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Please find the following links to resources that have been developed by HortNZ:

HortNZ Grower meeting pres. A & R.15 Feb 2024

 

HBRC presentation. HP water permits Feb 24

 

A&R info sheet. 15 Feb 2024. branded

In a nutshell, ‘Actual and Reasonable’ use is a maximum annual volume that will be specified on the water permit that the regional council is currently processing, and that number cannot be more than the volume specified on your expiring water permit, or a smaller amount if you applied for less water AND if either of these numbers are available, the smaller of these numbers then the maximum annual volume of water taken and recorded by an accurate water meter between May 2010 and May 2020; or for irrigation takes, the crop water requirement calculated using IRRICALC (which assumes 80% efficiency and a 95% reliability of supply).

So what does that mean in practice?

Irrigators that don’t have accurate water meter data from 2010-2020 will likely be allocated the smallest volume of water, of either what their expiring consent allowed, or the crop water demand calculated by IRRICALC. You can access it here: Irrigation Requirements (mycatchment.info)

Growers whose maximum annual water use between May 2010 and 2020 is less than the crop water demand calculated by IRRICALC, would likely be allocated the maximum annual volume taken.

Some growers may not be allocated the same volume of water they have been previously. Below are some examples of what your numbers could look like, and what that could mean for the volume of water you are allocated in your new water permit:

Why is this happening now?

Despite repeated requests from the Primary Sector to delay this until after Christmas when more support will be available to help everyone work through this, and what it means for them, HBRC have chosen to push ahead with this. Apparently, they are getting multiple requests to hurry up and make progress, and now that they have the information and a system for providing it, they believe the most transparent and useful thing they can do is to get it out to people as soon as they can.

What happens if I don’t agree with my actual and reasonable volume?

You need to go back to the council and explain why you don’t think your volume is appropriate. You don’t have to do this straight away, but when you do, you will need to explain why you think a bigger volume is appropriate in your case, and you will need to provide some evidence to explain/support the bigger volume. There will be many different scenarios, but here are a few to help start people’s thinking about reasons why they could potentially justify a bigger volume than the actual and reasonable number:

* Have you changed your crop/s and now grow crops that require more water?

* Did you have an old orchard and have redeveloped part/all of it, so have younger trees which require more water?

* Have you installed soil moisture monitoring equipment and use that information to guide your irrigation?

* Did you have telemetry installed early in the 2010s? There were some issues with data transfer between some of the early water meters and telemetry units that were installed. Water meters were accurate, but data recorded by the telemetry unit was in some cases an order of magnitude more (those were picked up by HBRC) but some may also be an order of magnitude less. If you think this might have impacted your water record, request your detailed water meter record from HBRC if you don’t have it easily accessible yourself and look to see if anything stands out as being odd.

* If you were impacted by the cyclone, council has indicated that they are willing to delay the impact of any reduction in water allocation. 3 years is the time period they have indicated they may be willing to delay. If this would help you, you would need to explain why – for example, your orchard has been removed, you have planted process crops as won’t be able to get rootstock for at least 3 years, so need to retain your full allocation.

Something to also be aware of is that Council has indicated that if you do not accept the actual and reasonable volume they have calculated that your application will be publicly notified, which will increase the consent processing cost compared an application that is not notified.

What happens if I am not sure if my number is ok?

Sit on it. Council won’t do anything until they hear back from you either way, so there is no rush to decide. Talk to people about it – neighbours etc who are going through the same process, industry people, product group people, the council. Ask questions and get as much information as you can to enable you to make an informed decision.

 If I accept my number, what consent term am I likely to get?

Council has indicated that it is likely to be 10 years, but there will be exceptions to this.

If I am happy with my proposed allocation what should I do?

Email the council on waterpermits@hbrc.govt.nz and confirm that you are happy with your actual and reasonable volume. Request draft consent conditions before your permit is issued so that you can see the whole proposed consent – all of the conditions, consent duration etc so that you know exactly what you are agreeing to.  Council has indicated that these applications will be processed non-notified, so they will just need to work through their internal process, and then your consent would be granted.

