Monitoring and Operations Committee Agenda

NOTICE IS GIVEN that the next meeting of the Monitoring and Operations Committee will be held in the Mataatua Room, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, 5 Quay Street, Whakatāne on:

Tuesday 8 June 2021 COMMENCING AT 9.30 am

This meeting will be recorded.

The Public section of this meeting will be recorded and uploaded to Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s website.  Further details on this can be found after the Terms of Reference within the Agenda.


Fiona McTavish

Chief Executive, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana

28 May 2021



Monitoring and Operations Committee



Cr Kevin Winters

Deputy Chairperson

Cr Norm Bruning


All Councillors


Seven members, consisting of half the number of members

Meeting frequency



·                Oversee and monitor the implementation of policies and strategies, promoting effective delivery and coordination between policy and implementation through recommendations to the Strategy and Policy Committee.

·                Monitor the implementation of Council’s activities, projects and services.


Oversee and monitor:

·                Regulatory performance of permitted activities, resource consents and bylaw rules, including compliance and enforcement.

·                Delivery of biodiversity, catchment management and flood protection activities in the region.

·                Delivery of biosecurity activities, including implementation and monitoring of the Regional Pest Management Plan.

·                Effectiveness of navigation safety bylaw responses.

·                State of the Environment monitoring.

·                Implementation of specific programmes in place such as the Mount Maunganui Industrial Air Programme, and integrated catchment programmes (e.g. Rotorua Lakes and Tauranga Moana).

·                Receive information on environmental monitoring and performance monitoring trends and recommend to the Strategy and Policy Committee to inform policy review.

·                Monitor Council’s actions on Climate Change.

·                Operational activities that implement relevant national and regional plans and strategies, including:

§  science

§  flood protection

§  biosecurity

§  catchment management

§  rivers and drainage

§  compliance, monitoring and enforcement

§  resource consents

§  maritime

Power to Act

To make all decisions necessary to fulfil the role and scope of the committee subject to the limitations imposed.

The Monitoring and Operations Committee is not delegated authority to:

·                Develop, adopt or review strategic policy and strategy.

·                Approve Council submissions on legislation, policy, regulations, standards, plans and other instruments prepared by Central Government, Local Government and other organisations.

·                Identify, monitor and evaluate necessary actions by the organisation and other relevant organisations under co-governance arrangements.

Power to Recommend

To the Strategy and Policy Committee on matters necessary for reviewing plans, strategies and policies.

To Council and/or any standing committee as it deems appropriate.


Recording of Meetings

Please note the Public section of this meeting is being recorded and will be uploaded to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s website in accordance with Council's Live Streaming and Recording of Meetings Protocols which can be viewed on Council’s website. The recording will be archived and made publicly available on Council's website within two working days after the meeting on for a period of three years (or as otherwise agreed to by Council).

All care is taken to maintain your privacy; however, as a visitor in the public gallery or as a participant at the meeting, your presence may be recorded. By remaining in the public gallery, it is understood your consent is given if your image is inadvertently broadcast.

Opinions expressed or statements made by individual persons during a meeting are not the opinions or statements of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Council accepts no liability for any opinions or statements made during a meeting.


Bay of Plenty Regional Council - Toi Moana

Governance Commitment

mō te taiao, mō ngā tāngata - our environment and our people go hand-in-hand.



We provide excellent governance when, individually and collectively, we:

·        Trust and respect each other

·        Stay strategic and focused

·        Are courageous and challenge the status quo in all we do

·        Listen to our stakeholders and value their input

·        Listen to each other to understand various perspectives

·        Act as a team who can challenge, change and add value

·        Continually evaluate what we do




Monitoring and Operations Committee                                                                             8 June 2021

Recommendations in reports are not to be construed as Council policy until adopted by Council.


1.       Apologies

2.       Public Forum

3.       Items not on the Agenda

4.       Order of Business

5.       Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

6.       Public Excluded Business to be Transferred into the Open

7.       Minutes

Minutes to be Confirmed

7.1      Monitoring and Operations Committee Minutes - 9 March 2021         1

8.       Reports

8.1      Chairperson's Report                                                                               1

Information Only

8.2      Mount Maunganui Industrial Airshed Update                                        1

Attachment 1 - Mount Maunganui Airshed PM10 Exceedances to May 2021              1

Attachment 2 - Mount Maunganu Air Quality Working Party Meeting Minutes - Tuesday, 18 May 2021                                                                                                          1

8.3      Rotorua Catchments Update                                                                  1

Attachment 1 - 2021 - 2022 Annual Work Plan                                                                1

Attachment 2 - Three Year Plan                                                                                         1

8.4      Land Management Focus Catchment Update: Waitao (Kaiate Falls) and Upper Rangitāiki                                                                                      1

9.       Public Excluded Section

Resolution to exclude the public

Excludes the public from the following parts of the proceedings of this meeting as set out below:

The general subject of each matter to be considered while the public is excluded, the reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter, and the specific grounds under section 48(1) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 for the passing of this resolution are as follows:

Item No.

Subject of each matter to be considered

Reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter

Grounds under Section 48(1) for the passing of this resolution

When the item can be released into the public


Kopeopeo Canal West Investigations

Withholding the information is necessary to protect the privacy of natural persons, including that of deceased natural persons.

48(1)(a)(i) Section 7 (2)(a).

On the Chief Executive's approval.


Public Excluded Presentations

9.1      Kopeopeo Canal West Investigations

10.     Public Excluded Business to be Transferred into the Open

11.     Readmit the Public

12.     Consideration of Items not on the Agenda

Monitoring and Operations Committee Minutes

9 March 2021


Monitoring and Operations Committee

Open Minutes

Commencing:             Tuesday 9 March 2021, 9:30 am

Venue:                         Council Chambers, Regional House, 1 Elizabeth Street, Tauranga

Chairperson:               Cr Kevin Winters

Deputy Chairperson:  Cr Norm Bruning

Members:                    Cr Bill Clark

Cr Stuart Crosby

Cr Toi Kai Rākau Iti

Cr David Love

Cr Matemoana McDonald

Cr Jane Nees

Cr Stacey Rose

Cr Paula Thompson

Cr Lyall Thurston

Cr Te Taru White

In Attendance:            Sarah Omundsen – General Manager Regulatory, Chris Ingle – General Manager Integrated Catchments, Fiona McTavish – Chief Executive, Shari Kameta – Committee Advisor, Sanjana France and Melissa Williams – Communications Partners, External and staff presenters as listed in the minutes.

Apologies:                  Chairman Doug Leeder

Cr Andrew von Dadelszen

Cr Paula Thompson (late arrival)

Cr Stacey Rose (late arrival)


Declaration of Public Recording


The Committee Chair reminded members and the public that the public section of the meeting was being recorded and would be made available on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council website following the meeting and archived for a period of three years as noted on page 4 of the agenda.

1.     Apologies


That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Accepts the apologies from Chairman Doug Leeder, Cr Andrew von Dadelszen, and Cr Paula Thompson and Cr Stacey Rose for late arrival tendered at the meeting.



2.     Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

None declared.

3.     Minutes

Minutes to be Confirmed


Monitoring and Operations Committee Minutes - 15 December 2020



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Confirms the Monitoring and Operations Committee Minutes - 15 December 2020 as a true and correct record.



4.     Presentations


Site Upgrades and Environmental Improvements at Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd

Presentation - Ballance Agri-Nutrients Mount Operations: Objective ID A3760600

Presented by: Charlie Bourne - Operations Manager, Dominic Adams – National Environmental Manager, Shane Dufaur - General Manager Operations & Supply Chain


Key Points:

·    Ballance's Mount Maunganui site had operated since 1958 in the manufacture of superphosphate fertiliser, employing a large and multi-generational workforce.

·    A long-term view was taken to control and reduce environmental impacts and risks via ISO accreditation, Ballance Production System (BPS), on site investment and operational improvements.

·    Resource consents were held for discharges to air, stormwater, wastewater and ground soakage, supported by real-time compliance monitoring.

·    Illustrated long-term trends in acid stack SO2 emission reduction after NES exceedances in 2016 and following operational and capital investment. As a result of these reductions, Ballance had elected to lower their consent limit from 90 kgSO2/hr to 40 kgSO2/hr.

·    Outlined PM10 and SO2 monitoring location sites and the percentage of fertiliser dust (16%-32%) from the site to improve existing ambient air quality issues. PM10 monitoring provided real-time alerts to track and identify risks of any potential exceedances that may arise.

·    Outlined key improvement activities and capital investments scheduled to be completed by end of May 2021 to maintain and reduce dust emissions on site to guide investment priorities.

9.44 am – Cr Rose entered the meeting.

9.46 am and 9.47 am – Cr Thompson and Cr Iti entered the meeting.

·    A significant driver for Ballance was for its employees to take pride in the company, with open days planned to raise awareness of site operations.

·    Noted the emphasis being placed on understanding and facing the company’s environmental issues and community’s views, as Ballance was a part of the community and vital part of enabling New Zealand’s economy.

In Response to Questions:

·    Dust mitigation onsite included suspending relevant activity (i.e. truck movements and deliveries) and undertaking truck wash downs before leaving the site.

·    Notification was provided to Whareroa Marae’s representative when dust exceedances arose.

·    PM10 monitoring data could be made available to Council and community.

·    Onsite stormwater was treated to a neutral pH level before it was discharged into the harbour. A 20 year study on harbour health had been completed and the report would be available on Ballance’s website.

·    Regarding social licence to operate, all necessary steps were being taken to ensure a safe environment for Ballance’s workforce and to lessen and mitigate impacts on the community and residential neighbours, particularly Whareroa Marae.

·    Ballance had formed a community council for its site, where representation was invited from Whareroa Marae and others in the community. Interactions from other community groups was also welcomed.

·    Ballance was a member of the Mt Maunganui Air Quality Working Party.

Key Points - Members:

·    Pleased with the steps being taken by Ballance to reduce dust emissions.

·    Acknowledged the business was a key part of the economy.

·    Impressed the need for social responsibility by all parties.



Bay Conservation Alliance

Presentation - Bay Conservation Alliance - Nature education update: Objective ID A3760636   

Presented by: Michelle Elborn, Chief Executive supported by Julian Fitter, Board Chairman


Ms Elborn gave a presentation on Bay Conservation Alliance’s (BCA) educational activities, and funding providers and partnerships that supported their activities.

Key Points:

·    Council’s Community Initiative Funding (CIF) had enabled delivery of a new nature education programme to 10 schools, and coordination of BCA’s membership sites at Aongatete Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park and Ōtānewainuku with the Kiwi Trust.

·    COVID-19 had significantly impacted the programme last year, but BCA was back on track to deliver to 1300 students in the 2020/21 financial year.

·    Focus had moved to college level students to encourage skill development, career pathways and volunteer opportunities.

·    BCA was working to partner with other education providers to support a Mountains to Sea focus.

·    Council’s Environmental Enhancement Funding (EEF) had supported a new education trapping site at Oteora.

·    Bay Conservation Cadets (Tauira Mahi) was a 5 year programme that had gained Government Jobs for Nature funding to grow skills and employment opportunities for cadets.

·    BCA had partnered with Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd to support pest management, as an opportunity to engage corporate volunteer support.

·    Funding had been secured for two years from Department of Conservation (DOC) to support a trial being undertaken on regional conservation hubs.

·    The BCA team had grown to support increased membership and activity.

·    BCA wished to partner with Council and DOC on larger projects and would be lodging a submission to Council’s Long Term Plan.

·    BCA would be reviewing its strategic plan to re-evaluate its purpose and needs in the current changing environment.

In Response to Questions:

·    Participation with iwi was an area that BCA wished to grow and support through its membership, which would be a focus in its strategic plan review.

·    BCA were interested in exploring appropriate models for rangatahi.

·    Cadetships were open to students aged from 18 years of age.

·    BCA had sought partnerships with local polytechnics and universities in the region however uptake had not been forthcoming.

·    Expanding relationships in the Eastern Bay and Rotorua was an aspiration which would be explored with the support of new team members.

Key Points - Members:

·    Connecting with iwi and hapū were important and provided a significant opportunity.

·    Supported the work of BCA and looked forward to their submission.



Update on catfish, aquatic pests and wallabies

Presentation - Catfish & other pests update: Objective ID A3760604   

Presented by: Greg Corbett, Biosecurity Manager


Key Points:

·    The new Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) provided stronger and clearer rules for the spread of aquatic pest fish and weeds.

·    Te Arawa Lakes Trust (TALT) staff were now trained and authorised to carry out RPMP compliance and inspections across the Rotorua Lakes.

·    99% compliance had been achieved for boat and trailer inspections and 28% compliance for self-certification.

·    Catfish capture rates were higher than previous years, with further intensive netting to occur in April 2021.

·    Highlighted the success of the Catfish Killas programme which had been awarded for its outstanding bi-cultural leadership.

·    Provided catfish research results to date for pheromone bait, environmental DNA, brown trout, koura impacts and acoustic tracking.

·    NIWA’s early trials on sterile male biocontrol needed further research.

·    LINZ were scaling up its lake weed control in 2020/21, and monitoring to date had identified the success of diquat at Lake Ōkataina, with results due and further trials of endothal to be carried out in autumn.

·    Outlined focus areas for wallaby surveillance and control that was occurring through October 2020-September 2021, and the national led programme of work to support iwi and community initiatives.

·    Drone surveillance and thermal imaging was being trialled with Interpine Innovation, with discussions occurring to explore technologies to carry out targeted baiting using drones.

·    Funding to develop an online app for boat self-certification was being investigated.

In Response to Questions:

·    Numbers of wallabies shot could be collated, however it was not possible to identify numbers poisoned.

·    Use of long finned eel as a control posed a potential threat to koura.

·    Checking vessels for ballast and weeds was a part of self-certification.

·    A video clip for self-certification was being created to assist boat owners.

Key Points - Members:

·    Social and cultural connections were having a significant positive impact.

·    Further communication with the community was needed on wallaby eradication and control.


Items for Staff Follow Up:

·    Request that boat self-certification forms are made available on Council’s website.


11.07 am – the meeting adjourned.


11.26 am – the meeting reconvened.

