Government’s Freshwater Management Proposals

19 Sep 2019

The Government is consulting until the end of October on its freshwater proposal. This document sets out the proposal’s key points.

Water quality outcomes

  • New long-term, freshwater outcomes are to be established.  There are no set timeframes for achieving the outcomes, however, action to reduce impact must start. 
  • National rules implementing the outcomes will only apply where stricter regional rules are not in place already.  The Government is requiring all regions to produce catchment specific plans within five years, to manage activities to achieve outcomes over time.  The timeframes for achieving outcomes is not set nationally and will differ from catchment to catchment. 

Proposed national rules for vegetables

  • No change to existing growing, except where in sensitive catchments, but all vegetable growers (< 5 ha) will need to have a Farm Environment Plan by 2022 – we will be assisting with this.
  • In sensitive catchments, the nutrient load will need to be reduced.  We are opposing the fertiliser cap as this can be managed through Farm Environment Plans.
  • Crop rotation is permitted.
  • We are supporting the option that new developments are discretionary activities in conjunction with Good Management Practice being met.

Fruit

  • Existing fruit growing not affected, except where in sensitive catchments, but all fruit growers (< 5 ha) will need to have Farm Environment Plans by 2025 – we will be assisting with this.
  • In sensitive catchments, the nutrient load will need to be reduced.  We are opposing the fertiliser cap as this can be managed through Farm Environment Plans.  Farm Environment Plans will be needed by 2022 for fruit in sensitive catchments.
  • New plantings with irrigation are discretionary – as fruit is positive for water quality, we will push back strongly against this proposal.

Implementation timeframes

  • There are NO timeframes for achieving the objectives in the Government’s proposal.
  • The proposition is that through each Farm Environment Plan, progress is made.

Overseer: Not to apply to fruit and vegetables.

Existing Council Plans – ECAN, Waikato PC1, Manawatu-Whanganui, and Tukituki

The proposed intensification and sensitive catchment rules do not apply in these areas. 

Process

  • HortNZ will meet with anyone who wants to work through the issues.
  • We are preparing a comprehensive submission.
  • We are working with other primary sector groups to see if we can mutually support each other’s position to present the Government with a united sector.