Monitoring and Operations Committee Agenda

NOTICE IS GIVEN that the next meeting of the Monitoring and Operations Committee will be held in Mataatua Room, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Level 1, 5 Quay  Street, Whakatāne on:

Wednesday 28 June 2023 COMMENCING AT 9.30 am

This meeting will be livestreamed and recorded.

The Public section of this meeting will be livestreamed and 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. Bay of Plenty Regional Council - YouTube


Fiona McTavish

Chief Executive, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana

20 June 2023



Monitoring and Operations Committee



Cr Kevin Winters

Deputy Chairperson

Cr Ron Scott


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 streamed live on 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                                   28 June 2023

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.      Minutes

Minutes to be Confirmed

6.1      Monitoring and Operations Committee Minutes - 7 March 2023                            1

7.      Presentations

7.1      Outcomes from the LakesWater Quality Society Symposium - November 2022

Presented by: John Gifford - Chair, LakesWater Quality Society

7.2      Forest & Bird New Zealand - Making Room for Rivers

Presented by: Tom Kay - Freshwater Advocate - Forest & Bird NZ

8.      Reports

8.1      Chairperson's Report                             18

Decisions Required

8.2      Seddon Pump Station                              1

Information Only

8.3      Climate Change Quarterly Report           1

Attachment 1 - Climate Change Programme Overview May 2023                                                1

8.4      Freshwater Farm Plan regulation implementation                                        1

Attachment 1 - Resource Management Freshwater Farm Plans Regulations 2023           1

8.5      Forestry Compliance - A snapshot of risk                                                                 1

Attachment 1 - Bay of Plenty Forestry Consents in last 5 years                                                           1

Attachment 2 - HighRiskForestry_Region_grey 1

Attachment 3 - HighRiskForestry_Tauranga_grey                        1

Attachment 4 - HighRiskForestry_Rotorua_grey                                                                                   1

Attachment 5 - HighRiskForestry_Whakatane_grey                     1

Attachment 6 - HighRiskForestry_EastCoast_grey                       1

Attachment 7 - Orete Forest, Waihau Bay          1

Attachment 8 - Ngarue Road, Cape Runaway    1

Attachment 9 - Matangareka No.3B Block          1

Attachment 10 - Whitikau Forest                         1

8.6      Waihi Estuary Focus Catchment Update 1

9.      Presentations (Continued)

7.3      Te Wahapū o Waihī

Presented by: Dr Kura Paul-Burke and Roana Bennett - Project Coordinator, Te Wahapu o Waihī

10.    Reports (Continued)

Information Only

8.7      Reflections from Toi Moana on recent weather events                                         1

8.8      Maritime Monitoring and Operations Report                                                      1

8.9      Rates Collection Update                          1

8.10    Customer Feedback Summary Report     1

8.11    Capital Project Budgeting, Approval and Delivery Process                                      1

11.    Consideration of Items not on the Agenda

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Open Minutes

Commencing:             Tuesday 7 March 2023, 9.30 am

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

Chairperson:               Cr Kevin Winters


Deputy Chairperson:  Cr Ron Scott

Members:                    Cr Stuart Crosby

Cr Toi Kai Rākau Iti

Cr Matemoana McDonald

Cr Jane Nees

Cr Lyall Thurston (via Zoom)

Cr Andrew von Dadelszen

Cr Te Taru White

Cr Kat Macmillan

Cr Malcolm Campbell

Cr Ken Shirley

In Attendance:            Reuben Fraser – General Manager, Regulatory  Services,  Mat Taylor – General Manager, Corporate, Chris Ingle – General Manager – Integrated Catchments, Namouta Poutasi – General Manger, Strategy and Science, Presenters – as listed in the minutes, Amanda Namana – Committee Advisor


Apologies:                  Cr Paula Thompson, Chairman Doug Leeder


Chairman’s Opening Statement


The Chair advised that the public section of the meeting was being recorded and would be made available on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council website and archived for a period of three years. Refer to link to recording of the meeting: Monitoring and Operations Committee - 7 March 2023 - YouTube


1.     Apologies


That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Accepts the apologies from Cr Thompson and Chairman Leeder tendered at the meeting.

von Dadelszen/Nees


2.     Public Forum


3.     Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

None declared.

4.     Reports


Chairperson's Report

Tabled Document 1 - Monitoring and Operations Committee Work Plan 2023: Objective ID A4334248

Chair Cr Winters and General Manager – Regulatory Services Reuben Fraser presented this item.

Key Points:

·     Further information would be provided to a future meeting with lessons learnt from the Cyclone Gabrielle weather event.

In Response to Questions:

·       Details were still to come on funding and cost recovery for Freshwater Farm Plans (FFPs).  Upcoming regulations for FFP’s were expected to be gazetted by the next Committee meeting

·       External certifiers and auditors would be used – the key role of Council was endorsing certifiers to work in the region and provide context and information on the catchment challenges

·       Historically Farm Environment Plans were a voluntary requirement.  This was the first time that FFPs would be a regulatory requirement under the Resource Management Act (RMA), and would be subject to compliance, monitoring and enforcement functions

·       All landowners over 5 hectares for orchards and 20 hectares for land use were required to have a FFP by 2025

·       External laboratory services were cost recovered with a margin to cover overhead costs.  The costing structure for the laboratory was being reviewed during 2023.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Chairperson's Report.



Information Only


Rates Collection Update

Manager, Special Projects Annabel Taylor and Rates Team Leader Jo Pellew presented this item.

Key Points:

·     An additional $860,000 had been collected since the report had been written, equating to a total 97.2% collection rate

·     One of the key objectives for the project was having a more direct relationship with customers, highlighted by customer interactions throughout the process.

In Response to Questions:

·      A consideration of bringing the rates in-house was to ensure an equitable solution, some rating may previously have been inconsistent across the region

·     The rating structure of Papakāinga housing had unique attributes and would be considered on an individual basis to reflect how each property was structured for ownership

·     Further information on the development of the rates remission policies would be included in future Long Term Plan (LTP) workshops to be considered

·     There had been a high uptake of direct debit payments and issues with existing direct debits had been worked through individually

·     Common questions from customers had been identified and analysed

·     Under the previous system, any debts collected from Territorial Local  Authorities (TLAs) were distributed on a pro rata basis

·      Further information on remissions was being gathered as part of the policy review, and this was reliant on TLAs providing a full set of information to analyse.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Rates Collection Update;

2       Requests reports from staff to provide further information to a future councillor meeting covering:

a)   Rates remissions and postponements

b)  Crown owned land and rateable value

c)   History of Māori land and why rating is a significant issue.

White/von Dadelszen




Customer Service Performance Update

Customer Contact Manager Rachael Burgess presented this item.

Key Points - Members:

·     Clarified that the survey result data on page 38 of the agenda related to customer satisfaction, rather than the number of calls received.

In Response to Questions:

·     Timing of the ALGIM Customer Experience Survey was unfortunate due to coinciding with the peak rates period, and impacted Council’s ability to respond to ALGIM calls as they came in.  This also reflected challenges faced by the team and results were expected to improve once some of these challenges were resolved

·     The after-hours service that was provided did not have the same detailed knowledge of queries as BOPRC staff, therefore a lower level of service was observed 

·     Pāpāmoa Hills Cultural Heritage Regional Park web search was popular due to the growing number of people using the park and seeking information on whether it was open.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Customer Service Performance Update.





Climate Change Quarterly Report

Presentation 1: Tourism Bay of Plenty - The Green Room: Objective ID A4323083 

Presentation 2: Blue Carbon: Objective ID A4324847 

Presentation 3: Corporate Sustainability: Objective ID A4324850   

Climate Change Programme Manager Nic Newman presented this item, supported by Senior Planner Climate Change Jane Palmer and presenters as listed below.

In Response to Questions:

·        There was a grant proportion within the Sustainable Homes Scheme to assist low income home owners.  This was only available outside of the Rotorua Air Shed and had a loan component which was presently on hold and likely to be resolved soon

·        Confirmed that Council owns, rather than leases all of its fleet vehicles

·        The bus decarbonisation feasibility study was moving into the business case development phase, and looked at a range of options including electric, hydrogen, renewable diesel and biogenic methane

·        Noted that Climate Change reporting was shifting from six monthly to quarterly.

Key Points of Presentation 1: The Green Room – Stacey Linton and Oscar Nathan, Tourism Bay of Plenty

·       Outlined the Green Room programme strategy and long term-goals for sustainability and regenerative tourism

·       Demonstrated alignment with the Climate Change Action Plan 2021-23

·       Getting operators on board – consumers wanted the programme, it was free, aligned with Government targets and kept the environment and community healthy

·       Described the content and outcomes of the course

·       Visitors and consumers wanted sustainable options when travelling

·       Summarised key wins to date

·       Across 100 businesses, this would make a significant difference over time.

In Response to Questions:

·     Some backpacker accommodations encouraged beach clean ups, and eco-tourism was currently on a small scale but developing further

·     Next season would see a significant increase in cruise ships to the Port of Tauranga, after deep cleans being required following Covid-19 schedule delays.  New Zealand maritime regulations had been raised, where Australia’s had not

·     Queried the future outlook and priority of servicing cruise ships to the region – suggested a cruise terminal or shared facility at Coronation Park which could be used for other purposes during the off-season.  Transportation options also held many opportunities

·     The cruise sector had a target to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2035 and was another aspect to be considered in deciding what priority cruise tourism held for the region, along with social and economic outcomes

·     There was potential for long term collaborative opportunities being built into the course

·     Currently the programme focused on coastal Bay of Plenty, but was under discussion for other parts of the region e.g. Rotorua

·     There was a collective of 14 Māori tourism operators with a high proportion currently participating in the course

·     It was important to note that every rohe had its own story when it came to Māori tourism.

Key Points of Presentation 2: Blue Carbon - Josie Crawford, Environmental Scientist

·     The term ‘Blue Carbon’ was used to describe coastal and marine ecosystems that had a high capacity to capture and store carbon

·     Blue Carbon Solutions: Coastal Wetlands – saltmarsh, mangroves and seagrass meadows

·     Saltmarsh rehabilitation/ restoration

·     Potential saltmarsh area for restoration

·     Current saltmarsh elevation

·     Potential sea-level rise impacts

·     Wainui Repo Whenua project

·     Carbon sequestration rates

·     Building blocks of unlocking blue carbon potential.

Key Points – Members:

·     Noted the strong future potential for landowners to take advantage of the opportunity to convert land to wetlands and saltmarsh for carbon benefits

·     Needed to start looking at green/natural infrastructure initiatives as projects to invest in as communities.

In Response to Questions:

·     Some values of mangroves had been investigated internationally and  could potentially form part of the picture

·     Council’s working group was not undertaking mangrove-specific research, but NIWA were trying to differentiate and understand carbon storage across mangrove, saltmarsh and seagrass habitats 

·     A framework did not yet exist for landowners to engage with staff on wetland and saltmarsh opportunities for carbon credit benefits

·     Saltmarsh systems potentially had higher storage rates than other systems and higher rates at which they sequestered

·     Mātauranga Māori was incorporated through partnership with local hapū on the restoration projects, including species of plantings and the overall design of each project.

Key Points of Presentation 3: Internal Emissions - Baptiste Natali, Corporate Sustainability Officer

·        Toitu Report: Result

·        Current Initiatives: electrification of diesel flood pumps (Kaituna), monthly carbon monitoring, fleet optimisation, carbon sequestration measurement at Pāpāmoa Hill

·        Highlighted that a realistic pathway to net zero was not a straight line

·        Offsetting described purchasing carbon credits, whereas insetting was about undertaking the work inhouse.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Climate Change Quarterly Report.

von Dadelszen/White



11.25 am – The meeting adjourned.


11.42 am – The meeting reconvened.



2021/2022 Compliance Activity Report

Compliance Manager – Land and Water Alex Miller presented this item.

Key Points – Members:

·     Expressed growing concern over forestry waste management and risks to the community during future extreme weather events, as had been observed recently in other regions.

In Response to Questions:

·       Inspectional frequency was increased for continued non-compliance of dairy effluent discharges - generally well-managed systems were rewarded with less frequent inspections.  Other options were being considered with dairy stakeholder groups to improve compliance and provide guidance

·       Plans were in place for permitted activities with high non-compliance

·       Future compliance results graphs would be modified to reflect further industry trend trajectories/analysis

·       Consents for forestry only covered certain phases of process, not the full 20 year cycle

·       Although forestry remained a risk, the region had a robust monitoring programme in place.  A future report with more details would be brought forward from November 2023 to the next meeting in June.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, 2021/2022 Compliance Activity Report.





Overview of Municipal Wastewater Compliance in Bay of Plenty Region

Compliance Manager – Land and Water Alex Miller and Senior Regulatory Project Officer May Cheuyglintase presented this item.

Key Points - Members:

·     Noted that the cause of this problem was a series of issues leading to a system failure.  Needed to understand the whole system and what was breaking down from a historical perspective to look ahead and address the failures.

In Response to Questions:

·     Staff would continue to work with TLAs to promote change and improvement

·     The biggest drivers of the system failures were funding, capability and capacity, and increased levels of service

·     The link between statistics on recreational water quality and sewerage overflows would be incorporated in future wastewater compliance reports.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Overview of Municipal Wastewater Compliance in Bay of Plenty Region.





Mount Maunganui Industrial Area update

Compliance Manager – Air, Industry and Response Stephen Mellor and Senior Regulatory Project Officer Reece Irving presented this item.

Key Points:

·        Noted a correction to the information provided in the Executive Summary on page 134 of the agenda: one breach of the PM10 National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NES) had been recorded within the airshed, rather than two.

In Response to Questions:

·     A mapping study was currently underway of unsealed land in the industrial area and results would be known by 27 March 2023

·     Benefits to sealing unsealed industrial land were being weighed against permeability with high rainfall events

·     If an ambient air quality standard was breached, staff would investigate and look to identify measures to ensure the breach was not repeated. Council is also required to give public notices of any breaches.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Mount Maunganui Industrial Area update.





