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Rules that might affect my farm

Find out the rules that might apply for making changes on your farm.

Under the Regional Resource Management Plan most farming activities can be carried out as of right. 

Where an activity is not permitted as of right or does not comply with performance standards set out in the plan, permission must be obtained from the Regional Council through applying for a resource consent.

There are also some activities that are not allowed to be undertaken at all – they are classified as prohibited. 

Contacts for Advice

If you can’t find the information you need on this website, please contact our staff for advice -

Consents – contact the consents advisor, 06 833 8090 or 0800 108 838, or consentsadvisor@hbrc.govt.nz.  

Catchment Management Advisors –

  • Northern (Wairoa) 06 838 8527
  • Central (Heretaunga Plains and hills) 0800 108 838
  • Southern (CHB) 06 857 8219

Remember that your local district or city council also has certain rules which are separate to Regional Council requirements.  You may have to check with your local council about the activity.

Resource Management Plan

The Regional Resource Management Plan (RRMP) is the most significant resource planning document for all resource users in Hawke’s Bay. It includes the Regional Policy Statement (RPS) and sets out a policy framework for managing the land, freshwater and air resources in an integrated manner across the whole of the Hawke's Bay region.

Subsequent amendments (referred to as plan changes or variations) have been aimed at continually improving the management of our shared resources. 

Take a look here for details of all resource planning documents in Hawke’s Bay that can be relevant to farming 

The most significant Plan changes for farming in Hawke’s Bay are

Change 5 – Land Use and Freshwater Management 

Change 6 – Tukituki River Catchment Plan 

Checklist of basics

Where is your farm?  The location of your farm may determine whether you need a resource consent for a particular activity.  The following areas have particularly high environmental values and therefore have special rules:

  • The Heretaunga and Ruataniwha Plains unconfined aquifer areas – check for details under the relevant topic headings.
  • Along the coast, around river mouths and estuaries – check under Farming on the Coast.
  • Close to houses, schools, marae, churches, sports grounds or other community and built up areas – check under Burning, Spraying, Farm Dumps and Offal Pits, and Farm dairy effluent in particular, as there are restrictions on these activities near to such places.

Is your activity on, in or around water?

  • Water is a priority in Hawke’s Bay so there are significant rules regarding activities affecting water.
  • There are rules for taking or using water, working in streams (e.g. maintaining or constructing culverts), carrying out land drainage, getting rid of effluent or waste, or spreading fertiliser in or near water.

Does your activity require a consent or permission from another authority?

  • Buildings, subdivisions, quarrying, or other land uses, effects on archaeological and heritage sites, or indigenous bush - also contact your local district council.
  • Lighting fires - contact the Rural Fire Officer at your local district council or, if you are close to a conservation area, contact the Department of Conservation.
  • Logging native timber for milling - also contact Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand)Water Takes & Management

HBRC is working with landowners and communities living in the Tukituki River catchment in Central Hawke’s Bay to manage specific water quality issues.  Poor water quality and a decline in natural (biodiversity) values need to be resolved.

As a result of consultation, landowners in the Tukituki Catchment are the first in Hawke’s Bay to have catchment specific rules.  Everyone, and in particular landowners and occupiers in the Tukituki Catchment who have 4 hectares or more of production land is affected.

The aim of the rules is to sustainably manage the use and development of land, the discharge of contaminants including nutrients, and the taking, using, damming or diverting of fresh water in the Tukituki catchment to benefit

  •  Groundwater levels
  •  river flows,
  •  lake and wetland levels and quantity
  •  the habitat and health of aquatic ecosystems,
  • recreation and drinking water supplies,
  •  the use of water for primary production and processing. 

Where you can find things - check out the Tukituki pages

Taking and using water from streams and rivers

You can use fresh water (either from a stream or river) for your own domestic water supply and for stock water (there are no rules in the plan controlling this).

Refer to rule: 54

If you want to take water for any other purpose and if the volumes are small (less than 20m³/day and less than 10% of stream flow), you can do so without a resource consent unless you are in one of the following catchments:

  • Maraekakaho Stream
  • Ahuriri Estuary (including  Taipo Stream)
  • Awanui Stream (including Lake Poukawa & Poukawa Stream)
  • Louisa Stream
  • Papanui Stream
  • Lake Tutira
  • Herehere Stream
  • Mangaroa Stream
  • School Stream (where??)
  • Karituwhenua Stream
  • Te Waikaha Stream
  • Tukituki River.

