Doing works in or near wetlands

Wetlands are permanently or intermittently wet areas that support natural ecosystems of plants and animals. They can include bogs, swamps, fens, shallow water and salt marshes, and are found from the coast to the high country. 

Natural wetland or Regionally Significant Wetland

Wetlands are permanently or intermittently wet areas that support natural ecosystems of plants and animals. They can include bogs, swamps, fens, shallow water and salt marshes, and are found from the coast to the high country. If you have a wetland on your property, there are different rules depending on the type of wetland (Regionally Significant Wetland and/or a natural wetland) and what activity you are proposing to do in or near the wetland.

A natural inland wetland means a wetland (as defined in the Act) that is not:

(a) in the coastal marine area; or
(b) a deliberately constructed wetland, other than a wetland constructed to offset impacts on, or to restore, an existing or former natural inland wetland; or
(c) a wetland that has developed in or around a deliberately constructed water body, since the construction of the water body; or
(d) a geothermal wetland; or
(e) a wetland that:
(i) is within an area of pasture used for grazing; and
(ii) has vegetation cover comprising more than 50% exotic pasture species (as identified in the National List of Exotic Pasture Species using the Pasture Exclusion Assessment Methodology (see clause 1.8)); unless
(iii) the wetland is a location of a habitat of a threatened species identified under clause 3.8 of this National Policy Statement, in which case the exclusion in (e) does not apply

If an area doesn’t meet the definition of a wetland under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM), it may meet the wetland definition under the Regional Plan: Water (known as a Regionally Significant Wetland). If so, the Water Plan rules apply to the wetland.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago

 

Key dates

*stock includes all beef cattle, dairy cattle, dairy support cattle, deer and pigs.

3 September 2020 all stock must be excluded from wetlands in relation to stock in a new pastoral system.

1 July 2023 all stock must be excluded from natural wetlands identified in Council plans

1 July 2025 All stock must be excluded from wetlands that support threatened species

1 July 2025 All stock must be excluded from wetlands over 0.05 hectares and on low slope land.

 

Do I need resource consent?

Click on an activity below to view the rules around that activity and if you need a consent.

 

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Permitted - no consent required.

Consent required?

Consent not required under the NES-F or RPW.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Discharge of wastewater within 100m of a natural wetland will require consent (Regulation 54).

Consent required?

Consent required under the NES-F

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Drainage within 100m setback from a wetland requires consent if it:

  • Results in drainage of a wetland; and
  • Does not have any other status under any other regulations.

Please note, you cannot drain a wetland itself.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago [RPW]

Rule 12.1.2.6 – land drainage is only permitted within a Regionally Significant Wetland lawfully established prior to 2 July 2011.

Consent required?

Yes, consent is required under NES-F if drainage of a natural wetland occurs and also likely need consent under the RPW if the wetland is a Regionally Significant Wetland.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Earthworks within a natural wetland, or within a 10m setback from a natural wetland requires consent – Regulation 54 of NES-F.

Earthworks outside of a natural wetland, but within a 100m setback from a natural wetland requires consent if it results, or is likely to result, in the complete or partial drainage of all or part of a natural wetland and does not have another status under any regulations.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago [RPW]

Rule 14.1
Consent required to drill or alter a bore.

Consent required?

Yes, consent is required under the NES-F if drilling a bore in or near a natural wetland and consent will also be required under the RPW if the wetland is classed as a Regionally Significant Wetland.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Earthworks within a natural wetland, or within a 10m setback from a natural wetland requires consent if not otherwise stated below.

Restoration of natural wetlands

Earthworks or land disturbance within a natural wetland, or within a 10m setback from a natural wetland is allowed for the purpose of restoration and does not require consent if it does not occur over more than 500m2 or 10% of the area of the natural wetland, whichever is smaller, unless it is for planting.

The activity must also comply with the general conditions on works within wetlands in Regulation 55 of the NES-F. Otherwise, it requires consent.

Arable and horticultural land use

Earthworks or land disturbance outside of a natural wetland, but within a 10 m setback from a natural wetland is a permitted activity and does not require consent if it is for the purpose of arable land use or horticultural land use in an area that was used for either of those uses at any time between 1 January 2010 and 2 September 2020.

The activity must also comply with the general conditions on works within wetlands in Regulation 55 of the NES-F. Otherwise, it consent.

