Proposed amendments

There are currently amendments being proposed to the low slope map which would include most of Chatham Island and large parts of Pitt Island on the map. The current map does not identify any land on the Islands as low slope land. The proposal would have a major impact on stock exclusion requirements. We will update this information when a decision has been made.

Stock activity can damage the bed and banks of our waterways. Dung, urine and sediment can also seriously impact water quality, the lives of animals living there and mahinga kai values.

New regulations under the Essential Freshwater package mean that stock must be kept at least three metres from our waterways.

This is being applied in a phased approach up to 1 July 2025.

The Stock Exclusion Regulations 2020(external link) apply to beef cattle, dairy cows, dairy support cows, pigs and deer, and are slightly different for each. The regulations do not apply to sheep or feral animals. The Chatham Islands Resource Management Document (CIRMD) also contains a policy to control stock access to waterbodies and must be considered alongside the new Essential Freshwater rules.

The dates by which each stock type must exclude from waterways are detailed below.

Key dates for beef cattle

  • 3 Sep 2020: Stock exclusion rules apply to new pastoral systems.
  • 1 July 2025: Stock exclusion rules apply to natural wetlands larger than 500m², on a low slope and any wetlands that support a population of threatened species.
  • 1 July 2025: Stock exclusion rules apply to stock on low slope land.

Rules for beef cattle

Rivers and lakes

  • 3 September 2020 – all new beef operations established on or after this date on low slope land must exclude stock from rivers and lakes.
  • 1 July 2025 – beef cattle on low slope land must be excluded from rivers and lakes.


  • 3 September 2020 – all new beef operations established on or after this date must exclude stock from wetlands.
  • 1 July 2025 – all beef farms must exclude stock from natural wetlands that support a threatened species or that are larger than 500m² on low slope land.

Note: the Chatham Islands may be identified as low slope land, although that is not yet decided.

Stock crossings

The stock crossing provisions only apply to stock that are required to be excluded from lakes and rivers.

Stock can cross lakes and rivers if they are supervised and actively driven across the waterbody. Stock cannot cross the same lake or river more than twice in any month.

Where stock will be crossing a river or lake more than twice in any month, a dedicated bridge or culvert must be installed. Under the CIRMD, structures in the beds of lakes and rivers are permitted activities in some circumstances.

In addition to these rules, you will also need to comply with the rules in the CIRMD.

Need help?

If you have any questions about the new Essential Freshwater regulations contact 03 3050 033.

More information

What are threatened species?

Threatened species means any indigenous species of flora or fauna that rely on waterbodies for at least part of its life cycle and meets the criteria for nationally critical, nationally endangered, or nationally vulnerable species in the New Zealand Threat Classification System Manual(external link).

What is a wetland?

The new Essential Freshwater regulations apply to natural wetlands as defined in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM)(external link). Artificially made wetlands, dams and drainage canals are not classed as wetlands under the new regulations.

Note: The NPS-FM definition of wetlands includes the bracken-dominated areas that are not protected under the CIRMD. As such, the NPS-FM requirements are more stringent than those currently in place on the Islands.