5.     Reports


Chairperson's Report

Presented by: Chair - Cr Kevin Winters

In Response to Questions:

·    Deployment of a dive buoy at the Rena wreck by the local dive club was delayed by the COVID-19 Level 3 lockdown in Auckland but would be completed by the end of March.

·    Council was trying to keep in front of data and technology advancements to gather rapid real-time information for input and output.

Key Points - Members:

·    Queried whether more targeted probing, investment and analysis was needed to improve and understand customer service satisfaction.

·    A presentation to the Risk and Assurance (R&A) Committee meeting on 4 March 2021 had discussed the advanced state of Council’s technology.

·    The R&A Committee Chair met regularly with staff to receive updates and could report back to Council regarding these matters.

Items for Staff Follow-Up:

·    Requested a further breakdown and analysis of the reasons for customer dissatisfaction within resource consent snapshot reporting.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Chairperson's Report.



Decisions Required


2020 - 2021 Operational Plan for the Bay of Plenty Regional Pest Management Plan

Presented by: Greg Corbett, Biosecurity Manager

Key Points:

·    Council was responsible for developing an operational plan for the newly operative Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP), for which approval was being sought today.

·    The new RPMP and operational plan would be available on Council’s website and copies made available on request.

In Response to Questions:

·    An Environment Court decision on Royal Forest & Bird Society’s appeal would determine if new provisions would be added to the RPMP.

·    Wild kiwifruit could not be eradicated, however the intention would be to systematically move through areas of infestation on a continuous cycle, which would take a number of years.

·    Staff had engaged with Manaaki Te Awanui to monitor Asian paddle crabs in the Tauranga Moana harbour.

Items for Staff Follow-Up:

·    Requested participation with Council’s iwi partners and care groups for the monitoring of Asian paddle crabs in the Ōhiwa harbour.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, 2020 - 2021 Operational Plan for the Bay of Plenty Regional Pest Management Plan.

2        Notes that staff considered Council’s Pest Management Strategic Direction, draft Long Term Plan 2021 – 2031 and the Bay of Plenty Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030 in the preparation of the Operational Plan.

3        Approves the 2020-2021 Operational Plan for the Bay of Plenty Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030.



Information Only


Outline of Region-Wide Marae Wastewater Project

Presented by: Alex Miller, Compliance Manager – Primary Industry & Enforcement

Key Points:

·    The Tauranga Moana Marae OSET pilot project had expanded to a project for marae in the Western Bay sub-region.

·    Staff proposed to progress similar projects in other districts as follows:

o Organise engagement meetings with district councils and iwi on a district-by-district basis to seek what level they wish to be involved.

o The project would be marae-centric focused.

o Tailor an engagement strategy for engagement with marae/hapū trustees.

·    Staff would report back to this committee on engagement outcomes and resourcing requirements to progress the project.

Key Points - Members:

·    Acknowledged Western Bay of Plenty District Council for their work and treatment of the Marae OSET project, including their ability to access Crown funding to contribute to improving their wider community.

·    Discussions with Territorial Local Authorities (TLAs) should highlight the need for TLAs to take a role in the project.

·    Recommended initial discussions with TLAs and Iwi occur simultaneously with marae to ensure better participation and feedback from marae.

·    Suggested utilising independent contractors to facilitate initial discussions with marae, while staff held discussions with TLAs.


Items for Staff Follow Up:

·    Provide a future update to Komiti Maori on the project’s commencement.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Outline of Region-Wide Marae Wastewater Project.

2        Commended the Tauranga Moana marae and the Territorial Local Authorities for their work and efforts.





Mount Maunganui Industrial Airshed update

Tabled Document 1 - Mount Maunganui Air Quality Working Party Minutes and Appendices 3 March 2021: Objective ID A3752060 

Presentation - Genera Port of Tauranga methyl bromide fumigation boundary map: Objective ID A3760589   

Presented by: Stephen Mellor, Compliance Manager – Urban, Industry & Response, and David Ede, Senior Regulatory Compliance Officer

It is noted that the Mount Maunganui Air Quality Working Party Minutes 3 March 2021 were pre-circulated and made available at the meeting (refer Tabled Document 1).

Key Points:

·    Outlined Genera’s previous site for methyl bromide fumigation, which had been disestablished on 1 January for safety and practicality reasons, and the new fumigation site along the Port edge (refer presentation map).

In Response to Questions:

·    Methyl bromide did not pose a risk to water, as it was released to air.

·    The new fumigation site provided further separation from the public, which was a further distance than the 100 metre boundary limit of the consent.

·    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was in the process of considering modelling for boundaries on all fumigation activities, and Council would look closely at the EPA’s decision to guide Council’s own decision making.

·    Staff were working with Genera to formulate a plan on areas where fumigation can occur, and saw value in establishing dedicated zones and limited access that provide a safety buffer.

Key Points - Members:

·    Boundary and dispersion modelling for fumigation would be critical.

12.00 pm – Cr Rose withdrew from the meeting.

Point of Order

A point of order was raised, and accepted by the Chair, regarding a misrepresentation in a statement made by a member.

12.05 pm – Cr Love withdrew from the meeting.


Items for Staff Follow Up:

·    Councillors requested advice regarding the selection of Commissioner appointments for Genera’s resource consent hearing.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Mount Maunganui Industrial Airshed update.





Climate Change Programme Update

Presented by: Laverne Mason – Integrated Catchments Programme Manager and Chris Ingle – General Manager Integrated Catchments

In Response to Questions:

·    Focus to date was to prepare Council’s climate change position statement for Long Term Plan (LTP) consultation, where responses would feed into an updated Action Plan.

·    Clarified the inter-connection between the Climate Change Action Plan and work programme.

Key Points - Members:

·    Pleased with the enhanced reporting and focus on adaptation.

·    Would like some stretch in climate change thinking.

·    LGNZ had commenced an initiative in New Plymouth and Queenstown to trial developing and measuring a climate mitigation plan.

·    Wished to see an updated Action Plan following Council’s Long Term Plan consultation process, and to have a clear programme of actions being taken across the region to share with the community.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Climate Change Programme Update.





Customer Service Performance

Presented by: Rachael Burgess – Customer Contact Manager

Key Points:

·    The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system had been in place for seven months and was achieving 97% resolution at first point of contact.

·    Summarised work programme improvements, key contact centre highlights and current focus of monitoring and measuring delivery methods to interrogate data to improve customer service performance.

In Response to Questions:

·    Service calls that were previously managed externally were now in-house.

·    The cross-organisation Customer Collaborative Network would address trends in customer service performance across core activities.

·    Council was a member of the Antenno mobile app, which the public could use to report issues, provide feedback and receive notifications, as well as the option of using the online feedback form on Council’s website.

·    An online app tool was being investigated specifically for logging pollution prevention issues and complaints.

·    Steps were in progress to embed the CRM across the organisation.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Customer Service Performance.





Update on Kaimai Mamaku projects

Presented by: Pim de Monchy – Coastal Catchments Manager

Key Points:

·    Noted Council’s co-funded work to date with the Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust (MKMT), Department of Conservation (DoC) and Waikato Regional Council, and formation of an environmental programme agreement.

·    Highlighted MKMT’s success in attaining $19M Jobs for Nature funding, which three projects had been approved for commencement so far.

In Response to Questions:

·    While no official target had been set to eradicate goat populations, DoC’s aim was to reduce goat density on average by 0.5 goats per hunter day of effort during a sustained hunting period.

·    A key principle of the MKMT programme was that decisions, such as the method of pest control would be made at a community-restoration hub level.

Key Points - Members:

·    Jobs for Nature funding would span the next four years, working closely with DoC and MKMT to enhance the concept of mountains to the sea.

·    Engagement and employment of Iwi, and collaboration with other agencies and the community would be key to the project.

·    Recognised the work of staff and Cr Bruning in regard to the level of governance achieved by the programme.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Update on Kaimai Mamaku projects.




12:45 pm – the meeting adjourned.


1:15 pm – the meeting reconvened.




Environmental Code of Practice for Rivers & Drainage Maintenance Activities - 2020 Annual Review

Presented by:  Chris Ingle – General Manager Integrated Catchments

Key Points:

·    The annual performance review of the Environmental Code of Practice was a key requirement of Rivers & Drainage maintenance activities, under the permitted activity rule.

·    Eight written complaints had been lodged over 1,200 activities

·    A key aspect for staff was to resolve complaints as they arise and prevent any recurrences.

1:17 pm – Cr Nees withdrew from the meeting.

1.19 pm – Cr Iti entered the meeting.

In Response to Questions:

·    Main issues of complaint related to minor work, with a few uncertainties experienced regarding who had mana whenua over a particular area of a riverbed.

·    Issues that arose were worked through with the community and/or affected parties, and in consideration of any immediate risk to life and property.

1:22 pm – Cr Nees entered the meeting.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Environmental Code of Practice for Rivers & Drainage Maintenance Activities - 2020 Annual Review.





New Environmental Publications - Sea Lettuce Monitoring in Tauranga Harbour and Whitebait Spawning Zones in the Bay of Plenty

Presentation - Sea lettuce research and monitoring in Tauranga Harbour 2020: Objective ID A3760611 

Presentation - Identification of whitebait spawning zones in the Bay of Plenty: Objective ID A3760612   

Presented by: Josie Crawshaw – Environmental Scientist, Alastair Suren – Senior Environmental Scientist, supported by Rob Donald – Science Manager

Key Points:

Presentation - Sea Lettuce Monitoring in Tauranga Harbour

·    The environmental publication provided an update on research and monitoring of sea lettuce dynamics in Tauranga Harbour.

·    Large blooms had significantly reduced in recent times, with seasonal peaks during spring-summer.

·    Spatial mapping identified major hotspots and red algae species appearing in the northern harbour.

·    Noted seasonal relationship between water quality and sea lettuce tissue nutrients.

·    El nino years remained the highest risk for blooms due to increased nutrient rich groundwater inputs, coastal upwelling events and greater harbour residence.

·    Drivers of future blooms would likely include a mix of nutrient rich groundwater combined with river inputs, high light and suitable temperatures.

·    Climate change may reduce bloom periods or potentially change seasonality of peak growth.

·    Core management reduction would be to reduce potential nutrient inputs, which modelling was underway as part of NPS-FM.

In Response to Questions:

·    Modelling would provide further understanding of natural and nutrient input volumes that were going into the harbour.

·    Isotope testing could be used to trace point source pollutants.

·    Urbanisation was typically not responsible for nutrient inputs, but rather  for heavy metals during construction and within sedimentation.

·    Management of stormwater was managed by Tauranga City Council’s comprehensive stormwater consent. Monitoring information was made available to Council. A 5-year stormwater comprehensive monitoring report had been released and was received by the Tauranga Moana Advisory Group.

Key Points - Members:

·    Raised the need for better land management practices and consideration of the impacts from stormwater and urban growth.

Presentation - Whitebait Spawning Zones in the Bay of Plenty

Key Points - Staff:

·    Whitebait was culturally and recreationally important however there was a growing concern of the conservation status of whitebait inanga. 

·    Spawning habitat varied according to river and tidal flows and could be easily destroyed by rip-rap installation, spraying, mowing and grazing.

·    Council’s policies to protect specific whitebait and spawning sites only represented known spawning points in a few rivers and often did not consider the need for long-term protection.

·    Study aims were to identify potential whitebait spawning zones, quantify habitat conditions, loss of habitat from land activities, and to predict spawning zones to produce better rules, as part of the NPS-FM process.

·    Salt wedge survey results undertaken in 19 rivers had identified spawning zones, influence on flow zones and habitat suitability

·    GIS modelling analysis had identified a further 92 streams for potential inclusion in the regional plan.

·    Modelling indicated a significant percentage of spawning areas lost from historic river straightening, loss of wetland areas and control structures.

·    Noted the potential to modify tidal gates and pump stations to enable further spawning habitat, and that work is underway on this.

·    Highlighted the success of new inanga ponds and spawning habitat created in the river berm along the Whakatāne river by rivers and drainage staff, noting other habitat developed in the Tarawera and Kaituna rivers.

Key Points - Members:

·    Commended staff on the work being actively carried out.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, New Environmental Publications - Sea Lettuce Monitoring in Tauranga Harbour and Whitebait Spawning Zones in the Bay of Plenty.



6.     Public Excluded Section


Resolution to exclude the public

1        Excludes the public from the following parts of the proceedings of this meeting as set out below:

The general subject of each matter to be considered while the public is excluded, the reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter, and the specific grounds under section 48(1) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 for the passing of this resolution are as follows:

Item No.

Subject of each matter to be considered

Reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter

Grounds under Section 48(1) for the passing of this resolution

When the item can be released into the public


Public Excluded Monitoring and Operations Committee Minutes - 15 December 2020

As noted in the relevant Minutes.

As noted in the relevant Minutes.

To remain in public excluded.



7.     Public Excluded Business Transferred into the Open

Item 10.1 - Public Excluded Monitoring and Operations Committee Minutes - 15 December 2020

It is noted that the only business transacted in the public excluded section of the meeting was to confirm the Public Excluded Monitoring and Operations Committee Minutes - 15 December 2020.

2:09 pm – the meeting closed.




                                                                                                                                   Cr Kevin Winters

Chairperson, Monitoring and Operations Committee




Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

8 June 2021

Report Authoriser:

Sarah Omundsen, General Manager Regulatory Services



Chairperson's Report


Executive Summary

This report provides an update on key matters of interest for Monitoring and Operations Committee members including implementation of the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater, the 2020/21 water shortage event and the Tauranga Moana OSET project.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Chairperson's Report.


1.        Purpose

This report provides an update on key matters of interest for Monitoring and Operations Committee members.


2.        Matters of potential interest

2.1      National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NESF) and S360 Regulations: update

Council staff continue to roll out the NESF and Section 360 provisions as prescribed in the legislation.

The provisions for natural wetland protection, barriers to fish passage and some provisions for feedlots, land use Intensification and stock exclusion (for new areas of farm land) came into force on the 3rd September 2020. Further requirements are phased in over the next 5 years, with progress on those about to be implemented provided below.

2.1.1    Intensive Winter Grazing

Since the last report, the Government has reset the dates for compliance with the Intensive Winter Grazing (IWG) rules by one year to May 2022 while it reconsiders the practicality of some of the requirements, especially in Southern parts of the country. In the interim farmers are not allowed to increase the area used for IWG above the maximum in the period 2014-2019.

Central Government has laid out its expectations for both farmers and Regional Councils during this one year delay. In particular for Council, Government expects us to establish an inventory of IWG within our region, ensure there isn’t any expansion and work with farmers to ensure environmental effects are reduced. The Government has also produced an IWG Farm Plan module for trialling that could fit within an overarching Freshwater Farm Plan in future.

Staff have commenced the development of an inventory of existing IWG using our databases and corporate memory. This will be further refined using on the ground information from LMO’s, satellite imagery, and aerial photography. While most of the IWG in our region is associated with dairy farming there are also some large areas on dry stock farms (e.g. Lochinvar Station has 700 ha).

Once the government finalises the IWG requirements we will be able to connect with the farmers with IWG and undertake compliance assessments in future years.

2.1.2    Feedlots and Stockholding Areas

The NESF provisions relating to stockholding areas comes into force on 1 July 2021. Council is not aware of any feedlots in our region, however the majority of dairy farmers will have some form of stockholding area for feeding out, usually associated with the dairy shed. 

While the NESF does contain Permitted Activity rules, many farms are unlikely to meet the strict base material permeability requirements and/or the requirement for separation from watercourses.  The NESF does allow for consenting of circumstances that do not meet the Permitted Activity requirements. Staff will be working with farmers to determine options for upgrading or consenting. With more than 600 dairy farms in the region this process will take some time.

2.1.3    Synthetic Nitrogen Fertiliser Cap

The cap on Synthetic Nitrogen Fertiliser (SNF) of 190 kgN/ha/year comes into force on 1 July 2021. From this date farmers will need to keep within the cap or apply for a consent.  In addition all dairy farmers must provide records of SNF use annually to the Regional Council.  From July 2022 Council must collect SNF use data and follow up on those farmers who haven’t provided the required information.

There is considerable work being undertaken nationally to develop a streamlined system for entering and storing the information so that it can be reported back to MfE. We will continue to assess the most cost effective method for storing the data while providing consistency with other Councils.

2.1.4    Overall

As the new provisions come into force our consents, compliance and LMO staff are seeing an increase in queries, however we haven’t yet seen a surge in consent applications.  The wetland provisions in the NESF are resulting in a significant extra workload for our science staff assessing what is (or isn’t) captured by the definition of “Wetland” in the NESF. This information assists our consent planners dealing with consent applications.

We have been engaging with farming organisations such as Federated Farmers, Beef and Lamb, Dairy NZ and the Dairy Companies that operate in the Bay of Plenty, to try to ensure we are providing consistent messaging out to the farming community. We have also been meeting with interested community groups, farm discussion groups and agricultural consultants to ensure we stay current with concerns and tailor our advisory material accordingly. 

As previously advised our approach remains:

a)     Provision of advice and support in terms of understanding the new requirements on request from the community;

b)     Proactively advise the community that the new provisions are in force and where they can get help to answer any questions;

c)     Carefully assess any new consent applications that are lodged to see if they are impacted by the new provisions.

Council officers continue to be actively involved in the development of Freshwater Farm Plans at and inter-regional and national level. Their implementation has been delayed awaiting the development of systems and advisory materials necessary for their implementation, which we are supporting. Our understanding is that Farm Plans will not be available as a tool until 2022 at the earliest, which means that in the interim some farmers will need to go through a consenting process for activities that were potentially covered by a Farm Plan.  

2.2      Water shortage event update 2020/21

Conditions have been fairly dry across the Bay of Plenty since the last committee update in March 2021.

The mid-March low pressure systems, predicted to bring heavy rain events across the Bay of Plenty, did not eventuate. The exception was an isolated system that affected the Whakatāne and Waioeka/Otara catchments. This has meant that the Year-to-Date rainfall figures show a continuing dry signal across the western, inland central and far eastern areas of the region.

Waterways in the Level 2 Focus Zone (i.e. with their headwaters to the west-southwest of Lake Rotorua) are still low. Rainfall figures for some of the monitoring sites in the Focus Zone are as low as 55% of the normal Year-to-Date totals (as at the end of April 2021). Some of the stream’s base flows in the Focus Zone are continuing to decline, with little sustained response to any rainfall in the catchment.

An example of the base flow decline is illustrated below in the 3-Year hydrograph for the Paraiti (Mangorewa) River. This river continues to regularly flow at less than the Q57day low flow.

As a result of the continued low flows, below average rainfall in the Focus Zone catchments, and forecasts predicting dry spells will continuing over the next three months, staff have elected to keep the Level 2 Focus Zone in place for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, at this time of year streams are generally not under abstraction pressure due to cooler temperatures and increasing soil moisture. However the cooler and clearer days can elevate the need for frost water. Frost events generally require larger volumes of water over short durations.

2.2.1    Groundwater

The extended rainfall deficit across the Bay of Plenty has resulted in some measured and visible effects on groundwater levels in the region. There have been the occasional report of shallow wells drying up and small springs ceasing to flow. This does not mean that the water levels in aquifers are dropping to unsustainable levels, as they have a lot of storage capacity.

Groundwater levels respond to two main factors – recharge, and the amount of water abstracted from the system. Levels respond almost instantaneously to pumping in the aquifers but respond to recharge in a slower timeframe. Therefore, unlike surface water systems, the lag times and the impact of cumulative use can make interpretation of groundwater levels difficult, hence why analysing long term levels and trends is important.

If rainfall returns to normal or above normal levels, it is likely that recharge will increase and groundwater levels will rise, as both water use decreases and recharge increases. However if rainfall deficit continues, and water abstraction remains high, groundwater levels would be expected to continue dropping.

Staff will continue to monitor groundwater trends and will use the information to inform future water shortage management decisions.

2.2.2    Municipal Water in the Level 2 Focus Zone

Throughout the summer period, staff have been in regular contact with both the Tauranga City Council and Rotorua Lakes Council. Both of these Council’s abstract their municipal supplies from springs or streams in their district and several of these water sources are in the Level 2 Focus Zone.

Tauranga City Council has recently extended its city wide sprinkler restrictions, which is unprecedented for the City. They source their water supply from two spring-fed streams within the region – the Tautau and the Waiorohi. Both streams have experienced declining base flows, on the back of three dry summers. Although an additional source (the Waiāri Stream) will eventually alleviate some of the pressure on the municipal supply, this will not come online until later in 2022.

The City Council have been putting out regular media releases reminding public to conserve water. Through their messaging they are alerting the public to the fact that the current restrictions are not due to plant capacity, but are in place to help protect stream health.

Rotorua Lakes Council have not experienced any significant challenges during the summer of 2020/21. Abstraction volumes were lower than the previous summer across all of their central water sources, due to less consumer demand. Peak summer demand decreased sharply by the end of February. As a result, they did not introduce further water conservation measures across their district.

The Lakes Council have advised that stream flow monitoring on two of their main water supply sources has not raised any immediate concerns around stream flow depletion.

2.2.3    Kiwifruit sector feedback

NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated were contacted to provide general feedback on how their growers found the 2020/21 season. They reported that generally their growers commented that the season was very dry but they were helped by the March rains. Overall, they reported that soil moisture levels were well below normal on many orchards. The dry conditions resulted in taste and size of kiwifruit being compromised for those who do not irrigate. For those that did irrigate, orchardists commented that irrigation happened earlier and more frequent than last season. Overall indications are that yields and fruit quality were improved on last year.

2.2.4    Review of the March 2020 Standard Operating Procedure

The Water Shortage Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and associated Delegation, adopted by Council in March 2020, is now due for review. The Chief Executive’s delegation to issue a Water Shortage Direction lapses at the end of June 2021. Learnings from the last 18 months will be incorporated into a revised SOP, which will be presented to the August Strategy and Policy committee for consideration and adoption.

It is anticipated that the NPSFM and subsequent Natural Resources Plan review, will incorporate clear policy and procedures for managing water shortage events into the future.

2.3      Tauranga Marae OSET project update

As previously reported to this Committee, Tauranga City Council has resolved to connect all remaining Tauranga City Marae to reticulation, and infrastructure planning and consultation is well underway.

Significant progress has also been made in the Western Bay of Plenty District, particularly as Western Bay of Plenty District Council have secured Central Government funding for a number of projects, including a specific project to address Marae wastewater infrastructure across the entire Western Bay District (ie. not just Tauranga Moana). This project includes implementation, and funding is contingent on infrastructure being installed by March 2022.

The District Council intend to provide reticulation for a number of Marae where connection is viable, and have engaged a project manager to progress this. For those which reticulation is not a practicable option, they engaged Trisha Simonson and Frances Tinakore-Curtis to continue working with Marae and design suitable OSET systems, with installation to follow where appropriate. Given the tight deadline, they have subsequently engaged another designer, Alan Woodger, to progress designs for Marae in the Eastern part of the District.

Regional Council has committed to processing the resource applications for the on-site wastewater system systems free of charge, and is continuing to work closely with the District Council to assist in the project going forward. Regional Council have also agreed to waive annual fees as an extra incentive and have committed to reviewing the s36 charges policy with respect to Marae compliance charges.

A risk assessment to identify the needs of all Western Bay Marae was completed to ensure those who are in most need receive assistance first.  The District Council has approved the connection of Tutereinga and Pututerangi Marae to the Ōmokoroa Pipeline, as well as the connection of Te Reratukahia Marae and houses on the ring road to the Katikati Wastewater Treatment Plant.The District Council’s contractors commenced construction on the pipework to connect Makahae Marae to the Te Puke Wastewater Treatment Plant at the end of April.

The first on-site wastewater system for Tawhitinui Marae has gained resource consent and installation commenced on the 14th of May. The resource consent applications for the next two systems (Te Rangihouhiri & Te Kutaroa Marae (Matakana Island)) have been lodged.

2.4      Funding opportunities

2.4.1    Provincial Growth Fund

PGF regional dashboards have not been updated by the Provincial Development Unit since November 2020, and at that stage there were 130 Provincial Growth Fund projects in the Bay of Plenty, with a total value of $444m. 74 of these projects were already underway.

2.4.2    Jobs for Nature update

Last year Regional Council successfully won a Jobs for Nature funding bid from the Ministry for the Environment which provides the Council with $3M over two years to accelerate our focus catchments work that strives to improve water quality in those catchments, principally through fencing and planting of stream margins.

Staff in the Integrated Catchments teams have been busy this year working with landowners to get this work happening on the ground. So far we can report the following:

•    A total of 33.2 km of new fencing work has already been installed, representing 40% of the MfE Deed of Funding Year 1 plan target of 87 km;

•    Over 23,000 native plants have been established, representing around 10% of the MfE Deed of Funding Year 1 plan target of 225,000 plants (the winter planting season has only just commenced);

•    $1.5 million of the $3 million available from MfE (50%) has been allocated via landowner Environmental Plans. The remaining funds are in draft landowner Plans still under negotiation, but due for signoff by the end of 2021.

The project is considered to be on track at this stage and despite some initial administrative delays, MfE is satisfied with progress to date. Monthly project meetings monitor progress and address any issues, risks and actions as they arise.

2.5      Resource Consents update

·      We received 706 resource consent applications to 31 April. This compares to 583 resource consent applications for the same period last year.

·      525 consents have been processed to date this year, this is 119 more that the same time last year. 98% of all consents processed to date have been processed within the statutory timeframes.

·      A breakdown of applications granted to date is shown below.

2.5.1    Customer satisfaction

There was a consistent number of survey respondents in April, with 11 answering the survey. 10 of those were satisfied. Year to date customer satisfaction has increased to 84% and remains consistent with the previous year. Due to the relatively low sample size of respondents it is difficult to identify any clear trends.

Feedback from dissatisfied applicants is usually related to frustration with information requirements and the process rather than specific activities.  For example:

·      A request for additional information was excessive and sought information that was beyond council's ambit. More care is needed in this area.

·      We weren’t a standard discharge....... flexibility and help would go a long way.

·      Yes get the processing done faster, and stop have a requirement that means consultation must take up to three months of waiting before Council staff "agree" that consultation has been attempted.  If iwi do not respond then they are not interested or concerned with the proposal.  Making applicants contact them over and over (i.e. fortnightly) and getting any response back is illogical and frustrating.

This contrasts with some of the positive feedback comments:

·      Good service thank you.

·      The process couldn't have been easier.

·      The process was easy and BoPRC kept in touch appropriately.

2.5.2    Consents Customer Service deep dive:

A number of actions have been progressing from the deep dive report. To grow understanding and build relationships the consents team has started holding their two-monthly meetings on Marae. The first of these was at Hairini Marae on 5 May. It provided a great opportunity for the team to grow their understanding of tikanga on the marae as well as connecting with mana whenua. The consents team had the opportunity to meet with resource management representatives from Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi te Ahi, Ngāti Ruahine. This gave the team a good opportunity to hear from those iwi and hapū representatives and understand some of the challenges they are facing. The next team meeting will be held on a Marae in Rotorua.

The team have been supporting monthly walk in sessions with Ngāti Ranginui where applicants are encouraged to make a time to come and discuss their application face to face with Ngāti Ranginui to understand any cultural effects and mitigation options. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday 4 June.

2.5.3    Publicly notified applications

•    The Genera consent for the use of Methyl Bromide was publicly notified at the end of last year. 344 submissions have been received (the most on any notified application for our Council). Our consultant is currently drafting up the S42A Officers Report. The Applicant has requested the application be out on hold while the EPA decision is being processed. EPA have had hearings and appear to be close to releasing a decision. The EPA decision is expected to set nation-wide controls on the use of methyl bromide which we apply in the Bay of Plenty. No date or commissioner or date has been set yet for the Genera hearing. 

•    Addiction Petfoods in Te Puke application for air discharge was publicly notified in February. 37 Submissions were received. The applicant has requested a hold while they work through some aspects of their application. A hearing date will be set when they have completed this work.

