Intensive Winter Grazing rules

Here's all the information about the rules around Intensive Winter Grazing.

What is Intensive Winter Grazing?

Intensive winter grazing (IWG) is where large numbers of stock are confined over winter to small feeding areas planted with annual forage crops. If done poorly or too extensively it can result in negative effects on animal welfare and the environment. 

The regulations

Regulations to better control the effects of IWG were introduced in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020 (NES-FW) as part of the Government’s Essential Freshwater reforms.

The regulations seek to improve IWG practices by providing three pathways for farmers doing it:

Pathway 1: IWG is permitted if a farmer complies with default conditions set out in the NES-FW, or

Pathway 2: IWG is permitted if a farmer obtains a certified Freshwater Farm Plan(external link) that achieves an equivalent (or better) outcome. The farm plan must demonstrate that any adverse effects in relation to the IWG are no greater than those allowed for by the default conditions.This pathway will be available when the farm plan regulations come into effect in Taranaki (at a date yet to be confirmed). 

Pathway 3: If neither of Pathways 1 nor 2 can be met, a farmer needs to obtain a resource consent for IWG activities.

The regulations went into effect on 1 November 2022. Those planning IWG operations for the 2023 season will need to become familiar with the regulations. Existing use rights will not be available for the 2023 season and practices will need to be adjusted to comply with the regulations.

Useful links

Te Uru Kahika/Regional and Unitary Councils Aotearoa factsheet, FAQs and useful links [PDF, 2.8 MB]

The Essential Freshwater reforms: a quick guide

The Government’s Essential Freshwater reform package aims to protect and improve our rivers, streams and wetlands to stop further degradation of freshwater, start making immediate improvements and reverse past damage to bring our waterways and ecosystems to a healthy state within a generation.

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 (NPS-FM 2020) sets out the policies and the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NES-FW) establishes the regulations to achieve this.

What this means for people in Taranaki is requirements are being set for those carrying out certain activities that pose risks to freshwater and freshwater ecosystems. Anyone carrying out these activities will need to comply with the standards and, in many cases, people need to apply for a resource consent from the Council to continue carrying out regulated activities.

All of this is underpinned by Te Mana o te Wai(external link) (the mana of the water). Te Mana o te Wai means that when managing freshwater, the health and well-being of the water is protected and human health needs are provided for before enabling other uses of water.