Frequently asked questions

To lodge an appeal you need to use Form 7, and this should be lodged with the Environment Court. The “note to appellant” in Form 7 provides further information on the filing and service requirements for a Notice of Appeal.  Please note that Horizons Regional Council sought changes to the filing and service requirements from the Environment Court to give submitters more time to consider the decision and help make the process a little easier.  The Environment Court agreed to the following changes:

1.    the time limit for lodging a notice of appeal to the Environment Court and sending a copy to Horizons Regional Council has been extended from 30 working days to 60 working days; and
2.    the requirement to provide a copy of the decision (or part of the decision) with the notice of appeal is waived (clause (b) of Form 7).
To view a copy of the waiver click here.

The cost of lodging an appeal is $500 including GST.

What is the current status of the One Plan?

The One Plan became operative on 19 December 2014. From that date, the previous regional plans, regional policy statement and proposed versions of the One Plan no longer have legal effect.

 How does the One Plan affect …

Land use




Land use?

The purpose of the land rules is to minimise the risk of sediment getting into waterways and to avoid adverse effects on indigenous biodiversity and riparian margins. Land disturbance, vegetation clearance and cultivation are allowed provided certain standards and conditions are met. The main things to watch out for are the slope of the land and how close you are to water bodies or areas of indigenous biodiversity.

Cultivation is a permitted activity when the slope of the land is less than 20 degrees, soil loss into waterways is minimised, and the cultivation is not in indigenous biodiversity habitats, the coastal foredune, or rivers and their margins. Direct drilling and no tillage methods can be done as of right.

Where it is not practical to meet all the standards or land steeper than 20 degrees is cultivated, there is a simple, quick, no cost, farm gate consent process available provided potential environmental effects are addressed. Horizons’ Land Management Officers will work with farmers and contractors to provide advice on how cultivation can be a permitted activity, or if that is not practical to work through the farm gate consent process. See the Cultivation Information Sheet for more information, or contact a local Land Management Officer.

Vegetation clearance is permitted everywhere, unless it is more than a hectare of vegetation over seven years old on slopes 20 degrees or more. Indigenous biodiversity habitats, the coastal foredune, and rivers and their margins also need to be avoided for the permitted activity.

See the Vegetation Clearance Information Sheet for more information, or contact a local Land Management Officer.

Land disturbance of less than 2500m2 on the same property in any one year is  a permitted activity provided the land has a slope less than 20 degrees and is not in indigenous biodiversity habitats, the coastal foredune, and rivers and their margins. All other land disturbance activities will require a resource consent. Horizons has developed a simple, quick, no cost, farm gate consent process for rural activities provided potential environmental effects are addressed. Land disturbance and earthworks for civil projects will be dealt with in the standard consent process because of their scale and complexity.

See the Land Disturbance Information Sheet for more information, or contact a local Land Management Officer.

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Forestry is a permitted activity provided certain environmental standards are met, including preparing an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. The purpose of these standards is to minimise discharges of sediment and debris into waterways and damage to watercourses and their margins, and avoid damage to indigenous biodiversity habitats. If it is not practical to meet the standards then forestry can still be carried out after resource consent is obtained.

Horizons will work with the forestry industry to help it understand and comply with the permitted activity rule standards. Local Land Management Officers are available as the first point of contact, and there is a Forestry Information Sheet available that includes a Permitted Activity checklist.  Horizons will request Erosion and Sediment Control Plans and routinely monitor operations adjacent to waterbodies during early implementation of the Plan to check everything is running smoothly. 

For more information, see the Forestry Information Sheet or contact your local Land Management Officer.


If you want to remove vegetation or disturb the land in an area of indigenous biodiversity that is classified as a rare, threatened or at risk habitat, including by cultivation, forestry or drilling a bore, then you will need to apply for a resource consent. You will also need a consent to take, use, dam or divert water, or discharge anything (including water) in any of these habitats. These areas are not specifically identified in the One Plan, but types of habitat are described. They include many types of wetland or areas of native vegetation. Council staff can help identify whether you have any of these habitat areas on your farm. Contact your local Land Management Officer in the first instance for advice.

Water takes?

A limited amount of water can be taken without resource consent, provided certain standards are met. These standards include:

  • For surface water, a limit of 400 litres of water per hectare for animal farming, up to 30 m3 per day per property; or 15 m3 per day per property for any other use.

  • For groundwater, a limit of 50 m3 per day per property. When this water will be used for animal farming, up to 400 litres per hectare can be taken, up to the 50 m3 daily limit.

  • The water must be used on the same property as it was taken.

  • Limits on the location of the take point, bore or well.

Users who do not meet the standards for permitted activity water takes for surface and groundwater are required to apply for a resource consent. The amount of water applied for must be reasonable, justifiable and efficient for the purpose it will be used for.

If you are making an application in an area that is currently over-allocated then the consent process is complex and there is no guarantee consent will be granted. If you currently have a consent to take water from a water management sub-zone which is over-allocated, then there will be more stringent tests applied when your current consent expires. This map shows which sub-zones are over-allocated or fully-allocated. Note that where sub-zones have been highlighted as fully-allocated there may still be a small amount of water available. Please contact Horizons by email or Freephone 0508 800 800 for further information about the available allocation in these sub-zones.

Note that drilling, constructing or altering a bore requires resource consent.

Activities affecting the beds of rivers and lakes?

As well as swimming, fishing or kayaking, for example, there are many other things you can do in a river or lake without needing resource consent. One Plan permits many activities such as installing a culvert or ford or taking gravel, provided they meet certain conditions. Some conditions are specific to the activity and there are also “general conditions” that apply to all permitted activities. The focus of these conditions is on avoiding the effects of activities on the ability of a water body to carry flood flows, the habitats of native fish and their ability to migrate, and water quality.

