Making a submission

Submissions on ORC plans and policy statements

The Resource Management Act requires councils to develop and maintain plans that clearly outline how the council manages the environment. If part of any plan needs to change or be completely updated, there are steps the council needs to take. Part of this process is to seek feedback from the public by way of submissions.

Click here to see open consultations.

You can also make a submission on an application for resource consent, read more about this here.


Everything you need to know about making a submission

This is a new process for most people, and we want you to feel confident at each step. If you follow the list below the submission process should be smooth sailing.

A submission is a formally written statement, that gives you a way to have your say on the development and implementation of ORC plans and policies. A submission must be completed on a particular submission form (Form 5). This can be done online or on paper. Click here for current consultations and their associated submission forms.

Anyone can make a submission. You can submit as an individual or as part of a group. There might be other people in your community who share your views or thoughts - you can make a group submission. You will need to appoint a spokesperson for the group and this person needs to be clearly identified on the submission.

Equal consideration is given to group submissions and individual submissions.

No, there is no cost when you make a submission.

A submission can be made when a new plan, policy statement or plan change is notified. “Notified” is when a council informs the public about a plan change or new plan by placing a public notice in relevant newspapers. In Otago, this is the Otago Daily Times. The notice is also put on our website.

Anyone can make a submission during the submission period, which is the time that the consultation is open. Check the closing date for submissions for each consultation here to make sure you complete your submission on time.

Prior to starting your submission, find out as much information as you can, such as what is being proposed and how it will affect you. You can talk with the policy team at ORC (0800 474 082) for advice about your submission and/or to get further information about a proposed plan, policy statement or plan change.

Think about the reasons you want to make a submission and use this as the basis of your submission. It’s important to avoid including items that have not been identified within the proposed plan, policy statement or plan change as these will not be considered in this process.

Your submission can either support, oppose or provide a neutral view of all or part of the proposed plan, policy statement or plan change. If you want to make a submission on specific parts, you need to identify these by referencing pages, paragraphs or points.

In your submission you need to clearly identify what effect the proposed plan, policy statement or plan change will have on you, and what you think the outcome should be.

If you are making a group submission, you need to identify a contact spokesperson.

Your submission should indicate whether you want to speak at a hearing in support of your submission. Speaking at a hearing is not compulsory but is an opportunity to present your submission and answer any questions.

An effective submission will:

  • Use simple everyday words and bullet points to break up long sentences. Your submission should be clear and easy to read, with one point per paragraph or sentence.
  • Clearly explain how the proposal affects you and outline the positive and negative effects.
  • Stick to the facts and issues that are relevant.
  • Use maps, photos or short videos to help emphasise your point. If it’s a video make sure you request adequate time to play it at the hearing, or a commitment from decision makers that they will watch it in their own time.
  • Use your local knowledge to describe any effects that the proposed plan, policy statement or plan change may not have identified.
  • Clearly state concerns about environmental effects and how you would like to see these be addressed.
  • Provide suggestions for alternative approaches and why these should be considered.
  • Conclude with a summary covering your issues and clearly state the decision you wish the Council to reach.

If you are sending in a paper submission, type it and remember to sign your name.

If you are going to speak at the hearing remember you can only speak about issues raised in your written submission.

Please note: Submissions are public information so everything that’s in it will be publicly available.

You can make a submission online or by completing a submission document (PDF) and emailing it to or posting it to Otago Regional Council, 70 Stafford Street, Private Bag 1954, Dunedin 9054.

Your submission may be written in English, te reo Maori, or New Zealand Sign Language. If you wish to submit in Sign Language, you will need to contact council so we can organise an appropriate way to receive your submission. If you are submitting in sign or te reo, we will need to organise a translation.

The submissions period is open for:

  • 20 days for a proposed plan change
  • 40 days for a proposed policy statement
  • 40 days for a proposed plan

Late submissions may not be accepted so please allow plenty of time for post or courier.

Click here for proposed plans, policy statements or plan changes that are open for submissions.


Other information

A submission (or part of your submission) may be struck out if the authority is satisfied that at least one of the following applies to the submission (or part of the submission):

  • It is frivolous or vexatious
  • It discloses no reasonable or relevant case
  • It would be an abuse of the hearing process to allow the submission (or the part) to be taken further
  • It contains offensive language
  • It is supported only by material that purports to be independent expert evidence but has been prepared by a person who is not independent or who does not have sufficient specialised knowledge or skill to give expert advice on the matter.
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