Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan Change - decisions made

Our Council has today accepted the recommendations of the Independent Hearing Panel on Plan Change 1 to the Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan (HWRRP). 

The HWRRP is a separate plan from the Canterbury Land & Water Regional Plan.

The Plan Change

Plan Change 1 proposes to change the HWRRP rules that address the cumulative effects of land use on water quality so that dryland farmers can continue to operate without the need for resource consent.

Councillor Claire McKay said the HWRRP currently requires resource consent for all farms where nutrient losses have increased by more than 10% since 2013.

“Dryland farms have very low nutrient loss rates with normal fluctuations in stock numbers or winter feed area, which can trigger a consent requirement. 

"This plan change addresses that,” Councillor McKay said.


  • The plan change will be subject to an appeal period of 15 working days
  • Appeals (on points of law only) can be filed in the High Court
  • Once any appeals have been resolved the plan change in its final form will be made operative.

Maintaining water quality

Amuri Irrigation Company Limited (AIC) has agreed to apply to surrender a proportion of its consented nitrogen load to off-set any potential increase in nitrogen load from this plan change and make sure the Hurunui River does not exceed the in-stream limit set in the original plan.

“This move by AIC will happen once the Plan Change 1 rules are beyond challenge,” Councillor McKay said.

“It will ensure that water quality in the zone is maintained within the plan limits.”

Questions and answers for farmers

Is my farm a 'dryland farm' for the purpose of this plan change?
The plan change applies to low-intensity farms with no irrigation and less than 10% of the farm area in winter forage crop (root or brassica) to a maximum of 100 hectares.
If your farm is a poultry or pig farm (beyond very limited numbers), it will not be considered a “dryland farm” for the purposes of this plan change.
Will dryland farmers have to implement good management practices?
Yes. Dryland farmers will need to implement good management practices and record this in a farm management plan.
Importantly, they will also have to report on their winter grazing areas.
What will my management plan need to show and for how long?
Farm management plans will have to show a continuous record of on-farm actions for up to 10 years.

Find out more

For more information check out the Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan