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Proposed Nutrient Rules

Proposed Nutrient Rules

Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) has developed new and tougher nitrogen rules for the Lake Rotorua catchment. Information on the rules can also be found on the  Rotorua Lakes website. If you own land in the Lake Rotorua catchment, we strongly encourage you to check out the rule information and GET INVOLVED!

This section of the Collective’s website provides a summary of:

Lake Rotorua Catchment Nitrogen Sources

Nitrogen entering Lake Rotorua (755 tonnes) originates from many sources. Here is a summary of where the nitrogen is coming from*:
Nitrgen Sources Lake Rotorua
* Data Source: ROTAN data covering the Lake Rotorua catchment

Summary of the Proposed Nutrient Rules

The following table provides an overview of the Proposed Nutrient Rules. This is a summary only – see the full version here.
Proposed Nutrient Rules Summary

Environment Court Appeals on PC10

At the RDD meeting on 5  August, 2017 Councillors unanimously voted to accept a report and recommendations from the Independent Hearing Panel relating to Plan Change 10.  Submitters had 30 working days following the receipt of the notification of the decision, to lodge appeals with the Environment Court.  These appeals have now been published by BOPRC. You can view the appeals here.

Fed Farmers and Collective Submissions on PC10

Submissions closed on 27 April 2016. You can download the Fed Farmers and Collective submissions here

Nitrogen discharge allowances (NDA)

The NDA is at the heart of the new rules. The basic idea is that the sum of ALL the NDAs across all current pastoral land will reduce nitrogen inputs to the lake by 140 tonnes by 2032. While this is about a 27% reduction overall, BOPRC is looking at different ways of allocating NDAs i.e. some farmers will have to reduce by much more than 27%, some much less, depending on the benchmarked  N loss and farm type (Dairy or Drystock).

Logic driving new rules

The logic behind the new nitrogen-focused rules is:

  • Scientists from NIWA and the University of Waikato have calculated that the sustainable load of nitrogen to the lake is 435 tonnes per year. This is 320 tonnes more than the 755 tonnes coming from all current land uses combined, although some of that nitrogen is moving slowly through groundwater on its way to the lake.
  • The target for reducing nitrogen from better sewage treatment and absorbing nitrogen from the geothermal Tikitere springs is 50 tonnes. This means a 270 tonnes reduction is needed from rural land. Other nitrogen sources (rain, native bush and plantation forestry) cannot be reduced any further.
  • The nitrogen load from pastoral land needs to be halved to deliver a 270 tonne reduction. This is a big ask which is why the 270 tonnes has been split into three parts:
  1. 140 tonnes by compulsory new rules, based on “nitrogen discharge allowances” or NDAs
  2. 100 tonnes by a voluntary $40 million incentive fund, to reduce nitrogen below NDA levels
  3. 30 tonnes from replacing gorse with trees.

The Collective has been mainly focused on the new rules because they will be compulsory. Some farmers will be keen to explore options with the voluntary incentive fund which is also under development. Find out more about the gorse conversion fund and the incentives scheme

The process for developing new rules

The process for developing new rules” trigclass=”maggie” rel=”fiction”] The nitrogen rules have been developed by BOPRC staff working with the Lake Rotorua Catchment Stakeholder Advisory Group, or StAG for short. The Collective was instrumental in getting StAG established as a collaborative means of influencing new policies and rules. It’s not perfect but better than the traditional way most Councils have developed RMA policy. StAG was the forum where the Collective negotiated splitting the 270 tonne reduction into three parts. You can see all the monthly StAG meeting agendas and minutes here.

BOPRC completed initial consultation on the draft nitrogen rules in October 2014. The formal RMA assessment of rule options – called a “Section 32” report – will also be put together upon rule notification. The Section 32 report will include an assessment of the economic and social costs of various rule options

The Collective’s response to the draft rules - 30 October 2014
 Download or view the report here.

Landowner Feedback - Sept 2014

Take a look at the feedback given by landowners at the two public consultation meetings held by the Collective in September 2014.

Groundwater Boundary Meeting - 11 Dec 2014

A meeting was held in Ngongotaha on 11 December 2014 to discuss the Lake Rotorua groundwater catchment boundary and how it relates to draft nitrogen rules being developed by Bay of Plenty Regional Council. We heard from two of the scientists involved in defining the boundary – Paul White and Kit Rutherford. There were plenty of questions from the audience which are summarised here.

The Collective promotes dual nutrient approach to BOPRC Councillors - July 2015

Take a look at the report presented and tabled  to BOPRC Councillors on 2nd July 2015

Collective presentation to StAG - September 2015

Extended Consultation on Draft Rules - Feedback summary - November 2015.

As part of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) developing the draft rules for managing nitrogen in the Lake Rotorua catchment an additional period of consultation was out between August and October 2015.
The majority of the feedback received came from drystock or deer farmers. In addition, there were a number of dairy farms and horse owners who provided feedback. Over half of the feedback came from lifestyle properties.