Fees and Charges FAQs

Please also have a read of our Schedule of Fees and Charges for full information. 

When you apply for a resource consent, you also need to submit an initial deposit or pay a fixed fee with your application. These vary depending on the type of consent you apply for and how your application will be processed. Additional charges may apply depending on the nature and complexity of your application.  

Consent application charges aim to cover the costs associated with processing your application including, staff time, travel costs, hearing costs, public notification (if required). 

All of the charges for consents are made under either section 36 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), under section 150 of the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA), or section 243 of the Building Act 2004 (BA). These charges are also consistent with our Revenue and Financing Policy.  

The RMA has an emphasis on the user pays principle; those who benefit from the use of natural and physical resources are expected to pay the full costs of that use. The charges for resource consents reflect that philosophy.  

We are a customer service focused organisation. We want to provide you with excellent service and value for money. You have a right to service that reflects the payment of your charges.  

To this end, the charges in our Fees and Charges are:  

  • Reasonable, fair, and consistent  
  • Based on the services we deliver  

The principles that have guided ORC in setting its resource management charges in the schedule of Fees and Charges (in the Annual Plan) are set out below.  

Charges must be lawful  

We can only levy charges that are allowed by the RMA and the LGA.  

Section 36 of the RMA covers consent application charges, consent administration and monitoring charges, and charges for carrying out state of the environment monitoring. This section also covers charging for information in respect of plans, resource consents and the supply of documents.   

Section 150 of the LGA enables ORC to prescribe the fees payable in respect of any inspection made by ORC under the LGA or any other legislation.  

Charges must be reasonable  

The sole purpose of a charge is to recover the reasonable costs incurred by ORC in respect of the activity to which the charge relates – see RMA (section 36AAA(2)), LGA (section 150), and BA (section 243).  

Charges must be fair  

Charges must be fair and relate to consent holders' activities. ORC can only charge consent holders to the extent that their actions have contributed to the need for ORC's work in relation to the consent.   

Where possible, ORC will look for opportunities to streamline and improve processes to ensure that consent processing functions continue to be cost effective and efficient.  

Charges must be uniformly applied  

Charges should be applied uniformly and consistently to users whose activities require them to hold a consent and where ORC incurs ongoing costs.   

Charges must be simple to understand  

Charges should be clear and easy to understand. The administration and collection of charges should also be simple and cost effective.  

Charges must be transparent  

Charges should be calculated clearly, logically and justifiably. The costs to be recovered for work ORC has done should be identifiable.   

Applications for resource consents  

Resource consents are processed as either non-notified, limited notified, or publicly notified. The majority of consent applications are processed as non-notified. Our staff are happy to provide advice about your application for a resource consent. Our aim is to ensure your application is processed quickly and simply, while meeting the requirements set out in the RMA.   

Our policy is that we charge the actual and reasonable costs for processing a resource consent application or other application type. This is based on the charge out rates found here.  

Consent Deposits 

We require the deposit or fixed fee to be paid in full before we can begin to process your application. Where processing costs exceed the initial deposit an additional charge for actual and reasonable costs is made.  

Under section 36AAB(2) of the RMA, we will not begin to process any application until the initial fixed application charge is paid.   

Withdrawn or returned applications 

Application charges apply even if your consent application is declined or you withdraw your application. These charges are based on the actual and reasonable costs associated with the processing of your consent up to that point.  

For publicly notified resource consent applications and applications that are going to a hearing, we can provide you with a cost estimate which we will update where necessary. You will also be asked to pay a deposit for the hearing costs.  

How much an application costs to process is a combination of complexity (technical and planning), quality of the application and if it is notified or not. We will only charge you for our time and our experts time, we do not on charge any time associated with your interactions with any stakeholders or affected parties. 



You must the deposit up front, before we can begin processing your application, if costs exceed this initial deposit then we will invoice you. We do not currently invoice you on an ongoing basis while processing your consent, rather we invoice at the end of the process.  

We will invoice you after the consent has been issued. We invoice monthly, so you may not get your invoice for the work for some time after your consent has been issued. We are working on this process so that you are invoiced sooner. 

To process your resource consent application or other application type we charge for our actual and reasonable costs based on actual staff time spent. The charge-out rate is dependent on the services provided as outlined in the Scale of Charges found here   

We may use external consultants to help process or audit your consent application. Consultant services are charged on the basis of actual and reasonable cost of the services provided. For some of our invoices this will show up as ‘disbursements’ or as ‘consultants’ 

There are two types of consultant charges you may receive: 

Science or technical reviews 

You may incur consultant charges if we need to have your application audited by a technical expertThis is to ensure that the effects of your activity are as stated and to ensure we make the right notification decision. We may come back to you and the consultant working on your application with questions as a result of this audit. 

The work is passed onto external technical experts because it may be a complex technical application that requires review, or because there is no capacity for it to be assessed internally. 

Depending on the application it may be audited even if you have a report prepared by a qualified or experienced technical expert. 

External consent processing  

Some applications are processed by consultant consent officers. This is due to capacity limitations. We have skilled consultants working for us and their costs are generally in line with those of an internal staff member. If your application is urgent then you can ask for it to be assigned to an external officer for faster processing. We can work with you on whether this is the best option. 

If you are happy for your application not to be processed straight away it will go in the cue for processing by an internal staff member.  

If your application is processed internally, instead of being assigned externally we may ask for a time extension while it's waiting to be assigned to a processing officer. 

You can let us know which option you would prefer when you apply for your consent. 

As outlined in our Schedule of Fees and Charges you will be charged for the cost to hold a consent hearing. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • ORC staff time during the hearing, preparing and organising for the hearing and writing any evidence. This also includes any time of the ORC’s experts or lawyers if they are needed to be part of the reporting team.  
  • The costs of the decision-makers if they are Councillors, or if you have requested an independent decision-maker.  
  • Time and cost for attending a site visit, by an ORC staff member and the decision makers.  

If you consider any additional charge exceeding the initial deposit is unreasonable, you may object to ORC in accordance with s357 of the RMA. You need to make your objection in writing to ORC within 15 working days of receiving your account. ORC will hear your objection and make a decision on whether to uphold it.   

If you are still not satisfied, then you can appeal ORC’s decision to the Environment Court.  

Yes, you will need to pay your application deposit (or fixed fee) and then any additional costs invoiced to you. If you are wanting to seek funding support for your project, or to cover the application fees then you need to seek funding assistance before the application is lodged with Council. From 1 July 2021, we introduced a fund to help community or catchment groups with the costs of resource consent processing fees, we have a total fund of $50,000 annually for this purpose. Find out more about this here.

ORC has funding available through our ECO Fund which supports community-driven projects that protect, enhance and promote Otago's environment. The ECO Fund will not support application fees but it does support the on-ground and administrative costs of projects that could free up funds for the application fees. You can find out more here.

Back to top
Online Maps & Data: