O'Connor Planning Consultants Ltd

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Use a Consultant and How can OPC Help Me?

We can assist in identifying the most appropriate planning solution and ensure that solutions and outcomes are delivered in a timely manner. Obtaining input from a planning consultant who supports your position will also enhance your chances of achieving the outcome you want.

We recommend obtaining professional planning advice when making a submission or a further submission in respect of a regional or district planning matter such as a plan change or a variation, preparing a resource consent application or when strong support or oppostion to a subdivision or development proposal is sought.

The professional staff at at OPC are current members of the New Zealand Planning Institute. We are bound by a code of professional ethics in respect of our responsibilities to the public, the planning profession and to colleagues, clients and employers.

What is Planning?

The New Zealand Planning Institute provides guidance on what planning is and states that planning-:

"Is concerned with the physical aspects of the natural and built environment, it also tries to create employment opportunities, to provide a choice of housing types and locations, and to encourage good urban design and urban renewal.

Planning also allows security to make decisions between alternatives and to balance the interests of different groups".

Why Plan?

The New Zealand Planning Institute also provides an explanation as to why planning is important:

"Planning deals with today's problems and tomorrows challenges. As communities' goals are constantly changing, we have to resolve and update plans to meet current circumstances.

Human activities rely on the use of land, one of the most valuable and limited natural resources. Many of these resources are not renewable and need to be very carefully managed or used very carefully. Planning is a way of managing resources as we move towards the future."

What is a Resource Consent?

The RMA requires councils to create plans that help them manage the environment. These plans will contain a number of rules and conditions for landuse, subdivision, discharges and coastal activities that might affect the environment.

Plans, usually through rules, state whether an activity is permitted, meaning you can do it as of right, or it requires a resource consent.

When Will I Need a Resource Consent?

Whether you need a resource consent, and what type of consent you will need, depends on the type of activity you want to do, and how it is classified in your local district and/or regional plan. Every council is different, so it's important that you don't assume that just because you did not need a consent in one locality, you don't need a consent in another.

We can help you to identify whether you need to apply for resource consent.

Activities that need a resource consent are classified as controlled, restricted discretionary, discretionary or non-complying.

Seeking the advice of a planning consultant will assist in identifying how your activity is classified in the relevant planning documents, and what kind of resource consent you need to apply for.

How does OPC charge for its services?

When discussing your job, OPC will provide, where requested, an estimate only of the cost you may incur for engaging OPC's services.  This is an estimate of the consultants time plus GST plus any disbursements that may be incurred; we do not provide quotes or fixed prices.

Professional services will be provided at the current hourly charge.  Invoices will be issued showing a general description of work carried out and the time taken; a more detailed breakdown is available upon request.  

In situations where an initial consultation only is sought, please be aware that we charge for all consultation meetings, including any site visits required.   Invoices will be then be issued with immediate payment terms.   For ongoing jobs, invoices will be issued on a monthly basis with payment required on the 20th of the following month; the exception to this however, is the requirement for full payment of costs incurred to date prior to the lodgement of a consent application with the appropriate authority.

In providing our services we may incur disbursements such as mileage, title searches and photocopying costs, or have to make payments to third parties on your behalf.  These will be included in our invoice to you when the expense is incurred.  The exception is Council consent lodgement fees and appeal lodgement fees where we will require a bank transfer or cheque from you made out to the appropriate entity for the appropriate amount.

If you have any further queries on how our services are provided, please download our Terms of Engagement at the bottom of this website.

What they say...

On behalf of the team I just want to thank you for the energy, skill and persistence that have helped us get to this significant milestone. Having worked my way through a few consents (when Burnette was on the other side of the fence!) I know what an effort this has been. And Kathryn is quite right, I was expecting a host of conditions relating to the commercial activity but in fact the consent is very light in that department. So thank you...…read more

Darryl Soljan, Warkworth Wellsford Hospice