This guide is number 2.2 in a 13-guide series called An Everyday Guide to the RMA.

Publication reference number: ME 1535

This guide provides information on the consultation process under the Resource Management Act (RMA) if you are applying for a resource consent, and provides general guidance on who to consult and how. 


The Resource Management Act 1991 (usually called the RMA) is the main piece of legislation that sets out how we should manage our environment. It’s based on the idea of the sustainable management of our resources, and it encourages us (as communities and as individuals) to plan for the future of our environment.

The RMA means that councils set rules and requirements to manage activities ranging from building houses, clearing vegetation, moving earth, or taking water from a stream. The purpose is to ensure activities won’t harm our neighbours or communities, or damage the air, water, soil and ecosystems that we and future generations need to survive.

About this guide

This guide is the sixth in a series of 13 guides called An Everyday Guide to the RMA (see more details about the series below).

Thinking about applying for a resource consent? If so, you may need to undertake consultation.

This guide complements the detailed guide, Applying for a resource consent.

Some people see consultation as confusing and difficult. This guide will help you through the process, and show you how it can lead to a better result for your project.

The guide starts with a brief overview of the resource consent process and the role of the council. It then explains the foundations and principles of consultation under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

It provides general guidance on who to consult, and how. It also outlines what is expected of you as the applicant and what you can expect in return. You will find helpful comments and suggestions throughout.

You should find this guide useful if you’re new to the RMA, to the consent process, or to consultation.

The guide has a glossary of RMA terms at the end.

About the everyday guides

These guides are intended to help people work with their councils. If you’re dealing with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), a board of inquiry, or the Environment Court (see the glossary to learn more about these), you might need more technical advice from the EPA website or the Environment Court website.

For more information about specific parts of the RMA process, see the full list of guides on our website.

Everyday Guides Series

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