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Ngā Mahere Pāmu Wai Māori

Freshwater Farm Plans

You should know

The new government wants to review and change the freshwater farm plan regulations. We expect this will affect some of the information on this page.

We will update the information as soon as any changes to the regulations are passed. Email for more information.

About Freshwater Farm Plans

Freshwater Farm Plans (FWFPs) are a tool for farmers and growers to show how they are protecting the freshwater resources on their properties.

Farm plans have been used by both industry and councils for many years.

They help farmers and growers identify environmental risks that need to be managed and the actions they need to take.

New regulations

The national regulations set out minimum content requirements for FWFPs.

This means there will be things that have to be in your plan about your specific individual farm context.

We will help provide key information around:

  • the priority freshwater issues
  • farm context
  • values for the catchment/s a property sits within.

In the new regulations, this information is referred to as catchment context, challenges, and values.

Other key information that will need to be in your plan includes:

  • administrative information
  • maps providing key contextual information (soils, landforms, land uses etc.)
  • identified and mapped risks
  • an action plan indicating how risks will be managed
  • consent information
  • any regulation where the FWFP is being used to meet compliance with any other regulatory requirements.

Your plans also need to demonstrate how you are meeting the Stock exclusion regulations, National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NESF), Auckland Unitary Plan provisions and any resource consent conditions you hold relating to your farming activities.

Who will need a FWFP

You will need a FWFP if your property has:

  • 20 hectares or more in arable or pastoral use
  • five hectares or more in horticultural use
  • 20 hectares or more of combined use.

When this will happen

See Resource Management (Freshwater Farm Plans) Regulations 2023 on the New Zealand legislation website national Freshwater Farm Plan regulations that will come into force from the 1 August 2023.

The roll-out of FWFPs will be phased across the country.

Initially the regulations will only apply to farms across certain parts of Waikato and Southland.

The roll-out dates of FWFPs across the Auckland region have not yet been confirmed but we anticipate it will be in the second half of 2024.

FWFP process

Farmers and growers will have 18 months to submit their farm plans for certification once the regulations come into effect for their property.

You can choose to write your own FWFP or pay someone to write it for you.

Your industry body may also be providing FWFP services and support you can draw on.

You will need to start the certification process with a council appointed certifier.

Certifiers are independent of councils and we will have a list of appointed certifiers and auditors available through our website at a later date.

After your farm plan is certified you will have up to 12 months to undertake an audit.

The audit should show the actions you have taken to fulfil your farm plan obligations.

We are responsible for addressing issues of FWFP non-compliance across the Auckland region.

More information

See Freshwater farm plans on the Ministry for the Environment website for more guidance and resources.

Contact us by email if you have any questions.

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