To take any water from the listed catchments below or to take larger volumes of water from other Hawke's Bay rivers or streams (e.g. for irrigation), you will need a resource consent.  The Council will look at proposals to take large volumes of water on a case-by-case basis, but in many rivers large amounts are already taken and there is no water available for allocation.

Taking and use of water for stock

You are permitted to take water for stock watering and your own domestic supply without need for a resource consent.  See taking water from streams and rivers.

Refer to rule: 54

Drilling a bore and using groundwater

There are two aspects related to bores – drilling them, and then taking groundwater from them.

Bore Drilling – Permit

A resource consent is required before you drill a bore or alter any existing bore (e.g. by deepening or widening it).  This type of consent is usually called a ‘bore permit’.

The permit will be granted if the bore is constructed so that it only screens one aquifer and does not leak.

Refer to rule 1

IMPORTANT:  A well must not be open to more than one aquifer.  A well casing open to more than one aquifer allows uncontrolled movement of water and contaminants from one aquifer to another. 

Bore Security

Groundwater Takes

You can use groundwater for your own domestic water supply and for stock water (there are no rules in the plan controlling this).

Refer to rule 53. 

You do not need a resource consent if you want to take water for any other purpose and if the volumes are small (less than 20m³/day), unless you are in one of the following catchments:

  • Bay View
  • Bridge Pa/ Pakipaki
  • Poraiti/Missionview/Taradale
  • Lake Poukawa
  • Otane
  • Takapau
  • Haumoana
  • Fringes of Heretaunga Plains.

If you want to take more than 20 m³ of water a day for any other purpose, you will need to apply for a resource consent.  Your consent will generally be granted if the bore can deliver the required amount of water and there is no significant effect on other users.

See Find my Catchment for map                   

Constructing a dam on a stream or river can have effects on the waterway.  It can affect the stability of the bed of the stream, affect flood flows or make it difficult for fish to swim up and down their migration path.

Refer to rules 67, 68, 69

You will need a resource consent to build a dam, weir or other barrier where water may flow, unless you meet the following requirements:

  • the catchment area upstream from the dam is less than 50 hectares
  • the dam is less than 4m high
  • the volume of water stored in the dam does not exceed 20,000 m³ (a reservoir 200m long x 30m wide x 3.5 m deep contains about 20,000 m³)
  • you do not dam water beyond your own property or cause a build-up of water on neighbouring properties
  • the dam allows for flood overspill, eg via a spillway
  • no significant environmental effects, scouring, erosion, or restriction of fish passage occurs
  • if the dam is in permanently flowing water, a flow of 1.2 litres per minute per hectare of catchment is maintained immediately downstream of the dam
  • no contaminants from equipment enter the river (make sure you do not refuel any equipment in the riverbed)
  • no dams are built in flowing waterways between 1 May and 30 September due to fish spawning during this time
  • you have let the Regional Council know that you are going to dam the stream if it is to hold more than 10,000 m³ and it is in a Council flood control area.

If these requirements cannot be met, you will need to apply for a resource consent. You may also need a building consent from your local district or city council to build a dam.

Stream crossings such as culverts, fords or bridges for both stock and farm vehicles help protect water quality and the stability of stream banks.

If you have a lawfully established existing structure (eg. culvert) then you do not need a resource consent for it.

Refer to rules 63, 64, 65, 66, 70

Maintenance of crossings

If you need to carry out maintenance, repair or upgrading work on your culvert, bridge or ford, you can do so without a resource consent as long as:

a)              there is no increase in the size of the crossing

b)             you do not divert any water for a period of 5 consecutive days and no more than 12 hours on any one of those days during maintenance

c)              no contaminants other than sediment enter the river, and the sediment does not cause any conspicuous change in the colour or clarity after reasonable mixing

d)             you minimise disturbance to the river bed

e)             there are no harmful effects on aquatic life or habitat in the stream

f)               any material removed from the structure or used during maintenance is removed from the riverbed when you have completed the work

g)              river banks are reinstated to their natural contour and revegetated

h)             any material used must not be toxic to aquatic ecosystems

i)               existing fish passage continues to be provided for

j)               the structure does not reduce the flow of floods or debris

k)              there is no damage to flood control or river protection works

l)               you do not disturb any part of the riverbed that is under water during the period 1 May to 30 September.

