TANK Plan Change 9

Proposed Plan Change 9- Hawkes Bay Regional Resource Management Plan

What is the TANK Plan change?

Federated Farmers submission on the TANK Plan Change is available to the right.

The TANK plan change is a proposed change to the Hawkes Bay Regional Resource Management Plan.

It covers everything to do with freshwater management under the Resource Management Act 1991 for the Tutaekuri, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamu (‘TANK’) River catchments. 

It introduces new rules controlling water takes, water permits, dams, agricultural discharges, agricultural ‘earthworks’ and cultivation, livestock exclusion from rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands.  

The TANK Plan Change was notified on 2 May 2020 and the rules in the plan change came into effect at that time. While the TANK Plan change is still working its way through the proposed plan process under the RMA, these rules are still challengeable up until the time that the Council has heard all submissions and further submissions and the Court system has dealt with any subsequent appeals that may arise from these.

The closing date for the first round of submissions was 14 August 2020, and Federated Farmers and Beef and Lamb NZ ran three workshops for farmers on the submission process and how to lodge submissions in July 2020. The Regional Council previously presented two Facebook live events to answer public questions about the TANK Plan. These were presented on Tuesday, May 26th and Thursday, May 28th.

A Facebook page detailing the event can be found here. To find the videos click on the Discussion tab.

Council staff planner Mary-Anne Baker has also created a presentation that provides more details about the plan, this can be found here. She may be able to answer any further questions that you have if they have not been answered in the videos.

You can contact her through email at mary-anne.baker@hbrc.govt.nz or phone at 06 833 5478.

Federated Farmers have lodged a submission on the TANK Plan Change and a link to Federated Farmers’ submission is on this page.

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council is now required to summarise all the submissions they have received (up to 14 August 2020) and publish these.  Further submissions will then be able to be made by anyone, to the Council, in support or opposition to any of the submissions which were received in the first round (that closed on 14 August)

Federated Farmers will send out a Member Advisory to Feds Hawkes Bay membership when this further submission process kicks off. You will then be able to consider Fed’s original submission and state your support in a Further Submission if you wish. If you haven’t already made a submission in the first round (that closed on 14 August 2020), then the further submission process will be another opportunity for you to become involved in the TANK Plan Change process.

You will need to have made a submission or further submission on the TANK Plan Change if you want to have legal standing to make (or join in on) any subsequent appeal(s) to the Environment Court (which can only happen after a decision has been made on submissions to the TANK Plan by the Regional Council)

The key Objectives of the TANK Plan change are on Page 8-12 of the plan change document. These are high-level objectives and are only relevant in so far as they ‘set the tone’ for the plan change (Note: The Freshwater bodies in Schedule 27 will be subject of other plan changes).

Policy 5.10.2 (starting at page 13) sets out policy for water quality management. 

There are five priorities where the emphasis is on targeting improvement in catchments that are not meeting quality targets in Schedule 26. It is not clear whether the priorities listed in the policy are ranked in order of importance/preference for action, or whether there are five equal priorities. Members may want to consider these priorities in terms of their own farm management, and whether these will be practically achievable. Prioritising too many things at once may not be practical. 

Drinking water source protection zones (mainly for protecting municipal public water supply sources) will be identified using the criteria in Schedule 35. Members may want to consider how these criteria will impact on quality or availability of farm water. 

Riparian land management includes methods for regulating stock exclusion and setbacks from rivers, streams lakes and wetlands to meet timeframes in Schedule 27. These dates may or may not be realistic, depending on how much stock exclusion needs to be provided on individual farms to meet these requirements. Members may want to consider whether/how compliance with these dates may affect their own farming operations. 

Policy 5.10.3 (starting at page 18) sets out policy for nutrient and contaminant management aiming for the targets in Schedule 26, by relying on Farm Environment Plans (FEP), Catchment Collective groups and Industry Programs.  

Members may want to think about how realistic the Council’s expectations are to use FEPs to manage individual farm nutrient profiles, and how much FEPs may cost farmers to prepare. ‘Catchment Collectives’ might offer an alternative compliance pathway to individual FEPs, but members are encouraged to think about how such collectives might practically work and how these would be organized to interface with the Council’s consenting and monitoring activities. 

A major feature of this policy is the proposal to control/limit future land use change based on assumptions about environmental contamination, including modelled Nitrogen loss. Members might want to consider how easy/difficult it would be for them to predict nitrogen loss, and factors such as effects of a dry year on a farm’s modelled N-loss, and how this affects targets for ‘maintenance’ of water quality. 

