This compares to 4.8% publicly notified and 0.7% with limited notification in 2003/2004 (5.5% total) and 6% publicly notified in 2001/2002.

Table 3: Percentage of consents notified or limited notified by consent type

Survey period

1999/2000 ( n=86 )

2001/2002 ( n=86 )

2003/2004 ( n=86 )

2005/2006 ( n=84 )

Subdivision

Notified

4%

5%

3%

3%

Limited

-

-

1%

1%

Land-use

Notified

3%

3%

3%

2%

Limited

-

-

1%

1%

Coastal

Notified

17%

21%

14%

15%

Limited

-

-

<0.5%

3%

Water

Notified

15%

15%

26%

20%

Limited

-

-

1%

2%

Discharge

Notified

17%

18%

11%

7%

Limited

-

-

1%

2%

Total

Notified

5%

6%

5%

4%

Limited

-

-

1%

1%

Source: RMA survey of local authorities 2005/2006, question 1.6; 2003/2004, question 1.5; 2001/2002, question 1.7; and 1999/2000, question 1.8.

Table 4: Percentage of consents notified or limited notified by local authority type

Local authority type

1999/2000 ( n=86 )

2001/2002 ( n=86 )

2003/2004 ( n=86 )

2005/2006 ( n=84 )

Notified

Limited

Notified

Limited

Notified

Limited

Notified

Limited

Regional

11%

-

10%

-

9%

1%

6%

1%

Territorial

3%

-

3%

-

2%

1%

2%

1%

Unitary

9%

-

17%

-

16%

1%

15%

3%

Source: RMA survey of local authorities 2005/2006, question 1.6; 2003/2004, question 1.5; 2001/2002, question 1.7; and 1999/2000, question 1.8.

Appendix 2 provides the percentage of notified and limited notified consents processed by individual local authorities.

Proportion of resource consent applications by activity type

Local authorities were asked for the numbers of consents processed through to a decision for each activity type. Applications involving more than one status have been processed according to the most restrictive of the status types. Where multiple consents have been applied for in respect of the same project each consent type was treated as an individual consent.

For the 2005/2006 survey, this question was modified to split out discretionary and restricted discretionary activities. Results show that for territorial authorities, the proportions of restricted discretionary and discretionary consents are similar, but for regional councils and unitary authorities a much higher proportion of consents are discretionary than restricted discretionary, reflecting the lower usage of the restricted discretionary activity class in regional plans.

Table 5: Percentage of resource consents by activity type for each local authority type

Local authority type

Controlled

Discretionary

Restricted discretionary

Non-complying

2003/2004
( n=81 )

2005/2006
( n=84 )

2003/2004
( n=81 )

2005/2006
( n=84 )

2003/2004
( n=81 )

2005/2006
( n=84 )

2003/2004
( n=81 )

2005/2006
( n=84 )

Regional

27%

18%

72%

74%

Included in discretionary

7%

1%

1%

Territorial

23%

20%

65%

39%

32%

12%

9%

Unitary

24%

16%

63%

67%

10%

13%

7%

All

24%

19%

66%

49%

25%

11%

7%

Source: RMA survey of local authorities 2005/2006, question 1.7; and 2003/2004, question 1.6.

Note: Due to rounding, not all percentages in rows will add to 100%.

Proportion of resource consents where further information was requested

Local authorities were asked for the number of resource consent applications processed where they had needed to request further information under section 92 of the RMA. For the 2005/2006 survey, sections 92(1) and 92(2) were asked about separately for the first time. Some councils do not yet have the facility to distinguish between applications made under these two sections so the combined results are reported here. This also allows comparison with previous years.

In 2005/2006, further information was requested for 32% (16,760) of resource consents processed. This compares with 35% of consents in both 2003/2004 and 2001/2002.

Appendix 3 provides the percentage of further information requests for individual local authorities.

Pre-hearing meetings

Local authorities were asked for the number of pre-hearing meetings held and the number which resulted in issues being resolved so that no hearing was required.

In 2005/2006, 518 pre-hearing meetings were held. This compares to 647 pre-hearing meetings in 2003/2004 and 546 in 2001/2002. These figures do not include informal meetings which are frequently used by local authorities to assist the resource consent process.

In 2005/2006, 28% (144) of pre-hearing meetings resolved issues so that no hearing was required. This compares to 25% of pre-hearing meetings in 2003/2004 and 23% in 2001/2002.