If these requirements cannot be met you will need to apply for a resource consent.

Protection of stream margins

We strongly encourage protection of streams and rivers from grazing, soil disturbance and any unnecessary removal of vegetation. 

Management of stream margins (riparian management) by keeping stock away from streams and maintaining trees and shrubs on the riverbank have benefits for farms, include better water quality, greater stability of the banks and improved ecological habitat for aquatic organisms.

Good Practice – Riparian Management

  • Leave a strip of vegetation along the stream edge and don’t clear or plough right to the edge.
  • Fence off streams where possible to protect them from stock.
  • Plant stream bank vegetation.
  • Provide your stock with alternative water supplies.
  • Construct proper stream crossings such as culverts and use them instead of herding stock or driving them through stream beds.
  • Realign paddock boundaries with streams to give better feed utilisation and make stock management easier.

Contact your Integrated Catchment Management Advisor to give advice on riparian management including fencing, planting and maintenance.

Stream Crossings

Construction

You do not require a resource consent to build a culvert, bridge or ford as long as you meet all of the following requirements:

  • the catchment area above the crossing does not exceed 150ha
  • the channel of the stream is not altered
  • there is no increased risk of flooding or damage to any property as a result of the crossing
  • there is no erosion, scour or deposition beyond the area of the structure
  • items b, c, f, h, i & l listed under Maintenance of crossings above are also complied with.

If these requirements cannot be met you will need to apply for a resource consent.

Check with your local district council as they may have rules also.

Removal of crossings

If you intend to remove a bridge, ford or culvert you can do so without a resource consent so long as:

  • you advise the Council at least 15 working days before removing any crossing with a catchment greater than 50 ha
  • items b, c, f, g, h, i, j, k & l listed under Maintenance of crossings above are complied with.

If these requirements cannot be met you will need to apply for a resource consent.

For technical design guidelines for structures within waterways ask for the “Guidelines for Waterways” manual compiled by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

Diverting a stream

If you plan to divert a stream you can do so without a resource consent as long as:

  • the catchment area upstream is less than 50 hectares
  • the diversion remains within the bed of the affected water body or it diverts less than 10% of the flow and the diverted water is returned to the water body less than 100m downstream from the point of diversion
  • the diversion does not adversely affect any wetland
  • there is no diversion of water to another catchment
  • there are no effects on neighbouring properties or a restriction on anyone else’s water supply or resource consent
  • there are no significant environmental effects, including scouring or erosion, restriction of fish passage, or effect on aquatic life or habitat.
  • If these requirements cannot be met you will need to apply for a resource consent.

Taking gravel from a stream

Refer to rule 73, 74

A resource consent is not needed to take gravel or sand (by hand) from a riverbed if:

  • you do not take more than 0.25 m³ at a time, or more than 1 m³ in a year
  • at the time it is taken the area is not covered by water
  • the area is recontoured so that no mounds or depressions remain
  • there is no discharge of sediment to water

 If these requirements cannot be met you will need to apply for a resource consent.

Farm dairy effluent

You will need a resource consent before you can discharge farm dairy effluent.  This situation applies regardless of whether you have an oxidation pond system or apply the effluent directly to land.

Important: You must not discharge untreated farm dairy effluent to streams, rivers, or lakes.

Refer to rules: 14, 15                

Dairy Farm Oxidation Pond

If you are not in one of the sensitive catchments listed below and apply for a consent to discharge effluent to land, then your application will be approved as long as it is clear that:

  • any area used for storing effluent is managed so there is no groundwater contamination
  • no spray or offensive smells drift onto neighbouring properties
  • there is no runoff of any contaminant into any river/stream/lake
  • there will be no discharge within 30 m of any bore or well
  • less than 150 kg of effluent nitrogen is applied to each hectare of grazed pasture (this equates to approximately 4 hectares of disposal area for every 100 cows), or less than the nitrogen uptake of the crop if applied to other vegetation.

