Exposure draft of proposed changes to the NPS-FM and NES-F (including wetland regulations)

Closed 10 Jul 2022

Opened 31 May 2022


We consulted on proposed amendments to wetland provisions in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) and the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-F) from 1 September to 27 October 2021.

Following consultation, we analysed submissions and prepared a report summarising submissions and providing advice and recommendations to the Minister. Decisions made on the basis of that report enabled drafting of proposed amendments to wetland provisions.

Read the Managing our wetlands: Report, recommendations, and summary of submissions

Given the number and complexity of the proposed amendments to the wetland provisions, we have provided further context and policy rationale for those amendments.

Read Managing our wetlands: Policy rationale for exposure draft amendments 2022 

Additionally, since the NPS-FM and NES-F were gazetted in August 2020, officials have maintained a record of technical issues and provisions that require clarification. These amendments aim to improve clarity, reduce complexity of drafting, and in some cases correct errors, without fundamentally changing policy.

In particular, direction on using 'Best information’ and ‘Transparent decision-making’ has been applied more generally to avoid confusion about where these requirements do or do not apply within the NPS-FM. Direction relating to ‘Special provisions for attributes affected by nutrients' has been simplified to focus on policy intent (ie, to manage nutrients as needed to achieve all target attribute states), and clarify how these provisions relate to limit setting under the National Objectives Framework.

Read the Overview of technical corrections and clarifications in the NPS-FM exposure draft [PDF, 151 KB]

Why we are consulting

We now have proposed drafting for these amendments, and we seek your feedback on whether the drafting is clear, and if there are any unintended consequences arising from the drafting.

The exposure draft sets out, in track changes, the proposed amendments to both the NPS-FM and the NES-F. For ease of reference, we have colour coded the draft amendments:

  • Drafting of proposed amendments to the wetland provisions is highlighted in blue
  • Drafting of technical or clarificatory amendments to other provisions is highlighted in yellow.

The Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Amendments Regulations (No 2) 2022 are the authoritative version of changes to the NES-F (see below in related documents), however we have also prepared a tracked version of the NES-F for easy reference.

Read the Exposure draft of changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 [PDF, 984 KB]

Read the Exposure draft of changes to the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Freshwater) Regulations 2020 [PDF, 728 KB]

What happens next

This consultation closed on 10 July 2022.

Following close of consultation, we will analysis the feedback received and provide advice to the Minster for the Environment.

Before making final decisions on changes to the regulations and deciding whether or not to recommend these under section 52, the Minister for the Environment will be provided with, and have particular regard to, an evaluation under section 32 of the RMA.

If you have any further questions email the wetlands team at WetlandsTeam@mfe.govt.nz.