Drainage of wetlands

Earthworks outside of a natural wetland, but within a 100m setback from a natural wetland is a non-complying activity and requires consent if it results, or is likely to result, in the complete or partial drainage of all or part of a natural wetland and does not have another status under any regulations.
Earthworks within a natural wetland is a prohibited activity (no consent can be obtained) if it results, or is likely to result, in the complete or partial drainage of all or part of a natural wetland and does not have another status under any regulations.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago [RPW]

Rule 12.1.2.6

Drainage of Regionally Significant Wetland is permitted (consent not required) providing any taking within a Regionally Significant Wetland was lawfully established prior to 2 July 2011; and there’s no change to the water level range or hydrological function of any RSW; and there is no damage to fauna, or NZ native flora, in or on any RSW; and the taking does not result in lowering the level of water in any lake or river; and the taking does not cause any flooding of any other person’s property, erosion, land instability, sedimentation or property damage.

Consent required?

Yes, consent is required under the NES (except for limited circumstances) when doing earthworks in or near a natural wetland but consent not required under the RPW.

On 5 January 2023 changes to the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-FW) were introduced to create new consenting pathways for the extraction of minerals and ancillary activities within or in proximity to natural inland wetlands. These changes mean that the non-complying rules around activities within or in proximity to natural inland wetlands no longer have such a wide application. 

This consenting pathway is provided under new Regulation 45D.

Where the following activities are for the purpose of c extraction of minerals and ancillary activities, these activities are now discretionary activities under new Regulation 45D:

  • Vegetation clearance within, or within a 10 m of a natural inland wetland,
  • Earthworks or land disturbance within, or within a 10 m of a natural inland wetland
  • The taking, use, damming or diversion of water within, or within a 100 m setback of a natural inland wetland (where there is a hydrological connection to the wetland and it will change the hydrological function of the wetland)
  • The discharge of water into water within, or within a 100 m setback of a natural inland wetland (where there is a hydrological connection to the wetland and it will change the hydrological function of the wetland and the discharge will enter the wetland)

The conditions in Regulation 45D require that a resource consent must not be granted unless the consent authority has first completed the following steps:

  • satisfied itself that the extraction of the minerals will provide significant national or regional benefits; and
  • satisfied itself that there is a functional need for the extraction of minerals and ancillary activities in that location; and
  • applied the effects management hierarchy.

 

Functional need has the meaning given by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This definition is provided below:

 

Functional need: means the need for a proposal or activity to traverse, locate or operate in a particular environment because the activity can only occur in that environment. For further information about what is a functional need, please see our advice note on this topic linked here.

 

Effects management hierarchy has the meaning given by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This definition is provided below:

 

Effects management hierarchy: in relation to natural inland wetlands and rivers, means an approach to managing the adverse effects of an activity on the extent or values of a wetland or river (including cumulative effects and loss of potential value) that requires that:

 

  • adverse effects are avoided where practicable; then
  • where adverse effects cannot be avoided, they are minimised where practicable; then
  • where adverse effects cannot be minimised, they are remedied where practicable; then
  • where more than minor residual adverse effects cannot be avoided, minimised, or remedied, aquatic offsetting is provided where possible; then
  • if aquatic offsetting of more than minor residual adverse effects is not possible, aquatic compensation is provided; then
  • if aquatic compensation is not appropriate, the activity itself is avoided

 

An effects management hierarchy that provides a well-reasoned explanation supported with evidence, such as maps, aerial photos and technical advice from a suitably qualified person, demonstrating how each step of the hierarchy is meet must be provided with the application.

Applications for resource consent under Regulation 45D must include all the information required in the conditions in order to be accepted for processing.

If you would like more information about the new rules, or if you would like us to review your draft application before you submit it for processing, please call 0800 474 082 or email public.enquiries@orc.govt.nz to arrange to receive some pre-application advice.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Discharge of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is permitted – regulation 33.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago [RPW]

There is a permitted rule in the RPW for the discharge of fertiliser onto production land (12.B.1.5) but there can be no damage to fauna or NZ flora in or on any Regionally Significant wetland.

Consent required?

Consent not required if conditions can be met.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

To be a permitted activity, intensive winter grazing needs to meet a variety of conditions, one of which is that livestock must be kept at least 5m away from the bed of any wetland, regardless of whether there is any water in it at the time.

If this condition is not met it requires consent.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago [RPW]

RPW Rule 14.6

Permitted as long as winter grazing does not occur in a natural wetland.

Consent required?