 It will be more difficult (and costly) to get a resource consent if:

  • you cannot meet any requirements listed above
  • you want to discharge to a river, stream or lake, or you are in one of the following ‘sensitive’ catchments:

-          Headwaters of the Mohaka River

-          Headwaters of the Ngaruroro River

-          Maungawhio Lagoon

-          Lake Hatuma

-          Lake Tūtira

-          Heretaunga Plains unconfined aquifer

-          Ruataniwha Plains unconfined aquifer

-          Lake Whakaki

-          Headwaters of the Tutaekuri River

-          Headwater of the Tukituki River.

Map of above catchments – see Catchment tab

Stock truck effluent

Movement of stock by trucks can produce significant amounts of stock effluent that require disposal.  It is not acceptable to allow stock effluent to be spilt or dumped on roads as such discharges are a potential hazard to motorists, can reach waterways to degrade water quality and are aesthetically unappealing.

Farmers play an important part in reducing the amount of stock truck effluent requiring disposal.  Standing stock before they are transported significantly reduces the amount of stock truck effluent that needs to be disposed of.  Standing of stock benefits farmers as empty stock travel better, which leads to reduced stock stress and therefore improved meat quality. 

Standing stock off pasture or crops (but still with access to water) before transportation has minimal effect on the stock’s carcass weights.  Farmers may receive better prices for clean, well-presented stock.

Important You must not discharge stock truck effluent to water or onto land where it may reach water.

Stock truck effluent disposal points in Hawke’s Bay area are:

  • Glengarry on SH 5 Napier – Taupo Road
  • Taupo at the Sale Yards
  • Gisborne on SH3 near the town
  • Woodville on SH3 near the town.

Domestic wastewater

Refer to rules 35, 36, 37, 38

Domestic wastewater includes sewage from woolsheds, shearers’ quarters and any other farm buildings. On most farms, domestic wastewater is disposed of via on-site wastewater systems (including septic tanks). 

Generally, this discharge can be undertaken without a resource consent if:

  • you are not in the Heretaunga Plans or Ruataniwha Plains unconfined aquifer
  • the discharge is more than 20m from a stream, drain or subsurface drainage system
  • the discharge is 30m from a bore drawing water from an unconfined aquifer
  • the discharge is more than 600mm above the winter groundwater table
  • there is no surface ponding or runoff into a stream and no significant environmental effects or release of offensive smells or noxious gases onto neighbouring properties
  • you do not discharge more than 2m³ per day (this is unlikely to affect you unless you have more than 10 people on site).

Long drops need to be constructed in slow draining soils (infiltration rate must not exceed 150 mm/h).  The above conditions also apply to long drops.

Retrofitting a filter to an existing septic tank will extend the life of the disposal field.

If these requirements cannot be met, you will need to apply for a resource consent.

Feedlots and silage pits

Leachate or runoff from feedpads and feedlots, and from feed storage areas (such as silage pits), contains contaminants that affect the environment, particularly the water quality of streams.

As long as the discharges are controlled so that they do not or are not likely to reach surface streams, the potential problems can be avoided.

Refer to rules 5, 6, 12

You do not need a resource consent if:

  • you manage the feedlot or feedpad to ensure there is no seepage of contaminants into groundwater (eg. by constructing a sealing layer)
  • it is located no less than 20 m from any surface water body
  • it is more than:

-          150 metres from a residential building or any other building being part of a place where people congregate on another site

-          50 metres from a property boundary

-          20 metres from a public road

  • it is constructed so that no runoff from the surrounding catchment area can enter it.

A resource consent is also not required as long as any discharge from a silage pit, feedlot, feedpad or from feeding out:

  • does not contaminate the Heretaunga Plains or Ruataniwha Plains unconfined aquifers
  • does not cause an offensive or objectionable odour, or noxious or dangerous levels of gases on any neighbouring property
  • does not cause visible discharge of any material (including dust) on any neighbouring property
  • is not within 20 m of any surface water body
  • does not occur within 30 m of any bore or well
  • there is no surface ponding on any area used to store feed or to feed stock.

If these requirements cannot be met, you will need to apply for a resource consent.

IMPORTANT Leachate from silage can be extremely toxic to waterways.  It is important to ensure that your silage pit is well positioned to prevent any leachate flowing into a waterway.

