Charlotte Drury, View Consult, Consultant Planner on behalf of Horticulture New Zealand
This is my first contribution to the HBFA newsletter and I hope these regular updates about resource management matters in our region help keep you abreast of what is going on. There hasn’t been a lot of new things happen recently, but once decisions start being issued (hopefully early in the New Year), we will be having a close look at them to understand what the implications for growers are, and let you know what those are. In the meantime, if you have any RMA questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me directly via email at Charlotte.Drury@hortnz.co.nz or on 027 3225595.
TANK (Tutaekuri, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamu Catchments) Plan Change (Plan Change 9)
The decision is expected to be released in the new year, but HBRC is not sure when. It will be by May (2022) as a decision must be released within 2 years of the plan change being notified,
WCO (Water Conservation Order) for Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers
The Environment Court hearing for this ended in June. A decision has not yet been released but like everybody the Court’s schedule has been disrupted by Covid, so things are taking longer than usual.
Three appeals were lodged (by Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Forest and Bird and the Maori Trustee). HortNZ joined those appeals as a s274 party which means that we are part of all of the discussions trying to resolve the appeals. We had a mediation in late October during which some progress was made, but further mediation is required, and not likely to occur before February next year.
Napier City District Plan review and spatial picture
HortNZ submitted comments on the draft district plan and spatial picture. The spatial picture was looking to identify areas for development – including greenfields development which land around Bay View has been earmarked for. These were draft documents, and the formal process is expected to start mid next year.
Central Hawke’s Bay District Plan
Central Hawke’s Bay District Council notified their district plan and HortNZ made a submission (and further submission) on it. The submission focused on the need to recognise the impacts of reverse sensitivity on existing horticultural operations – particularly as more rural subdivision occurs, the need to provide for seasonal worker accommodation in rural zones, provisions relating to artificial crop protection structures and crop support structures (seeking that these are permitted), and also the provisions relating to greenhouses (currently considered to be intensive primary production, which we do not believe is appropriate). The hearings are expected to occur early-mid next year.
Quick key facts about TANK
As many of you will grow within the TANK catchments, I thought it would be worthwhile to provide a very high level summary of some of the key points of the plan change that are particularly relevant for you as fruitgrowers. This is based on the notified version of the plan, and there are likely to be changes in the decision (not yet released), but I think its likely the same issues will be tackled – changes will just be in the detail of the plan.
From a water quantity perspective, it is worth noting:
- Essentially no new water (either groundwater or surface water) is available (except water taken at high flows), and the current amount of water allocated needs to be reduced over time (ie. reductions in water allocated through consent replacement processes will be decreased over time)
- A high flow allocation framework has been established – this limits the amount of water available
- As water permits expire, and you apply for a new one, only ‘actual and reasonable’ water can be applied for. The term ‘actual and reasonable’ is defined and water meter records and historic use become really important
- The minimum flow on the Tutaekuri River increases
- Crop water requirements will to be calculated using a model called Irricalc (previously a model called SPASMO has been used)
- Water takes that impact streams will be required to either offset their impact, or be subject to a minimum flow
From a water quality perspective, the following are new things the plan introduces:
- New regulations that limit activities that can be done in vicinity of public water supplies without consent – this impacts quite a bit of horticultural land
- New provisions limit your ability to change land use (including crop types if nutrient losses would change as a result) – need to apply for consent to do so. This is more of an issue for vegetable growers than fruit growers
- Farm Plans are required for most properties over 10ha
- We are working to try and enable GAP plans (with the environment add-on) to be used, possibly with a small TANK specific add-on
- The timing of when farm plans need to be done by depends on nutrient levels in nearby water bodies
- Nutrient budgets are only needed as part of a farm plan in areas with high nutrient concentrations
- Changes will need to be made to land use in areas where there are particular nutrient problems (eg. high nitrogen concentrations)
- Riparian planting is strongly encouraged to increase shade of streams.
Plenty of further information is available on the HBRC website.