Compliments, complaints and determinations

Below are questions and answers related to Compliments and Complaints. Please contact us if you have any further enquires.

What if you want to raise a concern about our service?

Feedback, both positive and negative, provides the Council with a first-hand account of your views and experiences and can highlight areas we might otherwise miss. Feedback encourages our team to review our processes and service, to make appropriate improvements for our customers.

Council has a procedure to help you when you decide to make a complaint about our actions and behaviours. This makes sure that your concerns are dealt with fairly and consistently, and that all parties to the complaint feel heard, understood and respected.


Compliments or complaints can be made by filling our Online Feedback Form, by contacting us via telephone, email, letter, or over the counter:

  • Fill Online Feedback Form
  • Telephone: (03) 4330300
  • Email:
  • Letter: PO Box 50058 Oamaru 9400
  • In Person: 20 Thames Street (it is good to phone first so that we can make sure that you speak with the right person).

Please ensure that you include adequate details of your feedback, including your contact details. Acknowledgement of your complaint will be sent within 3 working days and we expect to consider and respond to your complaint within ten working days.

Related document: Compliments and complaints policy(PDF, 562KB)

When should you complain?

  • You believe we have failed to provide you with satisfactory service
  • You are dissatisfied with a policy or a decision that we have enforced
  • You are unhappy with the behaviour or attitude of an employee.

When is a complaint not appropriate?

  • The issue is before a Court or Tribunal, or the Court or Tribunal has already made a decision
  • You ask us to reconsider a complaint when we have already given you our final decision
  • When you refuse to give your name. Council does not receive anonymous complaints. We have strict guidelines around confidentiality, and we do not give out your details without your permission.

Do I have a right of appeal?

Yes, if you do not agree with the outcome, you may request a review of the decision. All appeals must be made in writing setting out the reasons why you disagree with the decision. All appeals will be responded to within 10 working days. If you are still unhappy, or choose to use an alternative route to settle a matter of doubt or dispute, you may apply to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment for a Determination.


A determination is a binding decision made by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It provides a way of solving disputes or questions about the rules that apply to buildings, how buildings are used, building accessibility and health and safety.

Most determinations are needed because the person applying for the determination disagrees with the Council about the decisions that the Council has made about a building or associated provision.

In these cases, the parties to the determination are the building/land owner (even an affected neighbour) and the Council.

All parties to a determination are treated equally.

You can ask for, or be involved as a party to a determination, if you are;

  • The building owner or the owner’s agent,
  • The Council that issued the building consent
  • The owner of other property when the determination is about the protection of that property (e.g. the potential spread of fire from one property to another, surface water run-off or land stability),
  • A government Ministry or Crown agency that has a statutory duty under the Building Act, such as Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ),
  • Anyone with a direct interest in the problem or question if it has to do with access and facilities for people with disabilities.

The Ministry can initiate a determination where it believes it is necessary to achieve the aims of the Building Act. The Ministry may ask other people or organisations to become involved if necessary.

However, a Determination can be applied for by the Council itself or a neighbour who is affected by building work. A determination can be about building work that is planned, partly done or completed.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment charges a fixed fee for determinations. These are in two categories;

  • Single houses, attached houses, flats and apartments up to four units, and garages and sheds,
  • All other buildings.

More information and how to apply for a determination can be found on MBIE’s website.

Visit for further information on this service.