Weather Events,  January - February 2023

General Manager – Integrated Catchments Chris Ingle and Project Manager Paula Chapman presented this item.

In Response to Questions:

·     Following the Auckland Anniversary weather event, the rivers and drainage team undertook immediate work in areas of the upper Kaituna catchment where high levels of debris had accumulated

·     Western Bay of Plenty District Council (WBOPDC) had contracted drone footage to be undertaken to identify areas where debris existed alongside waterways, which could potentially mobilise in a future weather event

·     There were stringent consent conditions on the operation end of the Ōkere Gates, therefore they needed to be managed according to these conditions

·     Communication was key in easing the anxiety of communities.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1        Receives the report, Weather Events,  January - February 2023.





Tauranga Moana Land Management Operations Update

Presentation: Land Management Operations Update: Objective ID A4331453   

Land Management Officer Hayden Schick, Land Management Officer Katherine Glasgow and Principal Advisor, Land and Water Jackson Efford presented this item.

Key Points of Presentation:

·     Outlined the Focus Catchments Programme

·     Tauranga Moana Freshwater Management Unit (FMU) Land Management Works since 2019

·     Kopurererua:

Ongoing sediment and E Coli issues, diverse land use

Completed and planned works

Detainment bunds


·     Waitao/Kaiate Falls water quality – Kaiate Falls water quality appeared to be improving, but would take up to five years

·     Uretara and Te Mania

·     It would take up to five years to confirm a positive or negative trend

·     Mangroves and Sea Lettuce update.

In Response to Questions:

·      WBOPDC were responsible for the infrastructure at Kaiate Falls and were aware of the issues with the walkway bridge

·     Staff had a prioritisation list generated in-house and worked with willing landowners where areas had been identified at risk of erosion, sediment loss, etc.

·     Initially the Focus Catchment Programme’s resources targeted a small number of key areas, which were now being extended to other sub catchments of the harbour including Wairoa as a priority to address sediment and e. Coli issues.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Tauranga Moana Land Management Operations Update.

Nees/von Dadelszen



12.58 pm – the meeting closed.



                                                                                   Cr Kevin Winters

Chairperson, Monitoring and Operations Committee






Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Authoriser:

Reuben Fraser, 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:

·          Integrated Catchments Update

·          Rotorua Air Quality Programme Update

·          Mount Maunganui Air Quality Programme Update

·          Regulatory Compliance Update

·          Resource Consents Update



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.Matters of Potential Interest.

2.        Integrated Catchments Update

2.1.1    Whakarewarewa Wallaby Containment Fence Project Update

Despite the inclement weather and unprecedented rainy summer period the fence project progressed past the midpoint and more than 6.5km of fence has been completed. The delays in Timberlands harvest plans due to cyclone Gabrielle (windfall clearance) at a few sections of the fence line are likely to delay the project as we have to alter the route to a less favourable alignment. The project is likely to be completed by end of September 2023.


Photo 1: Fence at the rest area near 8 Mile Road       Photo 2:  Fence inspection at the Ford Farm end

2.1.2    Waitao Catchment Polystyrene Clean-up

During the recent weather events a stream crossing in the catchment above Kaiate Falls failed. The crossing was built many years ago by a landowner who used large blocks of polystyrene in the approach to the abutments. Unfortunately, a lot of this material was deposited along the banks of the stream and into Rangataua Bay. Council’s land management staff and contractors have spent several days attempting to clean up the stream banks along with efforts by the Waitao Kaiate Landcare volunteers and working with our compliance team on the complaint itself. We are also aware of at least one other crossing where polystyrene has been used in the upper Raparapahoe Stream.

A river with rocks and trees

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Photo 3:  Polystyrene deposits along Waitao Stream

A picture containing rock, outdoor, rubble, building

Description automatically generated

Photo 4:  Polystyrene removed from Waitao Stream

2.1.3    Papamoa Hills Upgrade Project site visit

Te Uepu is the co-governance / co-management entity for Papamoa Hills Cultural Heritage Regional Park: including four regional councillors and four iwi/hapū representatives from Waitaha, Ngapotiki, Ngati Pukenga and Ngati He. On 26 May members of Te Uepu joined staff and contractors from HEB Construction for a site visit to check out the latest work on the Papamoa Hills Upgrade Project.

The design was developed by Law Creative, Waitaha, Ngā Potiki, Ngāti Pūkenga and Ngāti He with input from Council staff.  Below photo shows a bird’s eye view of the new entrance for the park which includes an enhanced visitor experience.

The project will be completed this spring subject to ground and weather conditions for the road widening being suitable.

Photo 5:  Arial photo of the new entrance to Pāpāmoa Hills Cultural Regional Park

2.1.4    Coast Care

With all the wet weather over the past few months Coast Care has kicked off its annual planting programme a little earlier than normal.  If you are interested in joining one of our public volunteer days, then keep an eye on our Facebook page ( for the details of upcoming events.

Get involved for a team building/planting team event, our planting events normally last for a maximum of two hours of light mahi and include an overview of how our dunes operate and what biodiversity might be found there.

2.1.5    Staff and volunteers pest control exercise

Land management staff and volunteers from Whakatāne Kiwi Trust and the Manawahe Kokako Trust recently attended a toxin baiting exercise.  This gave staff and volunteers the opportunity to learn and demonstrate the skills required to control pest animals under a controlled substance license. The cross pollination of volunteers and staff made for a great day.  One group were lucky enough to find a pair of Ruru nesting in a Rimu tree.

Two owls sitting on a tree branch

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Photo 6:  Ruru nesting in Rimu tree

Photo 7:  Land management staff and volunteers from Whakatāne Kiwi Trust and the Manawahe Kokako Trust

2.1.6    Pūtauaki Environmental Programme

Recently BOPRC and the Pūtauaki Trust signed an Environmental Programme agreement which includes over $700k of conservation and restoration work over the next five years. New fence lines have been marked out that will help protect biodiversity sites from stock, make access for weed control easier and also fence off an area of geothermal activity that is bubbling away in the middle of the pastoral area. There is a lot of work to go but it is exciting to have made the first steps and started the journey together.

2.1.7    Environmental Programmes

The Coastal and Rotorua Catchments Teams are now working on 280 Environmental Programmes that are signed and underway with landowners or community groups around the region, in addition to the 60 Care Group plans. We have completed 49 Environmental Programmes since our new software system kicked off in 2020 (they typically last 3-5 years). A further 126 agreements are being negotiated. The map below shows the distribution of the agreements around the region.

Figure 1:  Map showing distribution of Environmental Programme agreements around the region

2.1.8    MPI Hill Country Erosion Fund Approved for BOP  

BOPRC has been awarded a total of $774,480 over the next four years from the Hill Country Erosion Funding (HCEF) Programme, which is a partnership between MPI / Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service, Regional Councils and landowners. The objective of the HCEF Programme is to support landowners to plan for and treat erosion-prone land and put in place good sustainable management practices to protect vulnerable hill country. Work will be targeted in our most hilly erodible land (20 degrees slope or LUC 6), mostly within Council’s priority ‘Focus Catchment’ areas, where prioritised land management action is required to improve water quality attributes such as phosphorus and sediment, closely supporting the Council’s implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

The project focuses on planting of native species, poplar poles, and hill country retirement fencing. Council Land Management staff will work one-on-one with eligible landowners to develop and implement ‘Environmental Programme Agreements’, which are property-specific farm plans to prioritise and implement erosion control and water quality works. The Council is contributing matching cash co-funding of $774,480 towards all the activities (plus in-kind time from staff to administer the programme), with landowners also contributing around $387,240 over the life of the project. Over four years the programme will need to deliver at least a minimum of 40 ha of land retirement, 40 km of new stock exclusion fencing, 2,000 poplar poles and 142,400 native trees. Staff have begun allocating funding already and are finding the demand for support from landowners remains high, especially after the amount of storm damage that our steep slopes have suffered this year.

2.2      Rotorua Air Quality Programme Update

2.2.1    Rotorua Air Quality Working Party

The Rotorua Air Quality Working Party (the “Working Party”) met on 28 April 2023. As this was the first meeting in the new triennium, a PowerPoint presentation on the Rotorua Air Quality Journey was presented covering past, present and future air quality issues. Although it is a good-news story, with proposed central government changes to the NES-AQ, a key message was the need to maintain momentum. Rotorua Lakes Council, Deputy Mayor Sandra Kai Fong is supportive of work that continues to improve Rotorua air quality. One recommendation was reviewing the Rotorua Air Quality Control Bylaw 2017 (“the Bylaw”) to include more stringent solid fuel burner rules. Regional Council staff will initiate discussions with RLC regarding a Bylaw review. The Working Party will present the Rotorua Air Quality Journey to Rotorua Lakes Council later in the year.

2.2.2    2023 winter enforcement of the use of non-compliant solid fuel burners

Rotorua winter enforcement of non-complying solid fuel burner use has begun. To date eleven Abatement Notices have been served. Staff usually meet the property owners to discuss options towards compliance with owners eligible for an EECA Warmer Kiwi Homes grant are pointed in that direction. Most owners (17 of 23 properties) who received Abatement Notices last winter have replaced their non-complying burners and only one property has continued to use a non-complying burner. No Infringement Notices have been served at the time of writing this report, however one is intended to be served on the property still using the non-complying burner.

2.2.3    Funding assistance for vulnerable Rotorua communities

Discussions have begun with stakeholders to assist vulnerable Rotorua property owners to change their non-compliant burners to compliant heating. This work will begin in the new financial year.

2.3      Mount Maunganui Air Quality Programme Update (1 March to 31 May 2023)

2.3.1    PM10 monitoring and exceedances in the current reporting period

During this reporting period one PM10 NES exceedances was recorded. On 19 April 2023 heavy sea fog blanketed the Mount throughout the day. At the Rata Street monitoring site elevated levels of PM10 provided alerts to compliance staff who were on-site periodically. An application has been made to the Ministry for the Environment (24 May 2023) to classify this as an exceptional circumstance exceedance caused by natural salt laden air. A response is expected within three months of making the application.

2.3.2    Pollution Hotline Complaints Response

Between 1 March and 30 May 2023, 50 calls were received through the Pollution Hotline relating to events within the Mount Industrial Airshed. Of these 37 related to air quality with 29 of these relating to odour. Refer to the table below for specific details.

All urgent calls were responded to within 12 hours and non-urgent calls responded to within three working days.

Pollution Hotline Complaint Categories 1 March 2023 to 30 May 2023 – Mount Industrial Area


# calls

% calls

Water and Land












Pollution Hotline Complaint Sub-Categories 1 March 2023 to 30 May 2023 – Mount Industrial Area


# calls

% calls

Water & Land – discharges to water



Water & Land – discharges to land



Water & Land – land and  soil disturbance



Coastal – discharges



Air – agrichemical



Air – dust



Air – industrial



Air – odour



Air – smoke






Table 1: Pollution Hotline calls by category, 1 March 2023 – 30 May 2023

An odour complaint relating to the Higgins Contractors Limited asphalt plant received on 25 May 2023 was substantiated by an enforcement officer and a breach of resource consent and abatement notice was confirmed.

Two infringement notices were issued to the company:

·     RI23-00026 for breaching section 15(1)(c) of the Resource Management Act 1991; fee of $1000

·     RI23-00027 for contravening abatement notice RA22-00013; fee of $750.

Infringement fees for specific offences are set by the Resource Management (Infringement Offences) Regulations 1999.

2.3.3    Odour project

A project is being undertaken to scrutinise industrial odours arising from within the Mount Maunganui Airshed and Truman Lane industrial area and investigate their causes and better ways to manage them.

Staff are currently mapping odour sources within the two areas and during the upcoming winter months, site visits will be made to the most problematic locations. This information will be used to aid the Council’s air quality management work in Mount Maunganui. A desk-top study has identified 29 potentially high odour potential sites which will be the subject of odour assessments two to three times weekly over the next two months.

2.3.4    Mount Maunganui residential air quality indicators and reporting

Information from a network of low-cost air sensors installed in the Mount Maunganui area will shortly be released to the public.  The network has been put in place to respond to community desire for an indicator of residential air quality and to provide guidance so individuals can choose how to respond to the air quality present.

The sensors provide indicative information based upon measured particulate (PM2.5 & PM10) and nitrogen dioxide, with the worst result of the three contaminants being used to derive an indicator value and related guidance.

The reporting methodology used is based upon an internationally recognised approach developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which has also been adapted for use in other countries. The adoption of this approach is considered relatively new in the New Zealand context and its suitability will be assessed over time. Trial indicator data have already shown that in general air quality is in the ‘Good’ category with some departure into the ‘Moderate’ category; instances of ‘Moderate’ have predominantly been driven by particulate levels that align with rough seas and are likely due to be caused by airborne natural salts.

A draft webpage has been developed (Mount Maunganui residential air quality) that provides a map-based view of sites, indicators and guidance (Figure 1) and this will made live as part of a communications suite that will progressively launched from 1 July 2023.  The web page and map have been developed so that users can gain a quick status of air quality from their mobile phones.



Figure 2 Mount Maunganui residential air quality indicators sites and guidance example

2.3.5    Resource Consents

There are currently nine businesses that have applied for discharge consents within the Mount Industrial air shed. The new applications are on hold pending the final Environment Court Decision on Rule AQ R22 (Bulk Solid Materials) of the Air Chapter of the Regional Natural Resources Plan. Appeal parties are working through the interim decision released in January 2023. Once the final decision is made, these applications will progress, provided there are no further appeals. The decision is expected to be released by the end of June.

Of note:

·     Allied Asphalt are not applying for a like-for-like renewal of their existing discharge to air consent but intend to install a new plant. This also triggers consent requirements from the City Council due to the proposed stack height and the applications have been jointly publicly notified (submissions closed 12 June). A hearing is pending.

·     The Higgins (asphalt) application to renew their air discharge consent was publicly notified (submissions closed 25 May 2023). A hearing is pending.

·     The Genera application for fumigation activities was publicly notified, and submissions closed on 16 November 2020. However, this application was put on hold while awaiting the EPA decision on the ongoing use and recapture of Methyl bromide. The application was amended to give effect to the EPA decision. The hearing is scheduled for the week of 19 June and a verbal update can be provided at the meeting.

