EXTERNAL RELATIONS

The target of the external relations portfolio is to build on community and local government relationships whilst being the advocate for kiwifruit growers on wider issues such as health and safety and resource management.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council Plan Changes

Plan Change 85 – Cleanfill Activities

The purpose of the plan change is to manage the adverse effects of cleanfill activities on the transportation network, infrastructure and network utilities, safety and convenience of road and access users, and on the amenity of residential activities and other sensitive sites.

The decisions on cleanfill activities can be found here.

Bay of Plenty Water Quantity Plan Change withdrawn

The region wide Water Quantity Proposed Plan Change 9 (PC 9) has been withdrawn by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Council). This means PC9 no longer has any legal effect.

PC9 was publicly notified in October 2016 as a first step towards improving the rules around fresh water. Changes within PC9 were developed to replace the existing rules within the operative Regional Natural Resources Plan (RNRP). Proposed changes were primarily concerned with how much surface and groundwater could be taken, proposing stricter limits on takes while also evolving the regulations that govern fresh water use. This was the Council’s approach to start implementing the governments National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS).

On 5 September 2019, the government released their essential freshwater policy for public consultation. The policy sought to halt declining freshwater quality and ecosystem health.

National policy and expectations have therefore evolved since PC9 was notified – particularly in respect of the role tangata whenua should have in fresh water management. The government have has said it will make further decisions on essential freshwater in April 2020 however, until then, Council and water users can only speculate as to the final requirements that will need to be captured in regional policy/plans.

Therefore, on 18 February 2020, Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee decided to withdraw PC9. Resource consents granted under PC9 are still valid and the consent conditions associated with these consents are also valid and must be adhered to.

For growers, this means that the rules under the operative RNRP remain current. Proposed rules under PC9 relating to the registering of permitted takes, changes to permitted take allowances and water metering requirements are therefore on hold however with expectations around water management only increasing under new government policy, growers should not be complacent with their approach to water management. Rules around its availability, efficient use and monitoring requirements will only increase. Ensuring you are measuring your water use through a water meter is your best approach to understanding and optimising your use, provides evidence for GAP requirements and aligns your business with future water management rules that will undeniably be in place in the very near future.

Resource consent is still required for all existing unauthorised water takes and applications will be assessed under the RNRP. Applications to take water from a fully allocated resource will now be processed as a Discretionary Activity as opposed to the ‘generally decline’ clause that PC9 had proposed.

For further detail contact sarah.cameron@nzkgi.org.nz or the Council directly; Sue Simpson, Planning Coordinator Sue.Simpson@boprc.govt.nz, 0800 884 881 ext 8318.

 

Artificial Crop Protection Structure and Shelter Belt Guidance

NZKGI (along with HortNZ) have provided some guidance on artificial crop protection structures and shelter belts that can help with decision making on your orchard. You can see the guidance material here or alternatively contact NZKGI, Senior Policy Analyst, Sarah Cameron here.

 

Toilet Requirements on Bay of Plenty Orchards

If you are a grower in the Bay of Plenty, toilet regulations are changing. Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) are looking at new rules through a proposed plan change to the current On-Site Effluent Treatment Regional Plan and have prepared a joint statement for growers.

HorticultureNZ (HortNZ) and NZKGI continue to work with BOPRC to try and resolve the issues relating to ongoing use of pit latrines on orchards. HortNZ is hopeful that the rules of the proposed plan change relating to On-Site Effluent Treatment (OSET) are clear and are working hard to ensure this is the case. Until the plan change becomes operative, the rules of the current OSET Regional Plan still apply. This means that some pit latrines do not comply with the rules of that plan and are required to be upgraded or replaced.

To be permitted under the current plan, pit latrines need to meet several criteria which is listed below.  If you don’t think that your pit latrine complies with these criteria, refer to the Technical Guideline document. This document outlines the type of toilets that can be installed as a permitted activity (no resource consent required) however a building consent may be required from your District Council. If pit latrines do not comply with current rules, then they will need to be upgraded or replaced by 1 December 2020 (flush to ground pit latrines) and 1 December 2022 (long drop pit latrines).   All new or upgraded OSET systems must be designed by an approved OSET designer. A list approved designers can be found here.

To meet current rules, pit latrines need to be in an area where reticulated sewage is not available and be located at least:

  • 20 m from any water supply bore.
  • 20 m from surface water.
  • 10 m from all property boundaries.
  • 5 m from any dwelling on the same property.
  • 5 m from any areas that carry stormwater during storm events
  • Have at least a 2m gap between the base of the pit latrine and the highest groundwater level
  • Be constructed in soils that are not comprised of gravels, coarse sands, scoria, fissured rock or other material that allows the free draining of liquid waste away from the pit
  • Not cause any emission of offensive or objectionable odour beyond the boundary of the property on which it is located
  • Be constructed and maintained to exclude vermin, flies and rainwater
  • Be maintained so that waste in the pit latrine does not build up to be within 1m of original ground level.

If you think that your current pit latrine complies with these criteria, then no further action is required at this time however the current criteria may change under the proposed plan change.

Pit Latrines include both dry (long drop) and wet (flush to ground) systems
Reticulated sewage is a sewer pipe system that takes sewage to wastewater treatment plants