Making Plans Operative

Making proposed regional policy statements, regional plans and district plans (including plan changes) operative is the final step in the plan-making process established in sections 60, 64, 65, 73 and Schedule 1 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). While certain actions are specified in the RMA, making a policy statement or plan operative also follows internal processes, such as the specific delegations in a particular council. As well as ensuring the correct process is followed, councils must consider the impact of making a plan operative as it may trigger other actions and have wider implications for the council and the community.

Making a policy statement, plan or plan change operative can often take more time than anticipated. The administrative process may also vary for different plans. For example, it may be possible in a plan change to carry out all required actions outlined above concurrently, whereas the process may be more iterative for a whole plan. As a result, the initial operative date may change after you have worked through the process and considered all the implications. An example is provided of the process for making a plan change operative, as described in the guidance note.

A number of differences in making regional coastal plans operative are covered later in this guidance note.

When reading the following guidance, the term 'plan ' should be taken to include proposed policy statements, plans and plan changes, unless expressed otherwise.

The Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2013 introduces a streamlined plan-making process that only applies to the development of the first Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP). This guidance note has not been amended to include changes to the AUP plan-making process, rather it focuses on plan-making prescribed by the Resource Management Act 1991. For information about the process for the first AUP, refer to the Ministry for the Environment’s Fact Sheets