Consultation on the Proposed National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land

The Ministry for Primary Industries released Phase 1 of a national policy statement for soils in August this year which addresses the management of versatile soils. This NPS has been called the National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land.

The Government has proposed a NPS-HPL to prevent the loss of more of our productive land and promote its sustainable management. 

Phase 1 of the NPS-HPL looks at protecting and managing versatile soils in the face of urban growth. Phase 2 will look at activities which affect soil health, and this is due for release next year 2020.

Submissions closed 10 October 2019 and Beef + Lamb New Zealand has put in a submission on Phase 1 of the proposed NPS. Read our submission documents below. 

PLEASE NOTE: This NPS is not related to the Essential Freshwater policy package 'Action For Healthy Waterways'. Information on that policy package can be found on our Freshwater Consultation webpage

Consultation documents

In a nutshell, our submissions say:

  1.  B+LNZ supports using a national policy statement as opposed to a national environmental standard because a NPS provides for flexibility in implementation, and a more consultative process through the regional and district plan review process that will follow. This allows councils to find local solutions to local issues.
  2. B+LNZ supports the intent of the proposed document, but has raised some concerns.
  3. The proposed NPS needs to provide for equity in the framework it establishes for managing soils.
  4. Sheep and beef land is productive land. The language of and policies in the proposed NPS needs to recognise this.
  5. Sheep and beef land is valuable land. The language of and policies in the proposed NPS needs to recognise this.
  6. Sheep and beef farms themselves are valuable and contribute significantly to the NZ economy, community, culture, society and natural environment at local, regional and national levels irrespective of LUC class or proximity to urban settlements.
  7. The proposed NPS should not simply pass the problem of urban expansion effects from city peripheries on to rural communities. The proposed NPS has not considered adverse flow-on effects of redirecting urban expansion away from versatile soils (where major settlements are often concentrated e.g. Auckland), onto less versatile soils (generally smaller rural communities).
  8. There is tension between this policy and other national and regional proposed policies.
  9. Council mapping of versatile soils needs to be at a paddock or 1:10,000 scale, not at a 1:50,000 scale.

Find out more

For more information on the NPS-HPL, visit the MPI website with details on the document and the process MPI have gone through to date.