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Practical guide to virtual hearings under the RMA

Publication date:  August 2020
Publication reference number:  ME 1510

This guide is aimed at supporting councils to use remote access facilities in RMA hearings in a fair, transparent and participatory manner, in accordance with legislative requirements.

The COVID-19 pandemic alert level restrictions impacted on councils’ ability to hold face-to-face public hearings. Some councils used ‘remote access facilities’ (such as Zoom) to undertake RMA hearings virtually. Changes have now been made to the RMA to enable the use of remote access facilities for public hearings as a permanent option for councils. 

We have published this document as interim guidance and will seek feedback from councils as they gain more experience in using the technology for public hearings.