ENVPL201-22A (HAM)

Introduction to Resource Management

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Environmental Planning


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: frances.douch@waikato.ac.nz

Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)


Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)


: melanie.chivers@waikato.ac.nz
: nat.enright@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
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Paper Description

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This paper is designed to provide students with an introduction to law and policy relevant to the practice of environmental planning and management in New Zealand. It contains core academic and technical content, and develops competencies central to the discipline.

Social media networks:

To better understand what this paper and Environmental Planning offer, come and join us on Instagram and Facebook!

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Paper Structure

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The paper will be delivered through 2 lectures (3 hours total) each week. We recommend that students attend all scheduled lectures, as our experience tells us that students who regularly attend class perform more strongly than students who do not. The final test for this paper will examine your understanding of all the lectures. The classes will also be supported by Powerpoint and will be available on Panopto.


You also need to attend 3 tutorial sessions (in total) as shown on the schedule. Please note that not all of the tutorial options shown below will be offered as there is also the opportunity to undertake tutorials online. The on-campus tutorial slots will be confirmed for selection on moodle at the start of trimester.

Council hearing

Apart from lectures and tutorials, you are expected to spend half a day at a council hearing, in your own time, to enable you to prepare a hearings report. *See assessment notes for distance learners.

The convenor of the paper will be available to answer course queries. If you are having difficulty with completing your assignments on time, attending lectures or understanding lectures, please make sure you contact the paper convenor. It is always better to come early before you develop a bigger problem and it is left too late in the course to fix!

FLEXI learning: This paper is available to distance learners in a flexible format.Teaching is delivered both online and face-to-face. On campus activities are available for students to attend in person, however distance learners can complete the whole paper online if they choose (including from offshore). See (*) for notes regarding distance learning and assessment.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Outcomes
    1. explain and discuss how the New Zealand resource management system works in practice, including the major steps for a resource consent application and what is involved in a council hearing
    2. demonstrate fundamental skills in interpreting a district or regional plan, including zoning, categories of activity and performance and development standards
    3. demonstrate skills in research, analysis and critical reflection in a written report of a planning hearing
    Linked to the following assessments:
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There is one short online quiz to support your learning throughout the course. This will be run via Moodle with a set time period.

Tutorials #1-3 as shown on Schedule

Each of the 3 tutorials is expected to take 2 hours to complete. They are practical in focus and designed to support your in-class learning. Tutorial times will be allocated by subscribing to a group time during the first weeks of the course. Tutorials must be submitted online to moodle by 3pm on the Friday of the tutorial week.

* If you are learning from a distance, the tutorials will be available online and you can email the tutor for assistance during tutorial weeks or post questions/comments on the tutorial discussion forum.

Hearing report

*Note the following is set for domestic students. If you are studying from distance you will be provided with an alternative assessment or a recorded hearing if available.

You will need to attend a District or Regional council resource management hearing during the semester, so that you have the opportunity to prepare this report. The purpose of the hearing report is to make you notice, record, and reflect on the key elements of planning under the Resource Management Act in the context of a resource management hearing. You will arrange and attend a hearing (as available) at a time which works best for you.

Hearing Dates: Hearing dates cannot be fixed prior to the start of this course, as we need to receive notification from a council about when a hearing will be held. You will be notified in class of upcoming council hearings. You can also find out dates and times by phoning the hearings secretary for any district or regional council or from the public notices of the local papers. The dates will be for hearings at Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council, Waipa District Council and Waikato Regional Council. If you prefer, you may attend a hearing in any other district or regional council, for example, a council close to where you live. Many councils now have details of hearing agendas posted online in advance of a hearing. Search for the council and then “notified resource consents”, then find details of the hearing from the agenda. You may also attend Council hearings in relation to publicly proposed district and regional plans.

Go to the first Hearing that you can possibly get to. Although you have 2 months for this assignment, do not be lulled into thinking you can put it off and go later. Council resource consent hearings do not happen more than once a month, and so if you want to go to a hearing in easy distance of the university, there are not many that come up in that time span. Start worrying if you have not been to a hearing by the end of April..

Try and get to the hearing at the start, so that you can see and hear what happens. However, if you have a class or some other reason that makes you late, you can slip in quietly and it will be OK. If you come in late you will need to try and catch up on important information (such as councillors’ names, what the hearing is about, etc.) by getting a copy of the agenda and other useful information. Normally, a copy of the agenda for each hearing will be available in electronic form from the Council website or on Moodle.

You do not have to stay for an entire hearing, but make sure you stay for at least as long as it takes you to understand what is going on (this could be 2-3 hours). Try and find out the names and functions of the people you see. If you can’t see from name tags or from the discussion, wait for a tea break and ask the committee secretary or one of the councillors (Note: council hearings always break for lunch and morning and afternoon tea). Council hearings are a serious business, please make sure you are respectful of protocol and polite at all times. Do not talk throughout the hearing and ensure your mobile phones are switched off. If you arrive early introduce yourself to the Council staff who are organising the hearing.

Report Guidelines: To help you structure your report and analyse the hearing, you may wish to consider the following guidelines:

Title page: include the name of the Council, the type of hearing (e.g. a resource consent hearing or a hearing for a change/variation to a regional or district plan), the date and venue of the hearing, the name of the resource consent applicant(s) or district plan variation or plan change, the location of the site or the nature of the topic/issue that is the subject of the hearing, the type of consent (e.g. a subdivision or land use consent, a discharge permit or a coastal permit).

Introduction: provide a brief overview of the issue/s that is/are the subject of the hearing and agencies and people involved. If possible, provide a location map of the site of the application.

