Appealing a Planning Permit Decision

If you are not satisfied with Council’s decision on a planning permit application you can appeal to the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal (external link). The Tribunal is established under the State’s planning laws and is completely independent of the Council.

Who can appeal a Council decision on a planning permit application?

The applicant

Any applicant for a planning permit may appeal Council’s decision on a planning permit application within 14 days of receiving notice of that decision.

The applicant may appeal either against Council’s decision to refuse an application or appeal against the conditions imposed by Council on a planning permit. 

The owner

If the applicant for a planning permit is not the owner of the land and the Council grants a permit requiring that a planning agreement (under Part 5 of the Land Use Planning Approvals Act 1993) be entered into, then the owner of the land has a right of appeal within 14 days after being served notice of Council’s decision to grant a planning permit.

An objector

Any person who has lodged an objection (representation) with Council during the 14-day advertising period for a discretionary (advertised) planning permit application may lodge an appeal within 14 days after being served notice of Council’s decision to grant a planning permit.

In the case of Council refusing to grant a planning permit, there is no right for an objector (representor) to lodge an appeal.

The Tribunal does not notify representors if the applicant appeals. To find out whether the applicant has appealed, you must look for the Tribunal’s notice in the Public Notices section of the Mercury (Wednesday and Saturday) which gives notice of the appeal and the date of the ‘Directions Hearing’. You can also contact the Tribunal (external link).

If an applicant does appeal, you can apply in writing to the Tribunal to request being ‘joined as a party’ to the appeal. If you wish to become a party to the appeal, you should also go to the Directions Hearing.

How do you lodge an appeal?

You can lodge an appeal by submitting a completed ‘Notice of Appeal’ form to the Tribunal and paying the required fees (external link).

The Council sends a ‘Notice of Appeal’ form to all applicants and objectors when it notifies them of its’ decision about a planning permit application.

What does the planning appeal process involve?

The appeal process starts with a ‘directions hearing’ involving the Registrar of the Appeal Tribunal and the people taking part in the appeal.

At the directions hearing, the Registrar:

  • explains the appeal process
  • makes sure that the people taking part in the appeal have received or will receive the information they need
  • explores whether the appeal can be sorted out through a mediation process
  • sets the date of future hearing(s)
  • makes any orders that might be required (for example, requiring the exchange of information associated with the appeal). 

If the appeal cannot be resolved through mediation, the Registrar will arrange a full hearing of the Tribunal. If a full hearing is required, the people involved in the appeal make formal submissions to the Tribunal.

The Tribunal then makes a decision on the appeal. The Tribunal’s decision is legally binding on all parties.

Appeal rights will delay when a planning permit takes effect

If there is a right of appeal against the granting of a permit, the permit will not take effect until the end of 14 days from the day on which notice of the granting of the permit was served on the person who has a right of appeal.

Where an appeal is lodged against the Council’s decision to grant a permit, the permit does not take effect until the appeal is decided or abandoned.

If the applicant is the only person with a right of appeal, and does not intend to exercise that right, and wants to start the use or development permitted before the end of the 14 day period, they must notify the Council in writing of their intention to do so.