Plan Change 7 - FAQs

Q. My farm was previously a permitted activity, under proposed Plan Change 7 (PC7) will I still be permitted?

You do not have to apply for consent at this stage if you are currently classified as a permitted activity under the operative LWRP and your farming activity does not change in character, intensity or scale. Once PC7 becomes operative, you will have 6 months from that date to apply for a land use consent if your farming activity no longer meets the requirements for a permitted activity under PC7. 

Part A of PC7 (Omnibus) amends the region-wide farming rules by introducing a new nutrient framework for commercial vegetable growing operations. Parts B and C of PC7 relate to the Orari Temuka Opihi Pareora (OTOP) and Waimakariri sub-regions respectively and introduce changes to permitted activity thresholds that will mean more properties are likely to require consent to farm. The main changes to the permitted activity rules for farming rules in Parts A, B and C are summarised below:

Omnibus (Part A)

  • All commercial vegetable growing operations on sites greater than 0.5 ha are required to hold resource consent. Small operations on sites less than 0.5 ha, and operations that receive water from and are managed under a consent held by an irrigation scheme are permitted.

OTOP (Part B)

  • Properties greater than 10 ha within the High Run-off Risk Phosphorus Zone (operative planning maps) are required to hold consent if more than 20 hectares of the property is used for winter grazing of cattle or deer.
  • Properties greater than 10 ha within the proposed Mātatai Protection Zone (PC7 Planning Maps) are required to hold consent to farm if they include or directly adjoin a river or lake and have any irrigation or winter grazing of cattle.
  • Properties greater than 10 ha within the Rock Art Management Area (see PC7 Planning Maps) are required to hold consent to farm if they have any irrigation.

Waimakariri (Part C)

  • Property area threshold for permitted farming land use reduced from 10 ha to 5 ha.
  • Reductions in the permitted area thresholds for winter grazing of cattle without requiring consent relative to the region-wide rules.
  • Properties greater than 5 ha within the proposed Ashley Estuary (Te Aka Aka) and Coastal Protection Zone (PC7 Planning Maps) are required to hold consent to farm if they include or directly adjoin a river or lake and have any irrigation or winter grazing of cattle.

For more information on how the plan change may apply to your property please go the Plan Change 7 website which can be accessed here or contact customer services on 0800 324 636.

Q. Do I need to apply for farming land use consent? 

The policies and rules in Proposed Plan Change 7 (PPC7) had immediate legal effect upon notification on 20 July 2019.

You do not have to apply for consent at this stage if you are currently classified as a permitted activity under the operative LWRP and your farming activity has not changed in character, intensity or scale. This is because PC7 has yet to be tested through an independent hearing process (in 2020) and the proposed policies and rules may change. Once PC7 becomes operative, you will have 6 months from that date to apply for a land use consent if your farming activity no longer meets the requirements for a permitted activity.

However, if you are proposing to change the character, intensity or scale of your farming activity such that you would not meet the permitted activity thresholds in the operative LWRP or proposed PC7 (e.g. if you are increasing the area of irrigation or winter grazing) then you will need to apply for resource consent and your application will be considered against both the operative LWRP and proposed PC7 policies and rules.

Q. I have recently applied for a land use consent, how will PC7 affect my application?

This depends on when you applied for consent. Applications lodged before 20 July 2019 are only subject to the operative LWRP rules. However, applications have to be considered against the operative and proposed PC7 policies. 

Applications lodged after 20 July 2019 are subject to both the operative and proposed PC7 rules, and the operative proposed PC7 policies. When considering consent applications under both operative and proposed plans, decision makers must “weight” the different sets of plan provisions taking into account the extent to which the proposed policies and rules have been tested through an independent hearing process and degree to which the new policies and rules represents a significant shift compared to the operative plan.

In practice, the proposed policies and rules in PC7 carry little weight at this point in time. This is because they have not yet been tested through submissions and an independent hearing panel. PC7 also builds on the operative LWRP nutrient management framework rather than dealing with a completely new issue. However, to provide time for PC7 to be tested via the hearing process it is also likely that consents will only be granted for a short duration in accordance with LWRP Policy 4.11.

Q. I already have a farming land use consent, are there changes I need to make due to PC7?
The policies and rules in Proposed Plan Change 7 (PPC7) had immediate legal effect upon notification on 20 July 2019.

If you already hold a land use consent and your farming activity does not change in character, intensity or scale your consent conditions will continue to apply until it expires. When you apply to replace your land use consent on expiry, you will need to comply with requirements in PC7 (assuming it is operative at that point in time).

Q. Where can I find more information on proposed PC7?

Further information and FAQs on the changes proposed in PC7 can be found here 
The section 32 Evaluation Report contains helpful information on the changes proposed and reasons for them.