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A hearing is a formal forum where the pros and cons of a Resource Consent application are presented. A hearing gives the applicant and the submitters the opportunity to formally present their case to a Hearings Committee or Hearings Commissioner(s) which will make the ultimate decision as to whether to grant the Resource Consent and what conditions to set if granted. The Consents Officer who has been assigned to your application will attend the hearing and provide a report on your activity.

When is a hearing required?

A hearing is only required if Bay of Plenty Regional Council considers it necessary or the applicant or submitter requests a hearing.

A formal hearing is required when a 'pre-hearing meeting' fails to reach a satisfactory agreement.

The RMA stipulates that a hearing must be held within 25 working days of the submission period closing. This time limit maybe extended by Bay of Plenty Regional Council either on its own initiative or after a request from the applicant.

What is a hearings committee?

A hearing committee (or hearing panel) normally comprises of two or more Regional Councillors. In some instances independent commissioners may also be part of the panel or solely hear the application. The Hearing Committee is a quasi-judicial body and under legislation is able to set its own procedures.

Hearing format

  • Introduction of parties involved and application. 
  • Applicant or their representative/s presents proposal and expert evidence
  • Submitter(s) speak on submission(s) and call on any experts
  • Regional Council staff present a report on recommendations (including conditions where appropriate)
  • Applicant has right to respond to verbal submissions and staff presentation Hearing is closed or adjourned and committee retires to make a decision (usually 15 working days).
  • Decision is circulated

Hearing rules

The applicant and every submitter who has stated a wish to be heard may speak and call evidence at a hearing, either personally or through a representative. The Hearing Committee may require pre-circulation of all expert evidence prior to the hearing. Submitters may not raise any issues not covered in their initial written submissions. Hearing Committee members may ask questions of the applicant and submitters to seek clarification. Staff and submitters may submit questions through the Chairperson on points of clarification. The Chairperson decides whether to ask these questions. No cross examination is permitted. The Committee may seek any additional advice it requires to assist the hearing process. Evidence may be written or spoken in Maori, however, sufficient notice must be provided to allow an interpreter to be available at the hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing the Committee has 15 days in which to release their decision.

You can read recent resource consent decisions on our website.