MfE Seeks Feedback on Proposed Changes to the Direct Referral Consenting Pathway

MfE seeks feedback on proposed changes to the direct referral consenting pathway link here

MfE is seeking feedback on options for:

  • the threshold
  • the exceptional circumstances matters.

How direct referral works now

Usually local authorities make decisions on resource consent applications. Some of those decisions are then appealed to the Environment Court. Direct referral is designed for applications where the local council’s decision is highly likely to be appealed. In these cases the applicant can make a request of the local council that the Environment Court makes the decision instead. This has the potential for cost and time savings for the applicant. The council decides whether or not to grant the request for direct referral.

What are the proposed changes to direct referral?

As part of the proposed changes, councils will be required to grant direct referral, when requested, for applications with an investment value over a certain threshold unless exceptional circumstances apply. Councils still retain the discretion to grant direct referral requests for applications with an investment value under the threshold. The level of the threshold and the things that local councils are required to take into account when determining whether exceptional circumstances apply will be set out in regulations.

The reason for the change

The change will improve the certainty of the direct referral decision-making pathway for proposals with regionally-significant economic scale.

If you would like to know more or have any questions about what is proposed please contact MfE on 0800 499 700 or email DirectReferral@mfe.govt.nz.