Minor change to meet national requirements

Horizons Regional Councillors have agreed make a minor change to the One Plan to meet the requirements of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM).

The change is largely an administrative exercise directed by government that involves the insertion of a new policy and consequential amendments required by national legislation. It will not weaken the Council’s approach to freshwater standards in the region.
Horizons chief executive Michael McCartney said inserting the policy acknowledges the minimum standards that exist in the NPSFM, but that in many cases Horizons already has higher standards in place for managing freshwater in the region.
“The foresight of the Council has meant that we already have high quality standards within our plan and our plan is already operational. Those standards are higher than the government is setting,” Mr McCartney said.
“This change is required under national legislation but it is unlikely to have any effect on Horizons’ consenting process.”  
As the change is minor, it hasn’t required the Council to notify the change or carry out public consultation. It is part of the programme of staged implementation to ensure the One Plan is fully aligned with national standards for freshwater management by 2025 that Horizons signalled late last year.
In practice, it means applicants, officers and commissioners will need to consider the newly inserted policy in consent applications and decision-making. However, matters included in the policy are already being considered during the consents process under the One Plan framework.
The change is yet to be ratified by a full Council meeting but is scheduled to take effect in early May. Further advertising will be carried out closer to the time and revised versions of the plan will be made available.
Alongside this update, Council is also seeking feedback from a range of stakeholder groups including the agricultural and environmental sectors, district councils, and iwi on how the One Plan has been implemented to date. This feedback will be reported back to the Council in August.
The purpose of the evaluation is to help Horizons understand how the One Plan is bedding in, any issues with implementation, and areas of the Plan that may require attention in future.