·     Further information is required to be able to progress the Lawter application.

·     The Waste Management (Envirowaste) application was limited notified to all dwellings, businesses etc. within 600 metres of the site and Ngā Potiki. A hearing is scheduled for 25 July 2023.

The applications and technical documents for all notified applications can be found on the BOPRC Website:


New applications: On hold pending AQ R22 Decision

·     HR Cement

·     TPT Forests Ltd

·     Matariki Forests

2.3.6    Policy Matters

In February, the Environment Court released its interim decision on the appeal to Rule AQ R22 of Plan Change 13 – Air Quality (PC 13) pertaining to Bulk Solid Material handling in the Airshed.

The interim decision identified unsealed yards as a previously unacknowledged important contributor to PM10 and directs Council (under s293 of the Resource Management Act) to make changes to PC 13 to control PM10 emissions from unsealed yards in the Airshed. The decision named PC 13 appellants, owners of unsealed sites and air discharge consent holders within the Airshed as affected parties to be consulted as part of the s293 process. Stakeholder engagement will be held, and submissions sought in the coming months.

The final PC13 appeal decision is expected soon, and it is noted that it may contain additional or alternative requirements in respect to the management of unsealed yards.

Since the last report there has been no change to the development of the high-level framework of provisions for Plan Change 18 – Mount Maunganui Airshed (PC 18). This is due to the release of the interim decision for PC 13 and the need to ensure consistency within the Regional Natural Resources Plan, However, the interim PC 13 decision has given Council staff direction on the likely final form of that Plan Change, which will in turn shape the approach to PC 18.

2.4      Regulatory Compliance Update

2.4.1    Enforcement

For this reporting period, Regional Council has issued 37 abatement notices and 20 infringement notices, totalling $12,050 in fines in relation to breaches of Regional Plan rules and/or Resource Consent conditions.

For the financial year to 31 May 2022 we have issued 212 Abatement notices and 68 Infringement notices totalling $42,500 in fines. This is up on the previous year total of 119 Abatement notices and 51 infringement notices. The increase is due to a range of factors including taking a coordinated approach to significant non-compliance from dairy inspections, the first winter of the wood burner compliance programme in Rotorua, a step up in compliance of permitted activity water takes and on site effluent treatment systems.

We currently have seven matters before the courts in relation to RMA Enforcement. Since 1 March 2023, we have received no sentencing decisions from the courts in relation to current prosecutions.

2.4.2    Pollution Hotline and Complaints Response

·     694 service requests were received for the period 1 March to 31 May 2023, 55 more than the same period last year. 30% of those service requests were received after-hours. This equates to an average of eight jobs per day.

·     57% of all service requests during the period related to air quality concerns, the majority being odour (190 service requests) and smoke (161 service requests). 12 service requests related to agrichemicals sprays.

·     18% of service requests were substantiated (ie a confirmed breach of the RMA, Regional Plan, NES).

·     87% of service requests were actioned on the day of receipt. 91% were actioned within 3 working days. All four urgent service requests were actioned within 12 hours of receipt of the initial call.

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Description automatically generated with low confidence

Figure 3:  Total number of service request by month, 2020-2023

Figure 4: Regional distribution of complaints received between 1 March to 31 May 2023 (blue = air, purple = water and land, orange = coastal)

2.5      Resource Consents Update

The number of resource consent applications received over time is generally consistent with the national downward trend. This has resulted in the gap between applications lodged and consents completed narrowing and comparatively more consent applications being processed by Toi Moana staff than by consultants. The number of consent applications processed by consultants has reduced from 89 and 74 respectively in 2020/21 and 2021/22 to fewer than 40 thus far this financial year.

The most common types of consents are still bore drilling, lake structures, groundwater takes, earthworks and dairy effluent irrigation to land.

Figure 5:  Resource Consent Decisions Made and Applications Received over the last five years


The Principal Advisors Consents and Consents Manager are continuing to provide feedback on RM Reform including the National Planning Framework. Marlene Bosch, Principal Advisor, is preparing feedback on behalf of the Consents Team on the proposed changes to the National Policy Statement for Renewable Electricity Generation, National Policy Statement on Electricity Transmission, National Environmental Standards for Electricity Transmission Activities and a new National Environmental Standards for Renewable Electricity Generation.

The Principal Advisors and some of the Senior Consents Planners will continue to provide support to the Essential Freshwater plan change.

Matt Harrex, previously a Consents Team Leader, is now the Compliance Manager Land and Water (previously Alex Miller’s role) and Sarah Tomlinson has been promoted to Team Leader to replace Matt. Sarah is based in the Whakatāne office and will manage the Whakatāne consents planners and a few planners in Tauranga. She starts in the role in early June and Nick Barnes has been doing a stellar job of interim Team Leader to the entire consents team. When Sarah commences in the role, Nick will be Team Leader to the Rotorua consents team and the rest of the Tauranga consents team.

2.5.1    Customer Satisfaction Survey

For the year to date there have been 57 responses to our customer satisfaction survey. The link to the online survey is provided to consent holders a week after they receive their consent decision. The individual survey responses are anonymous unless a participant wants to be contacted and supplies their contact details. Of the responses received, 49 participants (86%) advised that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the service. Feedback consistently shows the importance of good communication between consents planners and applicants/consultants. An online submission form has been created and other improvements made to the submission process as a result of feedback received from submitters.

2.5.2    Consents of Interest

Commissioners granted resource consent to the Ōpōtiki marina application after a two-day hearing in late March. The application was supported by Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, Ngāti Ngahere and Ngāti Paumoana and was opposed by Te Upokorehe, Ngāi Tamahaua and Ngāti Irapuaia. The appeal period will close on 21 June.

The replacement consent applications for the Higgins asphalt plant (Hewletts Road, Mt Maunganui) and Allied asphalt plant (Aerodrome Road, Mt Maunganui) were notified during May 2023. The Higgins application does not propose any upgrades and received 33 submissions in opposition within the time limit and one late submission. The Allied application proposes substantial upgrades to improve the quality of the air discharge and received 99 submissions with 94 opposed. The Allied upgrade requires consent from both Toi Moana and Tauranga City Council and a joint notification process has been undertaken.

The Port of Tauranga Stella Passage consent application was progressed through direct referral to the Environment Court. The court hearing was conducted over three weeks in Tauranga during February and March this year. The proposal includes a 385m wharf extension and 1.8ha reclamation at Sulphur Point, wharf extensions 530m north and 388m south of the Tanker Berth and a 2.9ha reclamation on the Mount Maunganui wharves. The associated extension to the shipping channel covers 14.4ha and involves dredging up to 1,800,000m3 of material of which 5.9ha and 800,000m3 is already consented. The focus of the hearing was on cultural and ecological effects. The process is not yet complete and potentially the court may ask for further evidence.

There was a flurry of applications for Fast-track Consenting with the legislation’s sunset clause approaching (7 July 2023). Recent applications to the Ministry for the Fast-track Consenting process include Taheke Geothermal (proposal for a geothermal power station), Summerset Rotorua (retirement village on Fairy Springs Rd), Ngongotahā Road Rotorua (residential development stage 1), Milbrow Estate (a 91 lot rural-residential development in Hamurana, Rotorua) and Pitau (a multistorey retirement village at Mt Maunganui). Decisions on whether the applications are accepted for the Fast-track process are expected to be released publicly soon. The majority of costs associated with responding to a Fast-track process cannot be recovered by Toi Moana.

An application has been received from Te Huata Charitable Trust (Te Whānau a Apanui) for 10,000 ha of aquaculture space for shellfish (including mussels, scallops and oysters) and seaweed and six x 2 ha inshore trial sites out from Te Kaha. There are information gaps in the application and therefore it is currently on hold.

The Genera consent application hearing is due to commence on 19 June. The application to discharge contaminants into air from fumigation for quarantine application or pre-shipment application at the Port of Tauranga was notified in October/November 2020 and was placed on hold for further information and pending the outcome of a methyl bromide decision from the Environmental Protection Authority. 342 submissions were received on the application.

We are expecting to receive a replacement consent application for the Wheao dam on the Rangitāiki River in June this year. The applicant has advised that they will request public notification.

Mary Pappon (Senior Consents Planner, Rotorua) has completed a review of the consent conditions for six of the larger Rotorua geothermal take and discharge consents. Two more consents will be reviewed in July/August this year and a replacement consent is currently being processed. The reviews have imposed conditions requiring the takes to be monitored. Previously the technology was not readily available.

A review of the air discharge consent for Legacy Funeral Homes in Pyes Pā has been partially completed. The review was initiated due to compliance issues at the premises and the Toi Moana prosecution of the consent holder.

2.5.3    Appeals

We are awaiting a decision from the Environment Court on the Tauranga Bridge Marina consent. Toi Moana granted consent to the Tauranga Bridge Marina and it was appealed by Ngāti Kuku with the consent duration being the major point of contention. The case was heard in Tauranga during November. Further to this, on 30 May 2023 the consent holder lodged a replacement consent application for establishment of a new breakwater with a supporting Cultural Impact Assessment from Ngāti Kuku.

The Supreme Court has granted leave to Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Sustainable Otakiri for the Creswell water bottling consents. A Supreme Court hearing is scheduled for late November this year in Wellington. Since 2018 the proposal has been considered in the Environment Court, the High Court, and the Court of Appeal.

Mr Des Heke lodged an appeal on the Ohauiti stormwater upgrade consent that was issued to Tauranga City Council. Prior to any formal appeal proceedings, Mr Heke withdrew his appeal. 

Much of the Whanarua Bay community are supplied with water from a private scheme that takes from the Whanarua Stream. The scheme has been in existence for some decades and a prior consent approved the consent and an instream weir which has since naturalised. Consultation with iwi, hapū and the Māori landowners was not undertaken for previous consents. A replacement consent was processed by Jacob Steens (Senior Consents Planner Tauranga) and limited notified to the relevant hapū. The application was opposed, and financial contributions sought by the hapū if consent was to be granted. Jacob recommended approval without financial contributions. After a hearing the consent was granted by an independent commissioner without financial contributions. An appeal has been lodged with the Environment Court by the hapū and related parties.









Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Writer:

Bruce Crabbe, Principal Advisor

Report Authoriser:

Chris Ingle, General Manager, Integrated Catchments


For the Committee to consider riparian improvements for corridor drains.



Seddon Pump Station


Executive Summary

The Kaituna River catchment area has received ongoing significant rainfall since May 2022. Sub-catchments north-east of Te Puke have been particularly seriously affected by the ongoing rain as well as elevated levels in the river (reducing gravity drainage).

A BOPRC-commissioned investigation recommended construction of a new pump station at the Seddon street drain exit to the Kaituna River, to provide the Kaituna Catchment Control Scheme level of service for stormwater and drainage.

To improve the drain water quality it is recommended that a best practice drain riparian treatment be implemented on the main feeder drains.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Seddon Pump Station;

2       Supports the proposed riparian improvements for the main contributor drains.



1.        Introduction

The Kaituna River catchment and Te Puke area has been particularly adversely affected by repeat rainfall events since May 2022 (refer rainfall graph below:




Figure 1 – Cumulative rainfall Kaituna 1990 - 2023

Photograph 1 – pasture along Lawler Drain showing elevated drain water levels and pasture damage (Armer 29 December 2022, 11 days after previous significant rain event).

Following continual low land inundation events, severe pasture losses, and complaints from landowners about the Kaituna Catchment Control Scheme not providing an appropriate level of service, an independent investigation was commissioned.

The investigation, carried out by RiverSpace Consulting (Roger Waugh), concluded that the drainage network was not providing it’s intended level of service. The key recommendation from the investigation report is:

          If the low-lying land is to stay in dairy day to day pumping will be required. As an indication to service just the Lawler Drain contributing to the current outlets, a pump of 700l/s will be required to meet the 37.5mm/day drainage coefficient. If the higher land currently going to Seddon Street Drain through other floodgated outlets was included, a pump of 950l/s will be required. These pump design capacities do not include any overflows from Borough Drain.

Other recommendations from the report including some structure improvements and investigation of improvements to surrounding stormwater mitigations are being progressed concurrently.

Figure 2 - Location and catchment area of proposed Seddon Pumping Station       

The key conclusion being that the scheme is not providing the drainage level of service for that sub-catchment and a pump station with capacity of approximately 1,000 litres per second is required to provide stormwater mitigation and routine drainage requirements.

The Rivers and Drainage Operations team has been operating multiple mobile pumps (diesel-driven) in an attempt to provide the required level of service but this continues to be very expensive, resource hungry, and fuelled by diesel.

The Chairman and Chief Executive committed to building new pump station (electric) to meet Scheme level of service.

1.1      Legislative Framework

Under the Local Government Act 2002, regional authorities are responsible for the provision and control of river scheme assets. The Council manages and maintains River Schemes under the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941 and in keeping with its Rivers and Drainage Asset Management Plans. These plans include levels of service for drainage and flood protection that the Council provides for the community.


1.2      Alignment with Strategic Framework


A Healthy Environment

We manage our natural resources effectively through regulation, education and action.

Freshwater for Life

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

Safe and Resilient Communities

We support community safety through flood protection and navigation safety.

A Vibrant Region

We invest appropriately in infrastructure to support sustainable development.

The Way We Work

We deliver value to our ratepayers and our customers.

The Seddon Street pump station proposal is in keeping with levels of service outlined in the Rivers and Drainage Asset Management Plan 2021-2071 (AMP). Proposed best practice riparian treatment for contributor drains also aligns with environmental considerations detailed in the AMP.

1.2.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

þ Environmental

Low - Positive

¨ Cultural


þ Social

Low - Positive

þ Economic

Medium - Positive


2.        Discussion

2.1      Proposed Solution

Staff (with assistance from an external pump specialist) have designed a 2-pump station using electric submersible pumps.

