The Otago Regional Council is assuring the public it
still considers Otago Fish and Game when handling resource
Council resource management director Selva Selvarajah
responded to reported comments by Fish and Game that it no
longer enjoyed ''affected party status'' under the Resource
Management Act, entitling it to automatic notification
whenever the council considers a resource consent affecting
The RMA defines affected parties as those who might
experience an adverse effect generated by the proposed
activity that will be greater than, or significantly
different from, the effect on the general public.
The RMA also allows councils discretion in deciding whether
there are affected parties associated with a consent
application. They must be guided by their own discretion, the
rules in their plans, and the RMA itself.
If the council decides there are no affected parties, or that
they have given written approval, the application is
Dr Selvarajah said the council would continue to apply these
provisions case by case when deciding affected party status.
Fish and Game would sometimes fall into that category.
''Each consent application is carefully considered in terms
of who is likely to be adversely affected. We then notify
those parties or agencies and advise them to get the written
approval of those parties. This practice hasn't changed and
will continue,'' he said.
Council staff regularly forwarded decisions on surface water
and related consents to Fish and Game for its information.
''However, we cannot give a 100% assurance that Otago Fish
and Game will always be consulted as an adversely affected
party for every waterway application we receive,'' Dr
''This applies particularly when the effects may be minimal
or even non-existent because the applicant has proposed
measures to minimise or avoid adverse effects in the consent
Several applicants had expressed dissatisfaction with the
time Fish and Game took to respond to their consent
applications, he said.
Council staff had been advising people to send their
applications to Fish and Game for approval at the outset if
they were likely to have adverse effects, to help speed up
that part of the process.