The Resource Management Act become the law relating to Land Uses in 1991 and incorporated and superceded a raft of other land law.. It has been subject to many amendments since that time, and establishes the roles and responsibilities of Local Government in respect to use of Resources, including the requirement to establish District and Regional Plans. It also determines how Resource Consent applications must be dealt with, and the process of issuing of new titles.

General Terms

Abatement Notice (s322)

An abatement notice is a document issued by a Council Enforcement Officer requiring a person or persons to cease a particular action, because it is contrary to the Rules in the Plan or contrary to a condition of a consent issue for that activity. An abatement notice may be issued in respect to excessive noise, and in this case the Enforcement Officer has powers under the Act to does necessary action to reduce the noise, if the abatement notice is not complied with.

Enforcement Order (s314)

An enforcement order can be issued by the Environment Court where a person or persons actions or inactions are considered to be contrary to the Act, contrary to a Resource Consent, or creating an adverse effect on the Environment.

The order can (amongst other things) require a person to:

  • cease an activity
  • remedy or mitigate any adverse effect
  • pay money or reimburse any other person

Operative Plan

A document prepared by a Local Authority or Regional Authority which sets out the Policies and Rules on how land and resources within it’s jurisdiction can be used, and when a Resource Consent is required. The word Operative indicates that the plan is Operational, compared with a Proposed Plan which is intended to replace the Operative Plan at a future date.

Proposed Plan

A planning document prepared by a Local Authority or Regional Authority that subject to consultation, submissions, and decisions is intended to replace or add to an Operative Plan. The RMA specifies the procedures requires for the preparation and adoption of a Proposed Plan.

Resource Consent

A Resource Consent is any consent issued by a Council under the provisions of the Resource Management Act. It may include a Subdivision Consent, a Landuse Consent, a Coastal permit, a Discharge permit or a Water permit.


A subdivision under the RMA is defined under S218 of that Act. In general terms it is the splitting up of a parcel of land.

This may occur by way of:

  • The issue of a separate title for part of that land.
  • By a lease for more than 35 years for part of a parcel of land.
  • By a Company lease or Cross-lease for part of that land, or
  • By a Unit plan over part of that land.

Types Of Activities


An activity which is described in the Plan as being permitted, and can therefore be undertaken without obtaining any consents from Council.


An activity described in a Plan that council have specified certain matters over which they have reserved control. This means when applying for a “resource consent” for a controlled activity the council must grant the consent and, the conditions (if any) applied must be restricted to these control matters.


An activity described in the plan as discretionary, which therefore requires consent from the Council before it can be undertaken. The plan either restricts the matters over which it will give consideration to when assessing the application, (in which case, it is described as a Restricted Discretionary Activity), or those matters are unrestricted.


A non-complying activity requires a resource consent before it can be carried out. A resource consent can be granted for a non-complying activity, but first the applicant must establish that the adverse effects of the activity on the environment will be minor or that the activity will not be contrary to the objectives of the relevant plan or proposed plan.


A prohibited activity can not be undertaken within the Council’s area of jurisdiction, and an application can not be applied for such activities.

Types Of Certificates

221 Certificate (consent Notice)

A Consent notice is issued by Councils when a subdivision consent requires certain conditions to be complied with after the titles are issued on an ongoing basis (eg the protection of trees or bush, or the types of glazing for dwellings that may be in high noise area) The consent notice is registered on the title and the documents specifies the details of the conditions.

223 Certificate

The process of subdividing land is explained in our pamphlet (Subdivision - understanding the process) which can be viewed by clicking on our logo. The 223 Certificate is part of that process and is issued by Council confirming that the plan showing titles to be created is consistent with the subdivision consent which was granted.

224(c) Certificate

The 224(c) Certificate is a further step in the process of subdividing land. It is a certificate issued by the local Council confirming that all conditions of the subdivision consent have now been complied with.