After an agreement is reached through negotiation or mediation, the parts that relate to the RMA, such as consent conditions, still have to be formalised through the statutory process. The decision-maker can accept or reject these parts of the agreement. The decision-maker is likely to be influenced by the parties agreement on how adverse environment effects should be avoided, reduced or mitigated, but it is not bound to accept the parts of the agreement that relate to the RMA.
The decision-maker is likely to be influenced by the practicality of being able to enforce conditions. The decision-making authority does not need to be informed about confidential parts of the agreement. For example, the Council or the Court will be told if an arrangement for screen planting on the neighbour's property has been agreed between the parties, but is not likely to be told that compensation has been paid.
Similarly, after a negotiation or mediation has resolved matters under appeal, the Environment Court still has to decide through a consent order, to accept or reject those parts of the agreement that relate to the RMA. The Court is likely to reject an agreement that could adversely affect the public interest, goes beyond the scope of the submissions, or suggests conditions which cannot be enforced.