Consent not required if conditions are met.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Consent is required to use water within a natural wetland. However, we are able to process this alongside a take of water, therefore, if you are applying to take surface or groundwater, we can consider the effects of the use at the same time. A separate application is not required. This would result in a single water permit with the authorisation of both “take and use” water.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago [RPW]

Irrigating under the RPW only regulated if irrigating with effluent.

The discharge of liquid animal effluent from an animal effluent system to any Regionally Significant Wetland is prohibited.

Consent required?

Yes, consent required under the NES-F.

Consent cannot be granted under the RPW.

On 5 January 2023 changes to the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-FW) were introduced to create new consenting pathways for constructing or operating a landfill or a cleanfill area within or in proximity to natural inland wetlands. These changes mean that the non-complying rules around constructing or operating a landfill or a cleanfill area within or in proximity to natural inland wetlands no longer have such a wide application. 

This consenting pathway is provided under new Regulation 45B.

Under the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-FW), landfill, cleanfill and cleanfill area have the meanings given by the National Planning Standards 2019. These definitions are set out below:

Landfill: means an area used for, or previously used for, the disposal of solid waste. It excludes cleanfill areas.

Cleanfill areas: means an area used exclusively for the disposal of cleanfill material

Cleanfill: means virgin excavated natural materials including clay, gravel, sand, soil and rock that are free of: 

  • combustible, putrescible, degradable or leachable components;
  • hazardous substances and materials;
  • products and materials derived from hazardous waste treatment, stabilisation or disposal practices;
  • medical and veterinary wastes, asbestos, and radioactive substances;
  • contaminated soil and other contaminated materials; and
  • liquid wastes.

 

Where the following activities are for the purpose of constructing or operating a landfill or a cleanfill area, these activities are now discretionary activities under new Regulation 45B:

  • Vegetation clearance within, or within a 10 m of a natural inland wetland,
  • Earthworks or land disturbance within, or within a 10 m of a natural inland wetland
  • Earthworks or land disturbance outside a 10 m, but within a 100 of a natural inland wetland which may cause the complete or partial drainage of all or part of the wetland
  • The taking, use, damming or diversion of water within, or within a 100 m setback of a natural inland wetland (where there is a hydrological connection to the wetland and it will change the hydrological function of the wetland)
  • The discharge of water into water within, or within a 100 m setback of a natural inland wetland (where there is a hydrological connection to the wetland and it will change the hydrological function of the wetland and the discharge will enter the wetland)

Regulation 45B requires that certain conditions must be met in order for a Consent Authority to grant a resource consent. These conditions these are:

  • that the landfill or cleanfill area will provide significant national or regional benefits; and
  • that there is a functional need for the landfill or cleanfill area in that location; and
  • and that the effects management hierarchy has been applied to the activity.

 

Functional need has the meaning given by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This definition is provided below:

Functional need: means the need for a proposal or activity to traverse, locate or operate in a particular environment because the activity can only occur in that environment.

For further information about what is a functional need, please see our advice note on this topic linked here.

 

Effects management hierarchy has the meaning given by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This definition is provided below:

Effects management hierarchy: in relation to natural inland wetlands and rivers, means an approach to managing the adverse effects of an activity on the extent or values of a wetland or river (including cumulative effects and loss of potential value) that requires that:

  • adverse effects are avoided where practicable; then
  • where adverse effects cannot be avoided, they are minimised where practicable; then
  • where adverse effects cannot be minimised, they are remedied where practicable; then
  • where more than minor residual adverse effects cannot be avoided, minimised, or remedied, aquatic offsetting is provided where possible; then
  • if aquatic offsetting of more than minor residual adverse effects is not possible, aquatic compensation is provided; then
  • if aquatic compensation is not appropriate, the activity itself is avoided.

 

An effects management hierarchy that provides a well-reasoned explanation supported with evidence, such as maps, aerial photos and technical advice from a suitably qualified person, demonstrating how each step of the hierarchy is meet must be provided with the application.

Applications for resource consent under Regulation 45B must include all the information required in the conditions in order to be accepted by us for processed.

If you would like more information about the new rules, or if you would like us to review your draft application before you submit it for processing, please call 0800 474 082 or email public.enquiries@orc.govt.nz to arrange to receive some pre-application advice.

On 5 January 2023, changes to the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-FW) were introduced to create new consenting pathways for quarrying activities within or in proximity to natural inland wetlands. These changes mean that the non-complying rules around quarrying activities within or in proximity to natural inland wetlands no longer have such a wide application. 

This consenting pathway is provided under new Regulation 45A.

