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.


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

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.


A provision in a district plan that provides notice to the community of an intention by the council or other requiring authority to use land in the future for a particular work or project.

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.

Friend of submitter

A person who is appointed to assist submitters through the process.


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

Notice of requirement

A proposal for a designation, which may be notified or non-notified.

Plan change

The process that councils use to prepare changes to an operative plan.

Publicly notified

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

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.

Regional plan

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

Regional policy statement

Must be prepared by all regional councils. They help set the direction for managing all resources across the region.

Requiring authority

An authority (such as a Minister of the Crown, a local authority or an approved network utility operator) with the power to assign a particular piece of land for certain works or projects.

Section 32 evaluation report

Requires new proposed plans, policy statements, plan changes or variations to be examined for their appropriateness in achieving the purpose of the RMA, and the policies and methods of those proposals to be examined for their efficiency, effectiveness and risk.


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


A change prepared by a council to a proposed plan.

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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