•    Ziwi Petfoods at Mt Maunganui application for air discharge was publicly notified in May. Submissions close on Friday 18 June.

2.6      Regulatory Compliance update

2.6.1    Pollution hotline and complaint response

•    3136 service requests have been received between 1 July 2020 and 30 April 2021 (see graph below), which is 2% lower than this time last year. 34% of these calls were received after hours.

•    71% of service requests were related to air quality – odour (1136), smoke (772), dust (208), and agrichemical (110). This was up from 69% after the first half of the year.

•    718 (23%) calls were substantiated, and of these 96% of customers surveyed were satisfied with the customer service they received.

•    77% of calls received were actioned on the day of receipt. 97% of calls were actioned within 3 working days. All 57 urgent complaints were actioned within 12 hours of receipt of the initial call.

Regional distribution of complaints received to the hotline are shown below:

2.6.2    Compliance monitoring

From 1 July 2020 – 30 April 2021, we have completed 4039 compliance inspections, and received and reviewed 9978 performance monitoring returns from consent holders.

Compliance levels remain consistent with previous reports, with 81% of site inspections identifying full compliance with consent requirements, and 78% of performance monitoring returns confirming that consent holders are meeting consented limits and/or reporting requirements. The majority of non-compliances observed are considered to be low risk with only 1.1% considered to be significantly non-compliant for site inspections.

2.6.3    Enforcement

So far this financial year, Regional Council has issued 84 abatement notices and 22 infringement notices in relation to breaches of Regional Plan rules and/or Resource Consent conditions. We have received 8 decisions from the Court in relation to prosecutions, the latest is:

•    BOPRC v. TBE 2 Ltd and A&R Earthmovers Ltd – discharge to land where it may enter water (sediment contaminated stormwater); the defendants plead guilty and engaged in a restorative justice process with Regional Council, in which they offered to pay for Regional Council’s legal costs associated with the prosecution (at the time, $119,000), and an additional $50,000 contribution towards an environmental restoration project. Judge Dicky considered that the appropriate starting point for a penalty would be a $95,000 fine; however, in light of the contributions made through restorative justice, she chose to convict and discharge the defendants with no further penalty imposed.

Regional Council currently has a further 9 cases before the courts.

2.6.4    Additional updates

•    On Wednesday 5 May 2021, Regional Council were notified of a discharge of small plastic particles in the Whakatāne River, near the Eivers Rd stormwater discharge outlet.  Regional Council and Whakatāne Distict Council staff worked together to respond to the incident and collect as much of the discharge as possible. Regional Council are currently investigating the incident.

•    On the 2nd of March 2021 a pressure sewer main burst at 106 Parawai Road Ngongotahā. Wastewater entered a stormwater drain, and from there flowed into Lake Rotorua. Toi te Ora, Iwi and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council were notified. Rotorua Lakes Council’s contractor Trility undertook containment and repair of the pipeline. Warning signs were erected around the Lake until sampling demonstrated that it was safe to remove them. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s enforcement team are currently investigating the incident, and are awaiting a detailed incident report from Trility.

•    On the 21st of April 2021 a discharge of wastewater occurred from a valve on the Southern Pipeline located at the end of the Matapihi Peninsula. All flows were diverted from the Southern Pipeline to Chapel Street; however, it look approximately 3 hours to stop the overflow due to residual wastewater remaining in the pipe. Sucker trucks were used to minimise the volume of wastewater entering the harbour. Toi te Ora, Iwi and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council were notified. Warning signs were erected around the harbour until sampling demonstrated that it was safe to remove them. Shellfish sampling has also been carried out. Tauranga City Council are currently undertaking an inquiry into what led to the discharge. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s enforcement team are currently investigating the incident.





Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

8 June 2021

Report Writer:

Reece Irving, Senior Regulatory Project Officer

Report Authoriser:

Sarah Omundsen, General Manager, Regulatory Services


To update the Monitoring and Operations Committee on activities underway to improve air quality and the overall environment in the Mount Maunganui Airshed.



Mount Maunganui Industrial Airshed Update


Executive Summary

This report provides an update on activities undertaken to improve air quality and the wider environment in the Mount Maunganui Industrial Area and airshed. The report covers the period from mid-February until mid-May 2021.

During this reporting period, one breach of the PM10 National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NESAQ) was recorded at the Rail Yard South monitoring site. Early investigation into this breach indicates the exceedance was most likely due to contractor trucks carting ballast to be laid around KiwiRail tracks, and travelling in the rail corridor. This brings the total number of PM10 exceedances to six so far this year.

PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a large group of manufactured chemicals) were reported in ground water close to Taiaho Place as part of a recent resource consent application. This detection resulted in an urgent initial investigation into the potential contamination of soil and water of the nearby Whareroa Marae and Taiaho Place residential area. No PFAS were detected on the Marae or residential areas sampled. The next stage of the investigation will look to understand sources and extent across the wider Mount Industrial Area.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1          Receives the report, Mount Maunganui Industrial Airshed Update.


1.        Introduction

This update continues the regular reporting on activities and actions undertaken to mitigate the impacts of industrial discharges to air and the wider environment in the Mount Maunganui industrial area. Air quality in the area has been perceived as degrading over time as industrial activities and vehicle movements have increased significantly in recent years.

Regional Council has an extensive work programme underway to improve air quality in this area. The objectives of the programme are:

Short term: meet our legislative requirements for air, land and water quality

Long term: deliver on the community’s expectation to live in a healthy environment

1.1      Legislative Framework

The Mount Maunganui Airshed was gazetted as a polluted airshed under the NESAQ Regulations 2004, coming into effect in November 2019. The gazetting was based on breaches of the limits for fine particulate matter, PM10. As per the regulations, five continuous years with no NESAQ PM10 breaches must be recorded for the polluted status to be reviewed.

1.2      Alignment with Strategic Framework


A Healthy Environment

We develop and implement regional plans and policy to protect our natural environment.

Freshwater for Life

We collaborate with others to maintain and improve our water resource for future generations.

Safe and Resilient Communities

We work with our partners to develop plans and policies, and we lead and enable our communities to respond and recover from an emergency.

A Vibrant Region

We work with and connect the right people to create a prosperous region and economy.

The Way We Work

We look to partnerships for best outcomes.


1.2.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

¨ Environmental

Medium - Positive

¨ Cultural

High - Positive

¨ Social

High - Positive

¨ Economic

Medium - Negative

Regional Council has a goal to improve the air quality within the Mount Maunganui airshed and ensure discharges do not cause breaches of the NESAQ ambient air quality limits. An improvement across all environmental receptors, including soil, groundwater and stormwater are part of the bigger picture. Achieving this goal will have positive environmental, cultural and social affects for the Mount Maunganui area. However, significant investment from industry will be required which is likely to have short-term economic impacts. Since the gazetting of the airshed, some industry have advised staff that they may delay or reconsider proposals to invest in plant or infrastructure due to uncertainty in their future in this location.



2.        Updates

2.1      Monitoring and exceedances

Following the expansion of Regional Council’s air quality monitoring capability in late 2018, 35 exceedances of the NESAQ PM10 have been detected over three reporting years- 16 in year 1, 13 in year 2 and 6 in the current year 3.

The full list of PM10 exceedances since the monitoring network was established is included in Attachment 1. Investigations of these exceedances have shown a single pollution source is seldom the cause and the cumulative effect of emissions from multiple sources is generally responsible.

During this reporting period, one breach of the PM10 NESAQ was recorded at the Rail Yard South monitoring site on 5 May. Early investigation into this breach indicates the exceedance was most likely due to contractor trucks carting ballast to be laid around KiwiRail tracks, and travelling in the rail corridor. The investigation is ongoing.

Methyl bromide

On Tuesday 4 May 2021 between 7pm and 8.20pm four “heads up alarms” were received from the Astrolabe monitor, indicating that Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs, the proxy measurement for Methyl Bromide) were elevated. Compliance staff were on site responding to the alarms and began an assessment of all activities occurring upwind of the Astrolabe monitor. There was no physical evidence that would suggest that the elevated levels of TVOCs could be associated to the venting, recapturing or uncovering of log rows under fumigation. This is being further investigated.

2.2      Investigating a managed retreat of industry

Following the recommendation to the 19 June 2020 Tauranga Moana Advisory Group, consultants have now met with Whareroa Marae and hapū representatives several times to work through the scope of the investigation into managed retreat of industry. The consultants will be providing an update to the Advisory Group on 11 June.

2.3      Mount Maunganui Air Quality Working Party

A meeting of the Mount Maunganui Air Quality Working Party was held at the Port of Tauranga on Tuesday 18 May. The full minutes of this meeting are included at Appendix 2.

Key actions that have been agreed by the Working Party at this stage are listed below. Members have also requested that air quality monitoring information be provided at each meeting.


Assessment of what best practice looks like for industrial zoning using recent examples in mixed use areas (such as Tauriko)



Understand the contaminants being discharged in the Airshed which may be harmful to health, and ensure GPs in the area understand the risks



Look into the feasibility of placing a moratorium on consents until cumulative impacts are better understood


Social license

Bring industry together and develop social license charter with the community

Led by Ballance


Specific site based monitoring to better understand discharge sources, potentially delivered through an industry owned fund

Led by Ballance

New rules for the Airshed

Set fit for purpose air discharge rules in the Airshed that ensure people and the environment are safe


Hearing panels

Ensure hearing panels for consents and plan changes include health professionals and cultural experts


2.4      Mount Industrial Network meeting

Following a request from large-scale industry in the airshed, the Mount Industrial Network is being trialled as a “for industry by industry” network with minimal Regional Council involvement. The first meeting of this new industry network was held on Thursday 20 May, organised by Ballance Agri-nutrients. The aim of the Network is to have industry recognising and finding solutions to the issues which businesses face operating in a polluted air shed, including actions that will reduce discharges to move the air shed out of polluted status. A key action for the industry body is to engage with local residents and communities to determine what their social licence to operate actually looks like in the eyes of those residents who feel most impacted by industrial activity on their doorsteps.

2.5      Mount Industrial Area PFAS investigation

Regional Council became aware of a high level of per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a groundwater sample within the Mount Maunganui Industrial Area, following receipt of a resource consent application for the disturbance of contaminated land. A number of contaminated land investigation reports, which analysed heavy metals, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), pH, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC), ethylene glycol, asbestos, chloride, sulphate and PFAS contamination, supported the application.

PFAS compounds are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in manufacturing processes and products since the 1950s due to their desirable chemical properties. This group of chemicals are best known for their use in the production of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) previously used in firefighting due to their effectiveness in extinguishing liquid fuel fires. However, firefighting foams are not the only product that use PFAS compounds.

It is now acknowledged that PFAS compounds may be harmful, are persistent in the environment, resistant to environmental degradation and can bio accumulate in living organisms.

Following a review of the information in the resource consent application, and understanding that the residents of Taiaho Place and the Whareroa Marae are hydrologically down gradient from the sample, Regional Council was concerned about a potential immediate risk to human health. As a matter of urgency, staff met with Whareroa Marae and hapū representatives to share information and agree on an initial sampling and analysis plan for the marae and surrounds.

A broad suite of contaminants in addition to PFAS were identified for analysis from water, soil and sediment samples. These included heavy metals (dissolved for waters), total petroleum hydrocarbons (including BTEX), tributyltin, semi-volatile organic compounds (including OCP, and PAH), asbestos and a range of physico-chemical parameters.

The initial sampling was undertaken on 16 and 22 April 2021, by external consultants. A cultural observer appointed by Ngāti Kuku hapū was present for all of the sampling undertaken. The initial sampling included drinking water, surface water and sediments along the shoreline and at the outlets to stormwater drains and soils within recreational and residential areas, including the hangi pit, at Taiaho Place and Whareroa Marae. A groundwater sample was planned to be collected from an unused groundwater bore, however, following an inspection by a drilling team it was determined that the bore was either dry, damaged or silted up and a sample could not be collected. 

The results from the initial sampling completed showed PFAS compounds were not detected in drinking water, surface water or sediment along the shoreline and the two-stormwater outlets near the boat ramp. They were also not detected in soils within recreational and residential areas, including the hangi pit, at Taiaho Place and Whareroa Marae.

Low levels of PFAS were detected in surface water along the open drain to the east of the Whareroa Marae and the outlet of this drain with the harbour (sometimes referred to as the “airport drain”). PFAS was also detected in sediment at this same drain outlet. The concentrations recorded were below the adopted recreational human health guideline and the 90% environmental protection criteria.

The broader suite of contaminants analysed from surface water and sediment at the outlets of the stormwater drains to the harbour did not record any other contaminants of concern above the adopted environmental or human health guideline protection criteria. In addition, soils within recreational and residential areas at Taiaho Place and Whareroa Marae were representative of expected natural background concentrations, with one exception where asbestos was observed and detected in soils at one location. A review of historical aerial photography shows there was previously a residential dwelling in this area that was removed before the 1990s. The presence of asbestos in this location is most likely attributed to this former residential dwelling. 

A full report on the initial investigation findings is being prepared and will be publically available when complete. The next stage of investigation will include the completion of a review of the potential sources, extent and risks of PFAS contamination within the wider Mount Maunganui Industrial Area with the support of Tauranga City Council, local industry and the Whareroa Marae community.

2.6      Methyl bromide

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methyl bromide reassessment

The applicant for this reassessment, STIMBR, has made a last minute appeal to the EPA requesting an extension to time to provide comment on the additional information provided by the EPA. This additional information included further modelling work by the applicant, a report by Golder examining fumigation mitigation options, EPA staff’s update report, a PDP modelling study, and a study by Air Matters based on measuring MB levels around the Port.

The basis for the request for the extension was that not all not all of the individual reports prepared in relation to WorkSafe methyl bromide monitoring were available on the EPA’s website. In response, the EPA extended the date five working days until 13 May 2021. It is anticipated that the EPA will make a decision related to this application within a few months.

Genera consent applications

Genera have applied for replacement consents for their fumigation operation (using methyl bromide and phosphine) at both the Port of Tauranga and elsewhere in the region. The consent for fumigation at the Port has been publicly notified.

The consent for fumigation elsewhere in the Bay of Plenty is still being considered for sufficiency of information before a decision is made on whether or not it will be publicly notified.

