Stock exclusion regulations

The Resource Management (Stock Exclusion) Regulations 2020 came into force on 3 September 2020. These applied immediately in respect of any new pastoral activity, and will apply to existing stock owners at specified dates according to the type of animal being farmed  - Pigs, dairy cattle, dairy support cattle, beef cattle and deer.  These animals are collectively referred to by the regulations as stock.

The slope of the land, the nature and size of the water body, and the type of stock determine what exclusion steps are required.  Regional plans are allowed to have more stringent rules than those in the regulations.

The Regulation’s apply to lakes, rivers wider than 1m, and certain wetlands.  This means that the numerous small rivers that run through New Zealand’s farm land are not subject to exclusion requirements at a national level.  However, they may be subject to regional requirements or stock may need to be excluded from them as a condition of consent. 

Where stock are required to be excluded from a lake or river they must be kept at a distance of at least 3m to the edge of the bed of the lake or  river wider than 1m.   This requirement does not apply if stock need to access the area to enter a bridge or culvert, or if they are actively driven across the river and crossings only occur twice in a month, or if the general exception applies (see below).   The setback distance does not apply if a permanent fence was already in place when the Regulations came into force.  In that situation, the fence can remain in place and need not be moved.

Dairy cattle, dairy support cattle, and pigs must be excluded from the relevant water bodies regardless of the terrain slope.  Beef cattle and deer must be excluded from the water bodies regardless of terrain if they are break-feeding or grazing annual forage crops or irrigated pasture. Otherwise, the requirements apply to beef cattle and deer only on low slope landed mapped for the purposes of the Regulations.

Stock are also required to be excluded from natural wetlands identified in a regional policy statement or regional or district plan on the commencement date, and any natural wetland that supports a threatened species as described in the NPSFM 2020.  In low slope areas, stock must be excluded from any natural wetland greater than 0.05ha, which presumably means this applies irrespective of whether it is mapped or of the values of the wetland.

There is a general exception to the Regulation’s water crossing requirements for rivers with a bed that is wider than 1m anywhere in a land parcel if it is too difficult to install a dedicated bridge or culvert because the river has a highly mobile bed and the person ensures that stock are supervised and actively driven across the river. 

Last updated at 4:14PM on August 23, 2021