HBRC contact information

You can ring through and ask to speak to a Consents Officer about your Heretaunga Plains water take. The mainline is 06 835 9200. You can also email waterpermits@hbrc.govt.nz. And there is also FAQs and some further information on the website www.hbrc.govt.nz and then in the search box type #HPwatertake FAQ

Many of you will have now received an email from HBRC outlining what they have calculated to be your Actual and Reasonable volume, which they propose would be the volume imposed on your replacement water permit.  Many of you will have got a nasty surprise when you saw these volumes.

Our advice to you is as follows:

If you do not agree with the council’s actual and reasonable volume calculation, let the council know that you do not.  The following wording could be used in your email to the council at this email address: waterpermits@hbrc.govt.nz.

The suggested wording is:

“The water volume proposed in your letter will not allow me to continue to grow. I consider the estimated Actual and Reasonable Use volume for my take to be inaccurate and by the end of April 2024 I will provide information that demonstrates that a greater volume is both appropriate and necessary in my case.”

Please contact and advise Charlotte Drury of your situation/volumes by emailing her on charlotte@viewconsult.co.nz

This will help us to know who has issues so we can ensure that you have help where needed, fully understand the scale of the issue, and will also allow the likes of HortNZ, HAG, NZAPI etc to push back on the council on your behalf.

We are planning to have a meeting/s in January to facilitate discussion from affected growers, help answer any questions, provide advice that could be useful to contest the council’s suggested volume.

If you are happy with the council’s actual and reasonable volume calculation, then let Council know that, but ask to see a full set of draft consent conditions before your permit is issued so that you can see exactly what you will get – the conditions, consent duration etc

Any queries, please get in touch with Charlotte Drury on 027 3225595 or someone from your organisation

1. Introduction

1.1 In February 2023, Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay faced devastation and loss from Cyclone Gabrielle – one of the largest natural disasters in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. Across the region, communities have endured significant impact to their lives, livelihoods, whānau, homes, farms, orchards, vineyards and neighbourhoods.

1.2 On 1 June 2023 initial risk categories were identified that continue to be refined. Further information about that process is available at https://www.hastingsdc.govt.nz/land-categorisation-hb/. As Hawke’s Bay progresses its recovery, the question of how councils will process building consents in categorised areas has come into focus.

 

2. Purpose of this Guidance Document

2.1 The purpose of this Guidance Document is to clearly outline how Hastings District, Napier City and Central Hawke’s Bay District Councils (councils) will approach residential building consenting under the Building Act 2004 (the Act) across the region during Hawke’s Bay’s recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle.

2.2 This Guidance Document considers the applicability of sections 71-74 of the Act, which relate to natural hazards. It is designed to provide as much certainty as possible, to allow communities to make decisions that have future and inter-generational safety at their heart. We also don’t want our communities spending money on building consent applications that may be unlikely to ever be granted due to the risk of natural hazards.

2.3 This is uncharted territory for how Aotearoa New Zealand deals with natural disasters of this scale and while we don’t yet have all the answers, we are committed to sharing what we do know, when we know.

 

3. Important things to note

3.1 The councils will process all applications for building consents in accordance with the Act, on their individual merits.

3.2 This Guidance Document should be read alongside the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Guidance on sections 71 to 74 of the Act, which is published on the MBIE website.

3.3 This Guidance Document applies only to residential buildings or sleeping accommodation. Getting people back into their homes where possible is the priority right now and the councils will communicate their approach to consenting commercial buildings in due course.

3.4 Using the categories of land that Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has identified, building consent applications in relation to:

a. Category 1 land will almost invariably be processed in accordance with s 71(2)(a) of the Act; and

b. Category 2C, 2C*, 2P and 3 land will almost invariably be processed in accordance with s 72 of the Act.

3.5 Building consent processing in relation Category 2C, 2C* and 2P land is likely to exceed the statutory timeframe provided in the Act and we ask for your understanding and patience as we try to get these difficult decisions right.

3.6 Category 2A, where significant further assessment is required, falls outside the Guidance Document. Once further assessment and re-categorisation of properties in this category has occurred, they will be considered in accordance with their new categorisation.

3.7 For all categories where minor building work is applied for, the Council will process those applications in accordance with sections 48 and 49 of the Act and the natural hazards provision in the Act (ss 71-74) do not apply.

