Making a Submission



Don’t be disillusioned – decision makers really do want to know how you are affected by a proposed activity or what you know about potential effects from the proposed activity.

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  1. Take time and write your own submission. While it is easier to put your name at the bottom of a petition, a dozen or more signatures all stating the same thing often holds the same weight as one person who has taken the time to write their own individual submission.
  2. Keep your points very clear and logical. Try and remove any emotion you might have about the proposal. Keep the submission relevant to the subject matter. Decision makers what to know what you think and the evidence or arguments you have to support your view.
  3. Use meaningful and helpful headings (for example you might want to break your submission up into headings based on environmental effects such as, ‘Noise’, ‘Visual Effects’ and ‘Ecological Effects’)
  4. Keep your submission well spaced out with generous margins for the decision makers to make notes.
  5. Keep your submission short and to the point. Remember that you are hoping to make maximum impact and decision makers will often have to read through many submissions.
  6. Be accurate and complete. Write about what you know, not about what someone else knows.


  1. On the first page you should write:
    1. What proposal your submission is in respect of and the date of the application;
    2. State who the submission is from. You should always include your full name, your postal address, a phone number and an email address (note though this will become public)
    3. Explain who you are. You might want to state that you are an affected party because of the location of your property. You might want to state your education and experience in a particular area, your membership affiliations you have if they relate to what you are writing about and whether you have the support of an organisation or other people in your community;
    4. Whether you support or oppose the proposal;
    5. A summary of your key reasons for your submission in bullet points that are easy to read;
    6. Whether you wish to speak to your submission at a Hearing. I would always recommend you ask to speak to your submission as it provides you with an opportunity to re-enforce what you have said and for a decision maker to clarify any points you made. REMEMBER if you get the jitters you can always ask someone else to speak in your place!
  2. Write about how you might be affected or if you have expert knowledge about a subject, then write what you know the effects might be from the proposed activity. Decision makers want to hear from you, not necessarily read information about effects about another person or information from another expert.
  3. If you are an expert on a subject matter (for example you might be a retired geologist, an amateur botanist, a sociologist, a kaumatua with local historical knowledge or the organiser of a mother’s playgroup) SPEAK TO THAT SUBJECT MATTER.
  4. Describe the potential adverse effects on you or your property and give real examples. At this point it is important to think in terms of what the Resource Management Act regulates and address those matters. The Resource Management Act is concerned with social, economic, and environmental effects including:
    1. any positive or adverse effects;
    2. any temporary or permanent effect;
    3. any past, present, or future effect (including on future generations);
    4. any cumulative effect which arises over time or in combination with other effects regardless of the scale, intensity, duration, or frequency of the effect, and also includes—
    5. any potential effect of high probability; and
    6. any potential effect of low probability which has a high potential impact
  5. Decision makers must recognise & provide for matters of national importance as follows:
    •   the preservation of the natural character of the coastal environment (including the coastal marine area), wetlands, and lakes and rivers and their margins, and the protection of them from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development:
    •   the protection of outstanding natural features and landscapes from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development:
    •   the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna:
    •   the maintenance and enhancement of public access to and along the coastal marine area, lakes, and rivers:
    •   the relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands, water, sites, waahi tapu, and other taonga:
    •   the protection of historic heritage from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development:
    •   the protection of protected customary rights.
  6. Decision makers must also have particular regard to:
    •   kaitiakitanga;
    •   the ethic of stewardship;
    •   the efficient use and development of natural and physical resources;
    •   the efficiency of the end use of energy;
    •   the maintenance and enhancement of amenity values;
    •   intrinsic values of ecosystems;
    •   maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the environment;
    •   any finite characteristics of natural and physical resources; and
    •   the effects of climate change.
  7. Decision makers must take into account the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

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