Setting Charges

This guidance has been revised to include changes to the RMA as a result of the Resource Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (RLAA17). The consenting provisions of the RLAA17 commenced on 18 October 2017. . For more information about the amendments refer to the RLAA17 - Fact Sheets and technical guidance available on the Ministry's website.

 

Section 36 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) enables councils to charge applicants for receiving, processing and granting consents; and consent holders for administering, monitoring and supervising consents. Section 36AAB(4) requires councils to publish their charges fixed under section 36 on a publicly accessible website (usually the council’s website).

This guidance note establishes good practice for setting consent processing and monitoring charges and is intended to ensure the process of setting charges is transparent, that uncertainty is reduced, and councils are using appropriate charging practices.

This guidance note does not deal with charges established under s36(1)(c) to recover the costs of a council's s35 functions aside from consent monitoring i.e. it does not cover plan effectiveness research costs.

Key Terms

There are four key terms that need to be defined at the outset of this guidance note:

Fixed charges
These are charges that cover the total cost of an application or compliance monitoring activity and which are levied at the start of the process. Fixed charges are not supplemented by additional actual and reasonable charges once the consent or compliance monitoring process is complete. Fixed charges are deemed to be 'actual' charges which are not subject to the rights of objection and appeal (s357B to s358).

Fixed initial deposit charges
These are charges levied at the start of the application process (or preceding a compliance monitoring activity). Fixed initial deposit charges are supplemented by additional actual and reasonable charges once the consent process is complete. Fixed initial deposit charges are not subject to the rights of objection and appeal (s357B to s358), but they need to be developed using the public consultative procedure set out in s83 of the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA).

Additional charges
These are actual and reasonable costs that are charged at the end of the consent application process (or completed compliance monitoring activity) under s36(5) that recover the council's full costs, less the fixed initial deposit charge already paid. Additional charges are subject to the rights of objection and appeal (s357B to s358). 

Occasioned
A charge that is related to some required actions of a local authority due to the actions of those persons. s36AAA(3)(b).