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Resource Consent Processing Stays In North

Number of pages: 02
Date: 26 September, 2008

Resource Consent Processing Stays In North

Applications for resource consents will continue to be processed by the Northland Regional Council in Northland – not Hamilton.

A recent newspaper column by Far North Mayor Wayne Brown claims the Northland Regional Council (NRC) has contracted out consent processing to Environment Waikato and warned readers to “prepare to visit Hamilton East to sort out your permit”.

However, Dave Roke, the Northland Regional Council’s Consents Senior Programme Manager, says the NRC will continue to process resource consent applications – currently about 1000 annually - in Northland.

Mr Roke says Mr Brown’s comments appear to stem from confusion over building consent applications for larger dams, which Environment Waikato is now processing for most Regional Councils in the North Island, including the NRC.

Mr Roke says Regional Councils were given responsibility for dams - which were previously the function of District Councils - under the new 2004 Building Act. The Act prevents the Regional Councils from transferring these functions back to District Councils.

In the Northland Regional Council’s case, it only expects to receive about one building consent application a year for a dam.

Mr Roke says it would have cost Regional Councils about $250,000 each to gain the initial accreditation from the Department of Building and Housing necessary to process large dam consents. There would have been ongoing similar costs annually to maintain that accreditation.

Rather than subject ratepayers and building consent applicants to hundreds of thousands of dollars of expense just to process a few building consents each year, the NRC and other North Island Regional Councils in a similar position had agreed to jointly fund Environment Waikato to process them.

Environment Waikato was seen as a logical choice to hold the accreditation because of the number of large dams along the Waikato River and the agreement had cost Northland ratepayers about $40,000 rather than $250,000.

Mr Roke says the Northland Regional Council adopted the Waikato offer after checking all the alternatives following full public consultation throughout Northland last year. Environment Waikato had assumed responsibility for processing Northland’s dam consents in July this year.


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