Under s357A there is a right of objection in respect of the consent authority’s decision on an application or review, provided that either:
- the application or review was notified; and either no submissions were received, or any submissions received were withdrawn (s357(1)(f)); or
- the application or review was not notified (s357(1)(g)).
Section 357B also provides for a right of objection to a request by council to pay additional charges or costs including where relevant EPA costs (s149ZD(2) or (3)) or a Minister’s costs with a board of inquiry (s149ZD(4)).
An objection must be made in writing and must be lodged with the council within 15 working days of receipt of the decision and must set out the reasons for the objection (s357C(1)-(2)).
In the case of an objection under s357A(1)(f) or (g), applicants are able to request under s357AB that their objection against a decision to be heard by an independent commissioner if the objection relates to:
- a decision of a council officer on a resource consent;
- an application to change or cancel a resource consent condition (s127) or consent notice condition (s221);
- a review of resource consent conditions (s128).
If an applicant makes such a request, the council must use independent commissioner(s) who are not members of the council and who are accredited (unless exceptional circumstances apply). The commissioner can call for further information (from the applicant, council or they can commission a report) if they consider that it would be helpful in determining the objection (s357CA).
The council (or commissioner) must consider the objection under s357A within 20 working days and if the objection has not been resolved, give at least five working days ' written notice to the objector of the date, time, and place for the hearing of the objection.
For objections made under s357B (objections to costs and charges) the council must consider the objection "as soon as reasonably practicable" and give written notice to the objectors, as for a s357A objection.
The council may choose to hear the objection; or where officers have delegation to do so, deal with it at officer level if agreement can be reached between the objector and the council.
A decision on an objection is to be made in writing and then served on the applicant within 15 working days of making the decision.
Appeals against objection decisions
An applicant dissatisfied with the council decision on the objection (under s357A(1)(a), (d), (f), or (g)), may appeal to the Environment Court under s358 within 15 working days of the receipt of the objection decision.
This avenue is not open if an appeal in respect of the same matter has been lodged under s120, or the matter to which the resource consent relates is excluded under s120A (i.e. it is a boundary activity (defined in s87AAB), a subdivision, or a residential activity (defined in s95A(6) unless any of these activities has a non-complying activity status).