Costs to applicants and consent holders
Under section 36 of the Resource Management Act, regional councils can set charges to help recover the reasonable costs incurred in carrying out their resource management functions.
Waikato Regional Council’s resource consent charging system is based on the principle of ‘user pays’. This means that if your activity requires consent then it is fair that you contribute towards the cost of assessing and monitoring the consent and for maintaining records relating to that activity.
We set our fees and charges each year during our annual and long term planning processes. The schedule of fees and charges above is taken from this year's long term plan. It includes this year's fixed application charges, staff charge rates and resource consent holder charges.
When you apply for your resource consent, you will need to pay any costs involved in assessing and processing your application including pre-application meetings. These costs will be charged whether your application is granted or declined. Some types of applications have a standard, flat fee but most applications are charged on an "actual costs" basis. In those cases, we ask for a non-refundable deposit before we begin processing your resource consent application, and after an initial evaluation of your consent application, we will send you a letter indicating the likely full costs of processing your application. These costs will vary depending on the potential environmental impacts of your activity and the amount of staff time required to process and assess your consent.
Our costs are determined using the formula:
Charge = (staff time X charge rate) + direct costs including disbursements + notification + hearing costs
Typically, each month we will send you an invoice for costs incurred during the previous month. At the end of the process, a final invoice for the last of the costs will be posted to you along with the council’s decision on the application. Your initial deposit will be deducted from this final invoice.
- Simple, non-notified applications that contain all the required information are likely to cost $500 to $1500.
- Applications that have been subject to public or limited notification which do not go to a hearing are likely to cost between $2500 and $7500.
- Notified applications, where the activity may have significant effects on people and environment (and therefore involve public meetings and hearings), are likely to cost $10,000 or more. For these more complicated applications, we may seek a further deposit prior to a hearing of up to 50 per cent of the estimated costs to come.
Reducing application costs
You can help reduce the costs involved in processing your application:
- Talk to us about your proposal before you start your application.
- Talk with any person, group or party who may be affected by your proposal. Record their views, and get written approvals from them if possible.
- Make sure you apply for all the resource consents that your proposal requires.
- Fully complete all the consent application forms. Include all the required supporting information.
- If we ask you for any further information, get all of it back to us as soon as you can.
- There may be submissions against your application. Do as much as you can to resolve the issues.
- If your proposed activity looks like it might be large and complex, with the potential to widely affect the environment and / or other people, then you should look at getting professional advice from an environmental consultant.
Annual consent holder charges
As a consent holder, you may need to pay an associated annual charge. Annual consent holder charges vary depending on the scale of the activity. Annual charges pay for a portion of Waikato Regional Council's environmental information and data gathering, as well as a uniform charge to contribute towards the administrative costs associated with running the consent processing business (for example, maintaining consent systems, records, managing consent life-cycle processes etc.)
You’ll need to pay this charge from the time your consent is granted until your consent either expires or you have surrendered it. You are required to pay annual charges even if you are not physically exercising your consent. This reflects the fact that many of the matter that these charges go toward funding are not dependent upon the consent being exercised. Having said that, there are circumstances where a remission of charges may be available for some consent holders (e.g. where, due to circumstances beyond the consent holder's control, the consent cannot be exercised). A remission must be sought in writing. Whole or part-remissions of charges are approved entirely at the Council's discretion.
We may monitor your activity to make sure you are complying with your consent conditions. You will be charged to cover staff time and material costs associated with this monitoring, such as:
- site inspections
- sample collection and processing
- data analysis
- reviewing management and monitoring plans
- reporting on monitoring work undertaken.
The need for monitoring and monitoring frequency will vary depending on your consent activity. For example, an activity such as an air discharge has the potential to significantly affect people or the environment, so it may be monitored several times a year. Activities such as small dams or minor water takes may only be monitored once every year or less.
We will also check out any complaints or reports of non-compliance we may receive about your activity. If the complaint is justified, you’ll be charged for the travel, inspection and administration costs involved with our investigation.
Our costs are determined using the formula:
Charge = (staff time X charge rate) + direct costs including disbursements.
Consent information and advice charges
We will charge for staff time and material costs when providing resource consent information, documents and technical advice (including advice as to whether a consent is required for a particular activity).
The first half-hour of staff time involved in providing this information and advice will not be charged, after which the total staff time spent in providing the information will be charged.
If you disagree with our charges in general, you should write to us about it. These charges are reviewed every year as part of our annual planning process, and anyone is allowed to make a submission on our charging decisions. The time to do this is usually about March or April each year, when the plan is open for public scrutiny.
If you feel that your consent specifically has been incorrectly or unfairly charged, you may write in and formally request a review of your charge. You need to provide us with a valid reason as to why your charge should be adjusted and we will consider your case.
Last updated 18 July 2018