Have your say

During the resource consent process you have the right to be involved and heard. This brochure tells you how to prepare and present a submission on a resource consent application and what to expect at a pre-hearing meeting and during a hearing.

If you feel you are not being given the opportunity to have your say, or you do not understand what is happening, please contact the Northland Regional Council on 0800 002 004 to ask for assistance.

Resolving issues and decision-making

When anyone applies to the Northland Regional Council for a resource consent, and their application is notified, people or organisations who may be affected by the proposed activity may express their support or opposition through a written submission.

Submissions are taken into account when the regional council decides whether to approve or decline the application.

How to prepare a written submission

A submission is a written statement about a notified resource consent application. It may either be in support of the proposal, in opposition to it, or neutral.

The regional council has submission forms available – download these from the consent forms and fees section of this website or collect from any of the regional council’s offices. You can also phone 0800 002 004 to request a submission form.

What to include in your submission

Your submission must be in writing and should include:

  • The name of the applicant;
  • The reasons why you are making the submission, i.e. why you object to, or support, the resource consent application;
  • Whether or not you wish to speak at a formal hearing in support of your submission;
  • Your full name, address and telephone number;
  • The decision you would like to see, i.e. whether you want the resource consent to be granted or declined;
  • Any modifications to the proposal that would help meet your concerns including conditions you would like imposed if the resource consent is to be granted;
  • Explain exactly which part of the application you support or want changed and why;
  • Any evidence to support your argument; and
  • Whether you want independent commissioners to make the decision.

You may attach copied or printed material to your submission if you wish.

Your submission must be delivered, faxed, emailed or posted to the regional council’s Whāngārei office on or before the closing date stated in the public notice. Late submissions are generally not accepted. You must also send a copy of your submission to the applicant.

What happens to your submission

All submissions on a resource consent application will be collated by regional council staff who will summarise them.

The regional council may arrange a pre-hearing meeting to clarify issues and, if possible, resolve them informally rather than going directly to a formal hearing.

Pre-hearing meetings

Sometimes differences between the applicant and submitters who oppose the application can be resolved at pre-hearing meetings.

Pre-hearing meetings are usually organised by the regional council and provide an opportunity for the applicant and submitters to understand each others’ viewpoints and, if possible, resolve any points of disagreement.

In some cases these issues may be resolved to the satisfaction of the regional council, so there is no need for a formal hearing. Pre-hearing meetings, where they are held, are often facilitated by regional council staff, but they may be arranged and take place without the direct assistance of the regional council.

Hearings

A hearing is a formal process for considering resource consent applications. It gives the applicant and submitters the opportunity to formally present their cases to a Hearings Committee, which usually includes one or more regional councillors but may be made up entirely of independent commissioners.

Before the hearing, a Northland Regional Council Officer’s report will be sent to the applicant and to all those who have made submissions and indicated they wish to be heard, and to the Hearings Committee.

You will be given an approximate time when your submission will be heard. If you arrive early you will be given a seat to wait until your turn.

Evidence may be written or spoken in either English or Māori. An interpreter will be provided if a participant at the hearing requests this at least two weeks before the hearing.

A decision on the application will not usually be issued at the hearing. After the hearing the Hearings Committee will consider the issues before making a decision. The applicant and all submitters will be notified of the decision by mail to the address provided in the application or submission.