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Unprecedented number of resource consent and building consent applications received

The Waikato district is experiencing significant growth, with a record number of resource consent applications received over a 14-day period. 

Customer Support General Manager Sue O’Gorman says Waikato District Council received nearly 100 resource consent applications over the past two weeks – almost the same number the Council received each month in the year just ended on 30 June.  

“We dealt with a surge of 27% more resource consent applications in the 2020/2021 financial year – receiving an average of 101 applications per month compared with 80 per month the year before – and total pre-application numbers received increased 17% to an average of 20 per month.”  

Mrs O’Gorman says, “Our building consent applications have also increased nearly 27%, from 1,914 in 2019/2020 to 2,430 in 2020/2021, or more than 200 a month on average.” 

“This is positive news as it shows that people want to live or invest in our district, but it does present significant challenges.” 

As a result, Council may need to extend processing timeframes for resource consent applications on a case-by-case basis, and as provided for under the Resource Management Act.  

Mrs O’Gorman says, “Our focus is to ensure resource consents are processed appropriately while at the same time meeting our duty to avoid unreasonable delay. We will endeavour to keep any extensions to processing timeframes as short as is practicably possible and have asked staff to communicate early with applicants if there will be any change in timeframes for their applications.”   

“Although not ideal, it is necessary. We have been trying to secure extra resourcing but, due to the volume of work happening across the country, external planning contractors are at maximum capacity and many cannot take on additional work. We know our neighbouring councils are also experiencing a huge increase in consent applications,” she says. 

The Duty Planner service has also been extended from 3 days to 5 days.  

“In the past financial year, we have had almost 5000 Duty Planner enquiries – an increase of 43%. These enquiries take up a significant amount of staff time.” 

Mrs O’Gorman says the increase in building consent applications has impacted on the number of pool inspections and Building Warrant of Fitness inspections (fire protection systems etc) that could be carried out. 

“We do not know what is causing this increase, but it is showing no signs of slowing. Possible explanations include low interest rates, and people continuing to invest their money in real estate.” 

Council will continue to review the situation and may need to make further changes to the level of service it offers customers.   

The numbers 

Resource consents 

  • Over the past 12 months, the number of resource consent applications has increased by 27%.  

  • On average, we received 101 applications per month for the 2020/2021 financial year, compared to 80 per month on average for the previous financial year. 

Duty Planner enquiries 

  • Duty Planner enquiries have increased by 43%. 

  • On average, we received 417 enquiries per month in the 2020/2021 financial year, compared to 292 per month in the previous financial year.  

Building Consent applications 

  • 2019/2020: 1,914 (of which 806 were dwellings) 

  • 2020/2021: 2430 (of which 1,125 were dwellings)  

  • This represents an increase of 516 (or 27%) in building consent applications and an increase of 319 (or 39.6%) in building applications for dwellings.  

Building inspections 

  • 2019/2020: 9,952 inspections 
  • 2020/2021: 12,051 inspections (an increase of 2099, or 21%)