View all publications

1    Introduction

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 (NPS-FM) requires regional councils and unitary authorities (referred to as ‘councils’) to identify freshwater management units (FMUs) for planning and managing fresh water.

This guidance provides councils with some practical considerations and principles for identifying FMUs to meet the requirements of the NPS-FM. It may also be of use to iwi and hapū, water users, or community members who are participating in a regional freshwater planning process.

This is a living document, and will be updated as experience identifying FMUs across New Zealand increases. It will also be updated to reflect any future amendments to the NPS-FM.

This document refers to other parts of the NPS-FM planning process that are pre-requisites to limit-setting (eg, identifying values, attributes and freshwater objectives) or will be influenced by limits (eg, methods to achieve limits). However, this guidance does not go into these parts of those processes in detail. For more information see ‘Other National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management guidance ’.  

Approach to the guidance

The NPS-FM does not mandate a single correct or preferred way to identify FMUs. Each FMU must reflect the unique circumstances of each region, as these circumstances will dictate what freshwater objectives and limits will be set within the FMU. This guide provides some general direction on matters that councils could take into account when identifying FMUs in their region.

Document structure

The guidance document is structured as follows:

  • Section 1 introduces the guidance and outlines the structure of the document
  • Section 2 explains what FMUs could be, and the relationship between FMUs and other requirements in the NPS-FM
  • Section 3 outlines matters councils should consider when identifying FMUs
  • The Appendix  provides a checklist of the matters outlined in Section 3.

Other National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management guidance

The Ministry for the Environment is producing guidance to support the implementation of the NPS-FM. The guidance provides varying levels of detail, grouped around the different parts of the freshwater planning process. The NPS-FM guidance section of the Ministry’s website provides a brief overview of what is involved at each part of the process, and links to more technical guidance
where available.

In addition, A Guide to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 provides more detailed information about the policy intent and requirements for each objective and policy of the NPS-FM, and explains the terms used in the NPS-FM and the relationship between the NPS-FM and other parts of the regulatory system.