If there is an activity requiring a resource consent that has been notified, you can have your say on the application by writing a submission.

The most effective way for you to influence the resource consent process, is to make a submission on an application.

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) allows any person or organisation to make a submission on any notified application for resource consent.

Preparing your submission

A submission should clearly explain your views.

To understand what the applicant is proposing you should find out as much as possible about the proposal from the consent application.

Talk with the applicant about the proposal and any concerns you may have. You may also wish to talk with organisations or individuals who can provide technical information on the causes and consequences of effects, and possible ways of reducing or avoiding undesirable effects.

Our staff can provide background information about the proposal, explain the legal context and the resource consent procedures.

Your submission will be more effective if it is well structured and to the point, supports your views with adequate information and provides a clear, thorough analysis of the issues.

When writing the submission, keep these points in mind:

  • decide which are the most important points you want us to consider and concentrate on those
  • clearly explain how the proposal affects you and how effects could be dealt with (please note that only environmental effects will be considered - it is not the role of Otago Regional Council to consider effects on trade or business activity)
  • suggest alternatives to the proposed approach if you wish but provide reasons why these should be considered
  • if making a request, provide an adequate explanation of why it is needed
  • make it clear which part of the proposal your comments refer to - where possible refer to page or paragraph numbers
  • make sure your submission relates to the activity applied for, not peripheral activities.

How to make a submission

There are rules for the presentation of submissions. The submission must be in writing and clearly state:

  • the name of the applicant and the application (file) number
  • your reason for making the submission
  • whether your submission supports or opposes the specific parts of the application, or wish to have them amended
  • the decision you wish the Council to reach
  • whether you wish to speak at any hearing
  • the conditions you feel should be imposed if the consent is granted.
  • Tips and tricks to help prepare for the hearing process

Copies of your submission should be sent to us and the applicant at the same time.

You have 20 working days after public notification of the application to make your submission. The public notice will specify the addresses you must send your submission to, and the date and time by which it must arrive. Submissions can be sent by mail, fax or delivered in person.

Your submission may be written in Māori if you wish. At any meeting, you may speak in support of your submission in Māori. Please let us know if you would like to speak in te Reo Māori and an interpreter will be provided.

What happens to your submission?

All submissions received will be carefully considered and carry the same level of importance as other submissions and reports on the application. A copy of this submission will go on our website, and you must also make sure you send a copy to the Applicant.

As a submitter you will be told of the date of a pre-hearing meeting, if one is needed. At a pre-hearing meeting you will be able to talk about your submission and ask any questions you may have. A pre-hearing meeting is less formal than a hearing, so they are a great opportunity to talk though the application. A record of the meeting will be circulated to everyone involved in the hearing. ​

You may speak in support of your submission if you wish.

You will be notified if a hearing is required. You will also be able to speak at the hearing if you wish. You do not need to come and speak to your submission if you do not want to. It will still be considered with the same importance as all other submissions. If you are feeling a bit nervous or have any questions about the hearing process then please contact the Planner for the application.

You will be notified of the final decision. You have the right to appeal the decision, within 15 working days of receiving the decision.

The Resource Management Act 1991 specifies a time frame for the processing of applications. You may be required to respond quickly to any information sent to you.

Who will make a decision?

If a hearing is required, then a decision is made by qualified decision makers who can sometimes be Councillors. However, when you make a submission, you can request that a decision on the application is made by an independent decision maker.

There is a cost difference between having a decision made by a Councillor and an independent decision maker. If you request an independent person, then under our schedule of fees and charges you will need to pay this difference.


Page last updated 22 June 2024.