The timeframes for stock exclusion in Table 1 on page 21 may be of particular interest, and members might want to think about how practical or achievable these timeframes may or may not be from the point of view their own farm management.  

Policy 5.10.6 (starting on Page 25) deals with allocation limits for water in the Heretaunga Plan Aquifer. Members may want to consider whether the interim allocation limit of 90 million cubic metres per year (based on actual and reasonable water use prior to 2017) is practical moving forward, and whether the proposal to restrict reallocation of water to water permits issued before 2 May 2020 is practical. 

Policy 5.10.7 (starting on page 28) deals with surface water low flow management and the difference in emphasis between maintaining flows in the Ngaruroro and Karamu Rivers, and increasing flows in the Tutaekuri River. High flow allocation policy is in paragraph 45 on Page 29, with a total maximum abstraction of 30% of MALF (except for tributaries in Schedule 31). Over allocation phase-out policy is in paragraph 52 (starting on page 31). Permits issued before 2 May 2020 are allowed to be reallocated. 

Policy 5.10.8 (starting on page 33) deals with high flow allocation and water damming. There is a cumulative limit on how much dams and water storage can adversely affect the frequency of flows that are 3 x above median flow. Members may want to consider how practical it will be for individual farmers to prove compliance with this cumulative limit for any dams. 

The new rules start on page 36.

Rule TANK 1 requires any farm over 10ha in area to be part of a catchment collective or farm industry group, or have an individual FEP prepared in accordance with Schedule 30 by the timeframes specified in Schedule 28. Members are encouraged to consider how practical it will be for them to comply with these requirements. Rule TANK 2 makes any farm that doesn’t comply with the rules in TANK 1 to have to get a resource consent. 

Rule TANK 3 and Rule TANK 4 sets out stock exclusion rules. Members may want to consider areas of farmland unable to be used in order to have to comply with these rules. 

Rule TANK 5 sets out limits to being able to change the type of farming or land use commencing after 2 May 2020. This effectively requires a ‘holding pattern’ for the type of land use and farming that a farmer can undertake moving into the future. See also the N-loss limits in schedule 29, which are thresholds for determining ‘land use change’ under this rule. These include Nitrogen (N) load-limits for different farming ‘land use types’. Members might want to consider how realistic it would be for them to achieve compliance with these nitrogen load thresholds, especially if they needed to change their ‘type’ of farming. 

Rule TANK 6 requires a (Restricted Discretionary) resource consent for any farm not complying with the rules in TANK 5. Members are encouraged to think about the ramifications of this on them. If you think this is impractical, then please tell the Council why. 

Rule TANK 7 sets out limits on water takes after 2 May 2020 in different water management areas. The water management areas are shown in the maps available here.

Rule TANK 8 limits ground water takes. The basic take is 20 cubic metres per day per property if the take was existing as at 2 May 2020 (with some qualifiers on maximum rate of take per 7-day period). This does not include takes in the Heretaunga Plains, which require resource consent under TANK 9. 

Rule TANK 10 deals with low flow abstractions for existing water permits. Members with existing water permits should note. 

Members should also satisfy themselves that Rules TANK 11 through to TANK 18 which deal with damming, do or do not affect any dams they operate on their farms. 

There are also a raft of new rule amendments (which start at page 59 of the TANK plan change document), including; Rule 6.3.1. (Bore drilling), Rule 6.3.2 (Feedlots and Feed pads), Rule 6.2.3. (Vegetation clearance), Rule 6.4.2 (Agricultural activities involving discharges to land, air and water – including controlling stock feed including silage, and animal effluent), Rule 6.7.3 (Transfer of Water Permits), Rule 6.8.2 (Erection of Dams), which may have direct impacts on farming operations, that members might want to consider in terms of their own farms.

Any questions about the Council’s consultation on the TANK Plan change should be directed to Hawkes Bay Regional Council. etank@hbrc.govt.nz  


Any questions or comments about Federated Farmers’ response to the TANK Plan change can be directed to: 

Jim Galloway – Hawkes Bay Provincial President jim.nette@xtra.co.nz  

Peter Matich – Senior Policy Advisor pmatich@fedfarm.org.nz  

Coralee Matena – Senior Regional Policy Advisor cmatena@fedfarm.org.nz



Jim Galloway

Hawkes Bay Provincial President
M: 027 362 5755
email: jim.nette@xtra.co.nz

Peter Matich

Senior Policy Advisor, Regional
M:  027 551 1673
email: p.matich@fedfarm.org.nz


Coralee Matena

Senior Regional Policy Advisor
T: 06 353 5104
M: 027 265 1648