A resource consent hearing is an opportunity for both the applicant and the submitters to present their case before a neutral independent hearing commissioner or panel before a decision or recommendation is made. If a notified application is opposed and receives submissions, but no-one wishes to be heard a hearing does not need to be held. If a hearing is held due to submitters wishing to be heard, the applicant is liable for the cost of the hearing. If an independent hearings commissioner is requested by the submitter both the submitter and the applicant share the cost. Who will be at the hearing? Generally the hearing will be heard by an independent commissioner/s. They listen to the evidence and make the final decision. Applicant - the person who is applying for a resource consent. Applicant's lawyer or planner – an advocate (often a lawyer) is employed by the client to represent their interests. Advocates are not expert witnesses and do not give evidence. A planner is still required to be impartial. Submitters – the people who are affected by the proposal. Expert witnesses - people who present evidence on particular subjects, such as planning, noise, traffic, or ecological effects. Council planner – the staff member who is available to comment on any of the evidence given at the hearing. Hearings secretary – the staff member who provides administration support and minutes the hearings. Public - hearings are a public forum, so members of the public may also attend. Appearing at a hearing A hearing will give a submitter an opportunity to present evidence and express their concerns to the panel. What is evidence? Evidence should directly relate to and support your submission statements. Evidence can be verbal and/or visual evidence such as photographs, diagrams etc and should be provided to the hearings secretary to be circulated prior to the hearing. Who can speak at the hearing? Members of the hearings panel; The applicants and their witnesses; Council staff; The submitter and any supporting witnesses. Tips for the day of the hearing When reading your statement take your time reading, be clear and concise; Focus on the environmental matters, not simply what you like and dislike; You can elaborate on your submission but you cannot present new evidence; Someone else can speak on your behalf such as a lawyer or spokesperson if you feel uneasy speaking publically; You may also wish to consult with a lawyer if legal matters are included in your submission.