Rural Farming Compliance Information

Horizons’ dairy team consists of three consent monitoring officers who are involved in the assessment of rural land uses in the region. The majority of their time is spent monitoring dairy shed effluent discharge to land consents. Time is also spent assessing discharges from goat milking, piggeries and poultry farms.

Discharge Consents

Resource consents are required for all discharges of farm dairy effluent to land. Farm dairy effluent is seen as a valuable resource and the management of this resource is important. In addition to remaining compliant with resource consent conditions, the appropriate management of effluent can increase pasture production and reduce fertiliser costs. Poorly managed effluent poses a risk to the environment and can result in enforcement action if not managed appropriately.

Good effluent management is a combination of having a well-designed effluent system and processes in place to ensure that the effluent is applied to pasture in the right amount at the right time. The factsheets below provide more information on achieving compliance and how to get the most out of your effluent as a resource on farm. DairyNZ also has some useful effluent information available on their website.

If you're thinking of upgrading your effluent system please contact our Rural Advice Team on free phone 0508 800 800.

On the 3rd of April, Horizons received the Environment Court's decision on Wellington Fish & Game and the Environmental Defence Society’s application for declarations. The focus of the declarations was on the implementation of rules in the One Plan that require resource consents for intensive farming activities (Rules 14-1 to 14-4 of the One Plan, covering land use and associated discharges). 

Many of you may be nervous about what this ruling means for the intensive farming resource consent process as it applies to you, whether you have already been granted consent, you have a current application that has been lodged with Horizons, or you have yet to apply for an intensive farming consent.

The declarations issued by the Court have no direct effect on intensive farming consents that have already been granted.  Those consents, and their conditions, remain valid.  Farmers with existing consents should continue to work to the conditions of their consents.

However, the declarations do have a direct impact on the way the Council must process and consider consent applications from the date of the Court's decision. This includes applications that have already been lodged with the Council.  We have put together a Frequently Asked Questions factsheet below for you to help with any concerns, however if you would like to know anything more, please give our Consents team a call on free phone 0508 800 800. 

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Water Use on Farm

Shed washdown and stockwater
A resource consent to take surface or ground water is required when the amount of water being taken exceeds the permitted activity amounts. The permitted daily water take for shed washdown and stock drinking water differs depending on where the water is sourced from:
  • Surface water is 30,000L/day;
  • Groundwater is 50,000L per day

Water irrigation
If you take water to irrigate pastures, you are required to have irrigation resource consent.  For information on what you may require please click here.

Land Use Consents for Nutrient Management

Land use consents aim to manage nutrient, sediment and faecal bacteria loss from farms. There are a number of different consents that may be required, depending on your circumstances.

For existing intensive farms, if you are within a ‘target catchment’, you will require a resource consent to manage nutrients on farm. If you are planning on converting land that has been previously used as a non-intensive to a more intensive land use, you will need a conversion resource consent. An intensive farm is classified as dairy, irrigated sheep and beef, commercial vegetable growing and cropping.

Please refer to the target catchment chart and flow chart below to determine if you need a nutrient management or conversion consent. If you have any questions around land use consents for nutrient management on a conversion or existing farm please contact our Rural Advice Team on toll free 0508 800 800.

Target catchment chart


Land use flowchart


Permitted Activities

Some activities on farm do not require resource consent and can be carried out under the One Plan as a 'permitted activity'.  This means that you are allowed to carry out a permitted activity as long as you meet set conditions which can be found in the relevant rules in the One Plan. If you are unable to meet the conditions stated in the One Plan, you will need to apply for a resource consent.

There are a number of information sheets available about permitted activities on farms, including using fertiliser, land disturbance, cultivation, vegetation clearance, and working in and near waterways. If you have any questions as to whether or not you require a resource consent to carry out your particular activity please call our consents team on toll free 0508 800 800.

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