Overview of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014

This page outlines the parts of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 and the direction it provides local government on the freshwater planning process. 

About the NPS-FM

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (NPS-FM) is about recognising the national significance of fresh water for all New Zealanders and Te Mana o te Wai (the mana of the water). It sets out objectives and policies that direct local government to manage water in an integrated and sustainable way, while providing for economic growth within set water quantity and quality limits.

The main focus of the NPS-FM is:

  • setting freshwater objectives (goals that describe the desired state of freshwater now or in the future)
  • setting limits (the maximum amount of the resource available for use)
  • implementing methods to achieve the freshwater objectives and limits.

Implementing the NPS-FM

The NPS-FM provides direction on how local authorities should carry out their responsibilities under the Resource Management Act 1991 for managing fresh water.

Regional councils

Regional councils (and unitary authorities) are primarily responsible for implementing the NPS-FM through their regional plans and policy statements. The diagram and video below provide an overview of what implementing the NPS-FM will mean for them, and for the tangata whenua and communities they work with.

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For more information about what’s required in each part of the process see Guidance on implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014.

City and district councils

The NPS-FM also places requirements on territorial authorities (city and district councils).

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014: A guide for territorial authorities outlines the obligations of territorial authorities under the NPS-FM and describes some impacts it may have on councils.

The parts of the NPS-FM

Part A and Part B 

Give direction on what must be provided for, or addressed, in a regional plan in terms of managing water quality and quantity. Part A is about water quality and Part B is about water quantity.


Central to these sections are requirements for:

  • maintaining or improving overall water quality across a region
  • safeguarding the life-supporting capacity of fresh water, and the health of people and communities
  • the efficient use and allocation of water
  • protecting the significant values of wetlands and outstanding freshwater bodies
  • setting freshwater objectives, limits, and methods.

Part C

Gives direction to regional councils about managing freshwater in an integrated way. Councils must manage the relationship between land use and development, and fresh water. Councils must also manage the effects of land use and development, including cumulative effects, on freshwater and coastal water.

Part CA

Provides the process for setting freshwater objectives. This section has two appendices which provide lists of national values (Appendix 1) and attributes (Appendix 2) that regional councils must use to set freshwater objectives.

Part CB

Provides direction on how to monitor progress towards, and achievement of, freshwater objectives.

Part CC

Gives direction to regional councils about the requirement to account for freshwater takes and discharges. This means that when it comes to setting freshwater objectives and limits, councils and the community know what water is being taken and what contaminants are being put into freshwater bodies.

Part D

Provides direction on involving iwi and hapū in reflecting tāngata whenua values and interests in water management.

Part E

Provides information on the timeframe for implementing the NPS-FM.

A Guide to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 provides more information about each of the objectives and policies in the NPS-FM. It also provides an explanation of terms used in the NPS-FM.