National Environment Standard - Plantation Forestry (NES-PF)


The Horizons Region has around 130,000 hectares of plantation forestry. It is an important land use in the region, making good economic use of marginal land as well as delivering environmental benefits such as erosion control.
To date plantation forestry in the region has operated under Horizons’ One Plan rules but since 1 May 2018 the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) has come into effect providing a new set of rules for plantation forestry activities across the Manawatū-Whanganui Region.

The purpose of these new environmental standards is to provide nationally consistent regulations to manage the effects of forestry with the objectives of:

  • Maintaining and improving the environmental outcomes associated with plantation forestry nationally.
  • Increasing certainty and efficiency in the management of plantation forestry activities.

One Plan Forestry Plan Amendment

The Manawatū-Whanganui Regional Council resolved on 28 August 2018 to make a minor amendment to the One Plan – the consolidated Regional Policy Statement, Regional Plan and Regional Coastal Plan. This amendment (Plan Amendment 1 − 2018) has been made to comply with the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry.  Chapter 13, and the Glossary are amended by Plan Amendment 1.

The One Plan, amended by Plan Amendment 1 − 2018, is available on Horizons’ website, and can be viewed during normal opening hours at the Regional Council’s offices.

The changes take effect from 24 September 2018. Please contact Horizons ( or 0508 800 800) to request replacement hard copy chapters, or the One Plan in pdf format on a USB flash drive, free of charge.

Michael McCartney – CHIEF EXECUTIVE
24 September 2018


The regulations provide for eight main plantation forestry activities that require foresters to manage the adverse environmental effects of the activities. The regulated activities are:  

  • Afforestation
  • Pruning and thinning to waste
  • Earthworks
  • River crossings
  • Forestry Quarrying
  • Harvesting
  • Mechanical land preparation
  • Replanting
The regulation therefore makes certain forestry activities permitted (not requiring consent), controlled, restricted discretionary, or discretionary under the Act. Please find a link to the full regulations here.

Risk Assessment Tools

As part of the new regulation MPI has provided three risk assessment tools to aid in the assessment of the environmental effects of certain activities. These can be found by following the links listed below:  


Notification of Permitted Activities

Horizons Regional Council is responsible for implementing the regulation of these activities within the region and will receive notifications and request management plans. As part of this some permitted activities now require notification for afforestation, earthworks, river crossings, quarrying and harvesting activities to be provided to Horizons between 20-60 days before the activity occurs. Earthworks management plans, quarry erosion and sediment management plans and harvest plans need to be in place 20 working days before the works begin and may be requested at the time of notification or after the fact.

Please find a link to Horizons notification document here.

To submit these notices they can be provided in hard copy to any Horizons office or emailed to

Note: If your activity is not permitted under the NES-PF regulation provided in the link above please do not use this notification form and you will need to apply for a resource consent.

Resource Consents

If your activities do not meet the requirements of permitted activities under the NES-PF regulation you will need to apply for a resource consent. These will then need to be sought and granted before works commence (allow at least 20 working days for Council to process applications). It is your responsibility to determine whether a consent is required, through assessing your proposed activity against the NES-PF standards and the One Plan where relevant.

These forms can be found here. 

Any applications can be provided in hard copy to any Horizons office or emailed to Sufficient information, in accordance with Section 88 and the fourth schedule of the RMA and the deposit fee will need to be provided with your application to ensure it is accepted and processed.

Existing Resource Consents

Please note that if you hold a resource consent that was granted before 3 August 2017 then it will continue to apply.

If you hold a resource consent that was granted after 3 August 2017, then the NES-PF regulations will apply. If the activity is not a permitted activity under the NES-PF you will require a new resource consent before you can undertake the activity. If you are in doubt, please check with our consents team on freephone 0508 800 800 regarding the status of any existing resource consents before undertaking works.

Existing Use Rights

You may have existing use rights for some activities. Under the Resource Management Act (RMA), existing use rights are applied differently depending on whether the activity is controlled by a district council or regional council.
You are advised to contact the relevant district council in respect of activities under the NES-PF where the district council holds jurisdiction.

From a Horizons perspective an activity has existing use rights if:

  • The activity was permitted under the One Plan.
  • It was established (actually occurring) prior to May 2018.

The effects of the activity will remain the same or similar in character, intensity and scale to the effects that existed prior to 1 May 2018. If the activity has existing use rights and is not a permitted activity under the NES-PF, you have six months to apply for a resource consent. If this is the case please follow the links above.


For any other forestry related enquires please email or freephone 0508 800 800 to speak to a consents planner.