Governments are finding ways to stop pollution and reckless and abusive use of natural resources. As a nation gifted with abundant natural resources, New Zealand has the responsibility to preserve them. For this reason, its parliament came up with the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), a piece of legislation aimed to protect the country from environmental degradation. An essential part of this law is the need for the application of resource consent of companies.
What is Resource Consent?
Resource consent is an approval by the government to carry out any planned activity that uses natural resources, such as land that does not comply with the RMA, the regulations associated with it, as well as the local district or regional planning in the area where the activity will take place. The government releases consents on land use, water use, discharges, and coastal use.
Steps for Lodging Complaint
But what if you want to question the granting of consent to a corporation or an individual? Whilst this procedure can be arduous, the government will allow you to hear your objection with the counsel of a reliable resource management lawyer. But this can take a long time. Hence, you need to plan first to ensure that your objection will be heard and granted. Here are the steps to carry out your opposition.
- Consult with your local council
To lodge your complaint, you should head to the Resource Management office of your local council to get a consultation. During these consultations, you can have a chance to resolve your concerns through amicable means. Remember, a formal objection process can take time to proceed.
Unless the resource consent application is only for a controlled activity or its adverse effects on the environment will only be minimal, the local council will issue public notice of the application as well as the objection and will notify specific interested parties including, related government agencies, owners and occupiers of the land affected by your application, and others. By law, the council should do this within ten working days of the lodging of the consent application.
Once the application has been publicly notified or if the council has notified you, you should submit your objection to the resource consent application. After being informed, you would be given 20 working days after being notified to file your written complaint.
- Attend Hearings
You, the council, your other person objecting to the application, may call for a pre-hearing meeting of all interested parties for resolving the issue. As a complainant, you must attend the hearing; otherwise, your objection may not be entertained. The council may designate the consent applicant and anyone who objected to mediation, but only if all of you agree.
The council may hold a hearing proper not more than 25 working days after the closing date for submissions on the application. If you have stated in your submitted complaint that you want a hearing, the council should give you a notice of the date, time and place of the discussion.
- Appeal If Needed
Days after the meeting, the council will hand over its written decision stating the reasons for the decision, the main issues, and a summary of the evidence heard during the meetings and the main principal findings of fact. If you are still not satisfied by the decision, you can appeal to the environment court with JGH Barrister.
Protection of the environment is anybody’s responsibility. If you find violations to the RMA of a company or individual applying for resource consent, you can lodge your objection and complaint with a reliable resource management lawyer.