How to oppose intensive farming proposals in your area

Our work Animals in Aotearoa How to oppose intensive farming proposals in your area

We can stop new intensive farming operations from being built or existing operations from expanding!

Local communities have the right to object to resource consent applications. Countless reports show the detrimental impacts of intensive farming on animal welfare, human health, rural livelihoods and our environment.

When we work together, we can make progress towards a transition to more humane, environmentally friendly and sustainable food production systems in New Zealand.

Pressure from residents and activists has already successfully prevented the building of two intensive farms that would have confined at least nine million chickens each year.

Get started

When someone chooses to build or expand an intensive farm, they first need to submit a resource consent application to the relevant local council or councils.

When a resource consent for a farm is due to expire, a renewal application needs to be submitted if the consent holder intends to continue farming.

Under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), a consent authority, which will be a council or the Environment Court, considers the scale and significance of any adverse environmental effects associated with proposed activities.

The consent authority decides whether the application should be: (1) publicly notified – in which case anyone can submit feedback; or (2) notified only to local affected parties (limited notified) – in which case only local people can submit feedback; or (3) non-notified – in which case it will be difficult to find out about the application and submissions will not be accepted.

 Sometimes, the closing date for objections might not be clearly stated. In certain cases the council may extend the deadline but not update the website accordingly. If there is doubt about the deadline, try contacting the council – you can ask to be put through to the department that deals with resource consent applications.

If you find an active resource consent application for an intensive farm, or any other activity you are concerned about, you should submit an objection to the relevant council.

Different councils use different processes for receiving submissions. In most cases, searching for “resource consent submission”  on the council website will take you to the information you need to make your objection.

There may be an online form to complete or an email address to send your objection to. If there is a form, you can include more detailed information as an attachment.

Be sure to follow any guidelines given on the website, so you can submit your objection with confidence that it will be properly considered.

If you prefer, you can send a written objection directly to the relevant council. Make sure you include the reference number for the resource consent application that you are concerned about. You can get in touch with the council for advice on submitting an objection by post.

Your objection must relate to the specific application and be based on items directly relevant to the Resource Management Act, which may include:

  • Animal welfare concerns*
  • Pollution of land, air, or water
  • Water usage
  • Damage to wildlife habitat and biodiversity
  • Impacts on views or features of the natural environment
  • Loss of privacy
  • Impacts on parking, traffic, pedestrian and road safety
  • Noise and disturbance to residents
  • Noxious odours and air pollution, such as that caused by ammonia released from decomposing manure
  • Health risks to residents, such as that from dust and emissions
  • Impacts on Māori communities or interests

Your submission should identify whichever of the above aspects are relevant.

*Animal welfare is not mentioned directly in the RMA. However, the central purpose of the RMA is to promote sustainable management of natural and physical resources. Sustainable management includes avoiding adverse effects on the environment, and the RMA defines “environment” broadly in a way which includes animals. Therefore, you can and should mention any animal welfare concerns that you have in your submission.

It is vital that consent authorities understand the strength of public opposition to intensive farming into communities, towns and the countryside. Be sure to spread the word among your friends, family and local community and encourage them to send in their objections to intensive farming applications.


You will be asked whether you wish to talk to your submission when it gets to the hearing stage. This is optional but gives you another opportunity to state the reasons why you oppose the resource application. Being heard in person increases the chances of the consent authority taking your concerns on board when it decides whether or not to grant resource consent.

An example of a submission against an intensive farm proposal is provided below.

If you take action to oppose an intensive farm near you, we’d love to hear what happens. Please let us know if you have made a submission by contacting our Supporter Engagement team.

Supporting Information

Sample objection letter

Sample objection letter

Read a sample letter opposing an intensive farming planning application.

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