The new Freshwater Farm Plan (FWFP) regulations came into force from 1 August 2023, with Waikato and Southland regions being the first two regions in New Zealand to be phased in. The Bay of Plenty region will be phased in before the end of 2025.
The FWFP’s are mandatory for all farms with 20 or more hectares of land in arable or pastoral use, or five or more hectares of the farm in horticultural land use, or if the property has a combined arable/pastoral/horticultural land use in excess of 20 hectares.
The regulations introduce a requirement for farms over a certain size to have a freshwater farm plan that covers on-farm actions that will be tailored to the individual farming or growing enterprise and the farm’s unique surrounding environment. This will then be certified and audited.
A full copy of the Freshwater Farm Plan Regulation can be read on the New Zealand Legislation website.
As a regional council with responsibilities under the new regulations, we will be working with rural communities, tangata whenua, industry, and central government to support farmers and growers in this.
We have anticipated what Freshwater Farm Plans will mean in our region for our people and a lot of preparation work has already happened. Now that the regulations have been released, we will be taking some time to work through them and further consider and engage on how best to implement them in our unique region.
Freshwater Farm Plans are a key part of the New Zealand Government’s wider Essential Freshwater package, which aims to protect and improve freshwater quality and ecosystems, as per the principles of Te Mana o Te Wai. Regional specific additional Farm Plan requirements are also being considered for sensitive catchments under the Regional Natural Resources Plan change in 2024.