Regional councils have a role in managing land where it affects water quality and quantity, soil conservation, and natural hazards. We set out how to manage discharges or activities involving these resources, to stop degradation or pollution. These plans tell you what you can or cannot do, and if you might need specific permission to use a resource. 

In the Wellington region, our regional plan is called the Natural Resources Plan. 

The purpose of the Natural Resources Plan (NRP) is to promote the sustainable and integrated management of land and water in the Wellington region.  

To achieve this, the NRP has objectives, policies and methods (which include rules) to address issues of use, development and protection of land resources and freshwater resources, including the beds and margins of water bodies. The resources covered by the Natural Resources Plan are the Wellington region’s: 

  • Coast  
  • Air  
  • Water  
  • Land  

The Natural Resources Plan for the Wellington region is an integration and replacement of five regional plans for soil, fresh water, air, discharges to land, and the coastal marine area.  

Our Operative Natural Resources Plan

The Natural Resources Plan (NRP) is now operative and came into effect on 28 July 2023. You can read the Operative NRP here (PDF 94 MB) . Hard copies of the plan are available at our offices and at every public library in the Wellington region.   
The NRP was originally notified on 31 July 2015, it then went through the submissions and hearings process. Decisions on the NRP were publicly notified on 31 July 2019. Consent orders were then issued by the Environment Court on provisions that were appealed. Provisions were then deemed operative (under section 86F of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA)) once the appeals process was complete.  
The Council adopted the Regional Coastal Plan part of the NRP (under clause 18 of the First Schedule to the RMA) on 25 August 2022. Those coastal provisions were then referred to the Minister of Conservation (under clause 19 of the First Schedule to the RMA) who approved them on 9 June 2023. The Council approved the part of the NRP that is not part of the Regional Coastal Plan (under clause 17 of the First Schedule to the RMA) on 29 June 2023 and approved for the NRP to become fully operative on 28 July 2023. 
As a regional council we have a responsibility to ensure the region's natural resources are sustainably managed so that they are available for future generations to use and enjoy. The Natural Resources Plan sets the direction for the use of natural resources in the region. 

Changing our Natural Resources Plan

We must review every provision (objective, policy, rule, or other method) in our Natural Resources Plan every 10 years.  

Some councils review their entire plan (known as a full review). Others tackle sections at a time (known as a rolling review). Councils can also change their plan at other times if needed. A national policy statement or national planning standard may require a change in a plan within a certain timeframe. 

The provisions of the Proposed Natural Resources Plan were deemed operative (under section 86F of the Resource Management Act 1991) in November 2021, and they need an update. Proposed Plan Change 1 to our Natural Resources Plan is being driven by the need to implement Whaitua recommendations and the new national direction for freshwater management. 

Updated May 28, 2024 at 2:05 PM

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