The purpose of this glossary is to help you understand the meaning of terms used in this guide. Some of these terms have specific legislative definitions in section 2 of the RMA.

Affected person

Is someone identified by the consent authority (usually the council) as likely to experience adverse effects of a proposal which are at least minor.


Person applying for a resource consent, change to existing consent conditions, or a private plan change.

Assessment of environmental effects

A report that the applicant must give to the council with their resource consent application. It outlines the effects that the proposed activity might have on the environment.

Controlled activity

Activities outlined in the RMA, a plan or regulations as ‘controlled’ which require a resource consent. Resource consents for controlled activities must be granted except in certain circumstances.

Environment Court

A specialist court where people can appeal decisions made by councils on a policy statement or plan, or on a resource consent application; or where they can apply for an enforcement order, or seek a declaration


Sub-tribe or group of whānau.


Gives people who have already written submissions the chance to speak to the decision-maker, about what a council or an applicant is proposing.


A person or group with responsibility, concern or guardianship for an area or water body such as a river.


Guardianship, stewardship, protection, and conservation of the natural environment.

Non-notified application

A resource consent application which a council decides does not require submissions.


A plan defined under the RMA, including regional plans and district plans. Regional policy statements are also part of the wider planning framework.

Resource consent

Permission from the local council for an activity that might affect the environment, and that isn’t allowed ‘as of right’ in the district or regional plan.

Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA)

New Zealand’s main piece of environmental legislation. It provides a framework for managing the effects of activities on the environment.

Restricted discretionary activity

Means councils may grant or decline your resource consent but are limited in the matters they can consider.


Comments, opinions, concerns, support or opposition about a proposed development or activity.

Tangata whenua

In relation to a particular area, means the iwi, or hapū, that holds mana whenua over that area.


Extended family group.

Working day

Any day except for a weekend day, Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, the Sovereign’s birthday and Labour Day, and those days between (and including) 20 December and 10 January. Note: If Waitangi Day or Anzac Day falls on a weekend day, the following Monday is excluded.

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