Council received a LGOIMA request from the Tauranga Moana Fumigant Action Group (TMFAG) on 7 May 2021 seeking to understand the issues and progress being made with the Genera consent applications. As a first step in responding to the LGOIMA, staff met with TMFAG to discuss the issues, with the consultant processing the application in attendance in order to answer questions. The consent is still ‘on hold’ pending the outcome of the EPA reassessment of methyl bromide and a hearing is still anticipated later this year. A hearings commissioner has not yet been appointed.

2.7      Communications and Media

On 9 April the community focused quarterly e-newsletter was sent out, updating the community on the following topics:

·      Air Quality Working Party Hui

·      Black dust in the Mount Maunganui area

·      Where to find current notified resource consents online

·      Pollution Hotline Regional Awareness Campaign – Help us help the environment!

·      Timaru Oil Services consent appeal update

Media focus in the current reporting period has been on the PFAS investigation following three media releases being issued. These generated interest by TVNZ, NZ Herald, BOP Times, Sunlive and other smaller news outlets. Most recently, staff were interviewed by RNZ regarding the completion of this initial investigation and wider pollution issue. Tauranga City Council and Ballance were also interviewed as part of this story. Toi te Ora’s Medical Officer was not available to be interviewed.

2.8      Policy Matters

In conjunction with Council’s Regulatory Compliance and Science teams, an application was made to the Ministry for Environment (MfE) regarding the three breaches of the PM10 standard in February at De Havilland Way.

The breaches of the standard were found to be caused by vehicles involved with Tauranga airport runway resurfacing raising dust by travelling over grass to and from their temporary parking area during an uncommonly dry summer. Council staff believe the breaches were beyond the reasonable control as they stemmed from low-speed vehicle movement over grass, which is considered an unlikely source of particulate matter. They were also ancillary to the runway resurfacing work, an uncommon event in itself, which was subject to dust management measures and did not result in any complaints, nor cause any breaches of the standard over the nine-week work programme.

The application requested that the Minister consider the breaches to be ‘exceptional circumstances’, and to be disregarded in terms of determining the standard being breached.  A decision from the Minister on the application is expected in early July and will be communicated to the Committee when it is received. 

Draft provisions for Plan Change 18 – Mount Maunganui Airshed have been formulated in conjunction with staff to inform the draft Plan change and will be discussed with key stakeholders in the Airshed shortly.

For Plan Change 13, the bulk solid materials rule (AQ R22) and definition remain under appeal and were subject to an Environment Court hearing in October 2020. The Court’s decision has not yet been notified and so this matter is still confidential.

2.9      Consents

There are currently nine businesses or activities that have applied for new consents, or are undergoing reviews of existing consents for discharge to air, land or water, within the Mount Industrial air shed. There has been limited progress with the consents over the period from February to May.

Lawter Ltd (air discharge): The application has been accepted as complete. An independent consultant has undertaken an assessment of the effects of the activity as well an assessment of the cumulative effects of discharges from Ballance, Lawter and Waste Management. The information has been circulated to Lawter for their review. This review is still underway. The next step will be for Council staff to meet with Lawter to discuss how they will implement reductions in sulphur dioxide discharges as required. Lawter have requested public notification of their application.

HR Cement Limited: The application has been accepted as complete. The company are currently consulting with relevant iwi authorities. Further information has been received and has been technically reviewed and sufficiently addressed, with the exception of cultural effects.

Higgins: The application has been accepted as complete and an independent technical review completed. This review highlighted several things that are required from Higgins, including providing a summary of the stack testing undertaken to date, completing additional stack testing and undertaking dispersion modelling using the stack emissions testing results. By undertaking more stack testing Regional Council will get a better understanding of actual use to inform new consent limits. Higgins is requesting a 10-year term even though they propose to move out of the airshed in the short term. Higgins is still working on the additional information requested.

Ziwi: The application has been accepted as complete with an independent consultant engaged to undertake a technical review. The technical review has raised a number of questions and further information has been sought from Ziwi, which was due in December 2020. Ziwi have altered their requested 20-year term to a 5-year term for their consent and have withdrawn their request for public notification. Additional information requested has been received and is being reviewed, with one piece still outstanding. The consent application has now been publically notified.

Port Operators (Matariki, Timberlands & TPT): Three consents are all being processed together. They are the dust discharge applications from the log yards at the Port. The applications were lodged in November 2019 and we asked for further information to quantify the volume of dust anticipated to be discharged and some modelling to demonstrate how far that might travel (so that an assessment of potentially affected parties could be made). The applicants are still working to provide the information requested. These applicants are also awaiting the Court Decision regarding bulk-handling rules.

Timaru Oil Services Ltd: Following the independent commissioners’ joint decision (TCC and BOPRC consents) being received and the decision to decline the consent due to the adverse effects on the Whareroa Marae, Timaru Oil has appealed the decision to the Environment Court. Court mediation was held as scheduled on 19 May with all parties in attendance.  The matters discussed at the mediation are confidential, however the appeal was not resolved at mediation and the parties agreed to seek further time to allow for discussions with the Port of Tauranga regarding alternative sites as that may influence the Timaru Oil’s approach to the appeal.

Allied Asphalt Ltd: A consent has been lodged and further information has been requested. A meeting was held with Allied Asphalt, in which they indicated that they intend to upgrade their plant. The upgraded plant will include best practice technology, which will significantly reduce their emissions.  Conceptual information on the proposed upgrades and timing thereof will form part of the additional information to be supplied to Council.

Waste Management: A meeting was held with Waste Management on 16 July 2020 to get an update on their application before progressing it to make sure there have not been any major changes. The applicant has provided information on their production hours and new odour mitigations they have installed. An independent technical review has been undertaken and additional stack testing has been requested.

2.10    Compliance

2.10.1  Update from Ballance Agri-nutrients

The project to enclose the Ballance weighbridges was delayed at the start of the year due to some discussion with the city council around the consent requirements for the project. Once these issues were addressed Ballance were given the go-ahead however by that time it was  the busy autumn season and the upgrade could not proceed without disrupting operation the ability to service customers. The project is now standing by to start in early June and be completed during winter. The rapid roller doors are now on site and ready to be installed once the building structure has been erected.

Ballance continue to monitor the results of PM10 data closely, as well as monitoring wind direction to help manage day-to-day on-site operations. They are currently examining the viability of erecting dust netting at key areas of the site, namely the rock intakes and on the southern boundary to further help reduce the potential for dust to leave these areas. This work is being costed at present with an aim to start with netting in the intake grids and then later address remaining areas.

2.10.2  Pollution Hotline calls received and responded to

During the reporting period 176 calls were received through the Pollution Hotline relating to events within the Mount Industrial airshed. Of these, 156 related to air quality, with 135 relating to odour discharges, which remains the main cause of calls to the Pollution Hotline. Over 35% of odour complaints relate to the pet food rendering processes at Ziwi Limited.

Pollution Hotline Complaint Categories 12 February to 12 May 2021 – Mount Industrial Area


# calls

% calls




Water and Land









Pollution Hotline Complaint Sub-Categories 12 February to 12 May 2021 – Mount Industrial Area


# calls

% calls

Water & Land - Dead Animals



Water & Land - Land and Soil Disturbance



Air - Unknown



Water & Land - Discharges to Land



Coastal - Discharges



Air - Smoke



Air - Industrial



Air - Dust



Water & Land - Discharges to Water



Air - Odour






3.        Considerations

3.1      Climate Change

Improving air quality in the Mount Maunganui Industrial Area will not in and of itself impact on climate change. However, cleaner air will certainly ensure potential effects from contaminant discharges will be mitigated. In particular, methyl bromide is an ozone depleting substance and having strict controls on its use as guided by the EPA is important.

3.2      Implications for Māori

Ngāi Tukairangi and Ngāti Kuku ki Whareroa are the Ngāi Te Rangi hapū affiliated with Whareroa Marae and with whom Regional Council staff have been endeavouring to foster closer relationships to ensure council actions will have direct and positive impacts on the Taiaho Place and papa kainga communities. Staff have also been working hard to ensure the communities are connected with agencies such as Ministry for the Environment and Toi te Ora and surrounding business and industry.

The establishment of the Air Quality Working Party will provide another key platform for engagement with iwi and hapū and for their concerns to be heard around a wider table.

3.3      Community Engagement


Adobe Systems



To work directly with affected communities throughout the process to ensure that their issues and concerns are consistently understood and fully considered in Council’s decision making.


3.4      Financial Implications

Both the PFAS investigation exercise (Phase One estimate $35K) and the continuing PM10 air monitoring exercise at De Havilland Way (estimate $45K annually) are unbudgeted spend during this financial year.


4.        Next Steps

Staff will continue to update this Committee on all work underway to improve air quality in the Mount Maunganui Industrial Area. There is a wider focus on all environmental discharges and ensuring the minimal impact on human health resulting from industrial activity. The Minister for the Environment has requested six monthly updates from Bay of Plenty Regional Council on this work within the Mount Industrial airshed. The first of these updates was provided to the new Minister on 27 April 2021.



Attachment 1 - Mount Maunganui Airshed PM10 Exceedances to May 2021

Attachment 2 - Mount Maunganu Air Quality Working Party Meeting Minutes - Tuesday, 18 May 2021  


Monitoring and Operations Committee                                                                   8 June 2021

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                                                                   8 June 2021

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Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

8 June 2021

Report Writer:

Helen Creagh, Rotorua Catchments Manager

Report Authoriser:

Chris Ingle, General Manager, Integrated Catchments


To update the Monitoring and Operations Committee on the work of the Rotorua Catchments Activity.



Rotorua Catchments Update


Executive Summary

The Rotorua Catchments Activity encompasses the delivery of Regional Council interventions within the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme, including those which receive Crown funding under the Deed of Funding relating to the Programme and those which do not.

The Activity also includes a Programme of assistance to landowners in the Rotorua Catchments to undertake work on their properties which support Sustainable Land Use and Biodiversity outcomes. In all cases these are part or sometimes wholly funded by the Regional Council and in some cases the works also receive funding form the Crown under various funding mechanisms.

The purpose of this report is to update the Monitoring and Operations Committee on key aspects of the work of the Rotorua Catchments Activity in the past year, particularly within the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme.    



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Rotorua Catchments Update .


1.        Introduction

For the purposes of this report the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Catchments are grouped into five catchments: Lake Rotorua, Lake Rotoiti, Lake Rotoehu, Lake Ōkāreka and the Tarawera Catchments which is made up of eight lakes all feeding Lake Tarawera which sits ‘below’ them (also includes Ōkāreka).

Lakes Rotorua, Rotoiti, Ōkāreka and Rotoehu receive funding for interventions on them from the Deed of Funding with the Crown for the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme, set up as a result of Te Arawa’s Treaty Settlement with the Crown in 2005. The Tarawera Catchments (excluding Lake Ōkāreka) are not subject to the Deed of Funding with the Crown. However, the Crown has committed funding to the wastewater reticulation of Lake Tarawera through its Freshwater Improvement Fund.

The Deed of Funding with the Crown is reaching a turning point at the end of the next financial year (2021/22). From this date no funding for short term interventions, e.g. phosphorous locking and weed harvesting, remain within the Deed. Remaining funding in the Deed (until its end in 2032) is currently allocated to seeing out commitments under the Integrated Framework for Lake Rotorua including the Incentives Scheme and constructed wetlands (50 tonnes engineering solutions). Phosphorous locking and weed harvesting on Lakes Rotorua and Rotoehu are planned to continue beyond 2022; as per the Regional Council’s Long Term Plan 2021/22-2031, they are fully funded by the Regional Council.

The bulk of funds under the Deed were due to be spent by 2022, however this is no longer likely to be the case due to slower than expected uptake of the Lake Rotorua Incentives Scheme. A request has been made to the Minister to extend the timeframe of expenditure of the bulk of the remaining funds out until 2027 as part of a suite of requests made based on the resolutions of the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group in February. Good interest in the Lake Rotorua Incentives Scheme remains and the Scheme is budgeted in the Regional Council’s Long Term Plan with a 50% Crown subsidy. However, the Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group - which is the Partnership forum responsible for the delivery of the Programme and the Deed of Funding, will review the allocation of funding to this intervention as it considers appropriate.

1.1      Alignment with Strategic Framework


A Healthy Environment

We work cohesively with volunteers and others, to sustainably manage and improve our natural resources.

Freshwater for Life

We collaborate with others to maintain and improve our water resource for future generations.

The Rotorua Catchments Activity fosters collaboration and partnerships in order to deliver operational work to achieve Toi Moana’s strategic objectives of a Healthy Environment and Freshwater for Life.

Partnerships and collaboration occur at many levels in order to deliver projects contributing towards these goals, including with: land owners, treaty partners, iwi, hapū and marae, local and central government agencies, community groups, schools and the people of Rotorua. 

2.        Work By Catchment

2.1      Lake Rotorua

2.1.1    Te Arawa Lakes Programme Work

Lake Rotorua remains the biggest challenge for sustainable, long term water quality improvement on the Te Arawa Lakes. Water quality is currently maintained at the target TLI of 4.2 for Lake Rotorua as a result of phosphorous locking – dosing of aluminium sulphate on the Utuhina and Puarenga streams which enter the lake. This is not supported by our community, especially Iwi, as a sustainable long term solution to water quality.

As a result, the Regional Policy Statement sets a target for the reduction of nitrogen entering Lake Rotorua by 2032 - to provide sustainable long term water quality for Lake Rotorua. The reduction target is 320 tonne annually. Good progress has been made towards that goal after a long process of collaboration and then Resource Management Act procedure to find the framework to achieve it. That framework for achieving the long term goal (known as the Integrated Framework) includes:

a)   Lake Rotorua Nutrient Rules (Plan Change 10)

Now Operative as a result of a recent Environment Court decision, all but a few properties over 40 hectares in the Lake Rotorua catchment are either consented or deemed permitted according to these rules. Compliance action (requiring two properties to obtain resource consent under these rules or cease farming) is underway. 

