Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan Change to be made operative

Our Council has decided to make Plan Change 1 to the Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan (HWRRP) operative from 14 September 2020. This is the final step in the Resource Management Act process and gives the plan change full legal weight.

The HWRRP is a separate plan from the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan.

The plan change

Plan Change 1 alters the HWRRP rules that address the cumulative effects of land use on water quality so dryland farmers can continue to operate without the need for resource consent.

Councillor Claire McKay said that before Plan Change 1, the HWRRP required resource consent for all farms where nutrient losses had increased by more than 10% since 2013.

“Dryland farms have very low nutrient loss rates with normal fluctuations in stock numbers or winter feed area, which can trigger a consent requirement. This plan change addresses that,” Councillor McKay said.

Maintaining water quality in the Hurunui catchment

To ensure that the change would not compromise water quality in the Hurunui catchment, Amuri Irrigation Company Limited (AIC) surrendered a portion of its consented nitrogen load to off-set any potential increase in nitrogen load from dryland farming.

This will make sure that the limit set in the original plan for the Hurunui River would not be exceeded.

“Council acknowledged and thanked AIC for its help and co-operation through the Plan Change 1 process,” Councillor McKay said.

“Without this surrender of nitrogen load, it is unlikely that Plan Change 1 would have been possible, particularly in this catchment. It will greatly help to maintain water quality in the zone.”

Find out more about the Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan.

Questions and answers for farmers

Is my farm a “dryland farm” for the purpose of this plan change?

The plan change applies to low intensity farms with no irrigation and less than 10% of the farm area in winter forage crop (root or brassica) to a maximum of 100 hectares.

If you have a poultry or pig farm it will not be a “dryland farm” for the purposes of this plan change, meaning you will need to comply with the general nutrient management rules.

This won’t apply if you have just a few chickens or pigs on your dryland farm - 10 birds per hectare (or up to 1000 birds) or up to 6 sows or 25 weaned pigs.

Will dryland farmers have to implement good management practices?

Yes. Dryland farmers will need to implement good management practices and record these in a farm management plan. Importantly, they will also have to report on their winter grazing areas.

What will my management plan need to show and for how long?

Farm management plans will have to show a continuous record of on-farm actions for up to 10 years.