The IHP hearings process
Step 2: What should I do when I receive a hearing notification?
- Read your hearing notification to find out what you need to do next.
- Take note of the key dates on the front of the notification.
- Read the Parties and Issues report for the hearing. The Parties and Issues report can be found alongside your hearing topic, under "Documents" on the Hearings page.
- Let the hearing administrator know by the RSVP date if you want to come to the pre-hearing meeting.
- Check if you need to provide any information prior to the pre-hearing.
Frequently asked questions
What is a Parties and Issues report?
A Parties and Issues report is the starting point in the hearing process. A report will be prepared for each hearing topic.
The report identifies the parties who will be involved in the hearing, and the issues they have raised. It brings together all the information for the hearing and identifies how the Independent Hearings Panel (the Panel) proposes to deal with the submissions for that hearing.
Before the hearing the Parties and Issues report will be updated to show the progress made to resolve issues, for example what happened at any mediation or expert conference. The updated report will go forward to the hearing.
To find out about the hearing topics go to the "Overview of Hearing Schedule" under "Hearing Schedule Documents" on the Hearings page.
What is a pre-hearing meeting?
A pre-hearing meeting is the first step in the process to clarify and resolve issues before a hearing takes place. The purpose of the meeting is to agree what the issues are and how they will be dealt with. The issues and the proposed pathways are set out in the Parties and Issues report for the hearing topic.
Pre-hearing meetings are open to members of the public (including the media) to attend although only the submitters have the right to speak.
Do I need to attend the pre-hearing meeting?
If you agree with the Parties and Issues report you do not need to come to the pre-hearing meeting. However you should check if you need to provide any information to the hearing administrator prior to the pre-hearing.
What information may I need to provide before the pre-hearing meeting?
You may need to provide information to the hearing administrator before the pre-hearing meeting to:
- Register your expert witnesses, if you have any;
- Apply for extra speaking time at the hearing;
- Request a reallocation of a submission point to a different topic (if you think your submission point has been allocated to the wrong hearing topic).
Use the "Submitter Information Form" under "Hearing Schedule Documents" on the hearings page to do any of these tasks. Return it to the hearing administrator by the RSVP date for the pre-hearing meeting.
Who is an expert?
Experts are people who are recognised in their field for having expertise either through qualifications or experience.
The Panel will decide who can appear as an expert. The experts will be confirmed in the Parties and Issues report after the pre-hearing meeting.
Please note that the Panel will only accept "expert evidence" from someone qualified to be an expert and who is also independent. This means that if you are a submitter on the Plan your evidence will not be considered "expert" because you will not be seen as independent.
Please note that submitters do not need to have an expert witness to take part in the hearings.
What does the Parties and Issues report do?
The Parties and Issues report;
- Identifies the hearing topic;
- Identifies the plan provisions addressed under the topic;
- Lists the submitters with an interest in that hearing topic;
- Identifies the issues raised in submissions under that particular hearing topic;
- Sets out the proposed pathway for dealing with the issues.
The information on the submitters, their submission points and the pathways is contained in an excel spreadsheet attached to the Parties and Issues report. This spreadsheet is called the submission point pathway report (SPP). The SPP:
- Lists all the submission points for the hearing topic from the primary submissions;
- Sets out the proposed pathway for the submission point.
- Gives the total number of further submissions that support or oppose the submission point.
What are the pathways?
The possible pathways for a submission point are: mediation, expert conference, refer to council, consider, reallocate and straight to a hearing.
Mediation and expert conference are intended to resolve or clarify issues in a collaborative and less formal way than in a hearing, and to narrow down what needs to be discussed at the formal hearing.
'Refer to Council' is used for submissions which request minor changes, for example fixing obvious mistakes in the maps or plan text. Auckland Council will be asked to make these changes and report back to the Panel with the outcomes.
'Consider' is used for submission points where the submitter did not wish to be heard. These submissions will be read and taken into consideration as part of the Panel's deliberations.
'Reallocate' applies when a submission point has been incorrectly grouped and has been reallocated to the correct topic.
Hearing means that the Panel sees no benefit in any intermediate steps between the pre-hearing meeting and the hearing.
What if I disagree with how the issues in my submission are going to be dealt with?
If you disagree with how the issues in your submission have been represented in the Parties and Issues report or the pathway proposed for your issues, you should come to the pre-hearing meeting and raise your concerns. You will need to contact the Hearing Administrator (either by phone or email) to confirm you want to come. This will be explained in the notice telling you about the pre-hearing meeting.
Only those parties who disagree with what is proposed in the Parties and Issues report need to attend the pre-hearing meeting.
After the pre-hearing meeting the Parties and Issues report will be updated to reflect what was agreed at the pre-hearing meeting. The updated report will be put on the website as soon as possible after the pre-hearing meeting.
What is a further submission?
A further submission is made to oppose or support a primary submission. No new information is introduced by further submissions. Further submissions are then considered by the Panel in addition to the primary submissions.
How do I find a further submission?
Information on further submissions is found in two places – Auckland Council's website and the SPP attached to the Parties and Issues report for the hearing topic.
To find a further submission made on a primary submission you will need to refer to the further submissions report on the Auckland Council's website.
This report will show what further submissions have been made on a particular submission point, who those further submitters are and whether they are in support or opposition.
To find out the total number of further submissions for each submission point you will need to look at the SPP report attached to the Parties and Issues report. This shows the total number of further submissions there are for each submission point and if they are in support or opposition.
If a primary submission has been withdrawn, all further submissions related to that primary submission will also be withdrawn. The Panel will not consider these submissions in making its recommendations.
Will all submitters on that topic be told about the Parties and Issues report?
No. You will only be told about the Parties and Issues report if you said in your submission on the Plan that you wished to be heard, or you have since contacted the panel office to say you want to be heard.
At least 10 working days before the pre-hearing meeting you will be sent a notice giving you the details of the pre-hearing meeting. This notice will give you the electronic link to the Parties and Issues report. If you do not have an email address or you have told the panel office you want to be contacted by post, you will be sent a hard copy of the notice of the meeting and the Parties and Issues report.
What happens if I need to attend mediation, an expert conference or a hearing?
If the Parties and Issues report identifies a next step for your submission, such as mediation, you will be contacted before the meeting and told the date, time and place it will be held.
Is the Parties and Issues report used at the hearing?
Yes. The Parties and Issues report has an important role in the hearing. It brings together all the information about the hearing topic and records everything that has happened with that topic up to the hearing.
All of the Parties and Issues reports will be available on the hearings page of the website under each hearing topic.