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Consent Activity Categories

There are six types of activity categories based on their expected effects, ranging from minor to major. These categories determine whether a resource consent is needed before carrying out the activity, what factors are considered when deciding on a resource consent application, and whether a resource consent must, can, or cannot be granted.  Sections 104 to 104D of the Resource Management Act outline what can be considered when applying for a consent for each of these categories. 

Rules outlined in regional and district plans will determine which category a particular activity will fall under.

The six categories are as follows:

Permitted – This is the only category where you don’t need to apply for resource consent. As long as you can meet the conditions outlined in the Resource Management Act, regulations, or relevant plan for that activity, you can carry out that activity without a resource consent.

Controlled – The council must approve a controlled activity application provided it meets certain conditions. Council can only control the specific aspects of the activity outlined in the rule in the relevant plan or reserved in national environmental standards.

Restricted discretionary – A council has the authority to decide whether to approve or reject an application for a restricted discretionary activity.  Matters that a council can consider when processing the application are ‘restricted’ to those specified in the relevant plan or regulated by national environmental standards or other regulations.

Discretionary – A council has complete discretion to grant or decline an application for a discretionary activity. If granted, conditions can be set pertaining to any aspect that aids in managing the potential adverse effects of the activity.

Non-complying – a council can only grant an application for a non-complying activity if its adverse effects are minor, or if it is consistent with the plan’s objectives and policies. If consent is granted, the council can impose conditions aimed at managing the potential adverse effects of the activity.  Non-complying activities will be subject to a greater degree of scrutiny and also indicates that certain activities are not likely to be appropriate.

Prohibited – A prohibited activity cannot be carried out and you cannot apply for a resource consent for a prohibited activity. The only way to carry out a prohibited activity is to apply for a plan change to reclassify the activity.

Written by Jessica Hunter – Environmental Consultant