Analysis of the Hearing:

Describe the physical surroundings and the people involved; note anything that catches your eye; identify who the various people are and what are their roles (e.g. councillors, committee secretary and other council staff, applicants or submitters, legal counsel, expert witnesses etc.); note any unusual characteristics (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity), and any interactions, communication, body language etc.; make what interpretations you can.

Note the reactions of listeners to particular speakers and see if you can see any relationship between the kind of reaction and the characteristics of the speaker (e.g. age, sex, dress, level of expertise, level of confidence, authority, social status etc.). Critically consider aspects such as these and discuss them in the context of the process and substance of the hearing.

Draw a diagram of the venue, showing the main physical features and who is sitting where. Scan or photograph your drawing to include it in the word document, or create it in word as a smart art/figure.

Describe your own reactions to the place. (Remember that you, yourself, are an important source of information; chances are, the way you think and feel is the way an ordinary member of the public is likely to think or feel. You can use your own reactions and responses as an indicator of the situation and this can form an important part of your analysis.)

Most importantly, comment on what you see and hear in the light of what you have learned about the Resource Management Act. Try and relate what you see and hear to what you learn in your lectures. For example, explain what type of process you have witnessed. Was it a plan hearing or a resource consent application? If it is a resource consent hearing, what is the point of the resource consent and what type of resource consent is it? What do you understand in terms of the zoning and the category of activity? How is the process carried out and how are the decisions made? What is the role of the Purpose and Principles of the RMA? How did they affect the process you examined? What have you discovered about environmental planning? Is planning political? Does power affect planning?

These are examples, and not all may relate to the process you examine. There are many different ways to explore the hearings process, relate it to your course content and analyse it. As well as showing you understand the process bring your own critical reflection to your report. Done well this will elevate your report to a top grade.

Word limit: 2000 words. (Does not include bibliography and table of contents) Assessment will include a consideration of the clarity, brevity and relevance of what you say. Be ruthless with your editing and ask yourself at all times: is this bit necessary for an understanding of my analysis?

Style: Use your own language in writing the report. Write clearly and succinctly. Do not quote verbatim from the Hearing report unless you also give the reference, including the page number. Remember that plagiarism of all forms is forbidden. Your report will be filed through the Turnitin plagiarism detection software. We use the “Chicago Author Date style” for the programme, as it is an internationally recognised style commonly used in planning research. Make sure that when you refer to information from other sources, such as the planner’s report for the hearing, that you clearly reference this use. For further assistance on style and referencing please see the Environmental Planning Portal via the Library page: http://www.waikato.ac.nz/library/portals/environmental_planning). Here is a link to common referencing examples also available through the library portal: https://www.waikato.ac.nz/library/study/referencing/styles/chicago-geography-eplanning/examples

A general guide to research and writing is available here (https://www.waikato.ac.nz/library/study/guides/literature-review-undergraduates), but your first point of reference should be this paper outline.

Layout: Use a report format with a cover page, contents page, introduction, conclusion, bibliography and appendices (if necessary). An executive summary is unnecessary. Leave enough room at the margins for marker’s comments, and use headings with bold font to show structure and thought. Use consistent line spacing. 1 ½ to 2 spacing is easier to read than 1 spacing. Number each page, by means of a ‘header’ or ‘footer’. Use A4 paper. Staple the pages together with the cover sheet. Submit the report on Moodle, on or before the due date. Use a clear font such as Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial, font size 11/12.

On the cover page, provide your full name and Student ID, word count, the name of the Course, the title of the assignment (Resource Management Act Hearing Report) and date (for your own future reference).

Exemplars: We do not offer exemplars for the report as we prefer to develop your originality and skill in terms of devising an approach, which best fits the hearing and your experience. The instructions above set out in detail what is expected, and we accept an interesting variety of reports in response. The assessment criterial below should also be borne in mind as you write the report.

Assessment Criteria:

Your report will be assessed according to how successfully it fits the following criteria:

  • the description is accurate, succinct, and to-the-point (your description should cover the essentials but not be weighed down by verbiage)
  • your analysis shows an understanding of the purpose, principles and relevant provisions of the RMA
  • your comments and interpretations show an understanding of the hearing in relation to the RMA
  • your report shows insight into the power and politics of planning
  • the organisation of your report is clear, logical and easy to follow
  • the layout and presentation of your report is well set out and easy to read and understand
  • the report is accurately referenced in accordance with the Chicago author date style.


The online test will consist of a mix of short and long answer questions.

Your long answers will be assessed according to how well they:

  • address the question which was asked;
  • involve sound reasoning, and relevant supporting evidence;
  • give examples that are relevant and show you understand the question;
  • have a clear and logical structure (e.g. it should progress logically from introduction, to main body, and conclusion, with the linkages between parts of the argument clearly shown);
  • use concepts correctly;
  • show legible writing, correct spelling, grammar, & punctuation.

A lecture in the last week of the paper will be a revision session to prepare for the test.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Tutorials 1-3
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Quiz
12 May 2022
No set time
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Hearing Report
27 May 2022
3:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Test
17 Jun 2022
No set time
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Required: Miller, C., & Beattie, L. (2017). Planning practice in New Zealand. Wellington: LexisNexis Ltd

For all other readings an electronic course readings list will be available.

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Online Support

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This paper will be supported via Moodle. The lectures will be available via Panopto recordings.
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You should count on spending a minimum of 150 hours on the paper, including approximately 36 hours of lectures and 6 hours of labs. Your work load should amount to an average of 10 hours per week (including the mid-semester break and study week).
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Linkages to Other Papers

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This paper updates and replaces the first half module of a paper offered prior to 2018 as Principles of Environmental Planning.
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Restricted papers: ENVP206, ENVPL511

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