Northland Regional Council proposed Regional Plan

This plan includes new rules around how land, freshwater, air, biodiversity, and the coastal environment are to be managed. These changes will effect farmers across the Northland Region. As such it is important for farmers to understand these changes and take the opportunity to write submissions to the council on the Plan. It is through these submissions that you can have a say in what the final plan will be, and help to ensure that they work for sheep and beef farmers across the region.

Writing a submission is an essential first step if you want to be involved in the rest of the proposed Regional Plan process.

Get your submission into Council by 4pm Wednesday 15 November 2017.

To have a say you must enter a submission, so make sure you take action now.

Key points you need to know about

Lowland and upland water quality management units

For the purposes of managing freshwater quality in the proposed Regional Plan, the Northland Regional Council has divided Northland into two freshwater quality management units. These are the “Lowland river water quality management unit”, which is land below an average 15° slope, and the “Hill country river water quality management unit”, which is land above 15° slope.

These classifications relate to the rules, in particular stock exclusion.

Mapped areas

The plan includes maps which set out areas where more stringent management is required. This includes the identification of Highly Erodible Land, Outstanding waterbodies, and target catchments.

Stock exclusion

A number of new Regional and Catchment Rules are being proposed. The approach is to exclude Dairy (milking) and pigs from streams which meet the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord by the date the Regional Plan becomes operative, and all permanently flowing streams and natural wetlands by 2023, in both the lowland and upland water quality land management areas.

For Dairy support, beef and deer, it is proposed to exclude them in the lowland river water quality management unit and natural wetlands by 1 January 2025 for streams which meet the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord definition, and from all permanently flowing rivers and drains in the lowland by 1 January 2030.











A number of new Regional Rules are being proposed to manage cultivation of land and any associated diversion and discharge of water. Generally, cultivation remains a permitted activity outside of sensitive areas such as riparian zones, areas designated as highly erodible, or areas which have an outstanding lake. Cultivation must not result in an effect on water quality.


It is proposed to move to area based thresholds per activity. Generally earthworks of 5000m2 or under is permitted. However, more stringent standards are applied in sensitive areas such as highly erodible land and within riparian margins.

Within 10m of a natural wetland, bed of a river or lake only 200m2 of exposed earth at any one time is permitted, and 50m3 of moved or placed earth in any 12 month period;

  • Highly erodible land or Catchment of an outstanding lake only 2500m2 of exposed earth at any one time is permitted;
  • Coastal hazard management area Excluding for coastal dune restoration, 200m2 square metres of exposed earth at any one time.

Vegetation Clearance

Vegetation clearance is a permitted activity within thresholds, however restrictions apply in areas considered sensitive such as near a wetland, lake, or river:

  • Excluding coastal dune restoration, clearance must not exceed 2002m in any 12 month period;
  • Within 10m of a natural wetland, river, or lake only 2002m can be cleared;
  • Only 5ha or less can be cleared on highly erodible land if replanted within 6mths; or
  • Only 50002m can be cleared on highly erodible land if not replanted

Plantation forestry harvesting is permitted if submit harvest plan (in accordance with National Forestry Guidelines)

Water Abstraction

A number of new Regional Rules are being proposed to manage water takes, including for stock drinking needs. These rules include minimum flow and core allocation restrictions.

Minor takes including for stock drinking are permitted, however a number of conditions are required to be met, including:

  • Take must not exceed core allocation or minimum flow limit
  • Take must not exceed 1m3 costal aquifer; or
  • 10m3 or 200L/ha up to a max of 20m3

Takes outside these requirements require a resource consent. Very stringent consenting requirements are in place for any take which exceeds a core allocation or minimum flow limit set in the plan.

For further information on the proposed Regional Plan


Submission must be received by the Northland Regional Council by no later than 4pm on the 15 November 2017.

Have questions?

Visit the Northland Regional Council website or contact our North Island Environment Policy Manager by clicking the send message button below.

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