Freshwater farm plan regulations

Closed 7 Oct 2021

Opened 26 Jul 2021

Results updated 5 Apr 2022

From 26 July to 7 October 2021, the Ministry for the Environment consulted on proposed freshwater farm plan (FWFP) regulations and received a total of 172 public submissions.

Thank you to all who made a submission.

Read the summary of submissions [PDF, 2.2 MB]


Freshwater farm plans were introduced last year as part of the Government’s Essential Freshwater package. They are intended to provide a practical way for farmers to meet the freshwater standards and to reduce regulatory burden. 

Why your views matter

We are seeking feedback on the implementation and transition of all farmers to the freshwater farm plan system including:

  • content of freshwater farm plans
  • what outcomes could be achieved
  • how plans could be certified, audited and amended.

We are also encouraging all farmers to:

  • take the time to understand how the freshwater farm plan system will affect them
  • get started now on the practical steps they can put in place to make the transition easier.

Read our discussion document on Freshwater farm plan regulations [PDF 1.1MB]

Read the summary of the discussion document [PDF 285KB]

We are consulting, at the same time, on Stock exclusion regulations: changes to the low slope map. We are seeking feedback on the balance between using the low-slope maps and freshwater farm plans for identifying areas for stock exclusion.

View a webinar recording

What happens next

This consultation closed on 7 October 2021 at 5pm. 

We will publish a summary and make all submissions publicly available on our website. We cannot reply to individual submitters.

We will continue to work with iwi/Māori and affected stakeholders to gather information and refine the thinking on preferred options for the freshwater farm plan regulations. This consultation document is part of ongoing engagement.

The freshwater farm plan regulations will likely take effect in the first half of 2022.

This is the proposed timeline for freshwater farm plan regulations and the staged roll-out of plans:

  • refinement of options and development of regulations from the end of consultation to early 2022
  • the proposed regulations would come into force in the first half of 2022, if agreed by Ministers
  • the freshwater farm plans will be gradually rolled out across New Zealand – the exact date farmers require certified freshwater farm plans may vary across the country.