Fees and charges

Otago Regional Council's resource consent charging system is based on the principle of ‘user pays’. This means that if your activity requires a consent then you pay the costs of assessing and monitoring the consent and maintaining records relating to that activity.

Our application fees and deposits are set through the Long Term Plan (LTP) and Annual Plan process.



Important note regarding invoicing of consent applications:

On 1 July 2024 we will be transferring to a new financial system.

What does this mean for you?

The main change is the information shown on your invoices.  Transferring to the new financial system will not change the overall costs of your consent.

What are the changes?

If you paid a fixed fee, you have already covered the set cost of the application so do not need to do anything else (and you will not receive another invoice).

If you paid a deposit only:

  • If your application is completed before Friday 5 July 2024, you will receive a final invoice from our current system.

  • If your application is open and is being processed after 1 July 2024 you will receive an interim invoice for any charges accrued over the deposit you paid. This interim invoice will have a running total of all time spent on your application since lodgement, till 30 June 2024. Future invoices will not include information from before 1 July 2024, so we recommend keeping your copy of this interim invoice (if you receive one) to keep a record of the charges for your consent application.

  • If you consent application costs are less than your deposit paid as of 30 June 2024, your deposit balance remaining will be transferred over to the new financial system.

This transferring of financial systems will not affect your consent application, and there is no further action required from you for this process. 

When you apply for your resource consent, you will need to pay a deposit and any additional costs over and above your deposit. Costs relate to assessing and processing your application. These costs will be charged whether your application is granted or declined. Note, a few types of applications have a fixed fee but most do not.

If you pay a deposit, it will not cover the full cost of processing the application, and it is very likely that you will need to pay further costs at the rate shown in the Scale of Charges.

These costs will vary depending on:

  • the potential environmental impacts of your activity
  • the quality and completeness of your application
  • the amount of staff time needed to process and assess your consent.

When you owe us more than $1,000 (excluding GST) an end-of-month interim invoice will be sent.

A final invoice is sent once your application has been fully processed.

Returned applications

If your application is returned to you because it didn’t have all the required information, then you will be charged for the time taken to consider the application and return it to you.

The latest scale of charges are as below.

Staff time per hour:




Team Leader/Principal


Senior Technical




Field Staff




Specialist Expert Services (i.e. Science, Hazards or Engineering)




Additional site notice




Vehicle use per kilometre

As per IRD published rates

Harbourmaster vessel per hour


Travel and accommodation


Testing charges








Councillor Hearing fees per hour:








Resource Management Act – Section 36 Charges

Set out below are details of the amounts payable for those activities to be funded by fees and charges, as authorised by Section 36(1) of the Resource Management Act 1991.

Resource Consent application fees

Note that the fees shown below are a deposit to be paid on lodgement of a consent application and applications for exemptions in respect of water measuring devices. The deposit will not usually cover the full cost of processing the application, and further actual and reasonable costs are incurred at the rate shown in the scale of charges. GST is included in all fees and charges. Costs for applications are typically invoiced at the end of process.

Pre-Application work

We offer a pre-application service to help customers. The first 30 minutes of Consent Planner time is free of charge. We will let you know an estimate of costs before we start charging for application advice. Fees payable for pre-application work carried out before a consent application is lodged with Council will be incurred at the rates shown in the scale of charges.

Publicly Notified Applications Deposits: 3


First application

One off compliance administration fee applies to this application



Non-notified applications and Limited Notified Applications Deposits: 3


First application (except those listed below)

One off compliance administration fee applies to this application



Multiple applications

One off compliance administration fee applies to this application



Variation to conditions - s127


Administrative variation - s127


Multiple bores


Deemed Permitted Activity 1,750

Fixed fees


 Single bore


 Intensive Winter Grazing Consent


Exemption under regulation 7A of the Water Metering Regulations


Exemptions under regulations 9 or 10 of the Water Metering Regulations



Per note 2 below

Payment for Commissioner request - s100A

Per note 4 below



Payment for Commissioner request – s357AB

Per note 4 below

Transfers and Certificates Deposits:


Transfer of permits and consents


Priority Table


Section 417 Certificate


Certificate of Compliance


All other costs

As per scale of charges



  1. For additional permits in respect of the same site, activity, applicant, time of application, and closely related effect as the first application.

  2. The deposit payable shall be 90% of the cost of a hearing as calculated by Council in accordance with information contained in the application file and using the scale of charges. The amount payable will be due at least 10 working days before the commencement of the hearing. If the amount is not paid by the due date, then the Council reserves the right under S36(7) of the Resource Management Act to stop processing the application. This may include cancellation of the hearing.

    Should a hearing be cancelled or postponed due to the non-payment of the charge, the applicant will be invoiced for any costs that arise from that cancellation or postponement.

    Following completion of the hearing process, any shortfall in the recovery of hearing costs will be invoiced, or any over recovery will be refunded to the applicant.

  3. Where actual and reasonable costs are less than the deposit paid, a refund will be given.

  4. Where an applicant requests under s100A (for a consent hearing) or under s357AB (for the hearing of an objection) an independent commissioner(s); the applicant will be required to pay any increase in cost of having the commissioner(s).

