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SURV205 Statutory Planning A

An introduction to statutory planning, the purpose and functions of the Resource Management Act 1991, including sustainability, local authority planning documents, stakeholder consultation, notification, effects, examples of assessments of environmental effects and resource consent applications.

Dealing with the planning system in New Zealand forms a significant part of the practising surveyor's daily business. The system is evolutionary and sometimes undergoes radical change, is changed in minor ways at other times and occasionally reintroduces matters that have been deleted by previous amendments. For this reason it is critical that students understand the way in which the New Zealand system has developed, the reasons for changes, what is new and what has been used before. This paper sets in place a knowledge of the fundamental aspects of the New Zealand planning process from first principles and explains the way it developed, including the introduction of the Resource Management Act 1991.

Paper title Statutory Planning A
Paper code SURV205
Subject Surveying
EFTS 0.1334
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,173.39
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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108 points including one ENGL paper
SURV 114, SURV 215
Schedule C

SURV 205 provides a clear introduction to the theory and practice of planning, then an introduction to sustainability, before integrating this knowledge into an understanding of the Resource Management Act; the administration, institutions, instruments, purpose and process. SURV 455 follows on directly from this paper to focus on resource consent applications, requirements and responses and engaging with statutory planning instruments. Together they provide the theory and practical skills and knowledge required for the planning activities of surveyors and other land professionals.

Suitable for all land professionals wanting to understand the RMA planning processes.

Teaching staff

Mick Strack and another to be appointed

Paper Structure

This paper covers the following themes:

  • Planning theory
  • Planning history in NZ
  • Values and effects on land and environment
  • Environmental ethics and awareness
  • Environmental agreements and sustainability
  • Land development process
  • RMA introduction
  • Purpose and principles
  • Functions and powers of local and central government
  • Indigenous world views
  • Government policies and standards
  • LA plans and policies
  • Resource consents types
  • Activity categories
  • Consultation and Notification
  • Submissions and Hearings
  • Decisions and Appeals

SURV 205 Statutory Planning A leads to the advanced-level core paper SURV 455 Statutory Planning B, which deals with the professional aspects of resource consent applications. SURV 205 also encourages the theoretical and practical relationships amongst other surveying papers, specifically SURV 206 Land Tenure 1, SURV 203 Land Development Engineering 1, and SURV 303 Urban Design 1.

Teaching Arrangements

Three lectures per week, plus one or two hours per week for tutorials, workshops, or presentations.

  • Coutts, B. J. and M. S. Strack, 2011. An introduction to land administration and planning. MacGill Coutts Associates. Dunedin
  • Coutts, B. J. 2005. A Practical Guide to Resource Consents. 2nd Edition. MacGill Coutts Assoc and UniPrint. Dunedin. 160pp
  • Warnock, C. & Baker-Galloway, M. 2015. Focus on Resource Management Law. LexisNexis. Wellington
  • The Resource Management Act 1991
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Environmental literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

The goals of the paper are

  1. To introduce the theory of planning as a human activity
  2. To introduce the history of environmental awareness, ethics and sustainability
  3. To understand the process of land development from initial planning to occupation
  4. To link the social, political and legislative origins of the Resource Management Act 1991
  5. To understand the contents and importance of the Purpose and Principles (Part II) of the RMA
  6. To understand the institutional arrangements surrounding the RMA
  7. To examine attitudes, related legislation and case law affecting land planning in NZ
  8. To understand the process of gaining resource consent (Part VI) for activities under the RMA
  9. To promote awareness of indigenous cultural issues as they relate to the RMA
  10. To encourage the development of written and oral skills, encourage critical thinking and reinforce research competence

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Tuesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Friday 12:00-12:50 29-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41