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Te whakahaere ana i ngā rohe kōreporepo māori ki uta

Managing natural inland wetlands

If you have a natural inland wetland on your property, it is your responsibility to protect it.

The Government’s Essential Freshwater Package aims to stop the ongoing loss of natural wetlands by regulating the types of activities that are allowed within or near these important ecosystems.

Wetland rules and regulations

The National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NESF) regulate activities that may take place within or near natural inland wetlands, including:

  • earthworks and land disturbance
  • removing vegetation
  • taking, using, damming, diverting or discharging water.

The Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) contains rules relating to works that may take place in and around wetlands. Before starting work, check you are complying with both the NESF and AUP standards.

See Managing Natural Wetlands under the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater Regulations 2020 (PDF 1.1MB) for technical information on identifying natural inland wetlands and how the regulations could affect you.

You can also refer directly to the regulations. See Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 for more information.

Resource consents and permitted activities

If you are planning work in or around a natural inland wetland, you may need to apply for a resource consent.

Even if a resource consent is not required for the work because it is a permitted activity, you may still be required to notify us once you complete the works.

See Notice of undertaking a permitted activity within or near a natural wetland for more information.

Why this is happening

Wetlands are an important part of our environment. They:

  • form a vital link between land and water
  • filter out sediment and other contaminants
  • support a greater concentration of wildlife than any other habitat in New Zealand.

Wetlands are one of the most threatened ecosystems in New Zealand. Over the years, wetlands in the Auckland region have been significantly reduced by farming and urban development.

What is a natural inland wetland?

‘Wetland’ is the collective term for the margins of:

  • streams
  • rivers
  • ponds
  • lakes
  • estuaries
  • bogs
  • swamps
  • lagoons.

Wetlands provide a habitat for wildlife and support an indigenous ecosystem of plants and animals that have adapted to living in wet conditions.

Wetlands within the coastal marine area, or artificially made wetlands, such as dams and drainage canals are not classed as natural inland wetlands under the regulations.

Mapping wetlands

The Essential Freshwater Package requires us to identify and map natural inland wetlands larger than 500m2 or those containing threatened species.

This excludes those located on public conservation lands or waters.

We are required to have this mapping completed by 3 September 2030.

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