You need to pay the initial application fee (deposit) when you submit your application. You can pay at any of our offices or online.

We must follow the steps in the RMA when we are processing a consent and each step has costs associated with it. Information about the process can be found here. For ‘standard’ applications that are not notified and do not need a hearing, your costs will relate to:

  • Entering your application into our database.
  • Our time reading and auditing the application to see if it is complete or not.
  • If needed, an audit of the technical information in your application and your assessment of effects. If a technical audit is needed is decided based on the level of risk associated with your application.
  • Deciding if we need further information about your application or not. If this is the case, you will be charged for the time taken to write this letter.
  • Writing reports on if your application about if it needs to be notified or not and if it can be approved or not. Most applications are not notified and are approved, but we still need to make a decision on notification. We use template reports to try and reduce the time taken to complete this step, but all applications are different and must be assessed individually.
  • Writing consent conditions relating to your activity. We have standard conditions we use in most cases, but again each application is different, and we need to ensure we put the right conditions on your consent.
  • Making and reviewing a notification and final decision on your application. This decision is made by a qualified decision maker.
  • Issuing the consent to you and then finalising it in our database.

There are other steps that contribute to the costs of processing the consent, which include: communication with you and any consultants working for you; asking you to provide written approvals and site visits when needed.

Please note: as a general rule the more complete an application is the less time is taken by staff in processing, which leads to lower overall costs.

If an application is limited or publicly notified, then the costs for processing it will increase as more work is needed. These additional costs can relate to holding a hearing, preparing a hearing report and evidence and costs for a decision maker. In general, we will not pass any legal costs onto you, however if they are a technical expert involved in a hearing then these costs may be passed onto you.

If your application does go to a hearing, we will provide you with an estimate of costs and seek that you pay a further deposit to cover part of these costs (see notes 2 and 4). You will also be invoiced at the end of the process for any other processing costs.

One of the best ways to reduce application costs is to talk to us as early on as possible about your application and what you are proposing to do. This is called a pre-application meeting, or pre-application review of your application.

Talking to us about your proposal before you start your application is strongly encouraged for all application types. We find that it can sort out any issues before the application comes in and lets you know what type of information we need. We are also happy to visit your site before the application comes in to help understand the proposal.

You can contact us  with any consent questions or request a pre-application discussion on consent.enquiries@orc.govt.nz or 0800 474 082. You can find out more about this on our "Ready to apply for a consent" page.

Other ways you can help reduce the costs involved in processing your application by doing the following:

  • Talking with any person, group or party who may be affected by your proposal. Record their views, and get written approvals from them if possible.
  • Making sure you apply for all the resource consents that your proposal requires.
  • Fully completing all the consent application forms.
  • Including all the required supporting information.
  • If we ask you for any further information, get all of it back to us as soon as you can.
  • There may be submissions against your application. Do as much as you can to resolve the issues.
  • If your proposed activity looks like it might be large and complex, with the potential to widely affect the environment and/or other people, then you should look at getting professional advice from an environmental consultant.

We set our fees and charges each year during our annual and long term planning processes. The schedule of fees and charges is taken from this year's annual plan, and details this year's fixed application charges, staff charge rates and resource consent holder charges.

Following the granting of a consent, a subsequent review of consent conditions may be carried out at either the request of the consent holder, or as authorised under Section 128, as a requirement of Council. Costs incurred in undertaking reviews requested by the consent holder will be payable by the consent holder at the rates shown in the Scale of Charges above.

Reviews initiated by Council will not be charged to consent holders.

1.  Performance Monitoring

The following charges will apply to the review of performance monitoring reports for all consent holders, except those listed in ‘Fees for Specific Consent Holders’ section below. The charges shown are annual fixed fees per performance monitoring report or plan and are inclusive of GST.

Resource consent monitoring and Annual Administration Charges


One off compliance administration fee to be charged on all new applications. Covers the cost of compliance monitoring systems.


Ongoing compliance administration fee to be charged on consents with Performance Monitoring requirements.


Late performance monitoring fee to be charged as required.


Annual Consent Compliance Monitoring Charges

Compliance monitoring charge for each other item due during the financial year (unless covered by one of the fees below) examples include management plans, provision of photos, bore logs, notifications, record of complaints, annual reports.


Annual charge for the receipt and processing of telemetered water take data/information (including verifications returns)


Each additional telemetered water measuring device


Annual charge for the receipt and processing of manual and data logger water take data/information (including verification returns), excludes those who hold a WEX for the installation of telemetry.


Each additional non telemetered water measuring device


Annual charge for the receipt and processing of all returns relating to small/simple discharge consents.


Annual charge for the receipt and processing of all returns relating to medium/moderately complex discharge consents.


Annual charge for the receipt and processing of all returns relating to large/complex discharge consents.


Annual charge for the receipt and processing of all returns relating to simple/small earthworks consents.


Annual charge for the receipt and processing of all returns relating to standard/medium earthworks consents.


