Establishing a planning approach

Your regional council needs to engage with tāngata whenua and the community when implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014.

This page outlines what your regional council must do and opportunities for further community involvement in planning processes.

Involving tāngata whenua

Part D of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (NPS-FM) sets out what regional councils must do to involve tāngata whenua in the management of fresh water.

Councils must:

  • involve iwi and hapū in freshwater management
  • work with iwi and hapū to identify tāngata whenua values and interests
  • reflect tāngata whenua values and interests in freshwater management and decision-making.

RMA requirements for consultation

The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) has specific requirements for consultation that regional councils must follow when developing a regional policy statement and regional plan. These requirements need to be met as part of implementing the NPS-FM.

They include processes to:

  • consult with the community and affected parties before notifying the plan/policy statement
  • gain public input once the plan/policy statement has been notified.  

Schedule 1 of the RMA  [New Zealand Legislation website] provides further information on these requirements.

For more information on the RMA planning process see the Quality Planning website.

Opportunities for collaborative community involvement

Regional councils can involve their communities through collaborative planning processes when making decisions about how to implement the NPS-FM.

A collaborative approach involves sharing knowledge and working together from the beginning of the planning process. It can help your regional council meet requirements of the NPS-FM, such as identifying values that are important at a local level.

Some councils are already using collaborative practices in their freshwater planning. The following resources share what some of these councils have learned.

Collaboration in the Waikato catchment

This case study, commissioned by the Ministry for the Environment sets out the collaborative processes that the Waikato Regional Council and the Waikato and Waipa River Iwi used as part of their freshwater planning and management processes in the Waikato catchment. It:

  • provides practical information for those initiating collaborative processes in councils
  • captures reflections from council staff about the initiation of the process and the operation of the collaborative group in its first year.

Read Collaboration in the Waikato catchment

Canterbury Water Management Strategy

The Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS) is a collaborative, locally-driven process designed to improve environmental, cultural, economic and social outcomes in Canterbury.

By Environment Canterbury, the case study summarises the experience of making a collaborative process work over the first five years of the CWMS. It summarises the CWMS story and discusses what worked well and what has been difficult.

Find out more about the case study on Environment Canterbury’s website.

Criteria for choosing collaboration

This paper, commissioned by the Ministry for the Environment, includes a brief review of scholarly literature identifying critical criteria to use when deciding when to use a collaborative planning process in natural resource management. It also discusses the theory in relation to current practice and understanding within regional councils.

Read Criteria for choosing collaboration.

Making collaborative groups work

This guidance, collaboratively written by regional council and Ministry for the Environment staff, steps the reader through the establishment, running and winding up of an effective collaboration group. It draws on the writers’ experiences and highlights areas to keep ‘front of mind’ and ways to address challenges.

Read the Making collaborative groups work guidance.

Collaborative governance research

The Ministry for the Environment has undertaken research on collaborative governance. This research has provided insights about the advantages and principles of collaborative governance, using examples such as the Land and Water Forum.

Read more about Collaborative governance research.