Applying for an extension of the two-year time limit for issuing decisions of a planning process

Councils have the duty to issue their decision on any plan-making process no later than two years after notifying the proposal. If they are unlikely to meet this timeframe, approval must be received from the Minister for the Environment for an extension to that time limit (Schedule 1 clause 10A). 

Applying for an extension to the two-year time limit

If the two-year timeframe is unlikely to be met, the Council must make a written request to the Minister for the Environment for an extension. This is before the two-year anniversary of notifying the proposed policy statement or plan has passed. This applies to any policy statements or plans (including changes) notified since 18 October 2017. 

There is no statutory form for this application. Schedule 1 clause 10A sets out what must be included in the application. This consists of reasons for extension, and the duration of extension required. 

Before making an application the Council must take into account the interests of any person(s) directly affected by the extension, the interests of the community, and its duty to avoid unreasonable delay. The Minister would find this analysis useful in considering the application. 

Requests to the Minister may be lodged by email to

Support and guidance

Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 fact sheet 4 – changes to the standard planning track and related provisions [PDF, 392 KB].

Applications for an extension to the two-year time limit 

Council Plan change Two year lapse Date Extension requested Decision Decision date
Waikato District Council Proposed Waikato District Plan (Stage 1 of the Waikato District Plan Review) 18 July 2020 14 months Approved 4 November 2019