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 proposed by the Council, requests for private plan changes allow for anyone to seek changes to the District Plan.

Private parties can request changes to any provision or seek to introduce new provisions to the District Plan.

See full details of all proposed and operative plan changes or check the list of updates for all changes that have been made to the plan since it became operative on 19 December 2017.

The process

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

Nearly all private plan changes are publicly 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:

  • Applicants are encouraged to talk to the Council about the proposal before lodging an application.
  • The applicant lodges a private plan change request with the Council.
  • The Council processes the request – and may request further information and commission any relevant reports.
  • The Council may modify the request with the applicant's approval (if necessary).
  • After receiving all the information the Council will decide how to proceed with the request. The options are: accepting and processing the proposed private plan change; adopting the proposed private plan change to become a Council-led one; rejecting the proposed private plan change; or converting the request to a resource consent application. Note: A private plan change may alter any particular provision or may introduce new provisions in the District Plan, while a resource consent grants permission for a particular activity, development, or subdivision not otherwise permitted in the District Plan.
  • If the Plan change is accepted, the Council will then publicly notify the plan change. If it has been adopted by the Council to become a Council-led plan change, it will either be publicly notified or limited notified (notifying only those directly affected). 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, the applicant and 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 can take up to two years to fully complete, depending on whether or not appeals are lodged.

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 offer a free pre-application meeting and will also provide initial assessments of draft private plan changes on request, for a fee.

We are 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
  • include site-specific details where relevant
  • explain the purpose and reasons for the change
  • describe any anticipated environmental effects of the proposed change (with consideration of the matters outlined in Schedule 4 of the RMA) and describe how you intend to mitigate any potential adverse effects.
  • provide an evaluation report under Section 32 of the RMA – this report should assess any objectives, policies, and/or rules of other methods proposed


There is a fee for processing requests for private plan changes to cover our costs and a deposit must be paid with your application before we begin processing. We can provide advice on likely overall costs.

All fees include GST and are payable under the Resource Management Act 1991.

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

The application deposit is a first payment only. Additional charges are likely to apply.