RMA Enforcement

The purpose of the RMA Enforcement Manual is to help improve RMA enforcement practice by:

  • explaining enforcement powers and procedures
  • providing information on selecting the right enforcement tool
  • highlighting some key challenges
  • providing examples of good practice developed in New Zealand.

The RMA Enforcement Manual is laid out in seven guidance notes. Supporting information includes a glossary of enforcement terms, example forms, checklists, and a separate summary of the case law referred to within the guidance notes.


Investigation of Incidents

Application for a Declaration

Mandatory Directives, Abatement Notices, Enforcement Orders and Water Shortage Notices

Imposing penalties: Infringement Notices and Prosecutions 

Managing Noise through Enforcement

Emergency Powers

Enforcing Plans and Consents

Terms, Definitions, Forms and Checklists

Case Law Summaries


Using the RMA enforcement manual

This manual provides general good practice information on RMA enforcement. When selecting an enforcement mechanism, follow the procedures and guidelines specific to your local authority. Particularly important are the priorities your local authority sets for compliance and enforcement, and any delegations used to manage risk in enforcement decision-making.

There are different ways you can integrate this manual with your Council's procedures and guidelines. For example, you might:

  • produce an RMA enforcement textbook by saving the Enforcement Manual from this site and inserting sections from your internal guidelines and procedures at appropriate points
  • distribute electronic copies of your internal guidelines and procedures with hyperlinks to the relevant web pages in the Enforcement Manual, inserted at appropriate points. You could annotate such hyperlinks to explain how the information found there will assist readers.


The Enforcement Manual is not a do-it-yourself guide to enforcement. The authors - the Ministry for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand (the original producer of this manual) - recommend that local authorities take legal advice, when appropriate, when enforcement mechanisms under the Resource Management Act are used.

The manual is intended to provide accurate and adequate information pertaining to the subject matter in the manual, within the limitations of its size. The manual has been written, edited and published, and is made available to all persons and entities, strictly on the basis that its authors, the Ministry for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand, fully exclude any liability in any way to any person or entity for damages in respect of or arising out of any reliance in part or full, by such person or entity or by any other person or entity, upon any of the contents of the manual for any purpose.