Staff have recently completed compliance monitoring of all Plan Change 10 resource consents and one compliance investigation is underway. Generally staff have observed a good level of compliance with the new rules framework and are focussed at this stage on working with landowners to help educate them on the requirements of their new resource consents and understanding what is required to comply with them. The first managed reduction targets under these consents are required to be met in 2022.

Properties 10-40 hectares are due to have consent by June 2022 under these rules and engagement of these properties is well under way through direct contact and advertising. There are around 92 properties in the 10-40ha category, 25 of those are engaged in the Advice and Support Service and another 6 are deemed permitted activities.

Properties 5-10ha may also need consent by 2022, if they do not meet a Stocking Rate table. Staff estimate there are around 65 properties between 5-10ha and 18 of those have engaged with staff to confirm their requirements.

b)  The Incentives Scheme

The Scheme has secured 25 tonne of nitrogen reduction at the lake and has at least another 15 tonne in the pipeline. Staff believe securing a cumulative total of 40 tonne of nitrogen by the end of next financial year is achievable. Three agreements are very close to finalisation at the time of writing this report. Since the finalisation of the Lake Rotorua Nutrient rules and with the help of the dNITRO tool – engagement in the Scheme has significantly picked up.

All Incentives Agreements are monitored by staff, in accordance with the conditions of the Deeds associated with them, all are currently deemed compliant. Te Reo has also recently been added to our Incentives Scheme contractual documents which provides an interpretation of those documents from the perspective of Te ao Māori and the commitments of both parties in that respect.

c)   The Gorse Conversion Project

This project has delivered 300 hectares of land use change to trees in the Lake Rotorua catchment. All large long-term tracts of gorse are now considered controlled. This provides real tangible change for the catchment land use, by reducing the proliferation of large tracts of gorse in the catchment and also the mobility of nitrogen to the lake. In some cases it has also meant that land that was previously relatively unprofitable for owners without the funds to develop it – is now providing a return through the Emissions Trading Scheme and in the future through harvesting returns.

d)  Engineering Solutions

As part of the Integrated Framework, the aim of the Te Arawa Lakes Programme is to achieve a 50 tonne reduction in nitrogen entering Lake Rotorua through engineering solutions.

Previously this target has been focussed on wastewater reticulation and a project known as the ‘Tikitere Zeolite Plant’. However, the latter has been discontinued, primarily due to significant cost estimates and difficulty confirming benefits. Wastewater reticulation of around 947 lakeside properties in Rotorua has been completed by Rotorua Lakes Council and contributes approximately 8 tonnes to the 50 tonne target.

To achieve the remaining 50 tonne, Programme staff are now pursuing opportunities for constructed wetlands, including landowner interest for priority sites. Staff are also working on securing a rural drain restoration project with one landowner which we intend to use to measure the nutrient gains made by the restoration of these sites and create a model which can be repeated across the catchment.   

To support the successful implementation of this framework of interventions, particularly those related to land use and land management change, significant investment has also been made in the Low Nitrogen Land Use Fund and Advice and Support Service.

The Low Nitrogen Land Use Fund continues to support the trial of a number of alternative land uses and land management techniques in the catchment, so far these include trials of: hemp, miscanthus, hedged mānuka (trial currently underway), hazelnuts, feijoa, herbicide trials (for the establishment of mānuka in gorse lots) and also a boutique fresh milk processing and bottling plant.

The Advice and Support Service has linked landowners to specialist agricultural and other advisors, to provide specialist modelling and technical advice for making decisions about land use and land management to minimise nutrient footprint. The purpose of the service is to assist landowners to meet the Lake Rotorua Nutrient Rules, but also to enable them to take advantage of the incentives offered by the Programme. This service has largely run its course for properties over 40 hectares, but those under 40 hectares are now starting to take it up as required.

While there remains a significant way to go to achieve our 320 tonne reduction target for Lake Rotorua, staff remain confident and accept that this is ‘generational’ change.  Staff expect that the long term interventions for Lake Rotorua will continue to adapt over the remaining life of the Programme, in accordance with our understanding and external factors. Staff remain confident that the reduction required by the Regional Policy Statement at 2032 can be achieved with the continued support of the Partnership and the Crown funding.

2.1.2    Additional Crown Funded Projects in the Lake Rotorua Catchment

Two of the recommendations of the Independent Review into the 2018 Ngongotahā Flood event have been implemented by the Rotorua Catchments Activity over the last financial year and are funded by climate resilience and flood protection funding provided by Central Government, they are:

a)   Tree Removal

Problem trees, including Japanese Walnuts, poplars, eucalypts and large pine trees, have been removed from around 10 km of the Ngongotahā Stream between Relph Road and the Ngongotahā Village.  These trees were in danger of falling into the stream and potentially creating debris dams.  Some of the wood from tree removal in the lower Catchment has been donated for the Ngāti Whakaue Kaumatua Firewood Programme.  Further tree removal upstream of the Paradise Valley Lion Park is planned in the coming months.

b)  Detainment Bunds

To date 10 detainment bunds across three properties have been constructed in the Upper Ngongotahā Catchment. The bunds are designed to hold back peak flows in smaller storm events and also remove phosphorous and sediment. It is planned to construct further detainment bunds in 2021/22.

2.2      Lake Rotoiti 

The installation of the Ohau Wall was completed in the early years of the Programme, around 2007 and with Deed funds. In recent years reinforcing of the wall has been required and further work is planned to maintain the integrity of the wall for its 50 year design life. However, ultimately the wall has successfully done the job of preventing backflow of water from Lake Rotorua to Lake Rotoiti – critical for times of algal bloom, e.g. October/November 2020.

Water quality on Lake Rotoiti is considered stable, sitting close to its TLI target of 3.5, last year with a TLI of 3.7.

Wastewater reticulation is by far the biggest action on Rotoiti in terms of complexity and cost. Rotorua Lakes Council reticulated 409 properties at the western end of the lake back to the Rotorua Wastewater Treatment Plant in the earlier years of the Programme. Rotorua Lakes Council now continues to work on the reticulation of approximately 450 properties at the eastern end of the lake, back to a newly completed, dedicated Membrane Bioreactor wastewater treatment plant which has been constructed in the Rotoiti catchment and also receives wastewater from new reticulation at Lake Rotomā (now completed).

The reticulation currently underway at Lake Rotoiti is, according to its resource consent, required to install specialised, on-property pre-treatment systems on each site which separate solids and liquids before waste transfer to the new wastewater treatment plant. This measure makes that transfer of waste more culturally appropriate and compliant with the Cultural Impact Assessment undertaken by mana whenua.  The mains trunk reticulation network for this part of Rotoiti is now complete and tenders have been received and fully evaluated for the installation of the onsite systems.

Rotorua Lakes Council is short of funding to complete the onsite connections to the reticulation network as per the tenders received. The total cost of reticulation at Lake Rotoiti, plus the forecast remaining expenditure (for both the eastern and western end of the lakes), is around $52 million in total. This would take the total cost of lakeside reticulation under the Te Arawa Lakes Programme to around $83 million in total for all wastewater reticulation committed to under the Deed (this doesn’t currently include Rotoehu).


The Crown contribution to Rotorua Lakes Council under the Deed of Funding is less than half of the $53 million. As a result, the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group has requested another $10 million of funding from the Minister so that the local and Crown contributions to lakeside reticulation under the Deed of Fudning are equal.

If this funding request to the Minister is not successful, Strategy Group has resolved to revisit the remaining Deed funding allocation within the Programme, to give priority to completing the reticulation of Lake Rotoiti. If this does arise it is likely to impact on the funds available to complete the Lake Rotorua Incentives Scheme. 

2.3      Lake Ōkāreka

With a $9 million total expenditure on Lake Okareka under the Deed of Funding to date, significant benefit to the lake has been achieved. Sewerage reticulation of 260 lakeside dwellings has been completed as well as 230 hectares of land use change, i.e. from grazing and gorse to Manuka and natives. The Rule 11 benchmarks and land use change agreements in the Lake Ōkāreka are monitored by staff to ensure ongoing compliance.

Significant non-Deed funded work has also been undertaken by the Rotorua Catchments Activity on this lake related to lake level management. This includes emergency management of high lake levels in 2017, erosion protection in the lower reaches of the outlet to enable increased flows and a resource consent for this, also the replacement of the pipeline which is currently underway.

Water quality is considered stable on Lake Ōkāreka and reached the TLI target of 3.0 in the most recently reported 2019-2020 financial year.

2.4      Lake Rotoehu

Lake Rotoehu still provides a challenge in terms of water quality management. According to the most recent 2019-2020 lake health summary, Lake Rotoehu has a TLI of 4.4 and a three year average TLI of 4.8. These are both well above the target TLI of 3.9. More work and more investment is required on Lake Rotoehu.

However, the programme has made some very good gains in terms of land use change in this catchment which we believe will improve water quality in the long term. Staff have recently audited all land use in the Lake Rotoehu catchment in accordance with the Rule 11 benchmarks for all properties and in specific cases the land use change agreements which have been entered into, all are compliant.

Key points of change in land use between 2001-2004 (the Rule 11 Benchmarking period) and 2018-2019 (the year for which Overseer data was collected as part of the auditing) are:

1.   The pastoral area in the catchment has reduced from 1790 ha to 1175 ha (48% to 32% of the catchment).

2.   The area in native bush (including riparian works) increased from 1152 ha to 1390 ha (31% to 38% of the catchment).

3.   The area in plantation trees has increased from 737 ha to 1123 ha (20% to 30% of the catchment).



Key points of change in nutrient losses between 2001-2004 and 2018-2019 are:

1.   The total amount of nitrogen loss from rural land use in the Lake Rotoehu catchment measured through Overseer has been reduced from 59,015 kg N to 44,327 kg N.

2.   The total amount of phosphorus loss from rural land use in the Lake Rotoehu catchment measured through Overseer has been reduced from 4,577 kg P to 2,474 kg P.

3.   A large component of the reduction in 4 and 5 above, is the result of nitrogen and phosphorus being purchased through Lakes Protection Agreements under the Deed of Funding for the Programme.

The Deed has also reduced in-lake nutrients with annual weed harvesting on this lake when weed growth allows. Weed harvesting and alum dosing continue on the lake now, after a hiatus due to high lake levels and algae dominance. Sewerage reticulation was never included in the original Action Plan for Lake Rotoehu (first adopted in 2007 and amended in 2011) and has not been considered until more recent years.

A workshop of the Water Quality Technical Advisory Group and Regional Council staff was convened in 2018 to establish actions required to address continuing poor water quality on Lake Rotoehu. That workshop resulted in a number of actions to address the matter, including proposed changes to the alum dosing regime on the lake which are currently undergoing a resource consent process. That meeting also confirmed that sewerage reticulation was a good next action on this lake in terms of addressing water quality.

Rotorua Lakes Council have now commenced the delivery of a wastewater reticulation network at Lake Rotoehu which will connect back to the new Rotoiti Wastewater Treatment Plan and Strategy Group has made a request to the Minister for further funding to enable the delivery of that Scheme.

2.5        Tarawera Catchments

The Tarawera Catchments includes eight lakes: Tarawera, Ōkāreka, Rotokakahi, Tikitapu, Ōkataina, Rerewhakaaitu, Ōkaro and Rotomahana. In 2015 the Tarawera Lakes Restoration Plan was adopted and included ten actions for improving the health of the Tarawera Catchments. All of these actions are now either complete or in progress. Lake Tarawera itself has a target Trophic Level Index of 2.6 and a three year rolling average Trophic Level Index of 2.8.

An update on key actions of the Restoration Plan is as follows:

1.   The development of Farm Environment Plans for all farms within the Inner and Outer Catchments of Tarawera was completed around 2019 led by Project Rerewhakaaitu with support from the Regional Council, Beef and Lamb NZ and Fonterra. All but a few farms in those catchments agreed to participate and around 50 plans were completed. The Rotorua Catchments team is now supporting some landowners with those plans to implement actions in them through Environmental Programmes.

2.   The development of a rule which prevents or restricts land use intensification in the Tarawera Catchments (for those lakes not currently covered by Rule 11) will be pursued as part of the region wide plan making process currently underway. In the mean-time (until 2024) the temporary regulations which form part of the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater 2020, prevent large scale land use intensification in catchments not currently covered by Regional Plan rules.

3.   Sewerage reticulation of the Tarawera lakeside community was another key action of the Restoration Plan, $6.5 million of funding towards this has been secured by the community from the Government’s Freshwater Improvement Fund. Funding commitments have also been made by the Regional Council and Rotorua Lakes Council. Rotorua Lakes Council have commenced design and implementation of the scheme based on a low pressure grinder pump system connected to the Lake Ōkāreka system (and ultimately back to the Rotorua Wastewater Treatment Plant). However, before committing to the final construction costs, Rotorua Lakes Council have sought a 75% support commitment from the Tarawera lakeside community via letter. Rotorua Lakes Council are due to consider the responses to that request at their June meeting.

4.   Regional Council continues to support the annual control of nitrogen fixing plants (acacia) at the base of Tarawera. This is a fantastic project which compliments the summer wilding pine control on the maunga – providing year round employment for kaimahi that whakapapa to Tarawera.

The Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group resolved at their February 2020 meeting that the next steps for the Tarawera catchments will be led by the Te Arawa Lakes Trust, with the delivery of a Collective Impact Project for this system of lakes.

A brief summary of a Collective Impact approach is that it brings all of the stakeholder groups within a complex problem together. For this approach to be successful, the project requires an established and shared vision, a common agenda for change and a backbone of co-ordination which ensures shared measurement for data, mutually reinforcing activities, and open and continuous communication.

Substantial work has been done by the Trust to establish the feasibility of this project and to scope it, establishing its viability for the ongoing management and enhancement of these catchments. Te Arawa Lakes Trust are currently seeking funding for the Collective Impact Project and will lead its establishment as the next steps for these catchments, beyond the Tarawera Restoration Plan.

2.6      All Catchments

University of Waikato – Toihuarewa Waimāori 

In 2020 Regional Council approved amendments to the agreement relating to its long standing partnership with the University of Waikato, in respect of the research programmes in the coastal and lakes environments. Amongst other things, those amendments resulted in a ten year agreement timeframe and the provision of titles in Te Reo for each Chair position.

