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Section 36

What does the administration fee cover?

The administration fee contributes to the costs council incurs in undertaking its consenting, monitoring and administrative functions required under the RMA. This includes maintaining consent and compliance information, reviewing annual charges and ensuring information on our databases and files is accurate and current. 

Section 36

Why am I being charged an administration fee?

The administration fee is charged as part of the ongoing costs associated with being a consent holder and having the ability to reserve the right to use or carry out a consent.

Section 36

Why isn’t Section 36 also being charged to my neighbour?

The fees are based on the consent held by the property owner and often neighbours have different consents. If you believe that your neighbour should also be liable for this charge, please provide full details to our customer services team on free phone 0508 800 800 and we will look into it.

Section 36

Why do I have to pay Section36 research charges?

Council has determined that consent holders receive individual benefit from the monitoring research that is carried out.
The research charges contribute towards the costs incurred by Horizons in researching and identifying the cumulative impact on our environment of all such activities across our region. Information gained from this research can also be used by applicants during the resource consent application process.
The annual cost of the water quantity monitoring and research is approximately $5.9 million per year. Of this, thirty (30%) percent is funded by consent holders through Section 36 research charges, with the balance (70%) recovered through the General Rate.
This research is essential for our many regional organisations, farms and other industries, who are dependent on this information. The findings enable us to continue to provide communities and users with ongoing services, including water for recreational use, clean drinking water and a healthy habitat for native fish.
By maintaining and further developing knowledge of our region’s natural resources, the interests of the consent holder, the needs of the wider regional community and the resource itself are all protected.

Section 36

Why do I have to pay for Section 36 consent monitoring?

Horizons Regional Councillors have determined through the Annual Plan process that consent holders will be charged a Fixed Annual Preliminary Compliance Charge (FAPCC) for consent monitoring based on the type of activity carried out on site.  For sites with more than one consented activity the FAPC will be for the main activity and charged at the time the consents monitoring is carried out by Horizons.
For telemetered water takes the FAPCC is charged at the same time as environmental monitoring and research charges as consent monitoring for these sites is ongoing.
The FAPCC accounts for costs associated with the first compliance assessment. Any further time required to undertake monitoring of an activity is recovered through additional charges based on actual and reasonable costs. Additional charges (over and above the annual preliminary charge) will also account for extra compliance monitoring (including site visits, sampling, assessment, reporting and follow up processes), which is required as a result of non-compliance with consent conditions.
The resource consent annual administration charge fee of $50 (excluding GST) per consent contributes to the costs Council incurs in undertaking its consenting, monitoring and administrative functions required under the Resource Management Act 1991.

Section 36

Why are there additional consent numbers on my invoice this year? Am I being billed twice for every consent I hold?

You have two or additional consent numbers because we moved to a new consents database – this required all existing consents to be renumbered.  To avoid confusion we have included both (old and new) numbers this year so that you are aware of the new number. 

You are only billed for the consent/s you hold or have held this financial year – there is no double billing.
Your consent/s are shown on the invoice as:  New Consent No ATH-1993000762.00 (formerly 3381).

Section 36

Why are my Section 36 charges based on my maximum authorised daily water take when I do not take my maximum allowance of water?

The terms of your current consent ensure that your right for the full water take amount is reserved. All such charges are based on the maximum authorised daily allowance regardless of the actual volume that the consent holder may choose to take.

You may wish to consider varying your consent to a lower consented volume in order to reduce these research charges in the future. This would require a variation to your consent. To arrange this, please contact our Consents team on freephone 0508 800 800.

Section 36

Who can I contact for more information about Section 36?

For all enquiries call 0508 800 800 and they will direct you to a staff member who can help.


Section 36

What time period does this invoice cover and how often are they issued?

Your invoice refers to the 12 month period 1 July 2023 - 30 June 2024. These invoices are issued annually, midway through the invoiced period.

Section 36

What do I get for my money when I pay Section 36 charges?

Cleaner, safer water both now and for the future. Water quantity, surface and groundwater resources are managed to ensure there is an adequate supply for consent holders, the wider community and for aquatic wildlife.
By researching the effects of all current resource consents including your own, the Council is able to ensure that such consents can be effectively maintained, while sustainably managing the environment now and for the future.

Extensive monitoring is undertaken by the consents monitoring team and other Horizons staff of activities associated with:
•    District Council, farm and industry water discharges and abstractions
•    Monitoring land use activities (intensive farming, vegetation clearance and gravel extractions)
•    Inspecting and assessing data and reporting on the results.

Monitoring of your resource consent to determine compliance may include:
•    Site inspections (these may be tri- or bi-annual, annual or more frequently if required)
•    Assessing daily or monthly water and gravel abstraction data
•    Assessment of formal reports sent in by consent holders (quarterly or annually)
•    Assessing resource consent activities in response to public complaints.

