District or Regional Council Report Writing – Law Assignment Help

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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 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. A hearings folder is provided in the assessment tab with resources and we have made a list of a few options for you to consider in the document: ‘Potential 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 a couple 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, 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.

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.

**Because of COVID19 and advances in technology, it may be that hearings are held online. You are welcome to use recorded hearings (such as the ones referred to in the Hearings Information folder) if you are unable to get to a hearing. It is better experience for you to attend in person but you can elect the format in which you attend/watch a hearing.


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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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. Alternatively, discuss the logistics of a Zoom hearing.

4. Describe your own reactions to the experience. (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.

5. 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.

a) 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?

b) What do you understand in terms of the zoning and the category of activity?

c) How is the process carried out and how are the decisions made?

d) What is the role of the Purpose and Principles of the RMA?

e) How did they affect the process you examined?

f) What have you discovered about environmental planning?

g) Is planning political?

h) Does power affect planning?

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