The Toihuarewa Waimāori position, which will be the Chair of Science for all of the regions’ lakes and freshwater environments, is currently vacant. The University will be advertising the position in May 2021 and staff will keep Council informed on this recruitment process.

Regional Council Funded Environmental Programmes (Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use)

Staff have been active over the 2020-2021 financial year in establishing co-funding arrangements with landowners through Environmental Programmes, 22 new Programmes have been entered into over the year.  Additional funding for landowners has become available through Ministry for the Environment and 1 Billion Trees funding and this has allowed additional projects to get off the ground. 

There are three key benefits to the Environmental Programmes signed up in 2020-2021:

•   There has been some real momentum on restoring priority biodiversity sites within the Rotorua Catchments over the year with four new sites being managed through Environmental Programmes.  More biodiversity sites are going to be targeted in the 2021-2022 financial year.

•   Critical Source Areas for phosphorus and sediment loss off newly consented farm properties (under new nutrient rules) within the Lake Rotorua Catchment have been mitigated with work supported through Environmental Programmes.  These Critical Source Areas have been identified as part of the farm planning associated with the consenting process and these sites will continue to be a focus for staff in the 2021-2022 financial year.

•   Restoration works through Environmental Programmes will make water quality improvements in a number of other Te Arawa Lakes catchments (Rotorua, Rerewhakaitu, Ōkāreka, Rotokakahi, Ōkaro, Rotoiti and Rotoehu).  A particular focus for this work is excluding stock, weed control and restoration planting on wetlands and seeps within these catchments. The Te Arawa Lakes Trust wetland team are central to the delivery of many of these environmental programmes and are a fantastic resource.

Te Tūāpapa o ngā Wai o Te Arawa

In 2016 the Regional Council provided funding to Te Arawa Lakes Trust to develop Te Tūāpapa o ngā Wai o Te Arawa – which is a Cultural Values Framework for the management of the Te Arawa Lakes and catchments.

The integration of Te Tūāpapa across the work of the Rotorua Catchments is in development and ongoing through:  staff training and awareness, better integration of reporting and capacity building for on-the-ground delivery by the Trust.  As a result of feedback at the last Strategy Group meeting staff of Te Arawa Lakes Trust and the Regional Council are working towards better integration of Programme reporting with Te Tūāpapa and new look Deed of Funding reporting will roll out over the next few months – with a view to the Trust leading Deed reporting into the future.

Te Arawa Lakes Programme Three Year Plan 21/22-23/24, 2021/22 Annual Work Programme, Quality Assurance Audit

These documents are required to be prepared in accordance with the Deed of Funding Agreement with the Crown for the Te Arawa Lakes Programme and have recently been approved by Strategy Group for submission to the Minister in accordance with the Deed. They are attached in Appendix One and Two of this report for the Committee’s information.

A Quality Assurance audit of has also recently been completed in accordance with the Deed of Funding for the Te Arawa Lakes Programme. The recommendations of that report largely focus on the future of the Programme beyond the Deed of Funding and will be the subject of a workshop of the Strategy Group in August.

3.        Considerations

3.1      Climate Change




Reduce GHG emissions

Produce GHG emissions

Sequester carbon

Anticipate climate change impacts

Respond to climate change impacts


The Rotorua Catchments Activity has functions in both Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change. Solutions to improve the nutrient footprint to our lakes are largely centred around the retirement of land and reduction in stock numbers.

The Rotorua Catchments Activity and Te Arawa Lakes Programme have helped to achieve a significant land retirement across the Rotorua Catchments as described in this report. Many of those land retirement projects take advantage of the Emissions Trading Scheme to make them profitable. The dNitro tool, developed by the Low Nitrogen Land Use Fund enables landowners to understand their land retirement options and potential income streams through emissions trading.

In terms of Climate Change Adaptation, the Water Quality Technical Advisory Group has issued a statement in relation to Climate Change and the objectives of the Te Arawa Lakes Programme. Climate Change will affect the ability of the Te Arawa Lakes Programme to meet its objectives in relation to lake water quality and the target Trophic Level Index set for each lake. Frequency of storm events bringing more nutrient to the lakes and longer, hotter drier periods which lead to lake stratification are the main challenges here. The Programme has an ongoing commitment to adapt to new knowledge and science within its interventions to respond to the challenge of Climate Change.

3.2      Implications for Māori

Māori are involved in every aspect of delivery of the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme and the Rotorua Catchments Activity described above, through the partnerships and working relationships required to make the delivery of this work possible.

The Programme of environmental restoration which this activity facilitates would not be possible without these partnerships and the involvement of Māori at iwi, hapū, marae, landowner and Māori business level is numerous and critical to the delivery of the Programme. The Governance oversite delivered by the partnership of the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes Strategy Group is also fundamental. Staff are committed to strengthening these partnerships across the board.

3.3      Financial Implications

This work described in this paper fits within the current budgets of the Rotorua Catchments Activity within the Annual Plan for 2020/21 and the Long Term Plan 2021/22-2032.

4.        Next Steps

Staff will continue to implement the Rotorua Catchments Activity in accordance with the Long Term Plan of the Regional Council 2021/22-2032.

The pending decision of the Minister in respect of additional funding for the Rotorua Lakes Council to complete the reticulation at Lake Rotoiti may affect the Deed funding available to the Regional Council to implement that Long Term Plan in the later years. Staff will keep working with the Minister and partners of the Te Arawa Lakes Programme to keep the nitrogen reductions to Lake Rotorua on track to the 2032 target and ensure the completion of lakeside reticulation at Lake Rotoiti.



Attachment 1 - 2021 - 2022 Annual Work Plan

Attachment 2 - Three Year Plan  


Monitoring and Operations Committee                                                                                    8 June 2021

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                                                                                    8 June 2021

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Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

8 June 2021

Report Writer:

Jackson Efford, Principal Advisor, Land and Water

Report Authoriser:

Chris Ingle, General Manager, Integrated Catchments


This report updates the Committee on Land Management progress to date within two Focus Catchments, Waitao and Upper Rangitāiki.



Land Management Focus Catchment Update: Waitao (Kaiate Falls) and Upper Rangitāiki


Executive Summary

This report updates Councillors on the work underway in two of the Focus Catchments. A new snapshot “Report Card” style graphic is used to present completed and planned land management works and funding contributions, and can be replicated for other Focus Catchments in the future. 

The Upper Rangitāiki Catchment has ongoing nitrogen water quality issues which could impact instream values and the downstream lakes. The small number of landholdings in the catchment enables land management engagement with the community. Upper Rangitāiki work has included farm systems/nitrogen loss scenario analyses, as well as completion of 21 km of livestock exclusion fencing from wetlands and waterways, 13 ha of land retirement, and poplar pole planting. Upcoming works include another 30 km of fencing, 39 ha of land retirement, and planting of 45,000 natives. Our $192,000 investment in the area is complimented with over $653,000 of co-funding secured from MfE, MPI and landowners, emphasising the benefit of co-funding partnerships.  

The Waitao Catchment and Kaiate Falls have a faecal bacterial contamination leading to a permanent health warning for recreational contact. In addition to our science research with ESR to pin-point the source of the issue, the scale of work to address swimmability has ramped up considerably since 2019. Completed works include over 10 km of new fencing, 25 ha of land retirement and 50,000 native trees. Planned works confirmed include a further 3 km of fencing, 20 ha of land retirement, and 80,000 native trees. Our $230,000 investment in the area is complimented with over $211,000 co-funding from MfE and landowners. The Waitao Landcare Group also continues to work on planting and weed control within the catchment, and a number of Māori Trusts are progressing with restoration progress with support of Council and other co-funders.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Land Management Focus Catchment Update: Waitao (Kaiate Falls) and Upper Rangitāiki.


1.        Introduction

The Focus Catchments programme was developed in response to Council’s new KPI to improve swimmability in our rivers, in the Long Term Plan 2018-28, and to align the Coastal and Rotorua Catchments Teams’ work with the Essential Freshwater policy framework from the Ministry for the Environment (including the National Policy Statement for Freshwater management NPS-FM).

The Focus Catchments programme was approved by the Regional Direction and Delivery Committee, along with approving the amended Environmental Grants Policy, on 25 June 2019. Further detail on the overall programme including a summary of the catchment water quality issues and land management actions underway in the 11 Focus Catchments was last provided to the Monitoring and Operations Committee on 15 December 2020. 

The purpose of this report is to provide a more detailed update of land management progress made in two of the Focus Catchments, the Waitao (Kaiate Falls) and the Upper Rangitāiki. The Committee can also be provided with similar updates on other Focus Catchments progress in the future, and utilise the snapshot “Report Card” graphic presented here showing completed and planned land management actions and cost-share funding contributions between partners.  

1.1      Alignment with Strategic Framework


A Healthy Environment

We work cohesively with volunteers and others, to sustainably manage and improve our natural resources.

Freshwater for Life

We deliver solutions to local problems to improve water quality and manage quantity.

The Focus Catchment Programme aligns with a number of community outcomes, including those related to Healthy Environments and Freshwater for Life. Our Focus Catchments work is monitored in a number of different ways, including the Council’s ‘Swimmability’ KPI and through the Councils wider water quality monitoring programmes. Where required, new monitoring is being designed to assess the effectiveness of land management actions in focus catchments.

Ultimately, the Focus Catchment Programme becomes a key link between voluntary land management action and the Council’s requirements to deliver the NPS-FM.          

1.1.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

þ Environmental

High - Positive

þ Cultural

Medium - Positive

þ Social

Medium - Positive

þ Economic

Low - Positive

The Focus Catchment work contributes directly to positive environmental outcomes as its core purpose, with positive co-benefits around Cultural and Social well-beings.



2.        Upper Rangitāiki Focus Catchment

2.1      Catchment Summary

The Upper Rangitāiki Focus Catchment begins with the headwaters of the Rangitāiki River, about forty kilometres east of Taupō, and ends where the Wheao River meets the Rangitāiki, in Kāingaroa forest (Figure 1). It is over sixty kilometres long and covers approximately 55,700 hectares.

The Upper Rangitāiki Focus Catchment includes the headwaters of Otamatea River, Otangimoana Stream, and Mangatiti Stream, all of which are tributaries of the Rangitāiki River. Well drained pumice soils dominate the catchment and influence contaminant loss pathways to water, notably through nitrogen leaching and erosion.  

Exotic forestry accounts for just over half of the land use in the catchment. Sheep and beef grazing, deer farming, dairy support, and dairy farming also occur. In total, close to 90% of land use in the catchment is involved in the primary production sector. There are only six major landowners in the catchment with their operations spanning from 350 hectares to 29,000 hectares in size. This presents a unique opportunity for Council to engage directly with landowners on a ‘one to one’ or small Catchment Group basis and achieve land management outcomes.

2.2      The Issue

While the Upper Rangitāiki River is renowned for its clean clear water, monitoring has identified an increasing trend in nitrogen in the Upper Rangitāiki River and Otamatea tributary. In-stream nitrogen levels at the “Rangitāiki at SH5” long-term Council monitoring site (NERMN network) are within the bottom 15% (worst) of other long-term sites within the Bay of Plenty Region, with the “Otamatea at Wairere Road” site in the bottom 5% of sites (Figure 2). Our monitoring network has now been expanded to also include the Otangimoana tributary, as a significant source of nitrate loading downstream.

Monitoring sites are within the ‘Eutrophic’ category based on their median dissolved reactive phosphorous (DRP) and dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) water concentrations. Eutrophic effects such as algal blooms are not typically seen at these locations due to the impact of other habitat variables such as adequate shade, mobile substrate and low temperature, however, these effects have potential to negatively influence downstream environments such as Lake Aniwaniwa, which needs to be taken into consideration.

A more detailed technical review of the water quality monitoring data from the Upper Rangitāiki is available in the “Focus Catchment Water Quality Report 2020” (see online at the “more information” section of the focus catchments webpage (

Figure 1: Map of the Upper Rangitāiki Catchment and some of the water quality monitoring locations.

Figure 2: Rangitāiki at SH5 (A) and Otamatea at Wairere Road (B) comparison to other long term monitoring sites in the Bay of Plenty Region (as percentile score). TN = Total Nitrogen, TP = Total Phosphorus. 

2.3      Upper Rangitāiki Projects Underway

2.3.1    Overseer Scenario Analysis

Over the past two years we have been working directly with landowners in the catchment on the Overseer and Scenario Analysis project. We offered the opportunity for all farms to work with an external independent consultant (Perrin Ag) to have their current farm practice nutrient losses assessed in the “OverseerFM” software model, before then investigating how some different nitrogen reduction scenarios that may arise under the NPSFM could be implemented in farm systems changes or addition of other mitigations. The farm decision support software “Farmax” also assisted with estimating the economic implications of the different nitrogen reduction scenarios trialled. The scenario analyses for example considered changes such as implementing new lamb finishing, reducing numbers of wintering dairy cows and heifers, using new higher yielding crops over a smaller cropping area, and incorporating a wintering barn into the system.    

With a high degree of voluntary willingness to participate, the project succeeded in helping landowners (and Council) to better understand overall nutrient loss footprints from farms, help identify high risk farm practices, and ultimately, will help provide robust information to aid in future farm planning decisions for those in the catchment.

The NPSFM implementation process is yet to reach a point where it can confidently determine the reductions potentially required in the catchment to achieve target attribute states under the National Objectives Framework, but the landowners are now much better informed on the types of mitigations or farm systems changes that could be beneficial to consider in the future. New science and community engagement work over the next two years will provide a much clearer pathway for what is required in the catchment, but Land Management work can continue to incentivise key actions in the interim as described below.  Landholders have also developed their own contingency plans on how they may manage nitrogen reduction in the future.

2.3.2    Physical Land Management Works Completed And Planned

A “Report Card” summary of the main physical works completed (and planned) in the catchment to date is presented in Figure 3. Key land management works were already underway in the Upper Rangitāiki area prior to the conception of the 2019 Focus Catchments Programme starting (and good records were also available), so completed actions are reported for 2015 onwards for completeness.

