Water Quality Charges FAQ

Keeping track of the flow and quality of the rivers and reservoirs in a Region the size of ours is a big job and costs about $3.8 million a year.  Under our current funding policy, 70% of our science and research costs are shared between all ratepayers in the Region.  The remaining 30% is covered by consent holders using the resource.

This work involves:

  • measuring river flows;
  • groundwater levels and rainfall; and
  • using this information to report, manage, analyse and support decisions that are made about this valuable resource.

Consent holders are charged based on the type of resource consent held and the quantity of extraction or discharge. A fixed administration fee is also incurred for surface and groundwater takes ($30 plus $0.38 per cubic metre consented as a maximum daily take).

1.      How much of the research am I funding?

The total annual science and research cost to Horizons, including charges for fixed equipment, computer software, laboratory costs, staffing and research agency fees is $3.55 million.  30% of this cost is funded by consent holders through the research charges, with the balance being funded through the General Rate.

2.      How often is this research charged?

The charge is levied each year unless the consent is cancelled, or expires, or is transferred.

3.      To what period does my invoice refer, and how often are invoices sent?

Your invoice refers to 12 month period 1 July 2014 - 30 June 2015. These invoices are issued annually, midway through the invoice period (around January/February each year).

4.      How are the charges calculated?

Additional Research Site


Annual Fee

Graeme Lowe Asset Trading Ltd (formerly Silver Fern Farms)


Tararua District Council

billed separately

AFFCO Feilding


DB Breweries




Horowhenua District Council


Manawatu District Council


Longburn (PNCC & Fonterra shared equally)


NZ Defence Force


Palmerston North City Council


Rangitikei District Council


Riverlands Manawatu


Bulls (Rangitikei District Council and Riverlands)


Ruapehu District Council




Winstone Pulp


The table above shows consent holders from whom Council now recovers additional research charges for sites that require greater monitoring. These charges are included in the table below:

Type and Quantity


Annual Fee

Discharge to Land <25


Discharge to Land>25 to 50


Discharge to Land >50 to 100


Discharge to Land >100 to 200


Discharge to Land >200 to 1,000


Discharge to Land >1,000 to 10,000


Discharge to Land 10,000+


Discharge to Water <25


Discharge to Water>25 to 50


Discharge to Water >50 to 100


Discharge to Water >100 to 200


Discharge to Water >200 to 1,000


Discharge to Water >1,000 to 10,000


Discharge to Water 10,000+


Unspecified Volume Discharge


Land Fill


5.      Why do I have to pay?

Council has determined that consent holders receive individual benefit from the research that is carried out. 

The individual compliance fee (separately charged) covers the costs of monitoring a holder’s individual consent.

The research charges contribute towards the costs incurred by Horizons in researching and identifying the cumulative impact on our environment of all such activities across our region.  Information gained from this research can also be used by applicants during the resource consent application process.

This research is essential for our many regional organisations, farms and other industries, who are dependant on this information.  Further, the findings enable us to continue to provide communities and users with ongoing services, including water for recreational use, clean drinking water and a safe habitat for native fish.

By maintaining and further developing knowledge of our region’s natural resources, the interests of the consent holder, the needs of the wider regional community and the resource itself are all protected.

6.       How can I have my say regarding these charges?

Research charges are determined by Horizons Regional Council’s elected Councillors following public consultation.

You can make submissions on the daft Annual Plan during the consultation process in April each year, and during the three-yearly Long-Term  Plan consultation process.  For further information on how to get involved, please contact Ed Duggan (Horizons’ Strategic Financial Planner) on 0508 800 800. 

7.      What do I get for my money?

Cleaner, safer water both now and for the future.  By researching the effects of all current resource consents including your own, the Council is able to ensure that such consents can be effectively maintained, whilst sustainably managing the environment now and for the future.

8.      What about those people who benefit from this research but are not charged this fee?

All ratepayers, both rural and residential, contribute a total of 70% to these research charges through the general rating system.

9.      Why isn’t this fee also being charged to my neighbour?

If you believe that your neighbour should also be liable for this charge, please provide full details and we will investigate this matter.

10.     Who can I contact for more information?

For any further enquiries please contact our customer services team during normal business hours on toll free 0508 800 800 or email help@horizons.govt.nz