Table 6: Pre-hearing meetings held on resource consent applications by local authority type in 2005/2006

Local authority type

Number of pre-hearing meetings held

Percentage which resolved issues so that no hearing was needed

Regional

234

33%

Territorial

108

44%

Unitary

176

11%

All

518

28%

Source: RMA survey of local authorities 2005/2006, questions 1.10-1.11.

Pre-hearing meetings are a good practice tool for clarifying, mediating or facilitating resolution of an issue associated with an application for resource consent. While it may not always be appropriate to hold a pre-hearing meeting, they save the local authority, submitters, and the applicant time and costs in the resource consent process as well as improve the quality of the decisions made about the application.

The Resource Management Amendment Act 2005 made changes to provide for mediation. Mediation is another way to approach resolution of an issue associated with an application for a resource consent. The 2005/2006 survey questionnaire had already been finalised when the Amendment Act came into effect and does not directly address this change.

Resource consent decision-makers

Local authorities were asked for the number of resource consent decisions made by different types of decision makers.

In 2005/2006, 87% of decisions on resource consent applications were made by local authority officers acting under delegated authority, the same percentage as for 2003/2004. Both regional councils and territorial authorities had a far greater proportion of decisions made by local authority officers (93% and 89% respectively), but unitary authorities had a more even split between local authority officers (50%) and councillors acting as commissioners (45%).

Table 7: Percentage of resource consent decisions made by decision-maker and local authority type

Local authority type

Regional

Territorial

Unitary

All

Local authority officers

99/00 (n=86)

90%

84%

54%

83%

01/02 (n=86)

91%

85%

53%

84%

03/04 (n=85)

90%

90%

54%

87%

05/06 (n=84)

93%

89%

50%

87%

Independent commissioners

99/00 (n=86)

1%

1%

1%

1%

01/02 (n=86)

2%

1%

1%

1%

03/04 (n=85)

1%

1%

1%

1%

05/06 (n=84)

1%

4%

1%

3%

Councillors acting as commissioners

99/00 (n=86)

1%

8%

39%

10%

01/02 (n=86)

1%

8%

29%

8%

03/04 (n=85)

1%

5%

41%

7%

05/06 (n=84)

<0.5%

3%

45%

5%

Councillors as part of a hearings panel

99/00 (n=86)

6%

6%

6%

6%

01/02 (n=86)

4%

5%

5%

5%

03/04 (n=85)

6%

4%

4%

4%

05/06 (n=84)

4%

3%

5%

3%

Other (e.g. mixed panel of councillors/commissioners)

99/00 (n=86)

2%

1%

1%

1%

01/02 (n=86)

2%

<0.5%

12%

2%

03/04 (n=85)

2%

<0.5%

0%

<1%

05/06 (n=84)

2%

1%

0%

1%

Source: RMA survey of local authorities 2005/2006 and 2001/2002, question 1.12; 2003/2004, question 1.10; and 1999/2000, question 1.13.

Resource consents declined

Local authorities were asked for the number of resource consent applications that were declined.

In 2005/2006, 0.69% (357) of resource consent applications processed were declined. This compares to 0.74% of applications in 2003/2004 and 0.56% in 2001/2002.

Resource consent decision objections and appeals

Decisions made on resource consent applications can be objected to the council or appealed to the Environment Court. The 2005/2006 survey was the first time we asked about objections to the council under section 357 as well as appeals to the Environment Court under sections 358 or 120.

In 2005/2006, 1.3% (696) of decisions were objected to under section 357 and 2.0% (14) of these objections were then appealed to the Environment Court under section 358.

Direct appeals to the Environment Court under section 120 were made for 1.0% (529) of decisions. Including appeals under sections 120 and 358, a total of 1.0% (543) of decisions were appealed. This compares to 1.2% decisions appealed in 2003/2004 and 1.8% in 2001/2002.

Table 8: Number and percentage of resource consent decisions appealed by local authority type

Local authority type

1999/2000 ( n=79 )

2001/2002 ( n=86 )

2003/2004 ( n=85 )

2005/2006 ( n=84 )

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Regional

96

1.2%

437

3.6%

308

2.9%

190

1.6%

Territorial

329

0.9%

371

1.1%

308

0.8%

271

0.8%

Unitary

61

1.5%

85

2.0%

35

0.8%

82

2.1%

All

486

1.0%

893

1.8%

651

1.2%

543

1.0%

Source: RMA survey of local authorities 2005/2006, questions 1.13-1.15; 2003/2004, question 1.11; 2001/2002, question 1.13; and 1999/2000, question 1.14.