This project examines the costs and benefits of, and alternatives to, the resource consent process of the Resource Management Act 1991 in circumstances where the process has been applied to routine maintenance works on New Zealand state highways.
The study is based on an historical review of 195 previous consents issued over a five-year period (1997 to 2001).
The study, carried out in 2001–2002, finds that maintenance works are not always uncontentious. Issues can and do arise through the consent process. Forty-one such issues are reported from previous consents. Some minor environmental benefits resulted. The total cost of the 195 consents reviewed in the study is estimated to have been $560,000 (an average of $2,900 per consent). These costs appear to have increased over time (by about 30% between 1997 and 2001).
The study recommends that future effort be directed at the development of maintenance-friendly regional rules. Alternative methods, including the use of 'region-wide' consents, are not recommended.
Keywords: costs, environment, environmental benefits, global consents, highway maintenance, New Zealand, regional plans, region-wide consents, resource consents, Resource Management Act, road maintenance, road