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‘Deemed permitted activity- Is it your saviour??

Updated: Feb 14

The RMA governs the resource consent process throughout all of New Zealand. Within this legislative framework a ‘Deemed Permitted Activity’ enables authorities the discretion to deem certain activities to be permitted and they are therefore exempt from needing to obtain resource consent.

There are two types of deemed permitted activities:

  1. A Deemed Permitted Boundary activity involves an infringement to a boundary standard (for example side yard or height in relation to boundary) where the correct information and written approval of the relevant neighbour is provided to your local council.

  2. A Deemed permitted marginal or temporary activity is where the consent authority has decided (at their discretion), there is a marginal or temporary rule breach. The effects of the activity must be no different in character, intensity, or scale than they would be in the absence of the rule breach. The adverse effects on any person must be less than minor.

A comparison of the deemed permitted activities is provided below[1].

Figure 1: Comparison of deemed permitted activities pathways

Where did the term ‘Deemed Permitted Activity’ come from?

In 2017 the term ‘Deemed Permitted Activity’ was introduced to the RMA. Prior to this amendment every activity breaching a rule in a district or regional plan required resource consent. This was regardless of the extent of the rule breach, or if people potentially affected by the activity had provided written approval.

The introduction of ‘Deemed Permitted activity’ changed resource consent requirements , essentially ensuring consent obligations under the RMA are proportionate to the level of effects. This introduced significant time and cost improvements to the resource consent process for low risk and low effect activities.

What is a boundary activity?

An activity is a “boundary activity” if it requires a resource consent because of one or more boundary rule infringements. No other district rule infringements, or infringements towards a public boundary are allowed.

A boundary rule means a district rule that relates to—

(a) the distance between a structure and 1 or more boundaries of the site; or

(b) the dimensions of a structure in relation to its distance from 1 or more boundaries of the site.

How to apply for a deemed permitted boundary activity

In order to utilise the Deemed Permitted Boundary activity pathway under the RMA, a formal application must be made to your local council. An application should include the following information as further detailed in section 87BB of the RMA:

  1. Plans which details the boundary activity and standard being infringed.

  2. Written approvals from the neighbouring landowner who is affected by the boundary activity. The correct forms must be completed along with the proposed plans being signed by the affected party.

Figure 2: Different pathways for deemed permitted activities

While still a formal process, this is a much more straight forward and cheaper process. Its often completed by the landowners themselves, or their architect.

Want more information?

Got something a little more complicated in mind? While some developments can make use of the Deemed Permitted process, there are a number that can’t- if you’re in that situation we’re here to help. We’re a friendly team of highly experienced professionals specialising in resource consents and are here to take the stress out of the process for you! Contact us on or 09 427 9966 for a no- obligation discussion of your project.


As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s.

© Planning Plus Ltd 2023


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