RMA and HASHA hearings
Elected members undertaking resource consent hearings under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) or the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013 (HASHA) are entitled to additional fees for that work. These fees are not part of the fund for positons of additional responsibility that is allocated to each council. Note also that while there is a cap on the total extra amount that councils can pay for positions of additional responsibility, there is no cap on the payment of fees for resource consent hearings.
Hearings fees for non-council initiated resource consent hearings form part of the Authority’s Determination. The hourly rate is reviewed each year. The current rate of $80 an hour for a hearing member and $100 an hour for a hearing chair will remain until it is changed by a future determination.
The Authority does not have any jurisdiction over fees related to alcohol licensing hearings.
Councillors undertaking hearings under the RMA or HASHA are also paid for preparation time. Preparation time to be reimbursed should not exceed the time of the actual hearing. For example, if a hearing lasts for three hours then no more than three hours of preparation time may be paid. Preparation time may include time for reading, attending onsite meetings, or attending pre-hearing briefings/meetings. Reimbursement will be at the same rates as those for actual hearings time.
Committee chair chairing hearing
If the chair of a council’s Hearings Committee undertakes resource consent hearings and is paid additional fees for that, those fees are in addition to what that person can be paid for the additional responsibility as chair of the Hearings Committee.
Generally, mayors and regional chairs are not able to receive fees for participating in resource consent hearings. Fees might be considered in exceptional circumstances if there is a shortage of experienced hearing commissioners on the council and there is a significant hearing of a lengthy duration, which would create undue time pressure on the mayor or chair. In such circumstances no fees should be paid without seeking prior approval from the Authority.