Intensive winter grazing rules

Regulations to better control the effects of intensive winter grazing (IWG) were introduced in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020, as part of the Essential Freshwater reforms.  
The updated regulations came into effect on 1 November 2022. Under these rules, farmers who can’t meet the Permitted Activity rules will need to apply for resource consent for intensive winter grazing by 1 May 2023. These rules apply to you if your property includes five hectares or more of horticulture, 20 hectares or more of pasture or arable crops, or 20 hectares or more of a combination of any of these.

Update - June 2024: As part of Resource Management Act changes, central government has said it intends to repeal intensive winter grazing regulations. Please contact Horizons on freephone 0508 800 800 if you have any questions about the content on this webpage, especially if you are considering applying for a consent for intensive winter grazing.

What do farmers need to do?

Making and following a plan for how you manage intensive winter grazing is essential to reducing the risk of nutrients, faecal pathogens and sediment run-off contaminating freshwater. It is expected that all farmers are using an IWG management plan, which identifies the environmental risks and on farm mitigations.
You will then need to determine if you also need a consent – please note we are taking a strategically staged approach to issuing consents by prioritising risk and environmental impact. The process for that is as follows:

  1. Check this flowchart and factsheet to see if you can meet all Permitted Activity conditions – if you don’t, consent is required. There are also FAQs below for further guidance if you need. 
  2. Use this Risk app to determine if your operations are high, medium or low risk.
  3. If you are medium or low risk, we ask you to register here so that we can get in touch with you once we have processed the high risk consents. In the meantime it is expected that you continue with best practice and if there are any practice issues reported we will take the appropriate action.
  4. If you are high risk you need to apply for a consent as detailed below.
  5. If you are medium or low risk and also wish to apply for consent, you are welcome to do so.
We appreciate that some people may find this process complex. Below is our comprehensive video guide which walks you through each step of the application process above, in case you need help. If you have further questions, please contact either our Consents Planning team or Rural Advice on 0508 800 800 for further information or guidance.

Applying for consent

The process for those who identify as high risk, and anyone else who wishes to start regardless of their risk level, to apply for consent is as follows:

  1. Download and fill in Form A. This form includes information about the $885.50 deposit required.
  2. Download and fill in Form B. This form will require you to include catchment values (Schedule A and B values in the One Plan or via LocalMaps).
  3. Complete your IWG management plan.
  4. Submit the three documents above (Form A, Form B and your IWG management plan) here