The pump selections have been driven by achieving optimum performance and energy efficiency. Two distinct pumping duties, being routine drainage (most frequent duty) discharging approx. 250 litres per second, and flood pumping duty when both pumps combined will discharge approx. 1,000 litres per second, will be adopted. The pumps have been selected to be operating at their respective maximum efficiency points at both duties to obtain ‘whole of life’ efficiency for the pump station.

Careful design is being implemented to creating a safe, level, and unobstructed site for staff and machinery to work around the pump station night & day and during adverse weather conditions.

Selection of submersible pumps also provides ability to locate the electrics/electronics/telemetry in an elevated position higher up the adjacent stopbank so the station continues to be operational even through serious flood inundation events.

Remotely accessible electronics, providing remote communications and controls will be incorporated to enable remote monitoring of the site by staff and remote diagnostics and problem-solving by pump electronics specialists. Future-proofing of the pump station structure is being incorporated to enable retrofitting of a second large pump in the small pump bay if needed in the future.

2.2      Water quality considerations

Design and construction of the Ford Road pump station replacement is progressing concurrently with this project. With this Seddon Pump Station being located in the same catchment (albeit 8 km up the Kaituna River from the Ōngātoro-Maketū Estuary), it can be assumed that ecological recommendations will be similar. 

Recommendations from the Ecological assessment for the Ford Road pump station relocation project include (amongst other recommendations) implementation of best practice riparian treatments along the main feeder drains to the pump station as depicted below.

Figure 3 - Two-stage riparian profile/planting design recommended for Ford Road pump station project.

As well as the water quality and habitat improvements, the widened profile of the drain offers improved performance for the pump station by increasing water storage within the drain at the pump operating range (i.e. reducing start up frequency and improved conveyance to the pump during routine pump operating).

This profile will involve a loss of some productive pasture for the landowner however the improvement in pasture quality provided by the new pump station is considered to be compensatory.

3.        Considerations

3.1      Risks and Mitigations

The objective of the new Seddon Street pump station proposal is to reduce impacts from significant weather events in some areas of the Kaituna Drainage Scheme. The design provides for optimum performance and energy efficiency in terms of pump selection while also allowing for a safe environment for staff and machinery to work during adverse weather conditions. Implementation of best practice riparian treatments along the main feeder drains support water quality and habitat improvements along with pump performance.

3.2      Climate Change

The matters in this report are directly associated with reducing climate change impacts for our communities.

3.3      Implications for Māori

The Council has a responsibility to manage the risks posed by our major rivers including the region’s major flood control and drainage schemes. Iwi and hapū have a strong interest in the long-term management of our rivers and waterways. Flood mitigation and environmental work undertaken by the Rivers and Drainage Activity are fundamentally of interest to Māori, as kaitiaki.

3.4      Community Engagement


Adobe Systems



To provide affected communities with balanced and objective information to assist them in understanding the problems, alternatives and/or solutions.


3.5      Financial Implications

If the recommendation is adopted by Council, will it result in:

-   Unbudgeted work during the current financial year?

-   Unbudgeted work for any of the years remaining in the current Long Term Plan?

If the answer is ‘no’ to both questions please select the dropdown option 1 and complete appropriately.

If the answer is ‘yes’ to either question please select “Budget Implications” in the building block below and liaise with your Management Accountant in order to complete the Financial Impact table.

There are no material unbudgeted financial implications and this fits within the allocated budget.


4.        Next Steps

Next Steps: What next? What resources are needed? Further analysis? Timeframes ahead. Any consultation planned. Remind Council of the process ahead. Next update to Council?

Conclusion: Short concluding remarks. Referring back to recommendations. No new content.

Focus on getting the pump station and drain riparian treatments implemented as quickly as possible to mitigate ongoing costs and resources involved with providing mobile pumping services.






Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Writer:

Nic Newman, Climate Change Programme Manager and Niteshni Nitesh, Programme Coordinator Climate Change

Report Authoriser:

Chris Ingle, General Manager, Integrated Catchments


Reporting on the Climate Change Programme of Work



Climate Change Quarterly Report


Executive Summary

This report provides an update of climate change actions set out in the Climate Change Action Plan. Delivery and reporting of these actions occurs through the Climate Change Programme. An attached dashboard shows progress of each project.

Highlights from this quarter include:

·     the launch of the FutureFit tool with our Territorial Authority partners,

·     the release of the Climate Change Regional Risk Assessment from the Mayoral Forum,

·     progress on Blue Carbon building blocks through core sampling of sediment cores to assess carbon storage,

·     ETS eligibility assessments and business cases for a number of sites and ETS training for Land Management staff,

·     three more communities have been supported to lead adaptation planning and two existing projects recieved national profile, and

·     two business focused projects are underway with partners around energy use and circular economy.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Climate Change Quarterly Report.

 1.    Introduction

Climate Change is a strategic priority and one of the three Impact Areas for Council. Our vision is to strengthen the long-term resilience and sustainability of the Bay of Plenty region through climate change action and awareness.

Council adopted a climate change position statement in the Long-Term Plan, and delivery of our climate change actions are being managed through the Climate Change Programme, ensuring coordinated delivery, monitoring, and reporting on the programme of work.

A dashboard is attached to this report to provide a snapshot of progress under the Programme.


1.1      Alignment with Strategic Framework


Safe and Resilient Communities

We provide systems and information to increase understanding of natural hazard risks and climate change impacts.

The Way We Work

We look to partnerships for best outcomes.

The projects highlighted in this report contribute principally to the Safe and Resilient Communities outcome via the partnerships way of working.


1.1.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

¨ Environmental

Medium - Positive

¨ Cultural

Medium - Positive

¨ Social

Medium - Positive

¨ Economic

Medium - Positive


The projects highlighted in this report contribute positively across the well-beings.



2.        Climate Change Programme

Council’s Climate Change Action Plan identifies 19 Action Plan projects aligned to four goals:

1. Bay of Plenty Regional Council is net zero carbon by 2050;

2.  Reducing regional greenhouse gas emissions;

3.  As a region we understand, are preparing for and adapting to a changing climate;

4.  Our Bay of Plenty community is aware, engaged, and resilient

This report highlights progress in the previous quarter on projects aligned with these goals.

The Action Plan also recognises a number of ‘transformational shifts’ which have been identified as being required by our region as a whole (not just BOPRC) and depend on the sustained effort of all sectors of society.

Our contribution through the climate change programme to these shifts are identified below.

1.   An engaged and aware community, enabled to take action.

The key projects that contribute to this goal are the Community led Adaptation Funding, the Regional Climate Risk Assessment, the X-labs project, and Future Fit, all reported below. The Community-led Adaptation initiative empowers community to take adaptation action locally, while the Regional Climate Risk Assessment has engaged a number of sectors in identifying and assessing climate risk. The circular economy workshop engages the business sector in identifying ways to design waste out of their operations and Future Fit gives individual citizens a tool to understand and address their personal carbon footprint.

2.  Transport emissions are significantly reduced across the region.

The key projects that contribute to this goal are the Bus decarbonisation study and the Transport Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP). The bus decarbonisation work is entering its third of four phases and the TERP is being reassessed given the shifting landscape of central government direction.

3.  Lower carbon energy supply and demand challenges are addressed.

The key project contributing to this shift is the Regional Energy Transition Accelerator, which aims to provide a transition pathway working across medium and large energy users and those who supply energy to reduce the carbon footprint of industrial processes.

4.  Land use planning results in emissions reductions and adaptation.

There is no specific action plan project against this shift, however staff from the programme have been involved in SmartGrowth workshops and working internally with spatial planning staff to ensure that the concept of Climate Resilient Development is embedded into spatial planning.

5.   Investors in our region support low carbon transitions.

We do not have oversight across investors in our region. However, investment in our climate programme by Council is effectively spilt 50:50 between adaptation and emissions reduction.

6. Significant investment occurs in natural carbon storage, including planting native trees and the preservation or creation of wetlands.

The key action plan project which contributes to this shift is the Blue Carbon Building Blocks, which aims to understand the potential of natural carbon storage in the coastal wetlands in the region. This work could unlock significant investment opportunities. Our Pathway to Net Zero project will include carbon insetting through planting native trees. 




2.1      Programme highlights this period

2.1.1    Future Fit

Toi Moana is helping to coordinate the launch of FutureFit across the Bay of Plenty, in partnership with our Territorial Authorities. FutureFit is an online tool that, by answering a few questions about lifestyle, gives users a snapshot of their carbon footprint. It offers people a simple yet powerful way to engage with climate change.

FutureFit was launched both internally at Toi Moana and externally to the public, on Monday 1 May. This is primarily an education and awareness campaign that is being promoted across a range of radio stations (The Breeze Tauranga, More FM, The Rock, Mai FM, The Edge, 1XX), community newspaper, community magazines, community events, digital platforms and social media sites.  We are also making use of bus backs on our electric buses, reception areas at Toi Moana and some community meeting.

We are working with the developers of the tool, Auckland Council, to ensure that we are able to extract data on the use of the tool for reporting, and to ensure that the tool is continuously improved. At the time of writing, over 1000 people have completed carbon footprints.


                   Figure 1 Back of EV Bus FutureFit advertising



2.1.2    Regional Risk Assessment

The Bay of Plenty Regional Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) was publicly released at the Mayoral Forum on 21 April, with the outputs available on the BOPRC website:

The mayors welcomed the regional risk assessment as an important resource for the region, providing a comprehensive baseline to inform future work. They also directed the Risk Assessment Technical Working Group to explore options for progressing this work at a local level. The Technical Working Group meet on 23 May and will be preparing a joint paper for the 11 August Mayoral Forum which will include:

1.   An overview of where each Council is at in their work building on the CCRA and adaptation planning.

2.   A summary of known sector responses to the climate risks e.g. horticulture, rail, to provide a picture of responses across the sectors to complement the district responses

3.   The value and benefits of progressing a joined-up response to climate risks and adaptation planning.

BOPRC facilitate the technical working group and will complete action 2 above, as part of our regional overview role. We are also working internally on how work across our activities addresses identified risks in the assessment.


2.1.3    Using the Emissions Trading Scheme to support afforestation projects with multiple environmental benefits

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) provides significant incentives for afforestation.

BOPRC engaged EKOS to:

-      undertake ETS eligibility assessments and business cases for a number of sites, including the Pāpāmoa Hills Regional Park;

-      develop guidance material on how ETS incentives could support afforestation initiatives;

-      deliver training workshops for Land Management Officers and other BOPRC staff.

The purpose of this project was for BOPRC to take better account of the incentives and opportunities offered by the ETS when considering afforestation projects, particularly native. Training workshops have been completed, with 25 staff trained, and guidance material is being finalised.

In relation to our corporate emissions and the goal to achieve carbon neutrality, the Pāpāmoa Hills Regional Park eligibility assessment and business case was used to assess the sequestration potential of this site, as a form of “insetting” against BOPRC emissions. This material will inform future discussion of our Pathway to Net Zero. There will also be a future decision as to whether to register Pāpāmoa Hills afforestation in the ETS or not.


2.1.4    Community Led Adaptation Funding

This initiative, under the Climate Change Programme, seeks to support communities who are ready to begin the first steps in their own adaptation planning. A total of seven projects have now been funded across the first two years of the initiative. In the last quarter, three new projects have been funded and the first two projects have been recognised.

The first project to complete led by Ngāti Whakaue has now been recognised with two awards by the New Zealand Planning Institute, the best non-statutory plan and the Nancy Northcroft supreme planning award. With their adaptation plan now complete the project is moving into implementation. There will be opportunities for Council to further support the project in its priority projects.

         Figure 2 Maketū project representatives receiving the best non-statutory plan award.

The second project funded with Ngāi Tamawhariua is close to completion. Key risks being investigated relate to Papakāinga, established on previous areas of wetland, and flooding. The project featured in a recent Radio New Zealand article on managed retreat for Māori.














Figure 3 RNZ Climate Series 'Our tīpuna knew when to move' - The difficult conversations about managed retreat for Māori | RNZ News


Three new adaptation projects

The three new projects funded are with Ngāti Ranginui, Motuhoa Island Trust, and the Waihī Beach Surf Lifesaving club. Ngāti Ranginui will complete a case study risk assessment for three marae within their rohe. Motuhoa Island Trust will evaluate what is at risk for their community from climate hazards and develop adaptation options. Waihī Beach Surf Lifesaving Club has been identified as at risk in a report completed for Surf Life Saving New Zealand by GNS. The project will seek to understand the impacts of predicted climate changes and develop a plan to enable Waihi Beach Lifeguard Services to continue to provide essential services to the community.

Staff are aware of two other regional councils who are now considering establishing a similar initiative.


Figure 4 Location of Community-led adaptation projects. Green dots represent current projects and purple shows completed projects.


2.1.5    Regional Energy Transition Acceleration Programme

Bay of Connections is supporting the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) with its Bay of Plenty Regional Energy Transition Accelerator (RETA) programme. The RETA programme involves working across medium and large energy users and those who supply energy to reduce the carbon footprint of industrial processes. The programme is underway in the region and will produce a comprehensive report that will outline decarbonisation pathways for the region.

Following an introductory workshop in Rotorua on Tuesday 28 March, EECA has contracted suppliers to progress several workstreams:

1.  Demand assessment, including potential fuel demand reduction opportunities

2.  Electricity availability and cost assessment

3.  Biomass availability and cost assessment

4.  Geothermal assessment

The four workstreams form the planning stage of the RETA. Current timings are for the workstreams to complete their reports in August 2023. Bay of Connections will then host the planning stage report back session. The findings of the workstreams will be included in a comprehensive report that will also outline the decarbonisation pathways for the region.

2.1.6    XLabs Circular Economy Workshop

Bay of Connections, the Climate Change programme and Circularity are bringing an XLabs Circular Economy Taster Workshop to the region on Thursday 29 June, at Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club. XLabs is a circular economy training program for businesses, designed to build capability to practically apply circular economy principles to complex environmental issues facing businesses such as waste, emissions, and pollution.

The purpose of this XLabs ‘taster session’ is to build understanding of what the circular economy is, to introduce businesses from across the Bay of Plenty to the XLabs method and to experience it through practical exercises. An objective of this workshop is to assess demand for a bespoke XLabs programme in the Bay of Plenty.

