Skip to content

Frequently Asked Questions about the Proposed Natural Resources Plan (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions about the Proposed Natural Resources Plan (FAQ)

Updated 1 August 2019 11:30am

These are FAQs about provisions in the Plan, click here for FAQs on the hearing process

Have the rules about keeping livestock out of waterways changed since the draft Plan last year?

After the draft a focus group looked at the feedback given and revised rules were then presented at public meetings in March. Keeping livestock out of waterways focuses on animals which have the most effect and situations, such as intensive grazing, where they can do most damage. We also want to protect areas of high value.

Farms in the lowlands will be expected to exclude livestock from high value areas within three years and cattle, farmed deer and pig from other waterways within 7 years. Farms in the hill country will need to exclude livestock from areas with high (significant) values within three years and dairy herds from waterways within 7 years.  As well as the specific rules, no waterways can be polluted by livestock at any time in any part of the region.

Do I have to exclude livestock from my wetland?

Within 3 years, all livestock will need to be excluded from the outstanding wetlands, listed in the proposed Plan (Schedule A3), and all livestock other than sheep from the significant wetlands in Schedule F3.  You should have already been contacted by GWRC on this matter, if it affects you.

How will I know if I have a significant site on my land?

Do you have a river, lake, wetland or coastline on your land? If not, you cannot have a significant site because the proposed Plan only identifies sites in “wet places”.

You should have been contacted by GWRC in the last 3 years if there is a significant site on your property. We have worked very hard to identify and contact all affected landowners.

There is a GIS system on the GW website ( you can look at to see the significant sites.  Find your property by searching for your address and see if there are any overlays that might affect you.

Why is there an emphasis on Maori values in the proposed Plan?

The proposed Plan emphasises Māori values to meet the requirements of the Resource Management Act to recognise the cultural relationship of Māori in the management of the environment.  The Wellington Regional Council has done this by developing the proposed Plan in partnership with mana whenua (Māori who have customary authority) of the region.  This approach gives resource users more specific information regarding Māori values and how they should be provided for. For more information please see link to the  Māori values section 32 report.

Why doesn’t the proposed Plan say what Māori values I need to consider in a resource consent application?

Māori values have been integrated into the proposed Plan and are found throughout the document.  Some values such as mauri and ki uta ki tai are overarching and relevant to all resource use whilst others are specific to a particular place and relationship with a specific mana whenua grouping.

Whilst all Māori values have a general definition which can be found in the glossaries, mana whenua groupings interpret and apply these values differently according to local conditions and custom and usage.  Therefore consideration of Māori values in consent processes depends on place and the people connected to that place.  The input of local mana whenua is needed in order to understand whether the values are likely to be affected by the proposed activity and if so, how those values can be protected. For more information see Māori values section 32 report.

What does ‘legal effect ‘of rules mean to me?

It means if you are applying for resource consent, for the next few years you will need to apply under both the current operative regional plan(s) and the proposed Plan.

It also means that if you want to carry out a new activity that is a permitted activity, you need to comply with the permitted rules and their conditions in both (all) plans – both the operative plan(s) and the proposed Plan.

We suggest you contact us for advice about this if you are unclear about the status of the activity you want to do.

How does the proposed Plan affect my resource consent?

The proposed Plan won’t affect your resource consent until it’s time to renew it. If you need to renew your consent in the next few years you will probably need to apply under both the operative regional plan(s) and the proposed Plan.  Once the proposed Plan is fully operative (probably not for a few years) then you will only need to apply under the new plan.

If I’m allowed to do something now without a resource consent, can I still do that with the proposed Plan?

If you are currently doing something, like taking water from a bore to water your garden, that is a permitted activity in the operative regional plan(s), as long as you don’t change the way you go about doing it (i.e. don’t change how much water you take or where you take it from) you can carry on doing it.  The new plan rules won’t affect you until 6 months after the new plan is operative (i.e. not for a few years).

If you are unsure, please contact us for advice.

Why have you changed the drains rules?

Drains have become habitat for communities of indigenous plants and animals that used to live in the 95% of the Region’s wetlands that have disappeared. 

The rules for drain clearing in the proposed plan encourage best practice to reduce the impacts of drain maintenance on these communities. 

A resource consent is not needed if the conditions of Rule R121 can be met.

Wellington Regional Council will run an education programme to support landowners and contractors to understand and meet the requirements of Rule R121.

Do I need a resource consent to take or use water for my household needs or my animals?

No resource consent is needed. Section 14(3)(b) of the Resource Management Act 1991 permits taking water for an individual’s reasonable domestic needs or the reasonable needs of an individual’s animal, provided that  the taking or use does not, or is not likely to have an adverse effect on the environment. Because the proposed Plan is silent on these takes, the Act applies as stated.

I currently have resource consent to take and use water. When my consent expires, will I have to give up any of the water I currently take?

Taking and using water by an existing resource consent can continue when the consent is renewed. Policies in the proposed Plan (R.P2, WH.P2, K.P2) do however limit the amount of water available for allocation so it is more difficult to get more water. Also the use of water must be efficient according to criteria set out in Schedule Q of the proposed Plan.

What other information is available?

Greater Wellington are developing information sheets which will assist Plan users to understand the new policy direction. These will be available on the Greater Wellington website shortly.