Hearings Process and Commissioners
Council hearings for both resource consents and plan changes are conducted by Hearings Commissioners who have been accredited under the Ministry for the Environment’s “Making Good Decisions” course. Commissioners may also have a chairperson endorsement.
Members of Council’s Regulatory Committee are accredited commissioners who hear both resource consents and plan changes.
From time to time Council may also appoint independent, non-elected commissioners to hear both resource consent and plan change hearings. These may be commissioners sitting on their own, sitting with other independent commissioners, or sitting with elected councillor commissioner.
In addition, a resource consent applicant may request the use of an independent commissioner. Where an independent commissioner is requested, the Council must appoint a commissioner. Commissioner appointment is decided by the Council from a pool of pre-approved hearings commissioners, and usually includes considerations like skill set, relevant experience, and potential conflicts of interest. The cost of commissioner hearings for resource consents and private plan changes is recovered from the applicants.
Commissioners remain independent of, and objective from, the issue that they are deciding on and they must remain free of any conflicts of interest with the application, the applicant, and the applicant’s agent and their advisors.
Council’s currently approved commissioner pool is:
Alan Withy; Dr Phil Mitchell; Greg Hill; Helen Atkins; Michael Lester; Richard Knott; Rob Van Voorthuysen; Sheena Te Pania; Simon Berry; Steven Wilson; Tara Hills