Otago - proposed land and water rules

Decision on the RPS What DairyNZ is doing Next steps Related resources

Otago Regional Council (ORC) are proposing new draft land and water rules that will affect your farm business.

The latest consultation has now closed. View Otago Regional Council's full proposal.

The new Land and Water Plan is expected to be notified in October 2024. In December 2023 Central Government announced their intention to replace the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM 2020) over 18-24 months. Due to this, the date that councils are required to notify a freshwater plan change has now been extended by three years to 31 December 2027, leaving more time for regional councils and communities to do this work. DairyNZ is advocating for ORC to delay the notification date until there is clarity around changes to the NPS-FM.

Find out more about the changes to freshwater regulations proposed by central Government.

Decision on the Regional Policy Statement (RPS)

The hearing panel’s recommendations have been released and adopted by the Council. We worked together with farming organisations and farmers to present our view at the RPS hearing, and advocate for the importance of farming to the Otago region.

The RPS contains objectives and policies for management of natural and physical resources. The new Land and Water Plan will have to give effect to the RPS.

The hearing panel recognised that the RPS needs to provide for resource use as well as protect the environment and made changes to enable the use of natural resources. Farmer evidence was helpful for the hearing panel, providing an insight into the extensive on-the-ground work done by farmers in different catchments across the region. Changes also meant recognition of the importance of community scale irrigation and stockwater infrastructure as Regionally Significant Infrastructure.

The panel also made numerous changes to the freshwater long-term visions, to remove some details and for them to be worked out in the Land and Water Plan.

What DairyNZ is doing

We are working on your behalf to represent the views of the dairy and primary sectors, and our rural communities. In addition to our work on this regional proposal, we will address our concerns about the overarching National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, which guides some of ORC's proposed rules at the national level with the new government.

We will put forward our own evidence to inform the next phase of the process, which is the formal notification of a full regional plan once it is notified. We are collaborating with Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, and dairy processing companies, including Fonterra, to present a coordinated response.

What are the next steps?

ORC will have to amend the draft Land and Water Plan to adopt the changes made to the RPS, before a formal notification of the new plan..

DairyNZ will participate in the development process and present our case during hearings. Between now and then, we will continue to work with ORC to discuss our concerns and possible solutions.

Questions on this topic?

Contact Carina Ross
Senior Policy Advisor

Last updated: Mar 2024
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