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.

Board of inquiry

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


Provisions in a district plan that provide notice to the community of an intention by the council or a 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.

Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)

Receives and processes applications for proposals of national significance under the RMA and can have a role in RMA compliance and enforcement.


Gives people who have already written submissions the chance to speak to the decision-maker, about what the requiring authority is proposing.

Independent commissioner

A person appointed to carry out decision-making duties who are not a member of the council (appointed from outside the elected members or staff of a council).

Lapse date

The termination of a resource consent or notice of requirement through disuse.

Limited notification

A council only notifies people who are adversely affected by a proposal, and only those people can make a submission.

Nationally significant proposal

A proposal that has been deemed to be nationally significant for one or more reasons by the Minister for the Environment (or Minister of Conservation). If a proposal is deemed nationally significant it may then be referral to a board of inquiry or the Environment Court for hearing and determination.


When a council decides it does not require submissions on a proposal (see publicly notified and limited notification).

Notice of requirement

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

Outline plan

A plan or description of works that a requiring authority proposes to carry out works on a designated site.

Publicly notified

Means that any person can make a submission on the notice of requirement.

Requiring authority

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

Requiring authority approval

Approval by the Minister for the Environment for a network utility operator to have the powers of a requiring authority (including the power to designate land).

Standard plan-making process

The regular process for a council to develop a plan or plan change, involving notifying the public, receiving submissions and holding hearings.


Written comments, opinions, concerns, support or opposition about a proposed development, a designation, or a proposed policy statement or 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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