Private plan changes

You can seek changes to the District Plan through a private plan change under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

Although similar to other plan changes, requests for private plan changes allow for anyone to seek changes to the District Plan, and are not initiated by the Council. 

Private parties can request changes to any provision or introduce new provisions to the District Plan. Some examples of the types of changes requested include:

  • land rezoning
  • amendments to particular design controls
  • the identification of heritage structures.

See full details of all active and completed plan changes under active changes & variations and completed plan changes.

The process

The process for undertaking a private plan change is provided for in the Resource Management Act 1991.

All plan changes are notified, which gives the public an opportunity to submit in support or opposition to the proposal. 

The steps below outline the general process for private plan changes:

  • The applicant lodges a private plan change request with the Council – applicants are encouraged to talk to the Council about the proposal before lodging an application.
  • The Council processes the request – we may request further information and commission any relevant reports.
  • The Council may modify the request with the applicant's approval (if necessary).
  • Upon receiving all information, the Council will decide whether to adopt, accept, or reject the request, or convert the request to a resource consent application.
    • Note: the private plan change alters any particular provision or may introduce new provisions in the District Plan, while the resource consent grants permission for a particular activity, development, or subdivision not permitted out right in the District Plan.
  • The Council will then publicly notify the plan change if it has been adopted or accepted. At this stage, there will be an opportunity for submissions and further submissions.
  • The Council will hold a hearing where it assesses the request and submissions.
  • The Council will issue a decision on the request.
  • After the Council's decision, anyone who has made a submission on the proposed private plan change can appeal the decision to the Environment Court.

Time frame

Private plan changes are often time consuming and lengthy. Typically the entire process takes about 1-3 years to fully complete.

Get started

If you are interested in submitting a request for a private plan change we strongly encourage you to contact the Council to arrange a meeting. We will be able to provide guidance and advice on the relevant RMA requirements and the process as a whole. 

Any person may request a private plan change. The request must: 

  • be in writing
  • explain the purpose and reasons for the change
  • describe any anticipated environmental effects of the proposed change (with consideration to the matters outlined in Schedule 4 of the RMA)
  • provide an evaluation report under Section 32 of the RMA – this report should assess any objectives, policies, and/or rules of other methods proposed. 

It's also beneficial to provide additional information relating to how you intend to mitigate any potential adverse environmental effects, details on any prior and future consultation, as well as site specific details that will be important or relevant.


There is a fee for processing requests for private plan changes, and an initial payment must be paid with your application.

All fees include GST and are payable under either the Resource Management Act 1991 or the Local Government Act 2002. 

Fees are not refundable if your application is declined or withdrawn.

Application fees cover the cost of processing your application only. Additional charges may apply (see below).

The charges listed here show the initial fees for private plan change requests – any additional hours will be charged at the hourly rates below.

Service Fee
Requests for a change to the District Plan (deposit) $15,000
Officer time
$155 per hour

Additional charges

Service Fee
Additional hours:
- Pre-application meetings: additional processing hours planner/advisor
- All requests for private plan changes: additional processing hours administrative officer

$155 per hour
$90 per hour
Cost of all disbursements (venue hire, photocopying, catering, postage, public notification)
variable based on actual cost
Councillor costs for any hearing:
- Chairperson
- Other

$87 per hour
$70 per hour
Specialist consultant report (including consultant planners)
variable based on actual cost
Independent commissioners
variable based on actual cost

Terms and late payment

Initial and additional fees

Fees must be paid before applications are processed. Further charges will be invoiced if additional time is spent processing requests and/or disbursements. 

Terms of payment

Payment of additional fees is due by the 20th of the month following invoice processing. 

Late payment will incur:

  • an additional administrative fee (lesser of 10% overdue amount or $300)
  • all costs and expenses (including debt collection or legal fees) associated with recovery of the overdue amount
  • daily interest (rate of 15% pa) from the date of default.

More information

District Plan team

Phone: 04 499 4444