This monitoring ensures that resource consent conditions are being complied with and:
•    Supports fair distribution of the water resources throughout our region
•    Ensures land use activities are being undertaken in a sustainable manner
•    The potential for environmental impacts from discharges is minimised.

Section 36

Why does my invoice have additional charges for non-compliance?

If the consent conditions are not complied with, there are additional charges which are invoiced at the time of the non-compliance.
*These charges are typically recovered on a staff time per hour rate.

Section 36

What if I'm not taking the water allocated to me under the terms of my consent?

As the holder of a current resource consent, you have established the right to take your specified volume of water.  Council policy stipulates that all such charges are based on the maximum authorised daily allowance, regardless of the actual volume that the consent holder chooses to take.

If you wish to give up your right to take water, you have the option of surrendering your resource consent, in which case future research charges would not apply.  However, if you then choose to resume taking water in the future, you would have to go through the consent application process again.

Charges for scientific monitoring of the water apply to all granted consents and continue to be charged, even if you do not take the allocated water.

Section 36

How can I have my say regarding these Section 36 research and monitoring charges?

Research and monitoring charges are determined by Horizons' elected Councillors following a public consultation process.

You can make submissions on Council’s Draft Annual Plan during the consultation process generally in the first third of each year, and during the three-yearly Long-term Plan consultation process. For further information on how to get involved, please contact our Customer Services team on freephone 0508 800 800.  

Section 36

How are the Section 36 research charges calculated for water takes?

The charges are set out in the Annual Plan 2023-24. All holders of permits for surface and groundwater takes are charged a $30.63 fixed fee, plus a rate of $0.72 (72 cents) per cubic metre of the authorised maximum daily (not annual) water take volume (as documented in the resource consent). NOTE: Charges in the Long Term Plan are GST excluded.

Section 36

How much of the research am I funding?

The total annual science and research cost to Horizons, including charges for fixed equipment, computer software, laboratory costs, staffing and research undertaken to inform resource management is approximately $5.9 million. Thirty (30%) percent of the cost of water quantity monitoring and research is funded by consent holders through the research charges, with the balance (70%) being funded through the General Rate.

Section 36

How are the Section 36 research charges calculated for water quality/discharge consents?

The charges are set out in the Annual Plan 2023-24, shown in column 2 of the table below:

NOTE:  Charges in the Annual Plan are GST excluded;


Type and Quantity


Annual Fee

Discharge to Land <25 m3/day


Discharge to Land>25 to 50 m3​/day


Discharge to Land >50 to 100 m3​/day


Discharge to Land >100 to 200 m3​/day


Discharge to Land >200 to 1,000 m3​/day


Discharge to Land >1,000 to 10,000 m3​/day


Discharge to Land 10,000+ m3​/day


Discharge to Water <25 m3​/day


Discharge to Water>25 to 50 m3​/day


Discharge to Water >50 to 100 m3​/day


Discharge to Water >100 to 200 m3​/day


Discharge to Water >200 to 1,000 m3​/day


Discharge to Water >1,000 to 10,000 m3​/day


Discharge to Water 10,000+ m3​/day


Unspecified Volume Discharge


Land Fill – High impact


Land Fill – Medium impact


Land Fill – Low impact



Some sites require Council to do more monitoring, therefore, the Tables below show Consent Holders from who Council now recovers additional research charges. 


Water Quality Charges for Discharge Consents (in addition to standard charge)


Annual Fee

AFFCO Feilding


Fonterra – Longburn


Fonterra – Pahiatua


Horowhenua District Council


Manawatu District Council


NZ Defence Force


Palmerston North City Council


Rangitikei District Council


Riverlands Manawatu


Ruapehu District Council




Winstone Pulp



Consent  Monitoring (Contracted)


Annual Fee

Tararua District Council

As per contract


Section 36

What are the Section 36 invoices for?

Section 36 charges are an annual charge to consent holders (under Section 36[1] of the Resource Management Act 1991) by Horizons. These charges relate to administration and compliance monitoring of resource consents, and research. 
Depending on your consent, you may have both compliance and research charges. All consent holders are charged an administration fee.

Section 36

How often will I be charged?

Section 36 charges are levied each year unless the consent you hold is cancelled, expired, or transferred. If your details have changed or you wish to surrender a consent, please contact our Regulatory Administration team on freephone 0508 800 800.

If you have recently sold your business (eg. farm or meat processing plant), the resource consents do not automatically get transferred as part of the normal sale and purchase process. To arrange a transfer, please contact our consents team on freephone 0508 800 800.
Please note you will continue to receive the compliance monitoring fee and science and research charges for the resource consents until the transfer is carried out.  

Section 36

What about those people who benefit from this research and monitoring charge but are not charged the Section 36 fee?

All ratepayers, both rural and residential, fund a portion of both the compliance and research charges through the general rating system, including:

  • 70 percent share of the research costs
  • 20 to 35 percent of the compliance costs