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Plan Change 1 to the Waikato Regional Plan – “Healthy Rivers” Update

Plan Change 1 to the Waikato Regional Plan – “Healthy Rivers” Update

Plan Change 1 to the Waikato Regional Plan – “Healthy Rivers” Update

Submissions due on PPC1

Submissions on proposed Plan Change 1 close on 8 March 2017 at 5pm.  The submission process provides opportunity for those affected by PPC1 to have their say about its provisions.  It gives a submitter the right to participate in the hearing process and influence outcomes.  If you would like any assistance to complete your submission or wish to discuss any aspects of the process, please contact one of our team.

Re-cap of PPC1

Proposed Plan Change 1 (“PPC1”) seeks to give effect to the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management and the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato and Waipa Rivers.  The plan change introduces a set of rules to regulate farming activities which are designed to control diffuse discharges of nutrients to water and to land in circumstances where these may enter water.  If your farm is in the Waikato or Waipa River catchment you are likely to be affected by the provisions of PPC1. The key provisions of PPC1 are:

  • Requirement for rural properties to register with Waikato Regional Council (“WRC”) by March 2019;
  • Requirement for commercial vegetable production properties, and rural properties or enterprises to provide WRC with a Nitrogen Reference Point (average N leaching losses from 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2016) and associated data;
  • Properties grazing stock to have fences or stock proof natural barriers to prevent stock from entering waterways by a range of dates set out in schedule C of PPC1;
  • Permitted activity rules for farming activities, provided certain conditions are met, including preparation and provision of a Farm Environment Plan, and registration with a certified industry scheme;
  • Controlled activity rule for farming activities (requiring application for resource consent) where land is not registered with a certified industry scheme;
  • Restricted discretionary activity rule for farming activities which do not fall under the permitted or controlled activity rules; and
  • Non-complying activity rule for land use change.

Partial withdrawal of PPC1

WRC gave notice on 3 December 2016 that it had withdrawn part of PPC1.  This action was taken in response to a judicial review proceeding filed with the High Court on behalf of Hauraki iwi on the basis that it had not been adequately consulted with, as required by the Resource Management Act 1991 (“RMA”).  This means that part of the area of the Waikato catchment is no longer affected by PPC1.  The following is link to a map showing the boundaries of the withdrawn area:


If your property is within the excluded area, you are no longer affected by the new rules.  You may nevertheless submit on PPC1 regardless of whether your property is in the excluded area.  WRC intends to publicly notify provisions for this area following consultation with Hauraki iwi.  A separate submission period will apply to this future process.  It is not clear when notification will occur.

Further judicial review proceedings

A further judicial review application was filed in the High Court on 15 December 2016 on behalf of a group of affected stakeholders.  The application seeks that PPC1 be withdrawn in its entirety.  This Court process is underway and a hearing date is scheduled for June 2017.  This High Court process will run separately, albeit in parallel to the PPC1 process.  It is possible that the “replacement” provisions for the withdrawn area will be notified before a decision on the High Court proceeding is made.  In practical terms, this may mean that the submissions on both PPC1 and the subsequent provisions for the withdrawn area will be heard together.

In the meantime, the submission period for PPC1 remains unaffected.  Accordingly, it is important that submissions are finalised and lodged before 5pm on 8 March 2017.  If we can be of any assistance in this regard, please contact one of our team.


Click here to view the document in its entirety.

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