Canterbury - Have your say on the direction for the development of new regional plans

What DairyNZ is doing What you can do Key concerns Next steps Timeline and questions Additional Resources

Environment Canterbury are seeking feedback from the community on how to prioritise environmental and climate change issues in Canterbury.

New plans that will set direction for the management of the environment are being developed for Canterbury. ECan is consulting with the community on priorities for resource management and climate change issues as part of the development. The feedback from the community will be used to develop local and regional climate action plans and set the direction for regional and district plans through the Regional Policy Statement (RPS).

These are important regional and district plans and documents, which will ultimately affect what you can and cannot do on your farm. This is why your feedback is crucial and we encourage you to let ECan know what matters most for you and your farming business.

ECan is seeking feedback on three key areas:

  • Climate action
  • Land use and biodiversity
  • Water and Coast

You can read more about each theme and the background material here: Lets pick a path | Have Your Say (ecan.govt.nz) We have also summarised the different areas here to help you understand what kind of feedback you might want to give ECan.

What DairyNZ is doing

  • We provided feedback to ECan on visions and values in the first round of consultation. ECan summarised all the feedback they received in the first consultation in a report. About let's pick a path, our future Canterbury | Have Your Say.
  • We are participating with other invited organisations in summits around the region to give our view on the topics consulted on in this second round.
  • DairyNZ will also provide written feedback with our view, and continue discussing our position and concerns with ECan in separate meetings.

What you can do

  • DairyNZ encourages you to discuss your concerns directly with ECan staff at a community event, and to have your say in the consultation.
  • Discuss any concerns you have with your elected ECan councillors.
  • If you don't wish to provide feedback to ECan, you can email us with your concerns and we will include them in our submission.

Key concerns and what this means for you

Climate action

ECan are working on two climate action plans to help address climate change in Canterbury. The feedback you provide will influence what actions will be included in the climate action plans. ECan also wants to know how you think climate hazards and risks, including greenhouse gas emissions reduction, should be managed in the Regional Policy Statement (RPS).

We are concerned that the planning documents will set regional targets for how much farmers need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The DairyNZ view is that targets and on-farm mitigations should be dealt with on a national level. Climate change adaptation, on the other hand, is best developed on a regional level.

Learn more about this key area: Climate action/Ngā Mahi Āhuarangi | Have Your Say (ecan.govt.nz)

Land use and biodiversity

ECan have suggested options that reflect priorities and can deliver outcomes based on feedback received in the first round of consultation. They have been thinking about outcomes for land use and biodiversity across three themes:

  • Managing land use and biodiversity
  • Forward-thinking land and housing development
  • Managing our waste better

They are now seeking further input to help rank the different priorities.

Some of the things you may want to think about are how an increase in protected land area could influence the way you farm. How can biodiversity protection and pest management, for example, be better incorporated on-farm?

Learn more about this key area: Land use and biodiversity/Te whakamahi i te whenua me te rerenga rauropi | Have Your Say (ecan.govt.nz)

Water and coast

ECan have suggested options that reflect priorities and can deliver outcomes based on feedback received in the first round of consultation. They have been thinking about outcomes for water and coast across three themes:

  • Improving water quality and quantity
  • Looking after our unique rivers, lakes and coastal areas
  • Visions for freshwater management

ECan is now seeking a clearer understanding of priorities as some of the outcomes they heard about in the first round of consultation potentially conflict with one another. For example, more water left in rivers and aquifers could be at odds with ensuring reliability of supply.

As part of developing a new Regional Policy Statement, ECan must set Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) and a vision for each FMU. The vision will set the overall goal for freshwater quality and when the goals need to be achieved. It will affect the direction and speed of change, and ultimately the rules farmers need to follow on farm.

We encourage you to think about what is achievable for you and your farm, and how fast you can make changes to improve water quality and reduce the level of water used on farm. This is an example of feedback you may want to provide to ECan.

Learn more about this key area: Water and coast/Te Wai me te Takutai | Have Your Say (ecan.govt.nz) .

What are the next steps?

  • Feedback from this process will guide ECan’s thinking for the development of objectives and policies in the Regional Policy Statement, and for the two Climate Change action plans. The RPS will then be formally notified and opened for official consultation late 2024. You will have another chance to have your say at this point.
  • DairyNZ will participate in this next process and present our case during hearings.


Sunday 3 December 2023: Feedback closes for this round of consultation.

Early 2024: ECan will be sharing what they have learnt so far.

Early 2024: Draft Long Term Plan public consultation, which for example sets out how to fund the proposed actions for example via rates increases.

December 2024: Draft Regional Policy Statement (RPS) public consultation.

Questions on this topic?

DairyNZ contact person:
Carina Ross
Senior Regional Policy Advisor

Last updated: Nov 2023
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