Farm dumps and offal pits

Refer to rule 16

Dead stock, domestic and other farm rubbish can often be appropriately disposed of into farm dumps and offal pits.  Odour and seepage are two main things to be managed.

You do not need a resource consent if:

  • only material from your own farm is disposed of in the offal pit or farm dump
  • you do not dispose of waste oil or other hazardous substances
  • the offal pit is covered with a lid
  • there is no objectionable odour outside of your property boundary.

Seepage from offal pits and farm dumps can be discharged if:

  • the seepage does not enter streams or groundwater
    • the pit or dump is more than 30m from any bore or spring
    • the pit or dump is more than 20m away from a stream
    • the pit or dump is not over the Heretaunga or Ruataniwha Plains unconfined aquifers
    • the tips or pits are more than 600mm above the winter groundwater table.

If these requirements cannot be met, you will need to apply for a resource consent.

For more information about refuse options contact the region’s Waste Minimisation Officer based at Hastings District Council.

Spraying, Burning & Fertiliser

Burning rubbish or vegetation

Burning has an impact on the environment, particularly local air quality and on people’s lifestyles. 

Refer to rules 19, 19a-19e, 20, 20a

More information on burning in Hastings and Napier air sheds   

Other Areas

You do not need a resource consent for burning if:

  • the waste is only from your own farm
  • the waste does not contain treated wood or sawdust, waste oil, rubber (including tyres), plastics or coated wire
  • you ensure that the smoke or fumes do not cause significant environmental effects or cause nuisance beyond your property boundary.

If these requirements cannot be met you will need to apply for a resource consent (commonly known as an air discharge permit).

If you are burning vegetation, you can generally do so without a resource consent as long as:

  • smoke is minimised to avoid effects on neighbouring properties
  • there is little effect on other people, the environment, visibility, or traffic.

In addition to requirements under the Regional Council’s Plan there may be restricted fire seasons or fire bans in place.  You may need a fire permit from the Department of Conservation or your district council (as the local fire authority).

IMPORTANT  The burning of domestic rubbish is not prohibited, but the type of rubbish you can burn is restricted.  You must not burn any waste oil, wood treated with chemicals, painted wood, chip board, plastic, asbestos, medical waste or chemical waste.

Fertiliser application

Refer to rule 11

You do not require a resource consent to apply fertiliser to land if:

  • you apply the fertiliser in accordance with the Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use (New Zealand Fertiliser Manufacturers Research Association, 1998). 
  • when applying fertiliser by truck, tractor, aeroplane or by hand, you make sure it does not spread into any water (including streams, lakes, drains or wetlands). 

If these requirements cannot be met, you will need to apply for a resource consent.

IMPORTANT Ensure the person applying the fertiliser follows industry standards and best practice.

Spraying herbicides and pesticides

Refer to rule 9, 10

You do not require a resource consent when spraying agrichemicals if:

  • they do not reach water
  • they do not drift beyond property boundaries into sensitive areas or other non-target areas
  • they are used as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions.

Widespread application of agrichemicals (i.e. using any type of sprayer that has a motorised pump) can only be done by an applicator who holds a GROWSAFE® Introductory Certificate. 

If you are using a contractor, you must ensure that the contractor holds a GROWSAFE® Registered Chemical Applicator Certificate.

See the information sheets on Spraying Safely

Aerial spraying

You do not require a resource consent for widespread aerial application if:

  • the pilot holds a GROWSAFE® Pilot Agrichemical Rating Certificate
  • measures are taken to prevent the discharge of chemicals within 20m of lakes, wetlands or flowing rivers.

Spraying aquatic herbicides

You do not require a resource consent to spray aquatic herbicides directly into water to control unwanted aquatic plants as long as:

  • you notify every person taking water for domestic supply within 1 km downstream of the proposed spraying
  • you notify every resource consent holder taking water for public supply downstream of the proposed discharge at least one week before commencing the spraying
  • you use spray approved for aquatic use and as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions
  • there are no significant environmental effects
  • you immediately advise the Council if there is any accidental discharge of spray.

If these requirements cannot be met, you will need to apply for a resource consent.