Under the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-FW) quarrying activities has the meaning given by the National Planning Standards 2019, this definition is set out below:

Quarrying activities: means the extraction, processing (including crushing, screening, washing, and blending), transport, storage, sale and recycling of aggregates (clay, silt, rock, sand), the deposition of overburden material, rehabilitation, landscaping and cleanfilling of the quarry, and the use of land and accessory buildings for offices, workshops and car parking areas associated with the operation of the quarry. 

The National Planning Standards 2019, also provides a definition of a quarry. This definition is set out below:

Quarry: means a location or area used for the permanent removal and extraction of aggregates (clay, silt, rock or sand). It includes the area of aggregate resource and surrounding land associated with the operation of a quarry and which is used for quarrying activities.

Where the following activities are for the purpose of quarrying activities, these activities are now discretionary activities under new Regulation 45A:

  • Vegetation clearance within, or within a 10 m of a natural inland wetland,
  • Earthworks or land disturbance within, or within a 10 m of a natural inland wetland
  • Earthworks or land disturbance outside a 10 m, but within a 100 of a natural inland wetland which may cause the complete or partial drainage of all or part of the wetland
  • The taking, use, damming or diversion of water within, or within a 100 m setback of a natural inland wetland (where there is a hydrological connection to the wetland and it will change the hydrological function of the wetland)
  • The discharge of water into water within, or within a 100 m setback of a natural inland wetland (where there is a hydrological connection to the wetland and it will change the hydrological function of the wetland and the discharge will enter the wetland)

Regulation 45A requires that certain conditions must be met in order for a Consent Authority to grant a resource consent. These conditions these are:

  • that the quarrying activity will provide significant national or regional benefits; and
  • that there is a functional need for the quarrying activity in that location; and
  • and that the effects management hierarchy has been applied to the activity.

 

Functional need has the meaning given by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This definition is provided below:

Functional need: means the need for a proposal or activity to traverse, locate or operate in a particular environment because the activity can only occur in that environment.

For further information about what is a functional need, please see our advice note on this topic linked here.

 

Effects management hierarchy has the meaning given by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This definition is provided below:

Effects management hierarchy: in relation to natural inland wetlands and rivers, means an approach to managing the adverse effects of an activity on the extent or values of a wetland or river (including cumulative effects and loss of potential value) that requires that:

 

  • adverse effects are avoided where practicable; then
  • where adverse effects cannot be avoided, they are minimised where practicable; then
  • where adverse effects cannot be minimised, they are remedied where practicable; then
  • where more than minor residual adverse effects cannot be avoided, minimised, or remedied, aquatic offsetting is provided where possible; then
  • if aquatic offsetting of more than minor residual adverse effects is not possible, aquatic compensation is provided; then
  • if aquatic compensation is not appropriate, the activity itself is avoided

 

An effects management hierarchy that provides a well-reasoned explanation supported with evidence, such as maps, aerial photos and technical advice from a suitably qualified person, demonstrating how each step of the hierarchy is meet, must be provided with your application.

Applications for resource consent under Regulation 45A must include all the information required in the conditions in order to be accepted by us to be processed.

If you would like more information about the new rules, or if you would like us to review your draft application before you submit it for processing, please call 0800 474 082 or email public.enquiries@orc.govt.nz to arrange to receive some pre-application advice.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Vegetation clearance within, or within a 10 m setback from, a natural wetland is a permitted activity if it—
is for the purpose of scientific research; and
complies with the conditions in Regulation 55 of the NES-F.

The taking, use, damming, diversion, or discharge of water within, or within a 100 m setback from, a natural wetland is a permitted activity if it— is for the purpose of scientific research; and complies with the conditions in Regulation 55 of the NES-F.

Consent required?

Consent not required under the NES-F or RPW.

Specified infrastructure means any of the following:

  • infrastructure that delivers a service operated by a lifeline utility (as defined in the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002)
  • regionally significant infrastructure identified as such in a regional policy statement or regional plan
  • any public flood control, flood protection, or drainage works carried out:
    • by or on behalf of a local authority, including works carried out for the purposes set out in section 133 of the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941; or
    • for the purpose of drainage by drainage districts under the Land Drainage Act 1908

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Some activities are permitted e.g. vegetation clearance, earthworks/land disturbance, taking and using water as long as the conditions in regulation 55 are met.

Consent required?

Consent not required under NES-F or RPW.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Under the NES FW ‘stock’ refers to dairy, dairy support, beef cattle, pigs, and deer.
3 September 2020 – Stock must be excluded from any natural wetland on a newly developed farm.

