How to make a submission
Depending on the application you'd like to submit on, there are particular things you need to do. Here is some advice.
How to write an effective submission
Keep the following points in mind to make sure that your submission is as valuable as possible:
- Familiarise yourself with the application and supporting information.
- Stick to the current application - don't get distracted by other matters.
- Focus on the effects of the application.
- Be specific about your concerns and how you want them addressed.
- Say what you want.
- Don’t use offensive language.
- Write in clear and simple everyday language.
- Include all of the points you want to make.
Make sure that you fill out the form provided and include your full contact details. On this form you should also note which parts of the application your submission relates to, in particular if you support or oppose specific parts of the application.
Take time to clearly state why you are making a submission and any specific information you want considered. It can help if you clearly state the decision you want made, including any conditions you may want imposed.
Point out any environmental effects you feel the application doesn't adequately identify. Your local knowledge might add to the understanding of the effects that a proposal might have.
Don’t use copyright material in your submission without the permission of the copyright holder.
You can make your submission in Te Reo Māori if you prefer.
Resource Management Act
After a matter has been lodged with us and we have made our recommendation to the Minister for the Environment, the Minister may choose to refer the matter to a board of inquiry, or the Environment Court.
Alternatively, if it is determined that the matter is not of national significance, it may be referred back to the local authority for determination at that level. They will then notify and call for submissions.
If the Minister determines that the matter is of national significance, we publicly notify the matter and a call for submissions is made. Anyone can make a submission on the matter.
A submission can be:
- in support
- in opposition
- support some parts and oppose other part
- neither support or oppose but are just making a neutral submission with information you would like to be considered.
You can find information about possible environmental effects in the assessment of environmental effects report, which is included with every matter.
See the EPA fact sheets on making a submission for more information.
Lodging your submission
You must send your submission to us before the closing date, which is written on the submission form and in the public notification. The closing date is 20 working days after the notification of a proposal.
Try to get your submission to us well before the closing date. If you send your submission by post close to the closing date, check to make sure that it has arrived in time.
What happens to your submission?
After the closing date, we send all submissions to the board of inquiry or Environment Court. The board or Court will consider the submissions in making its decision.
Make sure you state in your submission whether you want to speak at the hearing. You don't have to, and while speaking at a hearing can help highlight what you said in your submission, your submission is just as valid if you don't speak. If you do speak at a hearing, you will only be able to talk about issues you have included in your written submission.
For further inforrmation, see:
EEZ and Continental Shelf Act
What to include in your submission to help the decision-makers
At the EPA we have a duty to ensure the decision-making process is fair, impartial and thorough. To make the best decision, the decision-making committee considering a marine consent application needs to have as much relevant information as possible. We want to hear how an application might affect people, communities and the environment in your submission.
We’re looking for information that may affect the outcome of a decision or what conditions could be imposed if an application is approved. As part of writing your submission you can draw on your local knowledge, common sense and understanding of ‘how things actually work round here’.
A submission is not a vote for or against an application. By making a submission you’re not signing a petition. It’s what your submission says that is most important, not how many people say the same thing. High-quality information will help the decision-makers understand the issues under consideration.
If you have questions about making a submission or don't understand part(s) of the submission form, contact the EPA. The submission form will tell you how to get in touch.
Information you must include in your submission
Make sure you complete each section of the form and provide your contact details. You need to provide a valid email address on your submission form so we can contact you about your submission and keep you updated throughout the process of the marine consent application.
In your submission, state what decision you would like the EPA to make on the marine consent application and describe why you think that decision should be made. You can comment on any aspect of the application and there is no restriction on the length of your submission.
Make sure you state in your submission whether you want to speak at a hearing. While speaking at a hearing can help highlight what you said in your submission, your submission is just as valid if you don’t speak. If you do speak at a hearing, you will generally only be able to talk about issues you have included in your written submission.
Speaking to your submission at the hearing
Speaking at a hearing is your opportunity to talk about the submission you have made. You can give your opinions on the application, say how it will affect you, and ask for a particular decision or outcome. This is called making a representation. Someone can speak about your submission on your behalf.
How to send us your submission
The EPA must receive your submission before the close of the submission period. This date is on the submission form and public notice and is 30 working days from the date the application was notified.
You can provide your completed submission form directly to us using the EPA online form and it will be sent automatically to the applicant at the same time.
If you don’t want to use the online form, you can fill in a paper submission form. There is a specific submission form for each application. You can attach extra pages if you need more space. Make sure they are clearly labelled with your name, page numbers and the name of the marine consent application your submission relates to.