Land drainage

Refer to rule 32, 33

You do not require a resource consent to drain water from land if:

  • you are using a gravity flow system
  • the discharge does not cause flooding on anyone else’s property
  • there is no scouring or erosion of any land or water course beyond the discharge point
  • there are no adverse affects on wetlands*
  • there is no unnatural temperature change of any receiving water (no more than 3°C)
  • discharge of water arising from a drainage system shall be to the same catchment as that to which the water would naturally flow.

There are additional conditions relating to the levels of suspended solids in the discharge – to enquire about these conditions contact the Regional Council.

Consents are needed if

-           you are using a pumped system

-           the above requirements cannot be met.

Vegetation clearance 

Vegetation clearance is the cutting, burning, clearing or destruction (destruction includes spraying) of trees, shrubs and plants. 

Refer to rules 7, 8

You do not require a resource consent to clear vegetation if all cleared vegetation:

  • is contained to prevent vegetation getting into a waterbody
  • does not result in any significant change in the colour or clarity of any waterbody, after reasonable mixing
  • does not occur within 5 metres of any permanently flowing river (with a bed width in excess of 2 metres), or any other lake or wetland, except in the case of:

-          clearing plantation forestry established prior to the date of the Regional Plan becoming operative

-          any areas identified in Schedule X of the plan (map available on website)

  • does not increase the risk of soil loss otherwise you must:

-          revegetate as soon as possible after completion of the activity (no later than 18  months) with species providing equivalent or better land stabilisation

-          retain in a manner which inhibits soil loss.

If these requirements cannot be met, you will need to apply for a resource consent.

Activities excluded from this rule:

  • the normal maintenance of lawfully established structures (eg. culverts), roads, tracks, railway lines and river beds
  • the clearance of grasses, forest thinning, and agricultural and horticultural crops
  • the clearance of isolated or scattered re-growth on productive pasture
  • the clearance of any indigenous vegetation understorey beneath plantation forests
  • the clearance of noxious weeds covered by the Regional Plant Pest Management Strategy
  • cultivation and grazing
  • construction and maintenance of fences and drains.

Pest control

Control of pest plants and pest animals is essential for the health of animals, pasture, plantations and our lifestyle. Hawke’s Bay farmers have been involved in the highly successful and award-winning Possum Control Area (PCA) programme, and with battling Chilean needle grass so have a positive approach to dealing with pest control.

The Regional Pest Management Plan details the management requirements for the region’s pest control – plant, animal and marine – and the responsibilities of farmers.

Other information is on the tab -  Biosecurity on Your Farm

The Regional Pest Management Plan for Hawke’s Bay details the management regime for the region’s pest control and how landowners can be involved.  

Plant Pests

Different plant pests require different levels of control.  A ‘total control’ plant pest is one that is of limited distribution in the region and the long-term goal is its eventual eradication.  Financial assistance is available for the control of ‘total control plant pests’. 

Plant pest details and information is here.

Animal Pests

A management regime is underway in Hawke’s Bay for possums, feral rabbits and rooks.

Hawke’s Bay has a successful possum control programme with ratepayers and Council’s Biosecurity team working together in designated Possum Control Areas (PCA’s).  PCA’s will have initial possum control undertaken by contractors achieving a 3% rtc (residual trap catch) landusers are then required to maintain possum numbers at or below 5% rtc.

Animal pest details and information is here

Wetlands

A ‘wetland’ includes permanently or intermittently wet areas, shallow areas, shallow water, and land water margins that support a natural ecosystem of plants and animals that are adapted to wet conditions. They include farm ponds and dams, estuaries, swamps, bogs.

Wetlands have many advantages – they decrease the risk of floods by storing rainfall and runoff, they filter nutrients and trap sediment to prevent it entering waterways. Wetlands play an important role in our ecological diversity, for plants, birds and aquatic organisms.

Land drainage can be carried out only if it does not adversely affect any wetland (also see ‘Land Drainage’).  Discharges to wetlands can occur as long as the discharge has no more than minor adverse effects on rare aquatic life (and habitat) or on threatened indigenous flora and fauna.

‘Wetland’ does not include the following:

  • wet pasture land
  • artificial wetlands used for wastewater or stormwater treatment
  • farm dams and detention dams
  • land drainage canals and drains
  • reservoirs for fire fighting (domestic or municipal water supply)
  • temporary ponded rainfall
  • other artificial wetlands.