3.8 Finally, this Guidance Document has been created on the basis of relevant information available to the councils at today’s date. Should more comprehensive data becomes available from Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, the Guidance Document will, to the extent necessary, be promptly updated.

 

Approach to Building Consenting by Category

 

 Those of you who recently received a letter from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council which stated that the regional council is going to be allocating Heretaunga Plains groundwater based on ‘Actual and Reasonable’ use may be wondering what that is, and why the council is applying it to these consent applications? 

In a nutshell, ‘Actual and Reasonable’ use is a maximum annual volume that will be specified on the water permit that the regional council is currently processing, and that number: 

 The exact definition is shown on the last page of this document. 

So what does that mean in practice? 

Irrigators that don’t have accurate water meter data from 2010-2020 will likely be allocated the smallest volume of water, of either what their expiring consent allowed, or the crop water demand calculated by IRRICALC. 

Growers whose maximum annual water use between May 2010 and 2020 is less than the crop water demand calculated by IRRICALC, would likely be allocated the maximum annual volume taken. 

Some growers may not be allocated the same volume of water they have been previously. Below are some examples of what your numbers could look like,  and what that could mean for the volume of water you are allocated in your new water permit: 

Why is this happening now? 

Because of the TANK (Tuetaekuri, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamu) Catchment Plan Change was notified in May 2020. It classifies the Heretaunga Plains aquifer as over-allocated (in terms of water quantity), and under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, action must be taken to get it back to a fully or under-allocated state. This means that the volume of water allocated from it must be reduced, and applying a definition of ‘Actual and Reasonable’ is how it is proposed to achieve this. 

Is the TANK Plan under appeal? 

Yes it is, which means the definition of ‘Actual and Reasonable’ may change slightly but, from the date of notification (May 2020), the plan changes has some legal effect, which means the council must take it into account when processing applications. 

Actual and Reasonable in relation to applications to take and use water means: 

a) no more than the quantity specified on the permit due for renewal or any lesser amount applied for; and the least of either: 

b) the maximum annual amount as measured by accurate water meter data in the ten years preceding 2 May 2020 if accurate water meter data is available. (If insufficient or no accurate data is available either clause a) or c) will apply) 

or 

c) for irrigation takes, the quantity required to meet the modelled crop water demand for the irrigated area with an efficiency of application of no less than 80% as specified by the IRRICALC water demand model (if it is available for the crop and otherwise with an equivalent method), and to a 95% reliability of supply where the irrigated area is: 

(i) no more than in the permit due for renewal, or any lesser amount applied for, and in the case of Heretaunga Plains Groundwater Quantity Area, is not more than the amount irrigated in the ten years preceding 2 May 2020 and 

(ii) evidence is supplied to demonstrate that the area has, and can continue to be, irrigated and the permit is substantially given effect to in applying the IRRICALC model, the Council will take into account any water meter data that is applicable. 

In applying the IRRICALC model, the Council will take into account any water meter data that is applicable. 

The IRRICALC model can be accessed here: Irrigation Requirements (mycatchment.info) 

Introduction

These guidelines have been prepared to assist Hawke’s Bay horticultural growers with silt deposits on their properties, as a result of recent Cyclone Gabrielle flooding.

They have been put together as a guide to help property owners safely remove silt from their land.

These guidelines have been prepared in accordance with the Ministry for Environment Contaminated Land Management Guidelines, No. 5 (CLMG No. 5), Site Investigation and Analysis of Soils (MfE, 2021) and the Resource Management (National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health) Regulations 2011 (NESCS).

 

Silt Removal

A few key considerations need to be followed when removing silt from market gardens, orchards and agricultural farmland.

Figure 1. Do not remove silt from areas surrounding chemical storage sheds and filling stations, or sheep yards, particularly those with known historic sheep dips. 

 

Health & Safety

Ensure that the following are followed during the removal of silt:

 

Unexpected Discovery of Contamination

Should unexpected contamination be encountered during removal, immediately stop, and assess the potential hazards. Contamination may present as: 

Should asbestos be observed or suspected during excavation, all work shall cease and Guidelines for the Management and Removal of Asbestos (revised 1999) for the Department of Labour, and the Health & Safety in Employment (Asbestos) Regulations (1998) will need to be followed. Any asbestos works (assessment, delineation, removal, and verification) would need to be undertaken by a specialist asbestos contractor and EAM, who are suitably qualified environmental practitioners, to assess asbestos contamination.

