New ‘Action for Healthy Waterways’ regulations 

Central government released the ‘Action for Healthy Waterways’ regulations (also known as 'Essential Freshwater') on 5th August 2020. These regulations include: 
  1. A new National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater at this link.
  2. National Environment Standards (NES) at this link.
  3. Stock exclusion (s360) regulations at this link.
  4. Amendments to regulations for the Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes at this link.
The regulations come into force on 3 September 2020, although some of the specific rules come into force at a later date. 

What do I need to know now?

The regulations are now in place and will require a cabinet decision to amend. This means that, irrespective of unworkability, impracticality or costs, some of the rules are in effect now or shortly will be. These are summarised in the chart below .

 A summary of the regulations relating to each topic are included in the fact sheets below. We are working through the regulations and will provide further information as we go, including answers to frequent questions.

What is Federated Farmers doing about the unworkable parts of these regulations?

While we are highlighting the unworkable or prohibitively costly components of the regulations as a whole, there are some that are either in place, or which farmers will have to plan for shortly. These are our immediate priorities, including:
  1. The consent requirements for winter grazing. While these do not take effect until next year, farmers will need to make decisions around planting now. 
  2. The map used to define low slope. This is entirely inaccurate and now captures a greater area than was initially proposed.

As above, the regulations are now in place and will require a cabinet decision to amend. We agree with farmer concerns and we are working with farmers, industry (particularly Beef & Lamb) and other organisations to highlight our concerns to central and regional government. 

Our aims are twofold; first to seek clarity on those areas that are not clear, and as a priority to ensure there is a firm commitment from central government to fix issues that are of most concern to farmers and communities.

Where can I go to get more information?

Federated Farmers is reviewing the specific regulations and we will continue to provide and update the advice and provide answers to your questions. The fact sheets and information on this webpage will be updated as we work through the regulations and we will also communicate with members via emails, webinars and via Facebook.

Member Advisories

 Essential Freshwater Roadshow: Essential Freshwater Update (25/11/2020) 
   Federated Farmers Waikato and Auckland are hosting several meetings throughout the regions to help you understand the new freshwater regulations and discuss its implications for our farmers and the region...
 ‘Existing use rights’ and existing resource consents for winter grazing this season (7/09/2020) 
   New national rules apply to intensive winter grazing from 1 May 2021, under the new National Environmental Standards for Freshwater Regulations 2020 (NES)...
 Are you impacted by the low slope rules? Please answer our survey (2/09/2020) 
   How do the new stock exclusion regulations impact you?...
 Action for healthy waterways - Update (27/08/2020) 
   As previously advised, significant freshwater regulations were released by the government on 5 August 2020...
 You’re invited: Register TODAY for Policy Presents | Stockholdings and Feedlots, Essential Freshwate (25/08/2020) 
   Join us this Friday the 28th August at 1pm for the Federated Farmers Policy Presents...