What is the Freshwater Plan?

The Freshwater Plan is the name we’ve given the package of changes to our Regional Policy Statement and Proposed Regional Plan for Northland (the ‘rule book’ for the use of Northland's natural resources). It is our response to the Government's direction to improve the health of our freshwater.

Find out more about the Government's freshwater work programme

The Freshwater Plan will include:

  • A new vision for our freshwater
  • The outcomes we want for freshwater
  • New limits and rules for activities that impact freshwater
  • Actions the regional council will take to help meet the outcomes we want for freshwater (called ‘Action Plans’).

We’ve already done quite a bit of background to understand the state of our freshwater, where the problem areas are and how they can be improved.

Find out more about the state of our freshwater – baseline states

We’re working with a range of groups to help with the preparation of the Freshwater Plan – including:

  • The Tangata Whenua Water Advisory Group (a group of tangata whenua technical experts), and
  • The Primary Sector Liaison Group (a group of primary sector organisations representatives – such as Dairy NZ, Horticulture NZ and Federated Farmers).

As part of its directions, the Government has set ‘bottom lines’ we’ll need to meet for a range of measures of water quality, such as E. Coli (an indicator for disease causing organisms) and water clarity (an indicator of sediment). The background work we’ve done to date shows that just to meet the Government’s bottom lines it’s likely there’ll need to be some big changes to activities and land use that impact on our freshwater.

We’ll be releasing a draft of our Freshwater Plan for public feedback September to November 2023.

See more information on: