The purpose of this glossary is to help you understanding 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.

Affected person approval form

A form for a person to sign and date confirming they understand the activity and its effects and they give their approval.


Request for a decision to be changed, predominately to the Environment Court.


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

Assessment of environmental effects (AEE)

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.

Board of inquiry

A special body appointed by the Minister(s) to hear and decide proposals of national significance.

Consent application form

Sets out the details of the application for resource consent.

City or district council

The bodies primarily responsible for managing the environmental effects of activities on land.

Conditional approval

Where an affected person provides a condition for a resource consent for which their approval is reliant on. The council might not accept this.

District plan

A plan prepared by city or district councils to help them carry out their functions under the RMA.

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.


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

Limited notification

A council only notifies people who are affected by a resource consent application or plan change, and only those people can make a submission.

National environmental standard (NES)

Regulations that prescribe technical and non-technical standards, methods or other requirements for land use and subdivision, use of the coastal marine area and beds of lakes and rivers, water take and use, discharges, or noise. Each regional, city or district council must enforce the same standard. In some circumstances where specified in the NES, councils can impose stricter or more lenient standards.

Non-notified application

A resource consent application which a council decides does not require submissions (see publicly notified and limited notification).

Publicly notified

Means that any person can make a submission on the consent application before the closure date.

Regional council

Primarily manage resources like the air, water, soils and the coastal marine area.

Regional plan

Can be prepared by regional councils, to help them manage the resources they are responsible for.

Resource consent

Permission from the local council for an activity that might affect the environment, and that isn’t allowed ‘as of right’ under 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.

Side agreement

A private agreement between an applicant and another person relating to a resource consent.


Comments, opinions, concerns, support or opposition about a proposed development, a designation, or a proposed policy statement or plan.

Tangata whenua

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

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