Good points George
But on a house that was run of the mill in a normal location for want of going into every possible scenario, the 'building' cost part of a bill would never get to tens of thousands.
Most councils don't hello themselves by sending out a bill at the end of a building consent application and include building development levies, resource consents accounts and other things like water connection and sewer connection charges, and in some large metropolitan areas this can take the final amount to a lot.
A recent survey by MBIE showed that it took about 8 - 12 hours to actually process, then you'd pay for say 8-10 inspections.
The total fire that part could be in most cases between 3-5k.
A lot of mis information is out there about the building consent cost.
Sure those other things have to be paid, but if a council had significant infrastructure to up keep then your development levies could be heaps, but you're not required by law to pay for that at the start, you can pay it at CCC and even arrange with the TA to pay it off and still get the CCC.
Resource consents are because an owner wants to do something that isn't permitted in the district plans or regional plans and are under different legislation.
The choice to build somewhere, or something that isn't automatically permitted is on the owner or developer, they should have been well aware at the start.
Lastly I'm afraid we're all caught in the politics of user pays.
Local government councilors in an attempt to make themselves look good generally have avoided infrastructure upgrades nationally for decades to limit rate increases.
This has caught up nearly every TA in NZ, so now they actually have to spend up big time, they have indirectly increased what you and I pay for building consents, resource consents and anything else to avoid subsidizing the costs out of the general rate take.
It's years of avoidance that we're all paying for now, and a mentality that the general ratepayers should not subsidize the cost of your house build at all!
I'm not sure if this works for the common good at all, especially on simple small jobs where the proportionate cost relative to the value of the work is high.
But very rarely is the cost of your consent dictated by the people you deal with at the coal face with building control.