There are also conditions that relate to specific river reaches and sites, depending on the characteristics (‘Values’) of those reaches are recognised through the One Plan. These Values include existing infrastructure, trout fishing or trout spawning, riparian habitats and whitebait migration, for example. It can be difficult to work out what Values are present at a specific site; please contact Horizons to find out.

If you cannot meet any of the relevant conditions or standards, then you will need to consider whether you can change the way you approach what you want to do, or apply for a resource consent.  Horizons staff can help you work out your options.

On-site wastewater management?

Discharges from existing and new on-site wastewater management systems, such as septic tanks, are a permitted activity provided certain conditions are met.  These include performance standards for the system. All systems have to be maintained regularly by an approved contractor and to standards set by the One Plan, with a record of all maintenance kept and available to Horizons on request.

The focus of the rules is on making sure these discharges will not contaminate water, both on their own and in combination with other discharges in an area, or affect sensitive areas such as indigenous biodiversity habitats or historic heritage sites. All discharges from new systems and upgraded systems will need a resource consent if the property is smaller than 5,000 m2 and was created by subdivision after 31 August 2012. Horizons’ Manual for On-Site Wastewater Systems Design and Management (2010) sets out the requirements for soil assessment, design, system design, installation, operation and maintenance for permitted activities.

For more information, see the On-site Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet or contact Horizons on 0508 800 800 or by email.

Nutrient management?

Existing farms (dairy, intensive sheep and beef, cropping and commercial vegetable growing) affected by the nutrient management aspect of the One Plan are properties within, or partially within (greater than 20%), the targeted catchment areas only. Conversions to dairy, intensive sheep and beef, cropping and commercial vegetable growing anywhere in the Region will require a consent for nutrient management.

Where the nitrogen leaching limits, based on land use capacity (LUC) and other conditions set in the One Plan can be met, the consent process will be straight forward and the consent granted for a longer term. The other conditions include bridging or culverting rivers crossed by cattle, and excluding cattle from rivers, and wetlands and lakes that are at-risk, rare or threatened habitat. Discharges of fertiliser, effluent, poultry litter, biosolids, etc must also meet be managed to ensure they do not contaminate waterbodies, or create offensive or objectionable odour or drift beyond the boundary of the property. For more information, see the One Plan chapter for Discharges to Land and Water or contact Horizons on 0508 800 800 or by email.

Which catchments are targeted?

Click here to see a map showing all the targeted catchments and the dates the nutrient management rules will take effect. You can also click on the links below  to take you to a more detailed map of each area.

(a) The Manawatu River and tributaries from the Woodville end of the Gorge to the Tiraumea confluence excluding the Mangahao (Mana_9a)

(b) The Manawatu River and tributaries from the confluence of the Tiraumea to source (Mana_1 - Mana_6)

(c) The Mangatainoka River (Mana_8)

(d) The Mangapapa (Mana_9b)

(e) The Mangaatua (Mana_9c)

(f) Kaitoke Lakes (West_4)

(g) Southern Whanganui Lakes (West_5)

(h) Northern Manawatu Lakes (West_6)

(i) Lake Papaitonga (West_8)

(j) Waikawa (West_9a & West_9b)

(k) Lake Horowhenua (Hoki_1)

(l) Coastal Rangitikei (Rang_4)

Contact Horizons on 0508 800 800 or by email if you are uncertain whether your farm is within a targeted catchment.

If I am an existing farm within a targeted catchment or a new farm (dairy, intensive sheep and beef, cropping and commercial vegetable growing) anywhere in the Region what will the nitrogen limits on my property be?

This depends on the land use capability class of your property. A nutrient management plan will need to be prepared by an approved consultant. If you are an existing farm and the limits cannot be met then a more detailed assessment of your options to reduce Nitrogen loss will be required. The general expectation is that new farming activities should be able to meet the limits.

What do I need to do to comply?

In terms of the nutrient management requirements for existing farms within targeted catchments, there will be different dates when the rules come into force depending on which water management sub-zone you are in (ranging from 2014 to 2016). When it is time for your catchment to change to the new regulation our Rural Advisors will contact you. At that time you will be required to apply for consent and, as part of this, complete a nutrient management plan.

What will the nutrient management plan include?

A nutrient management plan is more comprehensive than a nutrient budget and is to include:

  1. Farm location and description – farm property legal description and map 

  2. Soil and Land Use Capability (LUC) Class maps

  3. Soil test information

  4. Nutrient budget

  5. Nutrient requirements - fertiliser history and recommendations

  6. Farm dairy effluent description and management plan

  7. Water-use description and management plan

  8. Compliance checklist (for an existing intensive farm)

  9. Environmental assessment – identify (map) streams, wetlands, remnant bush stands and their location(s) and provide a brief description of their values

10.  Contaminant management plan – assessment of options to mitigate loss of nutrients, sediment and faecal bacteria to water, and their comparative effectiveness tailored to the farm.

Horizons can assist in the provision of some of the above information, for example property and soil/LUC mapping, compliance checklist, and stream/wetland/bush values.

If I have a dairy farm anywhere in the Horizons Region and I’m looking at increasing my dairy herd size, or I want to establish a new dairy farm, commercial vegetable growing or cropping farm or intensive sheep and beef farm, what do I need to consider?

If you are thinking about making changes to your farm or purchasing a farm to convert to any of the activities identified above, then we recommend you book an appointment with one of our Rural Advisors who can discuss this with you.

How do I find out further information?

If you would like to find out further information on the One Plan and how it may affect you please call 0508 800 800 or email us.

Last updated 19/12/2014