A farmer's guide to Farm Plans in the Wellington Region.

Freshwater Farm Plans or Certified Farm Environment Plans are a practical way for farmers and growers to identify, manage and reduce the impact of farming on the freshwater environment.

This page will help Farmers navigate the new rules and requirements for getting a Fresh Water Farm Plan (FWFP) or a Certified Farm Environmental Plan (cFEP) approved for your farm.

Who needs a cFEP/FWFP?

Parkvale and Waitawa catchments – cFEPs are due 30 December 2023.

A resource consent will be required after 30 December 2023 for landowners in Parkvale or Waitawa who haven’t completed their cFEP or engaged a certifier.

Farm Environment Plans (cFEPs) are being phased in across the region and eventually all farms will need a FWFP if they meet the following criteria:

  • 20 hectares or more in arable or pastoral use
  • Five hectares or more in horticultural use
  • 20 hectares or more of combined use.

Only farmers in priority catchments will need a cFEP. Check out maps and more details about these catchments. 

Why do we need Freshwater Farm Plans or Certified Farm Environment Plans? 

Healthy freshwater supports healthy communities, a healthy environment, and a healthy economy. However, freshwater quality is declining. It is being impacted by urban development, agriculture, horticulture, forestry and other activities.

Both cFEPs and FWFPs have been introduced to:

  • Stop further degradation of New Zealand’s freshwater resources and improve water quality 
  • Reverse past damage
  • Bring New Zealand’s freshwater resources, waterways and ecosystems to a healthy state within a generation. 

At Greater Wellington we’re dedicated to enabling continuous environmental improvement on farms that is informed by catchment scale objectives and priorities.  We’ve been helping farmers in our region with Farm Environment Plans since the 1950s. 

Farm planning in the Wellington region has been focused on engaging with landowners in catchments with the greatest need, as identified through our Whaitua process.  The aim is to implement Good Management Practices. 

Our focus remains on enabling environmental improvement on farms within the frameworks set out by new regional rules and national regulations.

What is the difference between cFEP and FWFP?

We’ve been working hard for some time to ensure that our regional cFEPs are consistent with the national FWFP requirements to help prevent duplication. A lot of work preparing for FWFPs has already happened.   

Now that the final FWFP regulations have been released, we’ll be taking some time to make things easier for you by aligning the processes and requirements for both. 

Certified Farm Environment Plans (cFEP) 

The regional rules (the Natural Resources Plan) are designed to help protect the environmental values of our region.  Farmers in priority catchments will need to have a Certified Farm Environment Plan that meets the requirements of our regional rules by the dates listed below (PDF 95 MB) .  

Catchment Certified Farm Environment Plan completion date
Land in the Waitawa and Parkvale catchments 30 December 2023
Land in the Otukura, Mangatārere, Waipoua catchments 30 September 2024  
Land in the Kōpuaranga, Makakaha and Taueru catchments   30 June 2025  

View the priority catchments

If I have a cFEP, will I need a FWFP as they roll out in my catchment?

The simple answer is YES, but you will only need one document to meet both sets of rules. This is why we are trying to align the requirements of our cFEPs with the FWFPs. 

If you are in one of the priority catchments and need a cFEP, you will still need to meet the FWFP requirements as they roll out in your catchment.   

Freshwater Farm Plans (FWFP) 

Freshwater farm plans have been legislated under Part 9A of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and the Resource Management (Freshwater Farm Plans) Regulations 2023 (the regulations).

They are a farm planning process that puts the health of the whenua (land) and wai (water) at the centre of farm decision making.

When do I need a Freshwater Farm Plan?

FWFP regulations will come into effect in parts of the GW region in mid-2024 and will cover all of the region by the end of 2025. 

Farm operators in areas where freshwater farm plans are in effect will have 18 months to prepare their first plan for certification.

For more information on Freshwater Farm Plans check out the Ministry for the Environment website. 

If you have any questions, please email us at farmplans@gw.govt.nz and we’ll get in touch with you.   

How do I develop a cFEP or FWFP?

Farmers can develop their own plan, or they can engage an advisor to assist them. 

You may already have a farm plan in place – perhaps with Fonterra, Beef & Lamb, or perhaps you have a Farm Environment Plan prepared by Greater Wellington. Your existing plan can provide helpful information to feed into your cFEP/FWFP. Your existing farm plan, and work undertaken so far, will be integrated where possible, but may not be able to be certified as a cFEP in its current format. 

Note: if you do the plan yourself you will need the risk assessment completed by a qualified nutrient advisor and the plan will need to be certified. Some certifiers are also qualified nutrient advisors, so if you need both, it is important to ask this prior to starting the process.  

There are currently no qualified FWFP certifiers and auditors. Another organisation is managing this process, and we will add them to this page as they are qualified to carry this work out.  

Find a cFEP Certifier or a Certified Farm Nutrient Advisor  

Farm Environment Plan Certifiers: people who can work with farmers to produce their CFEP. 

Certified Farm Nutrient Advisors: people who can complete a risk assessment required as part of your cFEP.

A list of people who have been appointed to one or both of these roles to date has been provided below. This list will continue to grow as further applications are processed.   

View the list of certifiers

Handy online tools to help you create your own plan 

We’ve created some tools to help make it easier to create a cFEP/FWFP. You will find two templates to help you create your plan. 

We know these things can be tricky, so if you have trouble with any of this, please email us at farmplans@gw.govt.nz

Document Purpose
Template: Certified Farm Environment Plan (DOCX 67 KB) This template makes it easy to compile the key information needed to create a Certified Farm Environment Plan.  
Guidance Material: Certified Farm Environment Plan (PDF 183 KB) This document provides guidance on what information to include in each section of the Certified Farm Environment Plan template available above. 

How we can help  

We know this is complicated and we are committed to helping you have the right plans in place to support you through these recent changes.   

We are able to provide you free information about your property including; aerial photography, soil information, slope and NZ Land Resource Inventory information. 

Free online map building tool and instructional video

You will find the online map building tool at the following button.

Free online map building tool

We have created a 15-minute Farm Plan Map Building instructional video to help make this part of the process a bit easier. We recommend taking the time to watch our friendly staff member Josie, show you some of the tips and tricks for building your own cFEP/FWFP maps.

Register for a map building workshop by emailing one of our team members here farmplans@gw.govt. We will book you into one of the workshops at a time that suits you. 

If you want to find out more about farm plans, get in touch with our team at farmplans@gw.govt.nz.

Want to become a Farm Environment Plan Certifier and Certified Farm Nutrient Advisor?

It's our responsibility to appoint certified farm planners (Farm Environment Plan Certifiers and Certified Farm Nutrient Advisors), and we are working with providers to get them in place quickly.

Find out how to apply 

Updated October 5, 2023 at 12:24 PM

Get in touch

0800 496 734