Exercise of resource consent while applying for new resource consent / Lapsing of consent

When resource consent is due to expire and a consent holder applies for a new consent for the same activity, s124 allows a consent holder to continue to exercise their existing consent until a new consent is granted or declined and all appeals are determined if:

  • the new application is lodged at least six months before the expiry of the existing consent, or

  • the new application is lodged between three and six months before the expiry of the existing resource consent and the council agrees to the applicant continuing to exercise their original consent.

Sections 124A to 124C outline how the council must consider new applications under s124 if other consent applications are received to use the same natural resource as the existing consent holder. The provisions of sections 124A to 124C relate to new applications from either the existing consent holder or other persons.

Section 124 does not apply to an application to which section 165ZH applies. Section 165ZH applies to processing applications for existing coastal permit holders in relation to aquaculture activities.

Section 124B gives priority to the existing consent holder to have their new consent application determined ahead of anyone else competing for the same resource. In determining the new application, the council must consider all relevant provisions of the RMA and whether the existing consent holder:

  • uses the resource efficiently, and

  • uses industry good practice, and

  • has been served with an enforcement order that was not later cancelled or has been convicted for an offence under s338.

Section 124C relates to competing applications by persons who are not existing consent holders. This section also gives priority to the existing consent holder. Such applications need to be made at least three months before the expiry of the existing consent. When such applications are received, the council must hold the application without processing it and notify the existing consent holder that the application has been received and that they may make an application for a new consent.

If the existing consent holder does make a new application within the three month time frame before the consent expiring, the council must hold the other resource consent application until the application by the existing consent holder and any subsequent appeal has been determined. If the consent is granted, the application by the other person lapses.

If the existing consent holder advises in writing they do not wish to make a new application or they do not make a new application at least three months before the expiry of the consent, the council can then process the other application. However, any consent granted cannot be fully exercised until the expiry of the existing consent.

Section 124 generally applies to water and discharge permits which have a maximum duration of 35 years.

Please note that subsequent changes to any of the RMA planning documents (or any new documents) under which the resource consent or coastal permit is applied for, can change the status of any new resource consent. The new resource consent can therefore be impacted by any new planning documents that have come into force since the consent was granted and will need to be assessed.