Actions have focussed mainly on livestock exclusion from waterways, wetlands and gullies (with adequate set-backs), with over 21 km of new exclusion fencing and 13 ha of land retirement (Figure 4). Hundreds of poplar poles are also being used to successfully stabilise the erodible pumice soils, with the added benefit of the land being able to remain in pasture production, and mature trees also providing shade and shelter for animal welfare. Other work has included supporting the BOPRC Biosecurity team with extensive wilding pine control to protect rare ‘frost flat’ biodiversity habitat which is negatively impacted by wilding pines, with more of this work planned in upcoming Environmental Programmes with key landholders. 

In this catchment upcoming planned works confirmed through signed Environmental Programme Agreements with landowners are set to ramp up significantly under the Focus Catchment Programme compared with prior years, and include new fencing (30 km), planting (45,000 natives and 3,200 poplars) and land retirement (39 ha). Significant new co-funding support has also been secured by BOPRC from the Ministry of Primary Industries Te Uru Rakau One Billion Trees Programme (MPI), as well as the Ministry for the Environment Jobs for Nature Public Waterways and Ecosystem Restoration Fund (MfE). The upcoming BOPRC work programme commitment of $192,000, will now deliver $845,000 of works with this additional co-funding support and  landowner contributions, all aimed at improving water quality (and biodiversity) in the Upper Rangitāiki.   


Figure 3: Upper Rangitāiki Focus Catchment Progress Report Card showing completed and planned land management actions and funding contributions.

2.4      Intensive Winter Grazing Regulations

BOPRC staff recently met with the Upper Rangitāiki catchment landowners to discuss the implications of the Governments Intensive Winter Grazing (IWG) regulations included in the recent National Environmental Standards for Freshwater (NESF). Although not as widespread in the BOPRC compared to other regions such as Southland, the cool winters and short grass growing season in the Upper Rangitāiki area means that IWG is a fairly common practice that provides an important feed source in winter.

Following our conversations around best management practice with IWG and the permitted activity guidelines, it is unlikely that Upper Rangitāiki farms will require a resource consent to continue to IWG in the short term, provided that any adverse effects are managed through an IWG Farm Plan Module, which BOPRC will help develop with landowners over the next year.

Following the recent Government deferral of some parts of the regulations after pressure from the Southland IWG Advisory Group (, it still remains unclear exactly what the final IWG ruleset will encompass (e.g. what slopes will be permitted for IWG), but the landowner/Council relationships established through the Focus Catchments Programme should help ensure practical solutions can be implemented together while protecting water quality. 

2.5      Next steps

Our next steps in the Upper Rangitāiki will include:

·      Continuing to work with landowners to; fence waterways and wetlands and mitigate Critical Source Areas in the catchment through Environmental Programme works; help ensure best farm management practice is followed; and help them understand the specific nitrogen issues and mitigation options.

·      Supporting the Upper Rangitāiki Farmer Catchment Group, including with IWG farm Plan Modules where required.

·      Develop long term water quality data sets from monitoring (especially for tributaries).

·      Work with BOPRC Science and Policy teams to identify the nitrogen reductions required in the catchment through the NPSFM implementation process.

Figure 4: Stock exclusion fencing in the Upper Rangitāiki (left) and the Otangimoana Stream in the catchment (right).

3.        Waitao (Kaiate Falls) Focus Catchment

3.1      Catchment Summary

The Waitao Focus Catchment is approximately 3,732 ha, beginning in the Otawa Ranges and draining into Tauranga Harbour at Rangataua Bay. The land cover includes approximately 41% native forest, 37% pasture, 10% pine plantation, and 8% scrub. Land-use encompasses a mix of dry stock farms (beef, sheep and deer), lifestyle blocks and mixed land use including horticulture. There are significant portions of Maori owned land, particularly around the bush head waters and the lowland areas. There are two Marae on the lowland sections of the stream (Te Whetu and Tahuwhakatiki) and eight hapu have an interest in the area, particularly Nga Potiki, Ngati Pukenga and Ngati He. The catchment is within easy commuting distance of Tauranga City and is home to approximately 130 households.

3.2      The Issue

Kaiate Falls is a popular recreational reserve and swimming site in the Waitao Catchment, and has been monitored as part of the Bay of Plenty recreational bathing programme since 2007. A permanent health warning has been in place at Kaiate Falls since 2015 due to bacterial (E. coli) contamination. There has been extensive research and monitoring completed across this catchment since 2015, with the intention to identify sources of contamination to improve water quality and make Kaiate Falls swimmable again and improve the health of Rangataua Bay.

A detailed technical review of the water quality monitoring data from Waitao and Kaiate Falls is presented in “Focus Catchment Water Quality Report 2020” (see online at the “more information” section of the focus catchments webpage (

In brief, long-term (NERMN) ecology monitoring has shown macroinvertebrates (indicators of stream health) are in a ‘very good’ state and there are minor improving trends. However, the historic state of water quality in terms of swimmability / recreational contact safety, has been very poor, with the number of samples in the Action/Alert modes of the Microbiological Water Quality Guidelines increasing (worsening) since 2014 (Figure 5). During both the 2018/19 and 2019/20 bathing seasons, Kaiate Falls was in the “E” Attribute Band (worst) for E. coli in the NPSFM.

Figure 5: Percentage of samples at Kaiate Stream at Kaiate Falls within the Microbacterial Water Quality Guideline thresholds 2007-2019. The colours used illustrate the E. coli thresholds with Red: Action, Amber: Alert, and Green: Surveillance.  

3.2.1    Recent Science Investigations – Faecal Source Tracking and eDNA

Faecal Source Tracking (specialist genetic identification of bacterial contamination in water) has identified a dominant ruminant animal (majority cattle) source of E. coli in water samples, with avian (bird) bacteria also present to a lesser degree. The most significant transport pathway of faecal bacteria was identified as direct deposition into streams by livestock, with overland flow in rainfall events also contributing. In 2019 and 2020, monitoring showed that the greatest proportion of bacterial contamination in the Kaiate Stream was from the Otawera Stream, specifically the Owairoa sub-catchment.

A new monitoring site (Figure 6) was recently added in the upper Owairoa Stream high in native bush at the very top of the catchment (above any farmland), where eDNA results from water samples have included possums and birds, in contrast to the lower Owairoa site on farmland which recorded cattle and deer DNA presence. The downstream increase in both E. coli concentrations and loads between these two sites indicated that a large proportion of the faecal contamination in the lower Otawera Stream was sourced between the upper and lower sites on the Owairoa tributary.

3.2.2    Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment

BOPRC is fortunate to have partnered with the Crown Research Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) to have Kaiate Falls included in the national Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment project underway. This work will ultimately help quantify the actual risks to human health from recreational contact at sites like Kaiate Falls, and may result in revised guidelines or different new measures of swimmability in the future. Kaiate Falls and an upstream site are included in the study and samples are now being analysed for a range of different pathogens (other than E. coli).

Figure 6: Map showing some of our water quality monitoring location sites upstream of Kaiate Falls.

Initial data in suggests that high levels of Campylobacter may be present, confirming the elevated risk of infection from recreational use at this site and justifying the ongoing health warnings. A further project with ESR will include metagenomic analysis of samples, which will provide more specific detail on the faecal source of contamination through DNA sequencing, which is much more powerful than our previous Faecal Source Tracing and eDNA methodologies. This complex project is still in the research phase, and it will take some time for the final results to be available.

3.3      Waitao Catchment Projects Underway

3.3.1    Physical land management works completed and planned

Although science information points to a combination of different sources of bacterial contamination at Kaiate Falls, livestock continue to be identified as a key component as our research progresses, justifying our extensive livestock exclusion fencing and land retirement works upstream of the falls. The Waitao Catchment land management works completed and planned are all summarised in a “Report Card” in Figure 7.

Since the 2019 Focus Catchment Programme ramped up, our work to exclude livestock from key tributaries in Waitao has included over 10 km of new fencing, retiring over 25 ha of steep land and very wide riparian margins, and revegetation with over 50,000 native trees (Figure 8). As well as reducing the likelihood of bacterial contamination from livestock the riparian buffers will help intercept sediment which is also an issue in Rangataua Bay downstream.

In this catchment upcoming planned works confirmed through signed Environmental Programme Agreements with landowners will include new fencing (3 km), planting (80,000 natives) and land retirement (20 ha). Co-funding support for this has been secured by BOPRC from the Ministry of Primary Industries Te Uru Rakau One Billion Trees Programme (MPI) especially for Kaiate Falls to incentivise bigger set-backs from waterways (this planting ensures riparian areas don’t become a weed burden for landowners with the added benefit of biodiversity and shading).

The upcoming BOPRC work programme commitments of $230,000, will now deliver $441,000 of works with this additional co-funding support and landowner contributions. Landowner contributions also include support from the Million Metres crowd funding programme and in-kind support from the proactive Waitao Landcare Group.  

In terms of changes to water quality, it’s still too soon to confirm whether or not swimmability indicators are improving as a result of our works, but good monitoring programmes are in place to detect any responses in water quality as we continue with the final fencing work and vegetation establishes in our riparian buffers. The livestock exclusion fencing and riparian buffers will become much more effective at intercepting overland flow of contaminants over time.


Figure 7: Waitao Focus Catchment Progress Report Card showing completed and planned land management actions and funding contributions.

Figure 8: Extensive livestock exclusion and planting areas alongside key waterways upstream of the Kaiate Falls.


3.3.2    Māori Land in the Waitao Catchment

A number of Māori Trust landholdings in the Waitao Catchment are in the process of undertaking restoration planning and works on their properties, which BOPRC is very supportive of. Staff have contributed towards planning on a number of different blocks to date, and have committed BOPRC support to actions such as weed control, wetland restoration, and extensive native planting.

Some of these projects have already secured co-funding from the likes of the Provincial Growth Fund in the case of a Ngāti Pūkenga block. One trust is planning to approach the Port of Tauranga Ngā Matarae Trust seeking financial support, another Iwi rep is submitting to Tauranga City Council’s LTP for support with a wetland creation. Regional Council is providing assistance where possible to support these applications.

The Land Management Team are working closely with the BOPRC Biosecurity Team and Iwi reps looking at projects which can support Māori land holdings with the aim to enable both successful control of woolly nightshade and restoration activities, while allowing job creation within the landholdings whānau.

3.3.3    Waitao Landcare Group

The Waitao Kaiate Landcare Group consists of approximately 20 local residents whose primary focus is to increase biodiversity and improve water quality in the Waitao Catchment. Originally formed by NZ Landcare Trust in 2001 in partnership with Ngāti Pūkenga and NIWA, this community group has been working for many years; fencing stream margins for stock exclusion and riparian planting to improve stream habitat and water quality. The volunteers now run a private nursery, from which they propagate native seedlings that have been ecosourced from within the catchment. Around 2,000 plants a year are grown from seed and donated to landowners and planted during working bees along the waterways within the catchment. The group also helps raise awareness and provides advice for pest plant and pest animal control, supporting biodiversity outcomes.  

This Caregroup’s work is in addition to (but directly supports) the Land Management team’s work, and the Caregroup is funded around $10,000 each year from BOPRC to support its activities. Sometimes approaching landowners to undertake works through the Caregroup avenue (landowner to landowner) can be more successful than when Council staff have tried, making ongoing Caregroup support crucial to the Waitao Catchment works.  

3.4      Next steps

Our next steps in the Waitao Catchment will include:

·      Continuing to fence the final remaining waterways and mitigate Critical Source Areas in the catchment through Environmental Programme works.

·      Continuing to use latest science advancements such as Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment, Faecal Source Tracking, and DNA work to direct specific work activities in the catchment.

·      Continue to work with local iwi/hapū groups to improve water quality in the catchment (especially on Māori Trust land). A number of land holdings are especially interested in wetland creation which we are supporting.

·      Continue to work with farmers to help ensure best farm management practice is followed. 

·      Continue to support the Waitao Landcare group activities. 

4.        Considerations

4.1      Risks and Mitigations

The Focus Catchments Programme is based around implementing mitigations to environmental risks. In some areas regulation may ultimately be required where voluntary land management action does not achieve the desired water quality outcomes.

4.2      Climate Change




Reduce GHG emissions

Produce GHG emissions

Sequester carbon

Anticipate climate change impacts

Respond to climate change impacts


Land management work contributes positively towards buffering the effects of climate change, with permanent native tree planting and steep land retirement reducing the impacts of soil loss from severe weather events, and riparian set-back/wetlands mitigating against changes in water levels.

Planting work also contributes significantly towards carbon sequestration. During the last planting season, Council planted or contributed to the planting of 250,000 plants across the Region, predicted to sequester over 38,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 80 years.

4.3      Implications for Māori

Focus Catchment work spans the rohe of a number of different iwi/hapū. Consideration has been given to the aspirations of iwi/hapu in the data capture and action planning stages of each focus catchment programme, with strengthening partnerships in various stages of engagement and development.

For the most part there is very close alignment between Council’s and iwi/hapū objectives around water quality, swimmability and protecting and enhancing habitat for mahinga kai. Our Focus Catchment Programme extends to Māori landholders in the community, with numerous partnership projects underway in a number of different areas, as mentioned in this report above.

The Focus Catchment programme engagement with tangata whenua, should not be confused with the Council’s legislative requirement for consultation under the wider implementation of the NPS-FM. 

4.4      Community Engagement


Adobe Systems



To work directly with affected communities throughout the process to ensure that their issues and concerns are consistently understood and fully considered in Council’s decision making.

The entire Focus Catchment Programme approach relies strongly on collaborative, voluntary work with landowners and community to achieve water quality objectives

4.5      Financial Implications

There are no material unbudgeted financial implications and this work fits within the allocated budget for the programme. Demand remains high for incentivised land management work and new Government funding is increasing the scale and quality of on-the-ground actions possible. Our existing operational budgets have been used to leverage matching Central Government co-funding, such that our programme has expanded significantly for the next 2 years.

5.        Next Steps

Land Management will continue with the evolution of its Focus Catchments approach to address serious water quality issues in the Region, with a commitment to the on-the-ground incentivised voluntary action in priority locations, and leverage of new co-funding support, and expanded partnerships with our communities.