Bay of Connections has reached out to organisations directly and asked connecting agencies, such as EDAs and business chambers, for support to encourage businesses across the region to register for the workshop. Attendance is free but places are limited. Following the workshop, Circularity will create a report that summarises feedback and insights gathered during the taster session, and business’ expressions of interest for a potential regional XLabs programme.


2.1.7    Blue Carbon Building blocks

To unlock the potential of the carbon storage capacity of coastal wetlands in our region, staff have mapped potential regional habitat and are now working to quantify carbon storage at a number of sites. Such data is needed to support the development of a national ‘blue carbon method’, which would provide incentives (carbon credits) to landowner’s retiring and restoring coastal wetlands. Our initial focus is on saltmarsh as a key focus for biodiversity-driven restoration efforts in our region.

Council has contracted NIWA to provide training for staff in blue carbon coring methods and to analyse blue carbon samples (soil cores) collected from three intact salt marshes in Tauranga Harbour. Fieldwork was completed by NIWA and council staff in May, and samples have been sent to NIWA and ESR labs for analysis. A report describing methods and results will be available before the end of the calendar year.

Josie Crawshaw (Environmental Scientist) attended a Coastal Wetland Blue Carbon Hui in Nelson on 27th of April. This hui brought together the various organisations and consultants working on blue carbon with the aim of gaining an overview of the various projects underway around the country, identifying potential areas of overlap and collaboration, and creating a community of interest.

Staff continue to lobby central government to accelerate efforts to develop a national blue caron framework to unlock the potential for carbon sequestration, biodiversity enhancement, and coastal resilience.

Figure 5 Staff from NIWA and BOPRC collecting blue carbon samples at a saltmarsh site in Tauranga Harbour.

3.        Considerations

3.1      Risks and Mitigations

Climate change is listed on Council’s Key Risk Register, due to the impact this will have on our council’s decision-making processes over the longer term. An internal audit review of climate change programme will take place in the calendar year 2023

3.2      Climate Change

The Climate Change Programme delivers, monitors, and reports on Council’s response to climate change in terms of priorities and actions around both mitigation and adaptation. This report highlights progress in the last quarter against the programme.

3.3      Implications for Māori

Climate Change could potentially have significant impact on whānau, hapū and iwi in the region. Many marae in the Bay of Plenty region are located in coastal or low lying areas, potentially exposed to flooding and coastal hazards.

The economic livelihood of many of the region’s hapū and iwi are linked to natural resources, through activities such as farming, forestry, aquaculture & tourism. These sectors may be impacted by the forthcoming national Emissions Reduction Plan and associated carbon budgets, as well as being potentially vulnerable to ecosystem changes caused by climate.

Our regional climate risk assessment demonstrated risk to Māori through case studies to help build understanding and highlighted current and future risks for Māori. The funding we are providing for community adaptation planning is supporting a number of hapū and iwi to develop their own climate change understanding and response. The majority of applicants for this funding are hapū, demonstrating the connection of people and place are at the forefront of adaptation in our region.


3.4      Community Engagement

Adobe Systems



The Regional Risk Assessment involved a number of sector specialists and others in the development of the report.

Adobe Systems



The Community led Adaptation funding allows communities to lead the process to develop their own adaptation plans.

There is no community engagement required in relation to the content of this paper. However, engaging with our community around climate change and specific actions related to climate change is a core part of our climate change work programme.


3.5      Financial Implications

There are no material unbudgeted financial implications, and this work all fits within the current budget.


4.        Next Steps

Staff will continue to report to the Monitoring and Operations Committee quarterly on progress of the Climate Change Programme.




Attachment 1 - Climate Change Programme Overview May 2023  


Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

PDF Creator




Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Writer:

Jackson Efford, Principal Advisor, Land and Water

Report Authoriser:

Chris Ingle, General Manager, Integrated Catchments


Provide an update on Freshwater Farm Plan Regulations 



Freshwater Farm Plan regulation implementation


Executive Summary

·          Freshwater Farm Plan (FW-FP) regulations were gazetted on 8th June 2023 as a key part of the Essential Freshwater work programme to improve water quality and provide a nationally consistent farm planning framework. 

·          FW-FPs will be a mandatory and enforceable tool subject to Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement functions by Councils under the RMA. They will require certification and audit.

·          FW-FPs will need to consider the risks of the farming/growing operation on local water quality and identify practical time-bound actions on farm to help improve the health of water.

·          As a minimum, BOPRC will need to support FW-FP implementation through:

o    Providing our best available information on Catchment Context, Challenges and Values to be considered in the FW-FP (already occurring as part of our Essential Freshwater Policy programme)

o    Working on the regional training and appointment of certifiers and auditors (with the support of a National Appointment Body, and

o    Fulfilling our Council compliance, monitoring and enforcement functions under the RMA.


·          FW-FPs are likely to be phased in by the government in the Bay of Plenty Region around mid-2024 to 2025.


That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Freshwater Farm Plan regulation implementation


1.        Introduction

Freshwater farm plans (FW-FP) are a new legal instrument established under Part 9A of the RMA (sections 217A to 217M) to better control the adverse effects of farming on freshwater and freshwater ecosystems. They are one of the regulatory tools to support the Government’s Essential Freshwater work programme.

The FW-FP regulations were gazetted on the 8th June 2023 (full regulations are also appended to the end of this paper). The regulations set out obligations for the preparation, certification, audit and enforcement of FW-FP. They also outline process and management practice requirements to support farm operators, certifiers and auditors to perform their duties.

A Regulatory Impact Statement on the proposed FW-FP regulations is also available from government as well as other fact sheets and guidance resources at:  

·     MfE website for farm planning: Freshwater farm plans | Ministry for the Environment

overview freshwater farm plans v5

1.1      Who needs a FW-FP and how much will it cost?

FW-FP will be a mandatory and enforceable requirement for all farmers with either:

·     20 ha in arable or pastoral land use

·     5 ha in horticultural use, or

·     20 ha of combined use.

In the BOP this could mean around ~3,000 farms (~1,350 orchards and ~1,650 farms) will require FW-FP.

Farmers and growers have several pathways available to them to develop their FW-FP. They will be able to prepare the plan themselves, or arrange for a plan developer (farm advisor, or freshwater farm plan certifier) to prepare it for them. It is likely that some industry organisations will seek to wrap FW-FP requirements into their quality assurance requirements.

All costs associated with the development, certification, and audit of a FW-FP will sit solely with the farm operator. The exact costs to develop a FW-FP are not known but may be in the vicinity of $6,000 each (range $2,500-$15,000 per plan) and could be around 50 percent less for farms with existing Farm Environment Plans. For non-commercial farms, the FW-FP development cost could be around $1,200.

1.2      Catchment Context, Challenges and Values (CCCV)

A key feature of FW-FP development and certification will be the need for the farmer/grower to demonstrate how on farm management activities will achieve regulated outcomes covering Catchment Context, Challenges and Values (CCCV). This CCVC will include:

·     Existing catchment info that the Council can provide (e.g. water quality, priority contaminants, biophysical features, significant sites).

·     Cultural significance to tangata whenua. 

·     Freshwater values, outcomes and targets identified (or to be identified) in regional plans, iwi management plans, or action plans under the NPS-FM 2020 and other legislation (e.g. NESF, RMA s360 Stock Exclusion regulations).


Much of this work is already underway as part of the BOPRC Essential Freshwater Policy Programme, although it may still require the more technical information to be tailored into new FW-FP specific online digital tools for ease of use for developers and certifiers. MfE and the regional sector will be providing guidance to help with consistency of CCCV presentation across the country.   

1.3      Risk Assessment and Action Plan

In developing the FW-FP, there will need to be a robust risk identification process that considers both inherent biophysical vulnerabilities and farm management practice risks (biophysical vulnerabilities include things like the slope of the land, type of soil etc). This will be followed by a prioritised and time-bound 5-year action plan which identifies practical actions on-farm that will help to improve water quality.


Those actions will be tailored to a particular farm’s physical environment and what is important in the catchment (i.e. the catchment context, challenges and values). Actions will need to be clear and measurable, fair and reasonable, and may be a combination of existing and new actions, with a focus on continuous improvement. Under the RMA ultimately the actions must help avoid, remedy, or mitigate each farm’s adverse effects on the environment.


Flow diagram illustrating the steps involved in developing a freshwater farm plan.


1.4      The Process

The general process for each farm developing a freshwater farm plan is expected to be as follows:


·    Identify and map the risk areas on a farm (inherent vulnerabilities and farming activities), taking catchment context, challenges and values into consideration.

·    Identify any adverse freshwater environmental effects from farming activities.

·    Identify existing actions that mitigate risks, look for gaps, and list additional new actions. Actions may also include ‘regulated actions’ which could be a requirement under a specified instrument such as a regional plan.

·    Produce an action plan which sets out the actions that the farm operator will take over several years.

·    Engage a certifier to confirm the FW-FP identifies the risks to freshwater and that the actions are appropriate, clear and measurable, fair and reasonable (farmers may have chosen to write the plan themselves and then have it certified, or engage the support of a farm planner/industry support). A certifier must be engaged within 18 months of the FW-FP regulations ‘switching on’ in an area.

·    A year later engage an auditor to complete the auditing process (checking that actions are in the process of being implemented). The future frequency of the auditing process will depend on the level of compliance ‘grade’ achieved; A grade = three years until next audit required; B = two years; C = one year; D = six months.

·    Re-certify the FW-FP every five years or if land use and/or farm system changes significantly. 


freshwater farm plan system at a glance

1.5      Role of Councils in the FW-FP System

While nationally directed, implementation of the FW-FP system will happen at a regional level. New Zealand will need around 34,500 FW-FP in place over the coming years (~3,000 in the BOP). The national FW-FP system is designed in a way that requires central government, regional and unitary councils, tangata whenua, farmers and growers, and industry to work together. All actors in the system have different roles to play for the system to best function.

Regional councils’ role in the system will include the following, which will form the main parts of a BOPRC-specific FW-FP implementation plan to be developed:

·  Providing best available Catchment Context, Challenges and Values (CCVC) (much of which is currently being prepared under our Essential Freshwater Policy Programme, though it may need to be tailored specifically for FW-FP users, including with new digital tools).

·   Continuing to work with iwi/hapū/Māori landowners through the regional freshwater planning process, and work together on aspects of CCVC and certifier/auditor appointments.

·  Appointing (and potentially training) certifiers and auditors with the support of a National Appointment body according to criteria in the FW-FP regulation.

·   Keeping records of certified FW-FPs and audits of FW-FPs undertaken, with the support of a new Integrated National Farm Data Portal currently in development by the Regional Sector group (Te Uru Kahika).

 · Develop and implement a BOPRC Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement (CME) strategy for the FW-FP system.

These mandated responsibilities are just a part of the wider opportunity for councils to ensure that implementation of FW-FP regulations is well coordinated across the country, as efficient as possible for farmers and growers, contribute to improvements in freshwater health, and give effect to Te Mana o te Wai.

The roll-out of FW-FPs in each region will benefit from multiple in-council teams working together, including but not limited to land management, policy, science, Māori and iwi partnerships, consents, compliance, and communications.

The new collective Regional Sector group “Te Uru Kahika” (representing all 16 regional/unitary councils) has committed to supporting one another with FW-FP implementation to help achieve national consistency. Te Uru Kahika will develop and host the farmer-facing FW-FP Online Handbook to reduce duplication of efforts, as well as facilitating the Integrated National Farm Data Platform (INFDP) project for data collection, monitoring and reporting.

Some of the BOPRC responsibilities within the FW-FP system could be absorbed under our existing resourcing levels (or contracted support) across multiple teams including compliance, science, communications, and land management etc, but ultimately, some new dedicated FW-FP positions may be required to deliver a meaningful system. Exact BOPRC resourcing requirements will become clearer, as more information becomes available.     

Another future consideration for BOPRC will be determining to what extent (if at all) the Council can fund any of the mitigation actions required in a FW-FP, as under our current Environmental Grants Policy any actions required by a regulation or consent condition are generally not eligible for funding. Although we could expect FW-FP actions in some areas to be very similar to those currently being incentivised as high priorities by the Land Management Focus Catchments Programme. In previous similar cases Council has agreed to only fund works that clearly go ‘above-and-beyond’ regulatory requirements though that could be complex to quantify with FW-FP. The Rotorua Catchments team has successfully adapted to a hybrid incentives/compliance function though the implementation of Plan Change 10 and its Nutrient Management Plan requirements, so this approach could also be considered across the rest of the Bay of Plenty.  

1.6      Phasing in of FW-FP

The FW-FP system will be implemented in a few regions at a time at the discretion of the Minister through a central government Order in Council (OIC) process. The first OIC process has identified Southland and Waikato as the first regions to be 'switched on' starting from August 2023, but phased by different Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) out till July 2025. The full OIC for Waikato and Southland FMUs can be viewed here: Resource Management (Application of Part 9A—Freshwater Farm Plans) Order 2023 (SL 2023/114) – New Zealand Legislation

Once regulations are ‘switched on’ farmers and growers will have 18 months to engage a certifier.

The remaining 14 regional and unitary councils will have the regulations come into effect at various times after over the next few years once confirmed through another OIC process. There will be an ongoing dialogue between MfE and councils about timing, order, and implementation support. Learning and collaboration across the regions will help the system to bed in.

The most recent Rollout Schedule from MfE is designed to ensure FW-FP are available across the country by 2025, but the exact order of councils is subject to change depending on factors such as the appointment process, workforce availability and pipeline, industry programme development and transition, and regional/unitary council readiness. The current schedule shows BOP FW-FPs coming online around the middle of 2024 at the earliest, providing some lead-in time to prepare.

Councils will be afforded some discretion/flexibility to introduce further phasing by FMUs within their regions. For example, in Rotorua Lake Plan Change 10 area where Nutrient Management Plans (a type of farm plan) are already required, it would be ideal to transition those to FW-FPs at the time of their renewal rather than sooner, to reduce the burden on farmers who have recently developed them.

