Managing our Wetlands – A Discussion Document on proposed changes to the wetland regulations

Last updated: October 27, 2021

Environment & Infrastructure

Managing our Wetlands – A Discussion Document on proposed changes to the wetland regulations

Published: October 27, 2021

Stage: Ongoing

Priority: Medium

Submitting To: Ministry for the Environment (MfE)

Issue for Business: In 2020 Regulations on National Environmental Standards for Freshwater essentially prohibited earthworks on all 'natural wetlands' - the definition of which is extremely broad. This has resulted in the ability to undertake certain activities such as quarry and building being seriously jeopardised. After significant lobbying from BusinessNZ and other organisations, the Ministry for the Environment has released a Discussion Document which proposes a narrower definition of 'natural wetland' and has proposed that activities like quarrying and housing subdivisions near wetlands should have a consenting pathway as discretionary rather than prohibited activities.

Action: BusinessNZ has made a submission to MfE broadly supporting the proposed changes by MfE. However, BusinessNZ has outlined our view that the new regulations for wetlands should provide businesses with opportunity to seek consents without distinction between types of mineral mined, or types of mines or quarries being operated. In this respect, regulations should be about addressing activities' effects, not the activities themselves.

Outcome: Awaiting Government decisions

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