The RMA test for whether someone is an affected person is whether the proposal has adverse effects on them that are at least ‘minor’. These proposals are in the limited notification category. See the box below for some examples.

The RMA and case law also outlines how the council decides whether there are any affected persons. For example, in making its decision, it may disregard an adverse effect of the activity on the person if a rule in a plan or a national environmental standard permits an activity with that effect (the ‘permitted baseline’).

If you are not satisfied with the council’s decision on notification, it can be challenged through a judicial review to the High Court. You should seek legal advice on this first.

The only exceptions are if the applicant requests public notification, the council considers that special circumstances warrant public notification, or a rule in a district/regional plan or national environmental standard requires public notification.

If the activity is on a boundary, owners of an allotment with an infringed boundary may be considered an affected person.

Examples of an affected person could be:

  • somebody whose privacy will be reduced by a sleepout built in the neighbour’s backyard
  • tangata whenua whose kaimoana (seafood) could be affected by the discharge of wastewater into an estuary
  • a sailing club whose use of a river mouth for regattas could be affected by a jetty extension
  • a community group whose interests in protecting a nature reserve could be affected by widening a road.

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