Resource Management (Stock Exclusion) Regulations 2020

The stock exclusion regulations prohibit the access of cattle, pigs and deer to wetlands, lakes, and rivers. They came into force from 3 September 2020.

Link to the regulations

Map of low slope land

The low slope land maps are part of the regulation.

The mapped areas show low slope land where beef cattle and deer must be excluded from lakes and rivers over one metre wide from 1 July 2025.  The mapped areas also show where all cattle, pigs and deer must be excluded from natural wetlands with an area more than 500 square metres from 1 July 2025. 

The maps show land with an average slope less than or equal to 10 degrees across the land parcel, or area of land parcel used for grazing. Land parcels were chosen as the unit of measurement because they provide a readily available boundary with clear ownership or management responsibility. 

Some steeper land is captured in the areas mapped if the average slope of the whole land parcel is less than 10 degrees. 

For general questions about the application of the maps, you can email officials at the Ministry for the Environment at

About the regulations

  • These regulations, in force from 3 September 2020, apply to a person who owns or controls beef cattle, dairy cattle, dairy support cattle, deer or pigs (stock). The regulations require the person to exclude stock from specified wetlands, lakes, and rivers more than one metre wide. 
  • Dairy cattle, dairy support cattle, and pigs must be excluded from the water bodies regardless of the terrain. 
  • 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 mapped low slope land. 
  • Stock must be excluded from the beds of lakes, rivers and wetlands, and must not be on land closer than three metres to the bed of rivers and lakes. However, stock need not be excluded from land within three metres of the bed if there is a permanent fence in place on 3 September 2020. 
  • Stock, except deer, may only cross a river or lake by using a dedicated bridge or culvert, unless they cross no more than twice in any month. The regulation sets out specified circumstances when cattle and pigs can cross without a dedicated culvert or bridge. Deer are not subject to restrictions for crossing rivers and lakes.

Purpose of the regulations

Reducing the impact of damage to our waterways from livestock

When livestock enter water bodies they contaminate the water and damage the banks. This compromises New Zealanders’ ability to use waterbodies for recreation and mahinga kai (food gathering). 

Heavy livestock (cattle and deer) and pigs have the greatest impact.

Livestock can carry disease-causing organisms like campylobacter, which can make people sick when they come into contact with water contaminated with livestock dung. 

Dung and urine also contain nutrients that promote weed growth and decrease the water body’s ability to support a healthy ecosystem.

When stock trample banks and beds of water bodies they increase streambank erosion and sediment runoff. This has an adverse effect on habitats including those used for fish spawning. 

Find out more

Cabinet papers and related materials

Cabinet Paper: Action for healthy waterways – Decisions on national direction and regulations for freshwater management

Related publications

Regulatory impact statement - Action for healthy waterways part 1: Summary and overall impacts

Action for healthy waterways part 2: Detailed analysis (see pages 310 to 342)

For more information on the regulations contact:

Identifying low slope land

We want to work with primary sector groups and councils to practically identify how low-slope land can be better identified on the maps. This will help to target the places where stock exclusion is needed to improve the health of rivers, streams and wetlands.