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Waikato Regional Plan Change 1

Plan Change 1 is a change to the regional plan to implement the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM). The NPSFM is part of the Government’s freshwater reforms and sets an 80 year vision for improving water quality across New Zealand.

Key changes from Plan Change 1 include:

  • Introducing short-term and long-term targets for nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and Coli.
  • Rules requiring all commercial vegetable activities to get consent
  • Introducing farm environment plans based on risk-management and Good Management Practice to achieve short-term water quality goals
  • Requiring a Nitrogen Leaching Loss Rate to be calculated as part of the consent requirement. The loss rate is a benchmark in the farm environment plan.

Following consultation in 2016 and hearings in 2019, a decision was notified April 2020. PC1 is now at appeals stage. Once appeals are resolved, the plan will become fully operative.

Waikato PC1 - in depth

Although the plan change is still “proposed”, the rules have “legal effect” and must be complied with.

  • Waikato Regional Council will be enforcing the rules notified 22 April 2020
  • If you have a resource consent, you will need to reapply under the new rules
  • All activities that need consent are considered permitted until the plan change is fully operative
  • Once the plan becomes operative, different sub-catchments have different deadlines for when consent must be applied for. This are in Table 3.11-3 of Plan Change 1.

Below is an overview of the rules and requirements for Plan Change 1.

  • What consent do I need for commercial vegetable production?
  • What consent do I need for other horticultural activities?
  • What information do I need in my consent?

Please note, there may be other information requirements for each rule and there may be other rules in the Regional Plan which may also require consent. If you are unsure if you need consent, please contact Council or your local planning consultant. Plan Change 1 can be read here.

Table 1: What consent do I need for commercial vegetable production (CVP)?

Consent type

Standards to meet

Minimum Information required

INTERIM PERMITTED ACTIVITY – Farming prior to obtaining consent

 

Activity is permitted until plan is operative

 

  • Must meet minimum farming standards in Schedule C

 

CONTROLLED ACTIVITY – existing commercial vegetable production

  • Identify land between 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2016:
  • Maximum area in any year
  • That year - maximum area, locations, per sub-catchment

Cannot exceed maximum area for each sub-catchment

  • Property registration
  • Nitrogen leaching loss rate (NLR)
  • Farm Environment Plan
  • Access to electronic modelling

 

DISCRETIONARY ACTIVITY – Farming in a collective or farming not otherwise authorised

 

This applies to existing CVP that cannot meet the information requirements or activity standards of the controlled activity consent.

 

  • Any new CVP post 30 June 2016
  • LUC 1 or LUC 2
  • Be within area limits of specified sub-catchments
  • Provide offsetting or compensation
  • Property registration
  • Nitrogen leaching loss rate (NLR)
  • Farm Environment Plan
  • Access to electronic modelling

DISCRETIONARY ACTIVITY – CVP expansion

 

  • Existing CVP that intends to work as a collective
  • Must meet minimum farming standards (Schedule C)
  • Property registration
  • Nitrogen leaching loss rate (NLR)
  • Farm Environment Plan
  • Access to electronic modelling

NON-COMPLYING ACTIVITY – Land use change

 

CVP that cannot meet discretionary standards

 

 

For horticulture activities other than commercial vegetable production, the type of consent you need depends on your nitrogen leaching loss rate. Whether your nitrogen leaching loss rate (NLR) is ‘high’, ‘moderate’, or ‘low’ as specified in Table 1 of Schedule B will determine what consent you need:

To check, you must calculate your NLR using one of the methods identified in Schedule B.

Note: The definition of "property" includes:

  • Allotment(s) in single Title
  • Adjacent land in common ownership but separate Title. Including land separated by road, river, utility corridor (and managed as a single operating unit)

Table 2: Permitted horticultural activities (not CVP)

Consent type

Standards to meet

Minimum information requirements

PERMITTED ACTIVITY – Small and very low intensity farming

  • Applies to properties ≤20ha

 

 
  • Property registration
  • Must meet relevant minimum farming standards in Schedule C
  • Farming on 1 Property
  • Property registration
  • Must meet relevant minimum farming standards in Schedule C

Farming on 1 PropertyPERMITTED ACTIVITY – Low intensity farming

 

  • Applies to properties >20ha
  • Property registration
  • Low Nitrogen leach loss rate (NLR)
  • FEP (Schedule D1 - required 6 months after plan becomes operative)
  • On 1 property
  • Access to electronic modelling system 

 

Table 3: Consent types for horticultural activities (not CVP)

Consent type

Standards to meet

Minimum information requirements

INTERIM PERMITTED ACTIVITY – Farming prior to obtaining consent

 

Permitted until the plan is operative

 

  • Must meet minimum farming standards in Schedule C

 

CONTROLLED ACTIVITIES – moderate intensive farming

 

  • Don’t meet permitted standards and/or
  • Moderate NLR

 

  • Property registration
  • FEP (Schedule D2)
  • On 1 property
  • Access to electronic modelling 

DISCRETIONARY ACTIVITY – Farming in a collective, or high intensity farming, or farming that does not meet the controlled activity standards/requirements

 

  • High NLR activities
  • Farming on more than 1 property
  • Not provided for or don’t meet
  • Property registration
  • FEP (Schedule D2)
  • Access to electronic modelling

NON-COMPLYING ACTIVITY – Land use change

 

Land use change within 1 property >4,1ha (cumulatively) since 22 October 2016 that involves:

  • Woody vegetation to farming
  • Any use to dairy farming

Or activities that don’t meet Discretionary standards/requirements.