  • 1 July 2023 – stock must be excluded from natural wetlands identified in the regional or district plan
  • 1 July 2025 – stock must be excluded from natural wetlands that support a threatened species. Stock must be excluded from natural wetlands that are larger than 0.05 hectares and on low slope land.

The Stock Exclusion Regulations 2020 also include controls on activities within a natural wetland, or within 100 metres of a natural wetland.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago [RPW]

Not applicable.

Consent required?

Consent cannot be granted.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Regulation 54 of the NES-F states that within a natural wetland or within 100m of a natural wetland consent is required to take, use, dam, divert, or discharge water.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago [RPW]

If the application is for a resource consent for the taking and use of water and the activity was previously authorised by an existing Deemed Permit or by a water permit expiring before 31 December 2025, refer to the rules in Chapter 10A.

Surface water

Rule 12.1.2.1
Can take up to 25000L per day from or near a Regionally Significant Wetland as long as no adverse effect on the environment. Rule 12.1.2.5 Surface water can be taken providing that water take means there is no change to the water level range or hydrological function of any regionally significant wetland and there is no damage to fauna, or NZ native flora, in or on any Regionally Significant Wetland.

Otherwise, consent is required.

Groundwater

Can take up to 25,000L per day from or near a Regionally Significant Wetland.

Consent required?

Consent is required under the NES-F if taking, using, damming, diverting or discharging water in a natural wetland and may also be required under the RPW for regionally significant wetlands if certain criteria cannot be met.

On 5 January 2023 changes to the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 (NES-FW) were introduced to create new consenting pathways for constructing urban developments within or in proximity to natural inland wetlands. These changes mean that the non-complying rules around urban developments activities within or in proximity to natural inland wetlands no longer have such a wide application. 

This consenting pathway is provided under new Regulation 45C.

Provided certain conditions are met, where the following activities are for the purpose of constructing urban developments, these activities are now restricted discretionary activities under Regulation 45C:

  • Vegetation clearance within, or within a 10 m of a natural inland wetland
  • Earthworks or land disturbance within, or within a 10 m of a natural inland wetland
  • Earthworks or land disturbance outside a 10 m, but within a 100 of a natural inland wetland which may cause the complete or partial drainage of all or part of the wetland
  • The taking, use, damming or diversion of water within, or within a 100 m setback of a natural inland wetland (where there is a hydrological connection to the wetland and it will change the hydrological function of the wetland)
  • The discharge of water into water within, or within a 100 m setback of a natural inland wetland (where there is a hydrological connection to the wetland and it will change the hydrological function of, the wetland and the discharge will enter the wetland)

One of the conditions is that the land where the urban development is proposed to be constructed must be identified for urban development in the operative provisions of a regional or district plan. Land that is zoned in a district plan as general rural, rural production, or rural lifestyle cannot be used for constructing urban developments under Regulation 45C*.

The conditions in Regulation 45C also require that a resource consent must not be granted unless the consent authority has first completed the following steps:

  • satisfied itself that the urban development—
  • will contribute to a well-functioning urban environment; and
  • will provide significant national, regional, or district benefits; and

  • satisfied itself that—
  • there is no practicable alternative location for the activity within the area of the development; or
  • every other practicable alternative location in the area of the development would have equal or greater adverse effects on a natural inland wetland; and
  • applied the effects management hierarchy.

 

Effects management hierarchy has the meaning given by the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This definition is provided below:

Effects management hierarchy: in relation to natural inland wetlands and rivers, means an approach to managing the adverse effects of an activity on the extent or values of a wetland or river (including cumulative effects and loss of potential value) that requires that:

 

  • adverse effects are avoided where practicable; then
  • where adverse effects cannot be avoided, they are minimised where practicable; then
  • where adverse effects cannot be minimised, they are remedied where practicable; then
  • where more than minor residual adverse effects cannot be avoided, minimised, or remedied, aquatic offsetting is provided where possible; then
  • if aquatic offsetting of more than minor residual adverse effects is not possible, aquatic compensation is provided; then
  • if aquatic compensation is not appropriate, the activity itself is avoided

 

An effects management hierarchy that provides a well-reasoned explanation supported with evidence, such as maps, aerial photos and technical advice from a suitably qualified person, demonstrating how each step of the hierarchy is meet must be provided with the application.

