The time frames and processes for a publicly notified and limited notified application are shown in the flowchart on the Ministry for the Environment’s website.
Step 1: Application lodgement and completeness assessment.
Section 88 allows the local authority to check the application for completeness, before accepting it for processing.
1. Although not a statutory requirement, pre-application meetings can be held with the applicant to determine the scope of the application and to clarify information required.
2. Application is lodged by the applicant (s88). If the application is received after 9am, the working days begin on the next day (being the first full day after lodgement). If the application is received before 9am the working days begin on that day.
3. The application is checked for completeness (s88(3)). The council has 10 working days to check the application for completeness. There is an opportunity during the completeness check to:
- Undertake initial internal peer review
- Undertake initial expert input
- Check/request written approvals
- Request required information.
4. Is the application complete?
5. If the application is incomplete, it is returned to the applicant with an explanation (s88(3)). The application must be re-lodged as a new application (s88(4)) starting the process back at point 2.
6. If the application is complete, processing is continued (go to point 7).
Step 2: Further information
7. Is further information / report needed?
8. If further information is not needed go to point 14.
9. If further information / report is needed either:
a. The applicant is requested to provide the information (s92(1))
b. The local authority commissions a report (s92(2))
9A. [Following from point 9a above] Where the applicant is requested to provide information, the applicant:
d. Provides the information within 15 working days (s92A(1)(a))
e. Within 15 working days confirms in writing that they agree to provide the information (s92A(1)(b))
f. Provides no response or refuses to provide information (s92A(1)(c))
9AA. Has all the information requested been received? Go to point 10.
9AB. Where notice from the applicant that they agree to provide the information has been received, the council sets a timeframe within which the applicant must provide the information and advises the applicant (s92A(2)(a)). Go to point 10.
9AC. Where the applicant has provided no response or refuses to provide information or commissioning of report, publicly notify the application if a notification determination has not already been made (s95C). Continue to process the application (s92A(3) and s92B(2)). Go to point 14.
9B. [Following from point 9b above] Where the local authority wants to commission a report, the applicant:
c. Provides no response or refuses to the commissioning of report (s92B(2)). (Go to point 9AC)
d. Within 15 working days confirms in writing that they agree to the commissioning of report (s92B(1)).
9BB. Where the applicant has confirmed in writing to the commissioning of report, the report is then received. Go back to point 7.
10. If the information requested is received, go back to point 7.
11. If not all the information requested is received, does the applicant agree to provide the outstanding requested information (must be within the scope of the original request)?
12. If the applicant agrees to provide the outstanding requested information go to point 9AB.
13. If the applicant does not agree to provide the outstanding requested information, go to point 9AC.
Step 3: Notified/Limited notified applications.
Notified and limited notified resource consents can involve two decision paths – those that do not require a hearing and those that do require a hearing. The processing time for such applications varies between 60 and 130 working days.
14. Notification determination. The notification determination needs to be made within 20 working days after the application is first lodged (s95).
15. Application notified, 20 working day submission period (s97). Applicant or submitter can request independent hearing commissioners up to 5 working days after the close of submissions (s100A(3)).
16. Is further information / report is needed? If further information is required, request can be made however the clock cannot be stopped. The clock can be stopped for the commissioning of a report if the applicant agrees.
17. If further information /report is not needed, is a hearing required?
18. If a hearing is not required, the decision on the application is to be issued no more than 20 working days after submissions close (s115(4)). Total working days = 60.
20. If a hearing is required (note that a pre-hearing meeting (s99) or mediation (s99A) may also occur), pre-circulation of evidence must be carried out. Council’s section 42A report and evidence is due 15 working days before the hearing, applicant’s evidence is due 10 working days before the hearing and submitters expert evidence is due five working days before the hearing.
21. Notice of hearing is to be provided at least 10 working days before the hearing (s101(3)).
22. For publicly notified applications, the hearing must be completed 75 working days after the close of submissions. For limited notified applications, the hearing must be completed 45 working days after the close of submissions.
23. Notice of decision is to be issued no more than 15 working days after the hearing closes (s115(2)).
The Act only allows the ‘clock’ to be stopped for the following reasons for consents that are decided by a council:
s88C(2) – First request for further information (s92)
s88C(4) and (6) – The commissioning of a report (s92(2)(b))
s88E(2) – Waiting for other applications to be lodged (s91(2))
s88E(3) – Waiting for written approval where parties are considered affected
s88E(5) – When referred to mediation (s99A)
The consent authority may only extend the time periods of the Act as follows:
s37A(4) – When the extension sought is no more than twice the maximum time period and special circumstances exist (or the applicant agrees to the extension); or
s37A(5) – When the extension sought is more than twice the maximum period and the applicant agrees to the extension.