A first response protocol for unexpected contamination is as follows:

  1. Stop work immediately. Assess the potential immediate hazards. If the discovery is assessed as presenting an imminent hazard or danger, notify emergency services by dialling 111. If unsafe, move away, and secure the area.
  2. Contact EAM, Jason Strong 027 4405990.
  3. Work will not resume or commence until an environmental professional has provided clearance. 

EAM are suitably qualified environmental practitioners in the field of contaminated sites. Should you require assistance with sampling of your property, please contact us on 027 4735590, or email info@eam.co.nz. 

 

Reference Documentation

MfE 2012 Users’ Guide National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health. Ministry for the Environment. 

MfE 2021 Contaminated Land Management Guidelines No.5; Site Investigation and Analysis of Soil. Ministry for the Environment. 

The Horticultural Action Group (HAG) has been contacted by a number of larger vegetable growers who are interested in entering into short term leases (e.g. 1-3 years) of land impacted by flooding during Cyclone Gabrielle, on which they could grow crops (e.g. squash, onions etc). This would help landowners realise some income off their land, while they wait to be able to replant orchards, or think further about what they want to do. Productively using the land will also be beneficial for soil health.

If a block hasn’t yet been cleared, potentially The Hawke’s Bay Sediment and Debris Recovery Fund (Commercial Entities) can be used to help fund land clearance. This fund is administered by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and remains open for applications until the end of August (2023). Further information is available, and applications can be made online here: Silt and debris | Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (hbrc.govt.nz)

The HAG is aware that some blocks have been cleared but stumps not properly removed, which does not make it a good option for cropping. Please make sure that if your block is being cleared, that it is done properly, with no trees stumps etc left in the ground. Vegetable growers won’t risk putting expensive machinery into blocks where there is a high chance of it being damaged.

Having access to water for irrigation is also important. Initial discussions HAG have had with the Consents Team at the Regional Council indicate that some changes to existing consents may be able to be made to allow short term cropping to occur (i.e. increases in rate of up to 5L/s that may be required to allow crops to be effectively irrigated). This is also the case for the many water permit applications that remain on hold with the regional council – interim consents could be issued to enable short term cropping to occur. Whether or not changes will be allowed will depend primarily on the location of a point of take – the regional council indicated that changes will likely be easier for takes that are not located on the Heretaunga Plains. Areas that may have issues with well interference such as Puketapu may require more assessment to ensure changes do not impact on other groundwater users.

If the idea of a short-term lease arrangement interests you, please make direct contact with any of the people below who are looking for land, and with whom you can discuss your particular situation in more detail.

If you have questions about your water permit, and possible changes you might need to make to it to enable a short-term leasing scenario to work, please contact Charlotte Drury on 027 3225595, or Charlotte.Drury@hortnz.co.nz

The following guidance has been drafted to assist Hawke’s Bay horticultural growers clearing silt from their properties, resulting from Cyclone Gabrielle.

This advice has been drafted to help growers appropriately manage anything that they accidentally discover as they are removing silt from their land. The flooding dramatically altered the landscape, and amongst other things, washed bones out of urupa/burial sites, and unearthed other previously buried taonga/treasures. This means you could come across something unexpected as you are removing silt.

To help reduce the chances of this happening, when you are removing silt from orchards and agricultural land, try to avoid removing existing underlying soil (i.e., digging below ground level) – this will help reduce the risk of any accidental discoveries.

If you do encounter something unexpected during silt removal, immediately stop and do the following:

 

This guidance about accidental discoveries should be read in conjunction with the Guidelines for the removal of silt from Cyclone Gabrielle affected properties prepared by EAM NZ Ltd for Horticulture New Zealand.

It is high-level guidance intended to help you manage your silt removal activity appropriately. For specific advice on particular fact scenarios, please contact your own advisors, or Charlotte Drury of HortNZ (in the first instance) on 027 3225595 or Charlotte.Drury@hortnz.co.nz.