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Healthy Waterways – what does the policy mean for you?

The Government’s new Action for Healthy Waterways Package, announced 28 May, is aimed at introducing new policy in July 2020, to protect New Zealand’s waterways. Here we look at what it will mean for our dairy, sheep and beef and horticultural grower clients.

What is the Action for Healthy Waterways Package?

The Government is taking action to restore and protect the health of New Zealand's waterways, introducing new rules and regulations to: 

  • Stop further degradation of New Zealand’s freshwater resources and improve water quality within five years
  • Reverse past damage and bring New Zealand’s freshwater resources, waterways and ecosystems to a healthy state within a generation

What does it mean for Dairy Farmers?

Not all measures will apply to every farm, but as an overview, up to 2025 dairy farmers need to:

  • Make sure cattle, deer and pigs are kept out of waterways from July 2025 at the latest, keep stock out of any streams more than 1m wide and keep stock at least 3m back from the banks
  • Keep your synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use below a cap of 190 kg of nitrogen per hectare per year
  • Apply for a resource consent before intensifying land use until the end of 2024
  • Protect wetlands and streams on your land
  • Apply best practice to winter grazing on forage crops
  • Meet minimum standards for stock-holding pads or apply for a resource consent from mid-2021
  • If you operate a feedlot, get a resource consent from mid-2020 when the regulations come into force
  • If you have an existing resource consent to take a lot of water, report on your water usage electronically (phased in over 6 years, depending how much you take)

Read more here


What does it mean for Sheep and Beef Farmers?

Not all measures will apply to every farm, but as an overview, up to 2025 sheep and beef farmers need to: 

  • Make sure all cattle, pigs and deer are kept out of waterways more than a metre wide in low-slope areas, and from waterways on all land used for fodder-cropping, break-feeding, or grazing on irrigated pasture, including on hill country, from July 2025 
  • Apply for a resource consent before intensifying land use until the end of 2024
  • Protect wetlands and streams on your land
  • Apply best practice to winter grazing on forage crops
  • Keep synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use at appropriate levels 
  • Meet minimum standards or apply for a resource consent for stock-holding pads from mid-2021 and feedlots from mid-2020 
  • If you have an existing resource consent to take a lot of water, report on your water usage electronically (phased in over 6 years, depending how much you take)

Read more here


What does it mean for Growers?

Not all measures will apply to every grower, but as an overview, up to 2025 growers need to: 

  • Protect wetlands and streams on your land
  • If you have an existing resource consent to take a lot of water, report on your water usage electronically (phased in over 6 years, depending how much you take 

Read more here


What does it mean if you’re selling a rural property?

If you’re planning to sell a rural property, you’ll need to ensure that you keep good records of all your healthy waterways compliance, to ensure a smooth property sale. 


​What does it mean if you’re buying a rural property?

If you’re considering purchasing a rural property, you’ll need to do your due diligence and ensure the property is fully compliant and pay particular attention that there are no restrictions in terms of land use / conversion. 


Need more help?

If you’d like to discuss what the Healthy Waterways policy will mean for you, get in touch with Rural Law experts Alex McIvor or Mark Davies to discuss your personal situation.

Ph 07 871 7878

Email alex@kellys.co.nz / mark@kellys.co.nz