FW-FP implementation in 2024 would coincide with our NPS-FM Regional Natural Resources Plan change, which may have some additional FMU specific FW-FP requirements above and beyond the FW-FP national regulations. These possible Bay of Plenty specific FW-FP requirements will be communicated to the Strategy and Policy Committee as part of the Essential Freshwater Programme policy options updates, later in 2023.   

1.7      Industry Programmes and FW-FP

FW-FP will build on the good work many farmers and growers are already doing to manage impacts of farming activities on freshwater quality and ecosystems. Industry programmes will play a key role in enabling effective implementation and delivery of FW-FPs. The primary sector has played a leadership role in the development of industry assurance programmes such as Fonterra's Tiaki Programme, NZGAP, and the red meat sector’s New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme (NZFAP). Many of these plans have an environmental component, which will help reduce the cost of FW-FP.

The FW-FP framework will allow for the continued involvement of industry staff and use of existing industry programmes, provided they are updated to meet the new regulations. MfE is actively working with industry at a national level to update these programmes now that final regulation certainty has landed, and the initial regions (Southland & Waikato) will play a key role in solidifying an approach for transition, as national consistency is important. 

1.8      National Appointment Body

MfE is creating a new FW-FP National Appointment Body to support the regions and provide consistency with governance, certifier/auditor training, endorsement, and disputes resolution etc. A procurement/recruitment process is currently underway to establish this body, and it will be led by the company AsureQuality.

2.        Legislative Framework

FW-FP are required under Part 9A of the RMA (sections 217A to 217M).

3.        Alignment with Strategic Framework


A Healthy Environment

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

Freshwater for Life

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


3.1.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

þ Environmental


¨ Cultural


¨ Social


þ Economic





4.        Considerations

4.1      Risks and Mitigations

Certainty is still required on the exact content of final FW-FP regulations to fully consider all risks and mitigations, but key issues will be around implementation timelines and capacity. 


4.2      Climate Change




Reduce GHG emissions

Produce GHG emissions

Sequester carbon

Anticipate climate change impacts

Respond to climate change impacts

Water quality and other environmental mitigation actions associated with FW-FPs will usually have some co-benefits for climate change mitigation/adaptation (e.g. increased riparian set-backs, planting, new wetlands), but at this stage FW-FPs are not expected to fulfil any future legislated climate change obligations, such as greenhouse gas reductions that may be required.  

4.3      Implications for Māori

Tangata whenua will have a role in supporting the development of the Catchment Challenges, Values, and Context information required to be considered in a FW-FP (especially cultural values, sites of cultural significance, mahinga kai etc.) This work is aligned with that occurring already as part of the Essential Freshwater Policy Programme, but faces some resourcing/capacity challenges as identified within that programme. Tangata whenua may also have a potential role in supporting the training/endorsement of FW-FP certifiers in the region. 

4.4      Community Engagement

Initial FW-FP engagement will be led collectively by the government, regional sector, and industry, including through agreed joint ‘key messaging’. Tailored BOPRC specific FW-FP engagement will occur as more information becomes available on phasing, but this will likely overlap with Essential Freshwater plan change consultation, including where the new regional plan has additional FW-FP requirements above and beyond this national legislation.   

4.5      Financial Implications

The Ministry for the Environment has prepared a Regulatory Impact Statement to accompany the FW-FP regulations (which outlines FW-FP implications at a national level). For BOPRC, more certainty is still required before determining full financial implications, but the system could be expected to require some additional dedicated BOPRC FW-FP staff resource/FTE in the future as it is unlikely to be able to be absorbed into existing work programmes. 



5.        Next Steps

Next steps will include:

·     Interpreting and communicating the FW-FP regulations.

·     Working with the regional sector and building on the experiences and lessons learned from the first regions to ‘switch on’ (Waikato & Southland).

·     Preparing for and implementing our Council roles/requirements within FW-FPs, with the support and involvement of government, the regional sector, industry, tangata whenua and community. 




Attachment 1 - Resource Management Freshwater Farm Plans Regulations 2023 (1)  


Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Writer:

Fraser Toulmin, Compliance Team Leader - Land Use

Report Authoriser:

Reuben Fraser, General Manager, Regulatory Services


For Information



Forestry Compliance - A snapshot of risk


Executive Summary

Given recent severe weather events of Auckland Anniversary weekend, and Tropical Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle, the issue of damaging forestry industrial waste (slash) has been in the spotlight. This report provides an assessment of the risk to communities, infrastructure, and waterways from this industrial waste, in the Bay of Plenty Region.

The single biggest indicator of risk with plantation forestry is the Erosion Susceptibility Classification (ESC). The Bay of Plenty region does not have nearly the same scale of Very High Risk ‘Red Zone’ land in plantation forest. Red Zoned land makes up just 0.2% of the total land area of the Bay of Plenty, compared with 12.5% in Tairawhiti.

The largest ‘Red Zone’ forest in the Bay of Plenty is the Orete forest in the upper reaches of the Raukokore River.

Compliance Officers are aware of and dealing with specific risks around forestry industrial waste (slash) in an orange zone consented forest. The Whitikau forest (consent 67887) was prosecuted in 2017. The most recent Moderate Non-Compliance (Oct 2022) is being actively managed, and the consent holder is on a path to compliance.









That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Forestry Compliance - A snapshot of risk.


1.        Introduction

Exotic forestry makes up approximately 16% (19,600 ha) of the land in the Bay of Plenty region. Most of this forestry is in large tracts like the Kāingaroa Plateau, but there are also many smaller woodlots and farm forestry blocks around the region.

Most forestry related activities are managed under the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF). Many activities are permitted under the NES-PF, where higher risk activities require consent. Higher risk is normally associated with the scale of the works, Erosions Susceptibility Classification, and proximity to water and riparian margins etc. Council has approved 50 forestry related consents in the past five years. Consents related to forestry cover a variety of activities broader than harvesting, including.

·     Earthworks

·     Land and soil disturbance

·     Construction of bridges and associated structures in or over the beds of rivers/ streams

·     Vegetation clearance

Council averages 73 Permitted Activity (PA) forestry notifications per calendar year, allowing activities under the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).

88% of forestry activities in the Bay of Plenty are Permitted Activities, 12% require resource consent. This points to a lower environmental risk profile, by activity type.

1.1      Legislative Framework

The NES-PF came into force on 01 May 2018. The objectives of the NES-PF are to:

·     maintain or improve the environmental outcomes associated with plantation forestry activities

·     increase the efficiency and certainty of managing plantation forestry activities

The objectives are achieved through a single set of regulations under the RMA that apply to foresters throughout New Zealand. For activities not ‘permitted’ by the NES-PF, a resource consent is required.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Natural Resources Plan was amended on 1 May 2018 to give effect to changes brought about by the NES-PF. There are no longer forestry specific rules in the Regional Natural Resources Plan and where a consent is required, Council has discretion or control afforded by the NES-PF.

The Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use causing woody debris (including forestry slash) and sediment-related damage in Tairāwhiti and Wairoa[1] delivered its report and recommendations to Environment Minister Hon David Parker and Forestry Minister Hon Peeni Henare on Friday May 12. The Ministers are yet to make decisions on the recommendations.

1.2      Alignment with Strategic Framework


A Healthy Environment

We manage our natural resources effectively through regulation, education and action.

Any non-compliance within forestry puts pressure on the Council’s ability to deliver on this Community Outcome. Regulatory Compliance has responsibilities for three key contributors to achieving A Healthy Environment.

1.   Resource users implement good practice in using our natural resources

2.   Effective natural resource limits are in place, enforced and monitored

3.   Prioritised actions are in place where natural resources do not meet community expectations

The current target is to achieve 91 percent of scheduled compliance monitoring assessments (across all activities) conducted as per Regional Council’s annual compliance monitoring programme. Specific to forestry inspections, this target will not be achieved this financial year. With current resources, the aim is to conduct four forest inspections per week for the remainder of the calendar year.

1.2.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

þ Environmental

Medium - Positive

þ Cultural

Low - Positive

þ Social

Low - Positive

þ Economic

Low - Positive


This report is an information only report so there are no decisions that will impact on the community well-beings. Compliance monitoring and enforcement of the NES-PF regulations contributes to improvements across the four well beings.



2.        Compliance and Monitoring

As recommended by the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), BOPRC takes a risk-based approach to compliance and monitoring, allowing Council to focus its resources to achieve the best possible outcomes for our communities.

Site visits are prioritised based on the level of risk. One indicator of risk is the Erosion Susceptibility Classification (ESC), which determines the erosion risk of land where a plantation forestry activity:

·     is permitted, subject to certain conditions being met, or

·     requires resource consent because it's on higher-risk land

Other risk factors we consider include:

·     The nature and complexity of the activity being undertaken (harvesting, earthworks, river crossings etc.)

·     The receiving environment

·     Compliance history of the companies/ contractors involved

·     Any complaints relating to the site or companies/ contractors involved

·     Season in which work is occurring and any recent severe weather

2.1      Inspection numbers and Compliance Ratings

There has been a reduction in the volume of site visits in the past two years. There are a number of reasons for the drop in site visits including:

·     A reduction in forestry activity due to Covid-19, weather, and the drop in log value

·     Staff capacity. Forestry compliance is a specialist role and following the departure of an experienced compliance officer we have struggled to recruit a suitable candidate to fill this role

·     Reactive site visits (weather or complaint related) to non-consented sites. Although this serves as an ad hoc inspection, this data is not captured by Accela as a Consented/ Permitted Activity site visit (CM)

CM – Compliance Monitoring (site visit)

PM – Performance Monitoring (documents and information required to be submitted to council as per consent conditions or NES-PF e.g., harvest plans

Table1: Compliance and performance monitoring of Forestry consents over the last three years (SNC= Significant non-compliance, MNC=Moderate non-compliance, LRNC= Low risk non-compliance)

Because the number of inspections has dropped, with a focus on the higher risk sites, we are seeing a higher percentage of non-compliance. We have seen more moderate and low risk non-compliance over the past three years. There has been no significant non-compliance in this time.

Recent non-compliance has generally related to the establishment and reestablishment of forest haul roads and poor earthworks practices carried out for road building.

Since the successful 2017 prosecutions in relation to the Whitikau Forest (consent 67887), enforcement action has been relatively minor. Five abatement notices were served in 2018/19 relating to consented and permitted activity forestry. Recent non-compliance has been responded to without the need for enforcement, although this tool remains available.

2.2      Audit of Highest Risk Sites

This section provides an assessment of the risk to communities, infrastructure, and waterways from forestry industrial waste (slash), in the Bay of Plenty Region. To undertake this assessment a desktop study was completed to look at where plantation forestry is in relation to highest risk land.

The single biggest risk indicator for plantation forestry is summarised by the Erosion Susceptibility Classification (ESC). The tool is used to identify the erosion risk of land as a basis for determining where a plantation forestry activity:

·     is permitted, subject to certain conditions being met, or

·     requires resource consent because it's on higher-risk land

The tool divides the New Zealand landscape into four erosion risk categories.

Figure 1: NES-PF Erosion Susceptibility Classification tool

Green (low) and yellow (moderate) — land less likely to erode. Plantation forestry activities are permitted.

Orange (high risk) or red (very high risk) — land more likely to erode. Most forestry activities can't be carried out on red-zoned land without resource consent. Some activities, such as earthworks also require consent on orange-zoned land with steeper slopes.

Categories are based on the local topography (steepness of the slope), dominant erosion process (like wind or water), and rock type.

Figure1: Erosion susceptibility classification across the Bay of Plenty and Tairāwhiti

In figure 1 above, it is clear that by area, the Bay of Plenty region does not have nearly the same scale of Very High Risk ‘Red Zone’ land in plantation forest. Red Zoned land makes up just 0.2% of the total land area of the Bay of Plenty, compared with 12.5% in the Tairāwhiti.

Council does not have the resources to inspect every skid site or possible source of forestry industrial waste (slash). An analytical approach was taken to identify possible areas of risk to know where to focus our efforts.

A first pass geospatial analysis was undertaken. The aim was to identify any areas where:

1.   Forestry is planted on ‘Red Zone’ land

2.   ‘Red Zone’ areas in forestry are bordered by rivers

3.   These rivers intersected State Highway bridges and/or

4.   Are in proximity to communities

Figure 2: Locations of Very High Erosion Susceptibility under Forestry Bay of Plenty

Using these criteria, we were able to identify three highest risk forestry sites within the Bay of Plenty. Detail on how their risks are being managed is outlined below.

2.2.1    Orete Forest, Waihau Bay

The Orete Forest is a forested area within 20m setbacks of the Tauranga and Waiokaha streams, Raukokore. Four Consents (68069, RM17-0606, RM18-0350 and RM21-0040) were granted in 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2021 and expire 2049, 2028 and 2056 respectively. The consents are for approval to install, use, maintain and remove culverts from beds of streams, associated temporary diversions, disturb land habitats/ plants, earthworks, discharge to land and replanting.

·     68069 – Culvert works completed June 2015, inspected and compliant September 2015

·     RM17-0606 – Harvesting and culvert installation. Inspected and compliant November 2021

·     RM18-0350 – Replanting not inspected. Replanting of 350ha occurred in Winter 2020. Further replanting to occur Winter 2023

·     RM21-0040 – River structures inspected and compliant May 2021

As a large area of forest has been replanted, harvesting operations and associated earthworks are not anticipated for several years in these areas.

Re-inspections of these consents have been planned in this forest for April/May 2023 but have been delayed due to weather inhibiting access. Attempts are being made to inspect prior to the Monitoring and Operations Committee meeting on 28 June 2023, and a verbal update can be provided.

2.2.2    Ngarue Road, Cape Runaway

The Ngarue site is a forested area within 500m of the SH35 Bridge at Whangaparaoa. Council was notified of intentions to harvest under a permitted activity (PA21-00038) in July 2021 and completed in July 2022. Operations were inspected in November 2021 and found to be compliant.

2.2.3    Matangareka No.3B Block

Matangareka No.3 block is a forested area within 200m of the Raukōkore River. We were notified in April 2023 of intentions to remove windthrow/ clear tracks between 08-15 May 2023 under a permitted activity (PA23-00019).  This site was not inspected due to small scale, low risk and short duration activities. Application to harvest in this area is not expected in 2023.