Annual charge for the receipt and processing of all returns relating to complex/large earthworks consents. Very large developments may be set up as major clients.


Inspection reports for small dams


Inspection reports for large dams


Structural integrity report


Low flow monitoring charges


Kakanui at McCones


Unnamed Stream at Gemmels



* Charge for monitoring sites established by the ORC specifically to monitor consented activities in relation to river flows.

 Set Fees for Specific Consent Holders

Fees for Specific Consent Holders Performance monitoring fees will be charged as 75% of actual costs to major consent holders. Major consent holders are those that hold a large number of individual consents or where a consent contains complex monitoring requirements where applying the fixed charges listed above do not represent a fair and reasonable charge.

Additional charges may be incurred for new consents granted during the year.


2.  Resource consent audits

Monitoring compliance with consents and audit of resource consents will be charged at the actual and reasonable cost incurred using the Scale of Charges. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Staff time to carry out an inspection (if required), audit any monitoring information provided by consent holders, follow up any non-compliance and report back to consent holders (if required)
  • Any disbursements related to the monitoring, including sampling and testing costs and any specialist or technical advice needed


Resource consent non-compliance

Where non-compliance with resource consent conditions is identified, all follow-up work and enforcement action related to the consent non-compliance will be charged at the Scale of Charges.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Staff time to consider the non-compliance, prepare reports and correspondence, and any disbursements (e.g. sampling services, technical advice) related to consent non-compliance
  • Costs for generating and issuing enforcement notices
  • Inspections to determine compliance with an enforcement order or abatement notice to confirm that the required action has been taken and full compliance with the notice is achieved
  • Reactive site visits as a result of an incident notification (eg a complaint about water pollution or odour discharge), the consent holder is only charged if the consent is breached and non-compliance is observed
  • Costs for external consultants/contractors (actual charges)


Other Compliance Activities

The following activities will be charged at the actual and reasonable cost incurred, using the Scale of Charges:

  • Performance and compliance monitoring of permitted activities under a National Environmental Standard, including but not limited to Freshwater, Plantation Forestry and Storing Tyres Outdoors
  • Monitoring compliance of farm operators with freshwater farm plan regulations and receiving
    notifications and audit reports of freshwater farm plans
  • Monitoring Compliance Certificates


Non-Compliance, Incidents and Complaints

Pollution incidents and non-compliance with permitted activity rules

Where non-compliance with the RMA or permitted activity rules in Regional Plans or National Environment Standards is identified, the actual and reasonable costs and expenses incurred may be charged at the Scale of Charges. This includes, but is not limited to:

Dealing with initial response to the pollution incident such as initial enquiries and site visit.

  • Enforcement work including staff time for investigating, monitoring and reporting and any disbursements (e.g. sampling services and technical advice) related to the non-compliance.
  • Costs of any actions required to avoid, remedy, or mitigate the adverse environmental effect, including the remediation and clean-up


Gravel Inspection and Management

Gravel extraction fee – $0.66 per cubic metre (incl. GST). Where more than 10,000 cubic metres of gravel is extracted within a prior notified continuous two-month period, the actual inspection and management costs will be charged, as approved by the General Manager Corporate Services and CFO.


Resource Monitoring

Water or air monitoring work carried out for external parties - Scale of Charges.


Private Plan Changes

Work undertaken on privately initiated plan changes - Scale of Charges.


Contaminated Site Management

Clean up and remediation works - Scale of Charges.


We are here to help

Pre-application meetings and reviews

If you get in touch with us before you apply for a resource consent, we can check you are applying for the right type of consent and that you include enough information to avoid unnecessary delays and costs.

We offer different kinds of pre-application services:



  1. You can email or call us at any time with your consent questions and we will provide a response. This is best if you are certain about what you are applying for, or have a more general set of questions.
  2. A short meeting with one of our public enquiries' officers. These meetings are free and will last for up to 30 minutes. They will give you a high-level understanding of:
    • Whether your project will need a resource consent
    • What you need to do to get it
    • Which rules are likely to be triggered by your proposal
  3. An in-depth review of your application by a Consents Planner before it is lodged. This will provide you with advice on what is missing from your application. There are two kinds of in-depth pre-application meeting:
    • Standard pre-application meeting to get detailed feedback and notes on your proposal
    • Comprehensive pre-application meeting which is typically needed for large scale projects. If your proposal is complex, you may need multiple meetings before you're ready to apply.

Our time for the above is charged in line with our Scale of Charges.

To set up a pre-application meeting, fill in the Request for Pre-Application Advice Form and email to consent.applicaitons@orc.govt.nz



If you are not sure what advice you might need, email consent.enquiries@orc.govt.nz or call us on 0800 474 082.


Site Visits

At any time before you lodge your application, if you want to know what rules apply you can ask us to come out and visit you on site. As part of this we will come out on site and have a look at what you are proposing to do. This is a great option for all applications, but is recommended if you are looking at clearing a stream; want advice on what is a waterway or not, or are looking to discharge dairy shed effluent to land.

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