Making a submission

Submissions on ORC plans and policy statements

The Resource Management Act 1991 requires councils to develop and maintain plans that manage the environment. If part of any plan needs to change or be completely updated, there are steps the council needs to take. Part of this process is to seek feedback from the public by way of submissions.

Click here to see open consultations.

You can also make a submission on an application for resource consent, read more about this here.


Everything you need to know about making a submission

This is a new process for most people, and we want you to feel confident at each step. If you follow the list below the submission process should be smooth sailing.

A submission is a formally written statement, that enables you to have your say on the development and implementation of ORC plans and policies. A submission must be completed on a particular submission form (Form 5) and can usually be completed online or on paper. Click here for current consultations and their associated submission forms.

Anyone can make a submission. You can submit as an individual or as a group. Groups will need to appoint a spokesperson and this person needs to be clearly identified on the submission. Equal consideration is given to group submissions and individual submissions.

No, there is no cost when you make a submission.

A submission can be made when a new plan or policy statement or a change to a plan or policy statement is notified. “Notified” is when a council informs the public about a plan change or new plan by placing a public notice in relevant newspapers. In Otago, this is the Otago Daily Times. The notice is also put on our website. Submissions must be lodged on or before the advertised closing date.

Prior to starting your submission, find out as much information as you can about what is being proposed and how it will affect you. Call us (0800 474 082) for advice about your submission and/or to get further information about a proposed plan, policy statement or plan change.

Think about the reasons you want to make a submission and use this as the basis of your submission. Avoid including matters that are not within the proposed plan, policy statement or plan change as these will not be considered in this process.

  • Your submission can either support, oppose or provide a neutral view of all or part of a proposed plan, policy statement or plan change.
  • If you want to make a submission on specific parts, you need to identify these by referencing pages, paragraphs or points.
  • Clearly identify what effect the proposed plan, policy statement or plan change will have on you and/or the environment, and what you think the outcome should be.
  • Your submission should say whether you want to speak at a hearing in support of your submission. This is not compulsory but is an opportunity to present your submission and answer any questions.

An effective submission will:

  • Be clear and easy to read, with one point per paragraph or sentence.
  • Clearly explain how what’s proposed could affect you directly and/or your environment. For example, positive and negative effects on cultural values, the natural and built environment, human health, recreational values, economic impacts on the community – but stick to the facts and issues that are relevant.
  • Use local knowledge to describe any effects that may not have identified in the proposal.
  • Provide suggestions for alternative approaches and why these should be considered.
  • Use maps, photos or short videos to help emphasise your point.
  • Conclude with a summary covering your issues and clearly state the decision you wish the council to reach.
  • If you are sending in a paper submission, type it and remember to sign your name.

If you are going to speak at the hearing remember you can only speak about issues raised in your written submission.

Please note: Submissions are public information so everything that’s in it will be publicly available.

You can make a submission online at or by completing a submission document (Form 5) and emailing it to or by posting it to Submissions, Otago Regional Council, 70 Stafford Street, Private Bag 1954, Dunedin 9054. Submission forms are available by calling 0800 474 082 or on the relevant page.

Your submission may be written in English, te reo Maori, or presented in New Zealand Sign Language. If you wish to submit in Sign Language, you will need to contact council so we can organise an appropriate way to receive your submission. If you are submitting in sign or te reo, we will need to organise a translation.

The amount of time the submissions period is open for is:

  • 20 days for a proposed plan change
  • 40 days for a proposed policy statement
  • 40 days for a proposed plan

Late submissions may not be accepted so please allow plenty of time for post or courier.

Click here for proposed plans, policy statements or plan changes that are open for submissions and their relevant submission forms.

Click here for information about what happens after you make a submission.

Making a submission on ORC proposed plans and policy statements.


Other information

A submission (or part of your submission) may be struck out if the authority is satisfied that at least one of the following applies to the submission (or part of the submission):

  • It is frivolous or vexatious
  • It discloses no reasonable or relevant case
  • It would be an abuse of the hearing process to allow the submission (or the part) to be taken further
  • It contains offensive language
  • It is supported only by material that purports to be independent expert evidence but has been prepared by a person who is not independent or who does not have sufficient specialised knowledge or skill to give expert advice on the matter.
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