Consultation can happen at any stage of the formal RMA process, but it is best to start it early. The plan developer or resource consent applicant should actively seek out potentially affected parties to discuss the proposal and learn their views. Open information sharing and flexibility in modifying the proposal to address concerns are the hallmarks of quality consultation.
Consultation should always begin with a face-to-face meeting between parties. This provides the opportunity for parties to understand each others' point of view, and potentially avoid later conflict.
Facilitated workshops can be held for large resource consent applications, designations, and plans prepared under the RMA. These workshops usually have an independent facilitator to encourage discussion and understanding among all the parties. The plan developer or resource consent applicant has the incentive for appointing the facilitator.
While consultation for resource consents is not mandatory, it is recognised good practice to consult.