Figure 3: Very High Erosion Susceptibility under Forestry East Coast area

2.2.4    Whitikau Forest

Council became aware of the risks associated with Whitikau forest through normal compliance and monitoring of the consent. Consent 67887 was issued to Geotic Company Limited in May 2014 and expires October 2024. Five inspections have occurred in the past eight months. A moderate non-compliant field sheet was issued for poor earthworks, lack or erosion and sediment controls, ‘perched’ slash and debris in waterways.

In 2020, an area of forest was felled, but due to Covid-19 Lockdown, when staff were prevented from accessing work sites, was never recovered. Although this has been in situ for over three years, it has remained immobile through the most recent severe weather events. Compliance Officers are working with the consent holder and Kahu Helicopters to develop a plan for its safe removal. This is expected to commence in the coming months, weather permitting.

Image 1: Moderate Non-Compliance ‘Perched’ Slash October 2022


    Image 2: Retrieved and Stabilised Slash MAY 2023


Image 3: Un-recovered stems left on cutover due to Covid-19 Lockdowns

3.        Considerations

3.1      Risks and Mitigations

This report is for information only and there are no direct risks associated with a decision from it. Due to the nature and location of forestry activities in the Bay of Plenty they represent a risk that needs to be actively managed. Council staff do this by implementing a compliance, monitoring and enforcement programme to support the NES-PF. Resourcing this is a challenge that we are focussing on addressing. In addition to this there are several mitigations that are being developed, as outlined below.

3.1.1    Mitigations

Bay of Plenty Forestry Liaison Group

In September 2022, after a 10-year hiatus, the industry led Bay of Plenty Forestry Liaison Group was reconvened.

Members include forest management companies and forest owners, regulating authorities, DOC, Fish & Game. The purpose of the group is Transparent communication and cooperation between regulating authorities and the forestry industry in the Bay of Plenty, for better environmental outcomes. The group is finalising its terms of reference and aim to meet quarterly.

Local Government NZ - Regional Sector Forestry Liaison Group

This group is in the process of being established and aims to provide support to Councils and consistency to forestry related compliance, monitoring and enforcement. BOPRC have committed a Principle Advisor, Compliance to the membership.

Drone Training

Forestry Compliance staff are being trained in the use of drones to support field work. This extends the officers ‘reach’ whilst onsite in difficult terrain and assists with securing visual evidence.

Guideline Review

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council Guidelines - Erosion and sediment control guidelines for forestry operations (2013) will be reviewed. This will occur once it is known which recommendations the Government is to implement following the Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use causing woody debris (including forestry slash) and sediment-related damage in Tairāwhiti and Wairoa.

Complaints Response

Compliance staff have investigated and attended six complaints where forestry was assumed to be non-compliant and contributing to poor environmental outcomes. None of these were substantiated as the result of poor practice or led to non-compliance. An example of this was the Waikawa slip across SH35 in December 2021, causing a large underslip. This was the result of previous windthrow followed up by severe rainfall, causing slope failures and debris flows. No non-compliance was found, and the company undertook a comprehensive clean-up.

Windthrow is not currently classified as ‘slash’ under the current NES-PF and is therefore not subject to the same regulations.

Staff also attended several instances where consent holders or forest management companies self-reported incidents. None of these instances resulted in non-compliance due to events beyond their control.

In March 2023, the entire Pokopoko and Pongakawa catchments were flown, ruling out forestry as a contributor to increased sedimentation in the Little Waihī Estuary.

Independent Contractors

BOPRC currently employs an independent contractor (JC Environmental) to undertake compliance monitoring of consented and permitted activity forestry. This is cost recoverable and provides good coverage and independent oversight. It provides additional resource and support while we recruit.

Controlled burning of forestry slash

In February 2023 the potential for controlled burning of forestry slash was investigated with Te Uru Raukau (NZ Forest Service) and the Chair of the Central North Island Wood Council (CNIWC) - who happens to be the Sustainability Manager at Timberlands.

Feedback from the CNIWC is that the industry has not undertaken controlled burning in the Bay of Plenty for several years, so corporate knowledge has been lost. Re-training and equipping would be required to do so safely again, but not impossible.

There are two ‘active’ consents that permit vegetation clearance by burning in the Bay of Plenty. As defined by the Regional Natural Resource Plan and the NES-PF, vegetation clearance by burning does not include any activity undertaken in relation to a plantation forest tree and is different to burning post-harvest forestry industrial waste (slash). These consents are in the Waikawa forest near SH35, and the entire Timberlands estate (Kāingaroa forest).

Guidance from BOPRC staff is that burning of forestry industrial waste (slash) would not breach the Regional Air Plan. Smoke is unlikely to be offensive and objectionable beyond the boundary as sites would be within large forests remote from neighbours.

3.2      Climate Change

The issue of forestry compliance and risks from industrial waste (slash) do not negatively affect Councils contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

As the world moves away from dependence on fossil fuels towards a more sustainable, biological-based economy, forestry will become even more important as a major producer of sustainable and renewable resources for New Zealand.

Climate change will have varying impacts on the forestry sector. Growth rates will likely be enhanced through CO2 fertilisation, particularly of Pinus radiata. However, the forestry industry is susceptible to the negative impacts of climate change, related to fire, extreme rainfall, wind, and pests[2].

The annual likelihood that extreme rainfall events will increase in the Bay of Plenty Region is well documented by the NIWA report Climate change projections and impacts for the Bay of Plenty Region October 2019.

More severe wind is likely to generate more ‘Windthrow’. Although not deem forestry industrial waste (slash), it can pose similar risks.

Forestry industrial waste (slash) and ‘Windthrow’ could also be more easily mobilised by an increase in severe rainfall.

3.3      Implications for Māori

Although the risks from forestry industrial waste (slash) are significantly less than what exists in the Gisborne Region, Māori communities of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, stand to be most affected if risks do materialise. 

3.4      Financial Implications

There are no material unbudgeted financial implications and this fits within the allocated budget.

4.        Next Steps

Compliance resources will continue to be directed towards routine inspections and activities underway to address non-compliance.

Plans are in place to increase inspection numbers, including recruitment to fill vacancies.



Attachment 1 - Bay of Plenty Forestry Consents in last 5 years

Attachment 2 - HighRiskForestry_Region_grey

Attachment 3 - HighRiskForestry_Tauranga_grey

Attachment 4 - HighRiskForestry_Rotorua_grey

Attachment 5 - HighRiskForestry_Whakatane_grey

Attachment 6 - HighRiskForestry_EastCoast_grey

Attachment 7 - Orete Forest, Waihau Bay

Attachment 8 - Ngarue Road, Cape Runaway

Attachment 9 - Matangareka No.3B Block

Attachment 10 Whitikau Forest  


Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Monitoring and Operations Committee                      28 June 2023

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Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Writer:

Claire McCorkindale, Land Management Officer

Report Authoriser:

Chris Ingle, General Manager, Integrated Catchments


To update Councillors on the Land Management work programme in the Waihī Estuary Focus Catchment



Waihi Estuary Focus Catchment Update


Executive Summary

This is a summary of Land Management operations within the Waihī Estuary Focus Catchment. It includes an update on work progress within the catchment, as well as providing other operational project highlights over the past 12 months. 

Similar Land Management focus catchment updates will follow at subsequent Monitoring and Operations Committee meetings, including for Kaituna/Maketū Estuary in September 2023 and the Eastern Bay of Plenty Focus Catchments.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Waihi Estuary Focus Catchment Update.


1.        Introduction

The 35,000 hectare Waihī Estuary catchment was identified as a ‘Focus Catchment’ in Council’s Environmental Grants Policy because of the significant reductions in water contaminants required to improve the estuary health. The Waihī Estuary Freshwater Management Unit needs a high level of change to reduce four key contaminants: 70% less nitrogen, 30% less phosphorus, 25%- 50% less E. coli, and 20%-65% less suspended sediment.

We are now several years into the programme and a significant amount of work has been achieved within the catchment through voluntary, incentives-based projects with willing landowners. Land management activities and interventions are important delivery tools for achieving water quality improvements. The work is funded through the Long Term Plan 2021-31 in the Coastal Catchments Activity, and complements Council’s science, policy and regulatory teams’ efforts.

1.1      Legislative Framework

The Land Management programme is an education and incentives-based work programme. It both complements and aligns with the legislative requirements and priorities of the Essential Freshwater Programme for Bay of Plenty, as well as other priorities such as biodiversity and care group support.  

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

1.2.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

þ Environmental

High - Positive

þ Cultural

Medium - Positive

þ Social

Medium - Positive

þ Economic

Low - Positive


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




2.        Land Management Progress

2.1      Focus Catchment Update

The following scorecard below provides an overall summary of physical works that have been undertaken in the catchment since 2019 as well as a summary of planned works for the upcoming 2023/24 financial year.

Waihī Estuary Focus Catchment Report Card

There are currently 45 approved Environmental Programmes within the Waihī Estuary Focus Catchment, with an additional 25 in development. Over 409,200 trees have been established since 2019, with 218 hectares of land retired or protected and 52 km of new fencing. In addition to these works, a range of other monitoring, project scoping, and extension activities have occurred in the catchment. Future plans are already in place with landowners for another 25 km of fencing works, 100 hectares of land retirement and establishing 100,000 native plants.  


2.2      Waihī Estuary Operational Update

2.2.1    Ministry for the Environment Public Waterways and Ecosystem Restoration Fund

The Public Waterways and Ecosystem Restoration Fund (PWER) began in July 2020 as a Jobs for Nature project in the Bay of Plenty region, and has led to the incentivisation of water quality focused Environmental Programmes across 18 properties within the catchment (providing supplementary co-funding to offset Council and landowner contributions):

·     Total project cost of $2,532,992 (including landowner contributions)

·     Total MfE contribution of $916,373

·     Total plants planted: 271,415

·     Total length of riparian/wetland fencing: 36 km

The series of photos below show a few examples of areas that have been retired and planted using the PWER co-funding:



Photo 1: Part of the 18.7 ha area that has been retired on this property along a stretch of the Puanene Stream that was fenced and planted in 2020.


Photo 2: A 4.38 ha retirement area along a stretch of the Mangatoetoe Stream that was fenced and planted in 2023




Photo 3: Part of the 2.38 ha area along the Mangatoetoe Stream that was fenced and planted in 2021 on downstream property from Photo 2. 



Photo 4: A section of the 1.4 km stretch of the Wharere Canal that has been fenced and planted in stages over the 2021-23 period.

2.2.2    Ministry for Primary Industries One Billion Trees Fund

The One Billion Trees Fund (1BT) began in July 2019 and provides a contribution rate of up to $4,000/hectare for native planting and up to $500/project for fencing costs, with a minimum density requirement of 350/stems ha for tall trees. 

Since the fund began, a total of $112,647 has been allocated across 15 properties within the catchment - predominantly to assist with native planting projects.  

2.2.3    Catchment Water Quality Monitoring Network

Landowners’ understanding of water quality issues in their catchment is assisted by sharing data gathered at a sub-catchment and farm scale. Historically, Regional Council monitoring in the catchment has not been resourced at that scale. Land Management have collaborated with landowners and the Council science team, to enable a more detailed understanding about water quality changes at a finer spatial scale across the catchment.

Ten monitoring stations were deployed around the catchment (Figure 2) at the end of 2021. The continuous in-stream sensor monitoring is complimented by a monthly grab sample programme and installation of autosamplers to target rainfall events.

Figure 1 Location of all Regional Council monitoring sites

This monitoring programme is providing a much better understanding of when and where contaminants are mobilised in both normal and heavy weather conditions. Continuous sensor technology in conjunction with monthly grab sample collection, is also helping to provide a much better understanding of exactly what the nutrient load is to the estuary and where the bulk of this load comes from. Many catchments deliver a significant proportion of their nutrient loads during high-flow events, which is rarely captured by traditional council monitoring.  

The water quality data we have captured over the past 18 months from these monitoring sites will be used to inform a series of factsheets that are being produced for each of the main sub-catchments. The purpose of each factsheet is to increase the understanding of landowners within each sub-catchment of the key water quality issues that are relevant to them and the impact that land use activities is having on the localised water bodies that ultimately flow into Waihī Estuary.

Below is an example screenshot of the total loads (in kg) of nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and E. coli that were mobilised and lost to the estuary from a site along the Mangatoetoe Stream during a heavy weather event on 14 February 2023.

In addition to the work outlined above, Council’s regular monitoring of surface water, springs, wetlands, groundwater, estuaries, coastal profiles and biodiversity is undertaken and used where relevant to assist planning and prioritisation.

2.2.4    Te Wahapū o Waihī Freshwater Improvement Fund

The Regional Council is working in collaboration with Te Wahapū o Waihī to restore the health of the estuary. Their overarching objectives state that the restoration of Te Wahapū o Waihī will be succeeding, when we have healthy mahinga kai (food harvesting areas or resources), as an indicator of a thriving Waihī estuary, catchment and community for the long term.

He oranga te wahapū, he oranga te iwi: the health of the estuary is a metaphor for the health of the people.”

The Mahinga Kai Whenua/Land workstream of the work programme is focused on co-funding environmental programmes within the Waihī Estuary catchment to help in achieving the overall objective of improving the health of the estuary.

Under this workstream, 32 new or expanded Environmental Programme agreements will be delivered by June 2026, with at least 160,000 new native plants to be planted along 16 km of waterway within the Waihi Estuary catchment.

The other key workstream is Mahinga Kai Repo/Saltmarsh Wetland, which is focused on the establishment of 20 ha of new saltmarsh or other tidally connected wetland, including 40,000 indigenous plants.

2.2.5    Fish Passage Remediation Project

Many of New Zealand’s native fish species are dependent on access between rivers, streams and the sea, including taonga species such as tuna (longfin eel) and piharau (lamprey). Unobstructed fish passage allows our desirable native fish species to access key habitats for completing important parts of their life cycle, such as breeding and spawning.

