Improved consent processing pays off
Published on 08 March 2021
Updated processes, staff recruitment and a clearer focus on meeting deadlines have resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of resource consents processed by the Council within statutory time frames.
In recent months, the resource consents team has consistently processed more than 90 per cent of applications within 20 working days, as required by the Resource Management Act. This was achieved amid a development boom in the Far North that saw over 100 resource consent applications received in October and November last year, at least 50 more than the same period in 2019.
Mayor John Carter credits improved processing times on a renewed focus from staff and managers to ensure statutory time limits are met. “The Act requires us to ensure the process is timely, efficient, consistent and cost effective to 'avoid unreasonable delay' for applicants. We know that delays to construction work are frustrating and can be costly, so improvements to this vital service is good news for developers and the whole district.”
He adds that meeting statutory timeframes also has financial implications for the Council through discount regulations. Under RMA rules, discounts to processing fees must be credited back to a client when timeframes are not met. To the end of December 2020, a total of $32,739 in discounts were credited back to customers. That compares to $164,150 over the same period last year – a difference of over $130,000.
“This extra income can be used to further improve the services we provide to resource consent applicants. This is especially important when our district is experiencing a development boom as we are now.”
Mayor Carter acknowledges that consents are occasionally delayed due to project complexities. “These applications are routinely reviewed so lessons can be learned to help us avoid similar delays in the future.”
He says the majority of resource consent applications are currently coming from the Kerikeri and northern areas of the district.