Southland Water and Land Plan | Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Southland Water and Land Plan

Regional councils have plans that dictate what you can and can’t do on your farm. When these plans are being developed or changed, councils seek community feedback. This is your chance to have an impact on what the final plan will look like.


When operational, the Southland Water and Land Plan will provide a regulatory tool for the regional council, Environment Southland, to manage the region’s natural resources.

The plan has a particular emphasis on managing activities that may adversely affect the quality of freshwater in the region.

Why should you get involved?

There are eight key areas within the proposed plan that could affect sheep and beef farmers - this is your chance to have your say on these matters. They are:

  1. Physiographic zones – The plan takes a risk-based approach, applying different rules to each of the physiographic zones.
  2. Dairy conversions – The plan extends existing rules on requiring a consent for dairy conversions and makes it harder in some physiographic zones.
  3. Intensive winter grazing – The plan introduces a permitted activity threshold for winter grazing of no more than 30ha and will place tougher conditions on winter grazing in some areas.
  4. Stock exclusion – The plan is written with the expectation that all cattle will be excluded from permanently-flowing waterways. If farmers can’t achieve this by certain dates, a resource consent will be required.
  5. Tile drains – The plan requires farmers to map and record new and upgraded existing tile drains.
  6. Farm management plans – The plan requires almost all sheep and beef farmers to have a farm plan by certain dates.
  7. Cultivation on slopes – The plan requires at least a 10m setback for cultivation on sloping land.
  8. Coastal marine zone – A number of the rules prohibit activities within 100m of any lake, and within the coastal marine area.

Stages involved

The planning process is well underway. Submissions closed on 1 August 2016 and the public hearings are scheduled for May to September 2017. A decision is expected late 2017.

If you didn’t make a submission, your official opportunity to have a say has now passed.

If you did submit – and you indicated you wished to speak to your submission – then make sure to take the opportunity to share your thoughts at the public hearings.

What's next?

Explore the timeline above to find out more about what's happening.

Have questions?

Contact Julia Beijeman, our Environment Policy Manager - South Island, by clicking the 'Send us a message' button below.