Buller District Council


The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) sets guidelines for the use of New Zealand’s natural and physical resources, in both the urban and rural environment.

Local authorities (eg district, city and regional councils) are required to implement the RMA and oversee its day to day running. The main way we do this is by drawing up district and regional plans – documents that interpret the objectives of the RMA and translate these into actual rules and laws that apply within specific districts and regions.

Permission must be obtained to carry out activities that are restricted or controlled by the rules set out in the District Plan.

When is a resource consent needed?

You must apply for a resource consent when you plan to carry out activities that:

  • are not permitted “as of right” in the district or regional plan or
  • exceed the rules of the district or regional plan in some way.

To find out whether you need to apply for resource consent, contact us to discuss your proposed activity. You will also find the rules and controls relating to specific activities by referring to the relevant section of the District Plan.

If you believe that your proposed activity is permitted or can be carried out without resource consent, you may wish to apply for a Certificate of Compliance.

There are 2 main types of resource consent for District Council’s:

  • Land use consents
  • Subdivision consents

Land Use Consent

The rules relating to land use consents are contained within the Council’s District Plan. The rules are contained within the following parts:

Land use consents are most commonly required for:

  • Overhead power lines
  • Advertising signs
  • Vegetation clearance
  • Boundary encroachments
  • Mining and prospecting
  • Large scale commercial activity
  • New roads
  • Factory farming
  • Any activity that complies with the controlled or discretionary standards for the zone
  • And any activity which does not comply with the standards for permitted activity in the zone

Subdivision Consent

Most subdivisions cannot take place in the Buller district without receiving subdivision consent from the Council, although some types of subdivisions are permitted without Council consent.

subdivision includes freehold and leasehold land, cross leases and unit titles.

The rules relating to subdivision consents are contained within the following parts of the district plan:

Part 5 also has rules relating to what activities are permitted in the zones. Where the subdivision is for a purpose or building which is not a permitted activity, a land use consent will also be required.

A subdivision plan or certification of accuracy by a licensed Cadastral Surveyor needs to be submitted with a subdivision consent application.

How to apply for a resource consent

You (or someone representing you) will need to complete an application form and submit to Council.

It is important to supply as much information as possible in order for the consent to be processed in the minimum time. If we need to request further information from you, this will affect when we can begin processing your application.

The basic information that will be required includes:

  • completed application form
  • written description of the proposal (this may include how the proposal complies with the district plan provisions)
  • Assessment of Environmental Effects (this should include, but not be limited to issues such as increases in traffic, effects on vegetation and visual impacts of buildings)
  • For Land Use Consents, location plan of the proposed activity (this should include the positions of boundaries, any features of natural or historic significance, any existing or proposed buildings, fences or landmarks, such as hills, plantation or lake)
  • Written affected parties approval
  • a copy of the Computer Freehold Register for the site, printed no more than three months prior to submitting the application
  • Deposit fee

For a complete list of the information to be included in an application for resource consent see below.

How long will it take?

Resource consents are processed on a full cost recovery basis. The actual cost of your resource consent will depend on the amount of time it takes to process it. You can reduce the processing time by ensuring you complete all forms thoroughly, providing Council with all of the required information and obtaining ‘Affected Party Approval’ from all parties you think will be affected by your application, before you submit your application to Council.

If your application does not need to be notified a decision should be made within 20 working days of Council receiving a complete application from you. If your application needs to be limited notified (only people who are considered to be affected by your application are notified) then the decision should be made within 50 working days of receiving a complete application and if it needs to be publically notified a decision should be made within 70 working days of receiving a complete application. If Council needs to request additional information from you the days will stop counting until that information has been provided.

For more information about the different types of notification and the steps and timeframes for processing resource consents, see the guides on the Ministry for the Environment’s website.

A deposit is required at the time you submit your resource consent application. If the cost of processing your application is more than the deposit you will be invoiced for the additional amount once a decision has been made on your
application. Resource management charges and deposit amounts are set annually through Council’s Annual Plan and the full list can be viewed in the Fees & Charges.


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