Plan Change 2


Horizons has evaluated the efficiency and effectiveness of provisions to manage the impact of intensive farming land use on freshwater quality in the Manawatu-Whanganui Region. One of the main findings is that water quality improvement is currently beyond the means of almost all farmers, because the numbers in Table 14.2 have not been kept up-to-date with OVERSEER© model changes. This is contrary to the intent of the Regional Policy Statement.
In response, on 14 August 2018 Council directed the Chief Executive to initiate a three stage response to these issues; this approach includes two Plan changes and a broader catchment review process. Plan Change 2 will be the first stage.

What will Plan Change 2 do?

The first of the Plan change processes will be Plan Change 2 (PC2). It will recalibrate nitrogen leaching numbers in response to OVERSEER© improvements. This will reset Table 14.2 to achieve what was originally intended by the One Plan. To learn more about why the recalibration of nitrogen leaching numbers is needed click here

Why is PC2 needed?

OVERSEER© is a modelling tool used to predict how much nitrogen is lost under agricultural land. The model has been updated eight times since 2007 when it was used to calculate the nitrogen leaching limits set out in Table 14.2. The changes have been made to improve the model’s accuracy. As a result the modelled leaching numbers have increased by 60 per cent. This has caused an unfair situation for intensive farming land users during Plan implementation. The Plan change will update the limits in the table to those calculated using the latest version of OVERSEER© (6.3.0).

What will PC2 mean?

Recalibrating Table 14.2 will mean the One Plan can achieve what it intended – better water quality within the means of most farms. It will realign the Plan with the most up to date science. Farmers will need to achieve at least as much nitrogen leaching reduction as originally intended, and the river will see the same reduction in nitrogen. No changes to water quality targets or any other part of the One Plan are proposed in this Plan change.

We understand that it seems improbable that increasing the numbers in Table 14.2 will not change the amount of nitrogen that will actually be leached to water bodies. To learn more about the modelling, attenuation and measurement of nitrogen click here.

To view supporting economic assessments and science and technical reports click here.
Please contact Horizons if you have any questions or feedback you would like to discuss.


Streamlined Planning Process

Council has resolved to apply for a direction from the Minister for the Environment for a streamlined planning process. The aim is to apply to the Minister before the end of October 2018.

In a streamlined planning process, a council applies to the Minister for a direction and then carries out the process as set out in the direction. The process is similar to the standard process and must include public consultation. Some other steps are optional depending on circumstances. The Minister makes the final decision on whether to accept or decline the change to the plan. The key difference between the standard planning process and streamlined planning process is that there will be no opportunity for appeals to the Environment Court for PC2.

For more information about streamlined planning processes, click here to visit the Ministry for the Environment website.
The report and annex to Council's Strategy and Policy Committee on 11 September 2018 also contains information about the process and why it is considered appropriate for PC2.
Last updated 3 October 2018