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4 min read - April 29, 2022



When you’re developing or making changes to a property, familiarising yourself with Resource Management law can keep your project rolling without unexpected roadblocks. 

Recent amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 mean it’s easier and cheaper for property owners to subdivide and develop in New Zealand than before. Here’s what the October 18 changes might mean for you and your project.

Fast track your plans

The new fast track clause gives you the opportunity to get an application processed within 10 working days instead of 20. It’s a way to get more compliant building projects started across the board, and could mean yours can start sooner too. 

Your resource consent application is eligible for fast track if it’s for a controlled activity in the Council’s District Plan (except for subdivisions), or for an activity that’s already prescribed by regulations.

As long as your application doesn’t need to be limited or publicly notified and doesn’t need a hearing, all you’ll need to is fill in a form and give an email address to ask the Council to fast track it. You can print your own fast track form here.

Easy consent for boundary activities

One imortant change to the Resource Management Act 1991 is the approval process for boundary activities. Now, the Council is required to approve some projects or activities happening on a property boundary if they’re also provided with written consent from neighbours.

The rule applies to any activity that’s only non-compliant because of a boundary rule infringement (like an exterior wall that's too high or too close to the next door property and may partially block another property’s light or view).

If you’re looking to get this simpler Council consent for a boundary activity, you’ll just need to provide them with information about the project site, its owners, your proposed activity and any neighbours. This leaves them free to confirm if your project has the green light within 10 working days.

Simple approval for marginal breaches

The October 18 changes also mean Council can allow activities or projects that are only marginally or temporarily non-compliant to go ahead or to continue without resource consent.

If the effects of your project on the environment aren’t any different to a compliant project and the effects on people are ‘less than minor’, the Council should approve it without hassle.

After the Council receives your application, if they agree the activity should be allowed without a consent,they'll let any affected parties know, and you can go ahead.

New notification processes

As a general rule, if you aren’t legally required to notify anybody about your build, the approval process becomes far quicker. The changes include a clause designed to speed consent up in this way too.

If your project is classed as a ‘controlled activity’, is a ‘non-complying subdivision of land’, or a  'complying residential activity', you won’t need to provide any public notification unless the Council decides there are special circumstances. However, unless it is a 'controlled activity', you may still have to notify some neighbours.

Appeal rights changes

New changes mean that now, if your proposed activity is a boundary activity, a subdivision or a  residential activity (excluding "non-complying actitivites") approved by the council, there’s no longer a right of appeal to the Environmental Court – as long as you've got Council approval, you’re in the clear.

No matter what your project entails, in most cases professionally prepared applications are more likely to be non-notified, processed faster and ultimately successful.

Here at K3 we have a team of experienced lawyers who are used to dealing with both the Council and with all stages of resource consenting. If you’re looking to get a project approved and off the ground, or to be represented at a Council hearing, fill in the form below to get in touch with one of our team.

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