Regional integrated planning framework development

We are reviewing the Regional Policy Statement (which gives regional direction on our approach to resource management) and the Regional Coastal Environment Plan, as well as the land and water plan framework, to implement the National Policy Statement for Fresh Water Management 2020.

Through these reviews we will combine our planning framework, taking an integrated approach to resource management and developing a single planning framework for Waitaha/Canterbury. You can sign-up to find out more information from us as it becomes available. 

The review will update regional direction in the Regional Policy Statement and regional plans, giving effect to national requirements and making it easier for all of us to work towards restoring, protecting and enhancing our environmental taonga.

We are currently working with Papatipu Rūnanga to understand how we partner with them to undertake the review and develop a planning framework.

We are working towards notification of an integrated planning framework by December 2024.

What is under review 

We are reviewing most of our planning framework. The objectives, policies and rules we are reviewing are within the following plans:

The Canterbury Air Regional Plan (CARP) is not included in the review. The CARP was last reviewed in 2013. 

What we need to achieve by 2024 

Under the Government’s National Policy Statement for Fresh Water Management 2020, we must notify a new freshwater framework for Waitaha/Canterbury by December 2024. “Notify” means formally publicly consulting to share the draft plan and seek submissions from the public.

Because freshwater connects with and affects land and coastal environments, regional direction for land use and coastal activities is being reviewed at the same time.

To achieve this we need to:

  • work with Papatipu Rūnanga to understand how we will partner to undertake the review and develop a planning framework
  • reflect on the community input gathered while developing previous policies and plans, and reflect on community feedback received since those plans have been operative to understand the challenges that are specific to particular areas or catchments  
  • identify and work towards filling gaps in knowledge to find out how the community currently interacts with the environment 
  • update the science, gather and use Mātauranga Māori  
  • work with the community to develop long-term visions for the environment  
  • work with the community to share and test options and ideas for ways we can collectively achieve those visions. 

Once these steps are completed, an integrated planning framework will be drafted and the formal process towards public notification will start, as set out in the Resource Management Act. 

Proposed timeline



2021/2022 Build relationships

  • Establish partnership arrangements with Papatipu Rūnanga.
  • Prioritise issues and establish scope for the project work programme.

2022/2023 Knowledge and direction

  • Gathering information to inform conversations and enable direction and vision setting.
  • Working with partners & community to establish directions & visions.

2023/2024 Develop solutions

  • Develop options for achieving visions and test viability of those options.
  • Working with partners & community to develop & test options to achieve visions.
  • Proposed framework drafting.

2024/2025 Consult and notify

  • Testing draft plan provisions with partners and key stakeholders.
  • Proposed planning framework publicly notified and submissions called for.

 Download the full schedule (PDF file 430.66KB)

Who the plan review will affect  

We already have rules that affect how we all live, work or play in Canterbury. The review will consider how well the current rules are working to restore, protect and enhance environmental taonga, and how likely it would be for them to achieve the environmental visions we all aspire to.

Whether we live in an urban, rural or coastal community, it’s likely that the outcomes from the review and the resulting framework will have an impact on the way most people work in and interact with the environment. 

An integrated approach to environmental management

The new planning framework will take an integrated approach to environmental management. This means taking a ki uta ki tai approach to natural resources – from the mountains to the sea. 

Activities that happen in one part of the region can create impacts in other areas, so we must look at the management of natural resources as a whole.  

To illustrate this concept, consider hillside erosion that creates sediment in waterways. This sedimentation travels downstream and may have an impact on the lower reaches of the river or the coastal marine area.   

Building on our existing science 

Canterbury has some of the most in-depth scientific information in Aotearoa New Zealand as a result of data gathered for the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. More science and information is needed, however, including Mātauranga (knowledge shared from generation to generation within Rūnanga).

This will help make informed decisions about future restoration, protection and enhancement of the environment. 

To support the work we need to do in developing an integrated planning framework, we are gathering information together from across the region by topic. Those topics are:

  • water quality and quantity – both freshwater and coastal
  • all activities carried out in or near water – both fresh water and coastal waters
  • biodiversity and biosecurity
  • natural character, features and landscapes of significance
  • historic and cultural heritage
  • soil health and contaminated land
  • hazardous substances and waste management
  • forestry
  • aggregate quarrying
  • natural hazards
  • urban form, development and infrastructure
  • air.

How it fits with existing plans and policies

Plan Change 7

Plan Change 7 to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan will be important in helping restore river flows and enhance water quality for a number of years. While the new integrated planning framework needs to be notified by 2024, it will probably be some time before it is fully operative.

The strengthened nutrient management and water take rules in Plan Change 7 will support those improved environmental outcomes while the new planning framework moves through its processes.

The effects of Resource Management Act reform

While the plan framework is being reviewed, the Government will introduce three new pieces of legislation to replace the Resource Management Act – the Natural and Built Environment Act, Strategic Planning Act and Climate Change Adaptation Act.

Resource Management reform will continue over the period the planning framework is developed, and we aim to ensure that the framework will be fit for the future and meet any new requirements.

Freshwater and the integrated plan

We share the community’s desire to enhance and protect freshwater quality and quantity, in both urban and rural areas. We will seek to achieve this by developing long-term visions in partnership with mana whenua and with input and support from the community as directed by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and following the hierarchy of obligations within Te Mana o te Wai

In the lead-up to the 2024 notification date, we are developing a range of communications and engagement tools to help explain Essential Freshwater requirements and help those impacted put them into practice, which together with the implementation of our own plan rules, will promote better industry and on-farm practices – both urban and rural – and improve water quality.

Te Mana o te Wai

In the context of the Government’s National Policy Statement for Fresh Water Management 2020, Te Mana o te Wai refers to the vital importance of freshwater. Any resource consent application must demonstrate how it will ensure the freshwater is managed in a way that prioritises (in this order):

  • The health and wellbeing of water 
  • The health needs of people 
  • The ability of people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural wellbeing.  

This is known as the ‘hierarchy of obligations’.

Having your say 

Building on the work the community has done over the last 10 years 

Community collaboration over the last decade has supported us in developing regional and catchment rules that set the region up well for this work.

The knowledge and experience gained as part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy will be built on.

The advances made over the last decade include the development of strict nitrogen leaching limits, the need for farmers to adhere to industry-agreed good management practices and audited farm environment plans.

We will update the science, gather and utilise Mātauranga Māori, and use all of this to develop and inform a new, comprehensive integrated planning framework.

The community, either individually or through industry/community groups, will have opportunities to participate in the development of visions and in providing feedback on options and ideas put forward to meet those visions. While we aim to publicly notify and seek formal submissions on the proposed planning framework in 2024, we will make sure communities have plenty of opportunities to participate in the review over the next couple of years.

We are still defining when those opportunities will arise and what form they will take. This webpage will be regularly updated as we make this journey. Meanwhile, you can register for updates by filling out the form below.

Register for updates

Loading Form