Skip to main content

What is Proposed Plan Change 1?

The proposed plan change: background and legislation

We all want healthy rivers, profitable, sustainable farms and strong communities. Over the past two decades, the Waikato community has consistently identified water quality as the top issue for our region. Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Waikato Regional Plan Change 1 is our opportunity to protect the environment and ensure that what we value as a community is here for future generations.

Developed alongside iwi and key stakeholders, the proposed plan change is one of the largest plan changes of its kind in New Zealand, applying to approximately 10,000 properities and covering a land area of 1.1M hectares within the Waikato and Waipā river catchments.

The proposed plan seeks to reduce the amount of contaminants entering into the Waikato and Waipā catchments to achieve our Vision and Strategy/Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato of making the river swimmable and viable for food collection along the entire length of the river. The Vision and Strategy was adopted by the Government as part of Treaty Settlement legislation.

Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River/Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato

It also gives effect to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014. The regional council has a legal requirement to give effect to both of these.

National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 

Summary of proposed rules

The proposed plan includes all rural landowners within the Waikato River and Waipā River catchments. New rules will complement existing rules in the Waikato Regional Plan, and existing rules will continue to apply, e.g. farm dairy effluent rules, earthwork rules and point-source discharge rules.

The proposed rules include:

  • additional requirements for forestry
  • additional considerations for point source discharges
  • new rules and consents for farming activities on properties
  • schedules for landowners to adopt rules.

Variation 1

Following notification of Proposed Plan Change 1, Pare Hauraki raised concerns with Waikato Regional Council that they had not been consulted with in the manner required by the RMA. Council withdrew part of the proposed plan change on 3 December 2016 in order for consultation to take place.

On 10 April 2018, council notified Variation 1 to Proposed Plan Change 1 for public submissions. Variation 1 makes amendments to Proposed Plan Change 1. Here’s a summary of the changes:

  • Amendments to reinstate the previously withdrawn provisions and area
  • Amendments to key dates for landowners, including dates for Registration and providing a Nitrogen Reference Point, as well as dates for Farm Environment Plans and stock exclusion
  • Amendments arising from consultation with Pare Hauraki.

Variation 1 FAQ information.

This supporting document shows all of the changes between the Variation 1 and Proposed Plan Change 1. It also shows how everything will fit once the two are brought back together.

While the variation follows a separate submission process to the rest of the proposed plan, it is intended to bring these two processes together before the start of hearings so that there will only be one hearings and decisions process.

So, where are we now? This diagram might help:

Healthy Rivers | Wai Ora diagram

Read Proposed Plan Change 1 documents

Curious about the evaluation behind each part of the proposed plan? A Section 32 Evaluation Report analyses the provisions in the proposed plan change against the Resource Management Act (RMA) and provides some background information about the different parts of the plan.

Read the Section 32 referenced documents.

Submissions and summary of submissions

Following notification on 22 October 2016, 1023 submissions were received on Plan Change 1 raising a range of issues and providing suggestions on how the proposed plan change could be improved. There were also 61 submissions received on Variation 1. 

These submissions have been summarised and the decisions and changes requested, or inferred, from each of the submissions. 

Read more about the submissions, and summary of submissions.

Further Submissions

On 20 August 2018, the council released a summary of decisions requested from the 1084 submissions on Proposed Plan Change 1 and Variation 1. The deadline for further submissions has now passed. 

A further submission is a written statement that allows you to support or oppose other people's submissions. It also gives you the opportunity to consider how a submission may impact you, and to have your views considered by the hearings panel along with the original submission. 

Questions about further submissions and who can lodge them? Read our FAQ

More information about the summary of decisions requested and making a further submission can be found in our guide.

Please note: council made the draft summary of decisions requested available on the website in 2017. Edits have been made to the final notified version, including changes to some submission point ID numbers. 

Read the summary of decisions requested and all original submissions. 

If you make a further submission, you must serve a copy of your submission to the original submitter within 5 days of being lodged with council.

Address list for all submitters.

Submissions closed at 5pm on Monday, 17 September 2018.

If you have questions about the variation or submission process, contact us at council.

Developing the plan change

The plan change has been developed using an innovative collaborative process working alongside our iwi partners. Those who are most affected by the changes have been represented by a Collaborative Stakeholders Group (CSG), and they've been at the table developing the policy and providing input and feedback from their communities and sectors.

Want to know more about the CSG and how they developed the policy? Read about its members and workshops here.

The Collaborative Stakeholder Group worked closely with a Technical Advisory Group, an impartial, advisory group of specialists who provided technical information to them and the project steering group. They collated, analysed, summarised and presented environmental, social, cultural and economic information about the rivers and the consequences of different land management scenarios. 

You can read more about the Technical Advisory Group here.