Some Hawke’s Bay wetlands are in the coastal marine area and are subject to the provisions of the Regional Coastal Environment Plan – see Farming on the Coast.

Farm activities causing soil disturbance

Soil health

The degradation of soil health, including its physical and biological properties, reduces a soil’s productivity.  This results in the need for more fertiliser, irrigation and cultivation as short term compensators.

The Visual Soil Assessment is a helpful technique to monitor soil health – ask the Integrated Catchment Management team for information and advice.

Soil disturbance

Refer to rules 7, 8

Activities that disturb the soil (such as blading, contouring, ripping, discing, root raking, moving, ploughing, removing, cutting and blasting) can be undertaken without a resource consent as long as:

  • disturbed soil is deposited or contained to prevent the transportation or deposition of soil into a water body
  • soil disturbance does not cause any significant change in the colour or clarity of any water body, after reasonable mixing
  • deposition of soil or soil particles beyond a property boundary is not  objectionable, does not cause property damage or exceed 10kg/m²
  • where  disturbance of soil increases the risk of soil loss the land is:

-          revegetated as soon as possible after completion of the activity but no later than 18 months with species providing equivalent or better land stabilisation or

-          retained in a manner which inhibits soil loss.

If these requirements cannot be met, you will need to apply for a resource consent.

Some activities are excluded from this rule:

  • the normal maintenance of legally established structures, roads, tracks, railway lines and river beds
  • non-motorised soil disturbance activities
  • thrusting, boring, trenching or mole ploughing
  • soil disturbance undertaken by a mine or quarry operation with a valid licence
  • cultivation and grazing
  • foundation works for structures
  • construction and maintenance of fences and drains.

Other permissions

Earthworks and disturbance of soil may affect historic and archaeological sites.  Archaeological sites, whether recorded or not, cannot be destroyed, damaged or modified without an 'Authority' being obtained from the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

You should also check with your local council as any earthworks will need to comply with the requirements of your local district plan.

Farmers who operate along the coast need to be aware of the Regional Coastal Environment Plan (RCEP) [https://www.hbrc.govt.nz/our-council/policies-plans-strategies/rcep/] that specifically addresses activities in the coastal area below the Mean High Water Springs (MHWS).

Coastal river mouths and estuaries, dunes, cliffs and beaches are valuable habitats for many of our native birds, fish, plants and insects and need protecting.

The Regional Coastal Environment Plan aims to achieve the sustainable management of natural and physical resources of the Hawke's Bay coastal environment. The RCEP sets out the issues relating to protection and enhancement of the coast, water quality, controls on activities and structures and coastal hazards.

Consents needed

The RCEP sets out the rules governing activities along the coast in a useful table (see page 7) 

You must apply for a resource consent to carry out the following activities in estuaries, river mouths or below MHWS:

  • drilling and use of bores
  • operation of a feedlot or feedpad
  • removal of sand at rates greater than 1 cubic metre per day, or closer than 20 metres to erosion control works
  • introduction or planting of any exotic plants
  • burning of some fuels or outdoor burning
  • reclamations

This is not an exhaustive list so please check with HBRC consents on other activities.

Some activities are prohibited within the coastal marine area or specified Significant Conservation Areas. Check the RCEP to see if your activity is one of these areas.

Consents not needed

There are a large number of activities that are permitted:

  • use of fertilisers, managing waste
  • minor takes of surface or groundwater [where not regulated by other rules]
  • minor diversions of water
  • temporary occupation of a coastal marine area
  • maintenance or removal of an existing structure, such as a bridge or jetty -  as long as you do not increase the size of the existing structure and there are no significant environmental effects
  • clearing culverts, or outfall or intake structures, provided that any disturbance of the foreshore or seabed is minimised.
  • discharging uncontaminated water or stormwater into the coastal area or estuaries, as long as the discharge does not result in conspicuous oil or grease films, scums or foams, or floatable or suspended material in the water.

IMPORTANT: If you farm next to a coast, fence off any vegetated dune barrier to protect these valuable areas and avoid damage from stock.  Without dune vegetation, sand will blow inland and can bury pasture and fences.

Some Hawke’s Bay wetlands are in the coastal marine area and are subject to the provisions of the Regional Coastal Plan. 

Refer to: Hawke’s Bay Regional Coastal Environment Plan        

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