The Impact of the Latest RMA Reforms on Subdivision and Public Appeal Rights

In October 2017 there will be changes to the Resource Management Act regarding subdivision and public appeal rights. The intention behind these reforms is to reduce the time and complexity for people undertaking developments.

What are the changes?


Under the current legislation - S11 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) – subdivision can only be carried out if a National Environment Standard (NES), or a District Plan permits it. The reforms aim to reverse this restriction by allowing subdivision to occur unless it contravenes a National Environmental Standard or District Plan rule.


Currently, if an applicant is not happy with the outcome, they or the public can appeal to the Environment Court regarding the Council’s decision on a resource consent application.

There are four activity statuses for applications:

  • Controlled;

  • Restricted discretionary;

  • Discretionary;

  • Non-complying.

Non-complying is the most heavily scrutinised of the statuses.

The reforms propose to limit appeal rights under S120 of the RMA for subdivision resource consents to non-complying activities only. This will reduce the role of the Environment Court and reduce appeal rights (both for an applicant and the public). Some would say that the reforms are putting the private interests of the developers, above the public.

How Can a Planner Help?

A planner can identify the nature, status and emphasis that should be placed on certain rules at any particular time. They can base their decision on the stage in the RMA process that the rules are at.

Dealing with this change when making a resource consent application for subdivision, can be difficult to navigate. Planning Plus deals with rural and urban subdivision applications frequently and can readily assist you with your application, regardless of the scale. You can see some examples of our work on our website,

Feel free to contact us and have a no obligation discussion of your subdivision proposal- or 09 427 9966

Disclaimer 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 is not liable for any errors or omissions.

#resourceconcent #resourcemanagementact #environmentalplanning #planningplus

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