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Preparing and Running a RMA Hearing

NZ $65.00
Paul Majurey Trevor Shiels
Paul Majurey
Atkins Holm Majurey
Trevor Shiels
Martin Williams Christian Whata
Martin Williams
Napier and Auckland
Christian Whata
Russell McVeagh

Published: 1 August, 2008
Pages: 96


This paper is addressed to applicants. It focuses on the strategies and case management relevant to achieving the successful grant of consent. While much of it draws from large consenting projects, it should assist with application processes large and small. Having said that, this paper is directed to potentially complex applications requiring discretionary or non-complying activity consents. It is also in the nature of a practical guide rather than a textbook. I would recommend that this paper is read together with the papers of my co-authors who provide different perspectives – namely that of a submitter in opposition and that of commissioners.

For the purposes of this paper, I will assume that all applicants have the following key objectives:

  • Obtaining consent as quickly as possible.
  • Achieving a positive outcome.
  • Maintaining a "bottom line" position in order to ensure that the project remains viable and desirable.
  • Keeping costs to a practical minimum.

These objectives often conflict. A quick process is futile if consent is not granted or is granted on unacceptable conditions. Cost management will mean little if omissions in evidence emerge during the course of a hearing. In addition, applicant expectations can become inflated and unrealistic if not properly informed from the outset. This paper will endeavour to provide some guidance here. Some of it will appear trite. But often these trite observations are forgotten in the thick of case management.

The structure of this paper is as follows:

  • Preliminary Issues – addressing some difficult issues that confront applicants.
  • Pre-Application Phase – getting the application and the pre-application strategy and case management right.
  • Once the Application has been Lodged – dealing with the council, achieving favourable s42A reports, dealing with opposition.
  • The Hearing Process – presentation of the case.

A large portion of this paper is focused on the pre-hearing processes. In my experience, it is this phase which is critical to ensuring the applicant has control over the process and ultimately the success (or otherwise) of the consent application. I will refer to positive and negative experiences to illustrate key points.

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