Council’s discretion in assessing the application is limited to the matters of restricted discretion listed in Regulation 45C and the general matters of restricted discretion listed in Regulation 56. Addressing each one of the matters of restricted discretion in your application will assist in streamlining the processing of the application. These matters are listed below:

  • the extent to which the urban development will be of significant national, regional, or district benefit; and
  • the extent to which the activity contributes to a well-functioning urban environment; and
  • the extent to which there is another practicable alternative location in the area of development for the activity, and the extent to which other practicable alternative locations within the area of development would have equal or greater adverse effects on a natural inland wetland; and
  • the extent to which an alternative configuration or design is practicable that would avoid, minimise, or remedy adverse effects on the natural inland wetland extent and values; and
  • the extent to which the effects of the activity will be managed through applying the effects management hierarchy.
  • the extent to which the nature, scale, timing, intensity, and location of the activity may have adverse effects on—
  • the existing and potential values of the natural inland wetland, its catchment, and the coastal environment; and
  • the extent of the natural inland wetland; and
  • the seasonal and annual hydrological regime of the natural inland wetland; and
  • the passage of fish in the natural inland wetland or another water body:
  • whether there are practicable alternatives to undertaking the activity that would avoid those adverse effects:
  • the extent to which those adverse effects will be managed to avoid the loss of the extent of the natural inland wetland and its values:
  • other measures to minimise or remedy those adverse effects:
  • how any of those adverse effects that are more than minor may be offset or compensated for if they cannot be avoided, minimised, or remedied:
  • the extent to which the effects of the activity will be managed through applying the effects management hierarchy:
  • the risk of flooding upstream or downstream of the natural inland wetland, and the measures to avoid, minimise, or remedy that risk:
  • the social, economic, environmental, and cultural benefits (if any) that are likely to result from the proposed activity (including the extent to which the activity may protect, maintain, or enhance ecosystems).

Applications for resource consent under Regulation 45C must include all the information required in the conditions in order to be accepted for processing.

If you would like more information about the new rules, or if you would like us to review your draft application before you submit it for processing, please call 0800 474 082 or email public.enquiries@orc.govt.nz to arrange to receive some pre-application advice.

 

* Exceptions to this requirement apply if the development is in the Bay of Plenty region or in the SmartGrowth Programme.

Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [NES-F]

Vegetation clearance within a natural wetland, or within a 10m setback from a natural wetland requires consent unless it is for restoration of the wetland, or for arable and horticultural use (See below).

Restoration of natural wetlands

Vegetation clearance within a natural wetland, or within a 10m setback from a natural wetland for the purpose of restoration is does not require consent if it does not occur over more than 500m2 or 10% of the area of the natural wetland, whichever is smaller.

The activity must also comply with the general conditions in Regulation 55 of the NES-F.
Consent is required if the above cannot be met.

Arable and horticultural land use

Vegetation clearance outside a natural wetland, or within a 10m setback from a natural wetland is allowed and doesn’t require consent if it’s for the purpose of arable land use or horticultural land use in an area that was used for either of those purposes at any time between 1 January 2010 and 2 September 2020.

The activity must also comply with the general conditions in Regulation 55 of the NES-F.
Consent is required if the above cannot be met

Regional Plan: Water for Otago [RPW]

Rules 13.7.1.2 and 13.7.3.1

Some limited permitted activities but otherwise removal or clearance of plant material from any Regionally Significant Wetland will require consent.

Consent required

Yes, if clearing vegetation in a natural wetland then consent required under the NES-F and also under the RPW if it is also a Regionally Significant Wetland (except for limited circumstances).

 

Not sure what type of wetland it is, or you don’t think it is a wetland?

Have a look around your property and check for areas that:

  • are wet and boggy all the time or regularly
  • contain native plants and/or animals
  • have a river or stream going through the area or nearby

These areas are likely to be wetlands.

In case of uncertainty or dispute about the existence or extent of a natural inland wetland (which means the NES-F rules apply), a regional council must have regard to the Wetland delineation protocols.

Wetland delineation protocols (Ministry for the Environment)

Defining natural wetlands and natural inland wetlands flowchart (Ministry for the Environment)

Check if you have a Regionally Significant Wetland on your property (which means RPW rules apply).

Note, induced wetlands, which are incidental wetlands created by any other human activity, are covered by these rules. The rules do not apply to wetlands constructed to offset impacts on or restore an existing or former natural wetland.

 

Contact us

Email public.enquiries@orc.govt.nz and we can help explain the rules around wetlands and help you understand the rules that apply to your land.

 

Further information and practice notes

Wetlands fact sheet

Technical Advice Note - Wetlands and Essential Freshwater 2020

Technical Advice Note - National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020

 

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