You must send a copy of your paper submission to the applicant. Contact details for where to send your submission will be on the submission form and in the public notice.
Changing your submission
Try to avoid changing your submission after you have sent it or sending in duplicate submissions. If you state in your submission that you wish to be heard and need to change your mind later, let the EPA know as soon as possible. The submission form will tell you how to get in touch.
Try not to change your mind from not being heard to being heard, as we may not have allocated you a speaking time at the hearing or provided you with all the information you need to know for the hearing.
Making your submission available
After the closing date of submissions, a copy of your submission, including all personal information, will be provided to the applicant, decision-makers and possibly to other parties in the process.
- If you are an organisation or company, your full business and contact details will be publicly available and published on the EPA website.
- For individual submitters, your name and any information in your submission may be publicly available and published on the EPA website.
- Your contact details (phone number, address and email) will not be publicly available.
Keeping you updated
The EPA is required to keep submitters updated throughout the process. There can be large amounts of correspondence. If you make a submission, you will receive emails notifying you of new information available on the EPA website, such as further information, evidence, hearing schedules, notices and reports. Emails will be sent to the email address you have provided on the submission form or, if you have a spokesperson such as a lawyer or professional adviser, the emails will be sent to your spokesperson.
If you can’t receive emails, you will receive letters notifying you of where information can be found on the EPA website. At times, it may not be possible to post information to you in a timely manner. For example during the hearing, the hearing schedule may change frequently. If you can’t receive emails, ensure you provide your full postal address, including postcode.
If you state in your submission that you don’t wish to be heard, the EPA still needs to keep you updated with information and advice on the application and advise you of the final decision. You won’t receive any information about the hearing.
There is no fee for making a submission or appearing at a hearing. Any costs associated with preparing your submission and speaking about your submission at the hearing are your responsibility, for example, travel and accommodation to attend the hearing.
Hazardous Substances or New Organisms
A submission is a way you can have input into the decision making for an application you're interested in. When you write a submission, you set out your point of view for consideration by the decision-making committee.
In a submission you can provide information, make comments or raise issues.
A submission can be:
- in support
- in opposition
- support some parts and oppose other parts, or
- neither support nor oppose, but just make a neutral submission with information you would like us to consider.
Any organisation or member of the public can make a submission, and if you know others who have the same view as you, you can make a joint submission.
The closing date for submissions is included in the information about the application that’s put on this website, the letter that’s sent to affected parties, and the newspaper advertisement (if the application is notified in the media).
It's important to get your submission to us on time: submissions can’t be accepted after the closing date.
While it isn't compulsory to use the form, it's helpful to us if you use it because it includes fields for all the information we need to get from you.
Complete the form and lodge it with us in person, by post or by email.
215 Lambton Quay
|Private Bag 63 002
The EPA will confirm that your submission has been received and we'll notify you if we require further information before accepting your submission.
Information you must include in your submission (whether you use our submission form or not)
You must clearly state the following:
- Your name and contact details (such as postal address, email address and/or telephone number), plus third-party details if you are representing a company, trust or charity organisation
- The application number or what the submission is regarding
- Your reasons for making the submission
- Whether your submission is in support or in opposition, or if you are just making a neutral submission with information you would like us to consider
- The decision you want the decision-making committee to make as a result of your submission (for applications)
- Whether you wish to speak in support of your submission at any hearing that may be held (for applications)
How is my view taken into account?
Public submissions are a very important way for decision makers to gather information to help them make their decisions. The quality of the information you provide in your submission will help us, and the decision-making committee understand the issues under consideration.
In order to make the best decision, the decision makers need to be aware of as much relevant information as possible. They want to hear how a proposal might affect people, communities, and the environment.
They're looking for information that may affect the outcome of a decision, or about what conditions could be imposed if an application was approved.
Your local knowledge, common sense and understanding of ‘how things actually work round here’ are some of the most helpful things you can put in your submission.
A submission is not a vote for or against an application. It’s what your submission says that is most important – not how many people say the same thing. The quality of the information you provide will help the decision makers understand the issues under consideration.
Keeping your contact details confidential
Once your submission has been received the submission becomes a public document. This means it may be made publicly available on our website and to anyone who requests it. You may request that your contact details be kept confidential, but your name, organisation and your submission itself will become a public document.
There is some information that will be public, even if you decide to keep your contact details confidential, for example:
- your name may still appear in discussion documents
- your name may appear in the EPA's Staff Assessment document as a submitter - and parts of your submission may be quoted.
At the close of the submission period we will forward your submission to the applicant, and advise you whether or not a hearing will be held.
If a hearing is to be held we will send you specific information on the procedure for the application you are interested in.