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National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (NPSFM) implementation programme

Waikato Regional Council (the council) is required under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (NPSFM) to publicly notify a programme of time limited stages for implementing the NPSFM, if satisfied that it is impracticable to fully implement it by 31 December 2015.

To achieve all the outcomes sought by the NPSFM, the council considered that the NPSFM requires development of a number of new concepts and processes, including identifying freshwater management units, values and attributes, and freshwater objectives. This requires time for research, public engagement, and then incorporation into Resource Management Act 1991 planning documents. The planning documents will go through the full Resource Management Act 1991 plan making process.

On the 30th October 2018 the council resolved it impracticable to fully implement the NPSFM by 31 December 2025, and adopted a staged programme to fully implement the NPSFM by 31 December 2030 through a series of plan changes and a regional plan review.

A summary of the plan changes and approach to be undertaken can be found below. The plan changes involve:

  • Waikato and Waipa River catchments
  • Waihou-Piako and Coromandel catchments
  • West Coast catchments, and
  • Regional plan review.

Please note the staged implementation program is not open for submissions.

Summary of approach and timeframes to implement the National Policy Statement Freshwater Management will be fully implemented by 31 December 2030.

Implemenation mechanism* Summary of approach Timeline
Proposed Regional Policy Statement 2012

Directs plans to: set limits and targets; take catchment approach; adopt an integrated approach and recognise cumulative effects; manage discharges; identify water bodies needing protection; specify wetland water levels; manage allocation and avoid over-allocation; manage land use and co-ordinate growth and infrastructure;

Guides council processes and activities: provides tangata whenua with opportunities to be involved; use best practice; collaborate with stakeholders; investigate options for controlling adverse effects.

The RPS became operative in April 2016. 

Waikato Regional Plan (WRP) Policy and methods: establish allocable and minimum flows and sustainable yields; manage allocation and over-allocation; classify takes; ensure efficient use of water; cap N outputs and manage Lake Taupo as an outstanding water body; manage discharges to water and effluent discharges to land that may enter water; protect values of wetlands; develop and guide best practice.

Operative regional plan incorporating Variation 5 (operative July 2011) Variation 6 (operative April 2012).

The regional plan been amended to include Policy A4 and B7 without using the Schedule 1 process which was undertaken in December 2015. A further minor update (without using Schedule 1) is required to give effects to the NPS-FM 2017.
WRP Change 1 Waikato River and Waipa River catchments Joint working party agreements with iwi; stakeholder consultation; develop policy and methods to set limits and targets and manage diffuse and point source discharges in the Waikato and Waipa River catchments. Proposed Plan Change 1 notified in October 2016.
WRP Change: Waihou-Piako and Coromandel catchments Joint working party agreements with iwi; stakeholder consultation; develop policy and methods to set limits and targets and manage water quality in the Waihou, Piako and Coromandel catchments. Notify Proposed Plan Change estimated 2020/21.
WRP Change: West Coast catchments Joint working party agreements with iwi; stakeholder consultation; develop policy and methods to set limits and targets and manage water quality in the West Coast catchments. Notify Proposed Plan Change estimated 2022/23.
 WRP review The regional plan review will address any matters that are outstanding and not included in plan changes listed above, for example, Policy C2 regarding integrated management of the effects from use and development, encouraging co-ordination and sequencing of growth, land use and development and infrastructure.  Review completed by 2030.
 Conclusion   All documents operative by December 2030.