There are numerous instream structures such as culverts, dams, fords and flap gates in our waterways that can impede fish passage and make it challenging for these species to breed and spawn. Approximately 70% of our native fish nationwide are threatened or at risk. Their numbers can be reduced or completely lost from a stream if their movement up or downstream is delayed or obstructed.

A desktop survey has identified more than 900 ‘possible’ fish barriers in the catchment, giving a good starting point for Regional Council and its partners to compete field inspections at these locations and undertake remediations to improve fish passage. Remediations can be as simple as providing rope for fish to climb through culverts, adding baffles in culverts to reduce water velocity, adding rocks or ramps to perched culverts, or modifying flap gates to not close as quickly. Sometimes remediations are more complicated and costly, for example replacing culverts with bridges where a resource consent would be required. Wai Kokopu and Regional Council are co-funding simple low cost (<$1,500 each) remediations across the catchment with landowners with the support of contractors.

Regional Council and Wai Kokopu are contributing $20,000 each towards fish passage work between now and the end of the year. 

2.2.6    Wai Kokopu Incorporated Society

Wai Kokopu Incorporated Society is advocating for water quality and estuarine health improvements in the catchment with support from Regional Council, and has attracted funding from MPI, TECT and BayTrust. Their work includes working with ‘lighthouse farmers’ on making farm systems improvements to maintain profitability while enhancing environmental performance, as well as running a range of extension events with the community to raise awareness. Their work, alongside Regional Council work on the ground, also helped attract Ministry for the Environment funding to the catchment which was eventually granted to further Te Wahapū o Waihī’s vision and objectives. 

As well as collaborating on the fish passage project, Wai Kokopu has provided co-funding for a number of Environmental Programme Agreements to date. They also provide a ‘Know Your Numbers’ service to farmers and growers, giving them subsidised access to farm, horticulture and forestry experts and providing advice on options to reduce contaminant losses (and greenhouse gases) while maintaining operating profitability.

Recent agreement between Wai Kokopu and Regional Council has clarified roles between the operational teams of both organisations, hopefully creating the conditions for improved collaboration into the future.


2.3      Waihī Estuary Capital Projects Update

2.3.1    Constructed Treatment Wetlands

One of the key mitigation options as part of the capital works programme for the catchment was finding suitable locations for and constructing treatment wetlands to help reduce the load of nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and E. coli entering the estuary. Two locations were identified where there were willing and interested landowners (Baygold and PAX Hickson Trust) and over the course of 2021-2022 designs were developed in collaboration with NIWA and then Regional Council project managed the construction phase for each wetland.

NIWA have developed a Wetland Practitioner Guide which provides the technical detail around the key wetland design parameters and the performance estimates for reduction in the four key contaminant concentrations.

Baygold wetland

The Baygold treatment wetland is located on the corner of SH2 and Maniatutu Road on a section of a property that was previously in pasture as part of a dairy farming operation. Baygold purchased the property in 2021 with the intention of converting it from a dairy farm to the site for their new head office facilities. The section of the property where the wetland was constructed was not suitable for conversion to kiwifruit due to its wet, low-lying nature.

The treatment wetland is 1.9 ha in size and services an upstream area of approximately 73 ha. Construction and planting were completed in early March 2022.

Baygold recently won the BOP regional supreme award at the Ballance Farm Environment awards for their contributions towards the wetland and other environmental and social initiatives.

Pictured are the Bay Gold wetland, above; and the Hickson treatment wetland, below:


The Hickson treatment wetland

The Hickson treatment wetland is located on the corner of Pongakawa School Road and SH2 on a section of the property that was also previously in pasture as part of the dairy farming operation. The treatment wetland is 1 ha in size and services an upstream area of approximately 45 ha. Construction and planting was also completed in March 2022.


Monitoring Programme and Initial Results

Both treatment wetlands are being monitored in collaboration with NIWA as part of their MPI- funded Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change programme, with the goal of quantifying the contaminant reduction of nutrients, sediment, and faecal bacteria. The monitoring programme began in April 2022 and will run until April 2024.

·     We recently received the data for the initial 6 months of monitoring (regular fortnightly monitoring and sampling through a couple of flow events) from NIWA, which has shown the following reductions in contaminant concentrations. The results are in line or with or better than what the guideline estimates would have predicted for a wetland of this size (relative to total catchment area):


·     Nitrate nitrogen: 91%

·     Ammonium nitrogen: 78%

·     Total nitrogen: 50%

·     Dissolved reactive phosphorus: 93%

·     Total phosphorus: 75%

·     E. coli: 81%


2.3.2    Cutwater Road Wetland

On 9 February 2023, Council approved the submission of a tender to purchase a 109 hectare farm at 264/265 Cutwater Road and to enter into an on-sale agreement to sell 79 hectares to the neighbouring landowner and retain the 30 hectares of low-lying farmland closest to the estuary.

The tender was successful and settlement for the property occurred on 1 June 2023. The purchase of the 30 hectare block was funded 50% from the Coastal Catchments Activity’s existing capital budget ($315,000) and 50% was from the Ministry for the Environment’s Freshwater Improvement Fund, which was granted to achieve the vision of Te Wahapū o Waihī. The existing farm titles are in the process of being re-arranged to recognise the future wetland area.

The next steps for this project are to work in partnership with Te Wahapū o Waihī to co-design a preferred wetland creation option that will benefit the estuary, the catchment and its landowners and contribute to improved water quality, wetland habitat, biodiversity, cultural and climate change resilience outcomes.

The costs associated with designing, consenting and constructing the wetland, and then operating/maintaining the wetland will be brought separately to Council. The design and consenting processes are intended to occur in 2023/24 within the current Coastal Catchments Activity budgets provided in the Long Term Plan 2021-31. The remainder of construction, and any ongoing operating costs, will be sought via the next Long Term Plan commencing 1 July 2024.


Cutwater road proposed wetland


Waihī District Drainage Society Pump Station Review

The Waihī Drainage District Society (WDDS) is responsible for the drainage of approximately 4,140 hectares of productive farmland in the Lower Waihī Estuary Catchment and is underwritten by WBOPDC. The scheme actively maintains and cleans drains and canals to maintain water levels below ground level and remove floodwaters from pastoral land. To achieve this, the scheme operates 12 pump stations that discharge water into the perched canal systems of the Wharere, Pongakawa and Pukehina Canals.


Regional Council staff have worked with WDDS to monitor the quality of the water discharged from the network of pump stations under normal and flood flow conditions. In 2018 and 2019 a small number of grab samples were taken from each pump station and the results showed that the discharges do not always meet the permitted activity rule conditions under which they operate.


WDDS has been working collaboratively with Regional Council and WBOPDC to investigate options for upgrading the pump scheme in order to achieve the following:

1.   Achieve compliance with Permitted Activity rules and their conditions (E. Coli, nutrient and sediment loading)

2.   Maintain current level of service for water level management

3.   Solution is compliant with current and likely future regulatory requirements

4.   Whole life costs are sustainable and have viable funding source(s)

5.   Solution is resilient to climate change


Regional Council, WBOPDC and WDDS commissioned Metis to conduct a study to understand the technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness of one or more solutions to achieve the required water quality outcomes. The study focused on the following options:

·     Wetlands upstream of pump stations

·     Sand filters + Aquacuro Device

·     Stormwater 360 Vortechs + Filterra Devices

A multi-criteria analysis was completed as part of the study, which scored each of the three options against the following parameters: project objectives, technical (constraints, hydraulics, H&S, buildability), social (land ownership, access, acceptability), cultural (Te Mana o Te Wai), environmental (water quality, carbon impact, biodiversity, protected site impact) and economic (capital and maintenance, funding).

The wetland option was identified as the preferred solution as it was able to demonstrate good potential for overall positive outcomes and can deliver five of the six project objectives. It would have a net positive carbon sequestration impact and be resilient to sea level rise and inundation, plus there would be additional non-financial benefits through improved habitat and biodiversity.

A meeting is scheduled for late June between Metis, WDDS, Regional Council and WBOPDC to discuss the report findings and the next steps.


2.3.3    Gully Head Remediation Project

Coastal Catchments staff have been working with a landowner in the upper Kaikokopu sub-catchment of the Waihī Estuary Focus Catchment to remediate a gully head that began opening up after the April 2017 Cyclone Debbie flood event.

The gully head currently has a 9m vertical drop and is approximately 20m wide. This means that every metre of erosion leads to the mobilisation of some 180 m3 of sediment, meaning an estimated 3,600m3 of sediment has been lost over the last 18 months. This sediment ends up in the Kaikokopu Stream and then the Waihī Estuary. The Kaikokopu consistently has the highest sediment loads of the four main waterbodies that flow into the estuary and active gully head sites and slips, such as this site, contribute significantly to this issue.

The blue arrow in the image above indicates where the fence line is on the landowner’s property and the red arrow indicates how much the gully head has regressed since 2017. In the last 18 months alone, the gully head has moved approximately 15-20 metres.

In addition to the ecological effects, the gully head creates risks for stock and farm workers and reduces the land available for primary production. The landowner is motivated to work with Council to attempt to slow the rate of erosion at the gully head.

Several design options were investigated before landing on the preferred option to stabilise the gully head and minimise the likelihood of further regression and sediment loss to the estuary. The design is being constructed under the Integrated Catchments Group global stream works consent and has had input across several teams internally within Council.

Construction began at the start of April 2023 and is due to be completed by late June 2023. Below is a photo of construction progress as of 14 June 2023:


2.3.4    Upper Catchment Detainment Bund Scoping

The large network of ephemeral flow paths in the upper catchment contributes increased amounts of surface runoff into the Kaikokopu, Wharere and Pongakawa Canals during high intensity rainfall events, before ultimately discharging into the sensitive receiving environment of Waihī Estuary. This surface runoff is often laden with sediment and nutrients which negatively impacts water quality and ecological values. This part of the catchment is well suited to the construction of detainment bunds due to its favourable contour, network of ephemeral flow paths, and propensity for high intensity rainfall events.

A detainment bund is a low earth berm placed across and ephemeral flow path and is designed to temporarily detain stormwater run-off to improve water quality outcomes, the ponding duration is temporary (up to 72 hrs to ensure no compromise in pasture) with an upstand riser and plug allowing for sediment and nutrients contained in the ponded water to settle out into pasture during this time. Detainment bunds are generally located on productive pasture, as these gentle contour areas generally make suitable ponding areas. They form a seamless integration into the landscape that do not require large areas of land to be retired to improve water quality outcomes. Several detainment bunds have been constructed in the Lake Rotorua catchment and upper Kopurererua catchment to assist with improving water quality outcomes, and recent PhD research completed on these structures indicates that detainment bunds can retain 47-68% of phosphorus and 51-59% of suspended sediment (Levine, 2020).

Figure 3 The sequence of detainment bund ponding and release during a storm event

There has been some recent work completed in the mid and upper Kaikokopu and Wharere sub-catchments to scope suitable sites for detainment bunds that meet optimum storage ratios under BOPRC Detainment Bund Guidelines. This study indicated that there are approximately 166 feasible sites across the scoped areas. Staff will be working with landowners of these identified sites in the coming 12 months to gauge interest in construction of detainment bunds.  The scoping exercise is also going to be extended to cover the mid and upper Pongakawa sub-catchment so that all potential detainment bund sites across the mid and upper catchments will be identified.


2.4      Care Group Activities

2.4.1    Rotoehu Ecological Trust

Rotoehu Ecological Trust (RET) undertook a kokako survey in April/May 2023 to continue building on the data that has been collected through previous surveys through the Rotoehu Forest. The recommendation from the Department of Conservation (DOC) for established kokako populations is to conduct a survey every four years.

Figure 4 Existing and proposed RET management areas

The surveyed area included both areas that are currently under RET management and areas that are proposed to be under management, pending funding confirmation from DOC (Figure 4). The Kokako Recovery Group (KRG) target for the area is to have 500 birds under management.


Within the 1,367 hectares currently receiving predator control by RET, the kōkako population falls just short of this target with an estimated 471 territorial kōkako (including 232 pairs), but with a mean growth rate of 14% per annum over the past four years in these areas, it is expected that this objective will be surpassed by 2024.

Within the broader Rotoehu Forest, which receives predator control at least once every three years, the population has now exceeded this genetic target with an estimated 543 adult kōkako across the surveyed area. As the Rotoehu kōkako population is founded by approximately 50 individuals, it can now be considered genetically robust and has a high probability of long-term persistence, provided that effective predator control is sustained at the site.

Council provides funding support to RET via an annually updated Care Group Plan.


The table below provides a summary of the 2023 survey results: 

2.4.2    Maketū Ōngātoro Wetlands Society

Maketū Ōngātoro Wetlands Society is an active social enterprise primarily motivated by biodiversity conservation in and around Waihī Estuary. Their current scope of work in this catchment supported by Regional Council includes restoration of the Waihī Harbour Wildlife Management Reserve between the mouths of the Kaikokopu and Wharere Streams, and Dotterel Point Reserve beyond Pukehina Surf Club.


2.5      Coast Care

Successive La Nina summers and its accompanying weather systems has left the beaches of the Kaituna (Maketū-Ōtamarākau) badly eroded.  In some areas infrastructure not seen in 50+ years is visible again and a small number of beachfront houses are now at risk of coastal erosion.

Though we expect that a switch to the El Nino weather pattern will aid the rebuilding of lost high tide beaches this will take some time.  In the meantime, Coast Care are limited in the restoration planting it can achieve on the front edge of our dunes for the 2023/24 winter planting season.

In 2022/23 approximately 5900 plants were planted by 255 volunteers.


2.6      Priority Waihī Estuary Actions for 2023/24

Regional Council will:

1.   Continue to work with individual landowners to develop Environmental Programmes that contribute to enhanced biodiversity and water quality outcomes in the catchment and contribute to relevant TWOW outcomes.

2.   Progress design, investigations, and consenting phase for the Cutwater Road wetland construction project in partnership with Te Wahapū o Waihī.

3.   Select top priority locations for potential construction of detainment bunds within the upper catchment and engage with relevant landowners.

4.   Ongoing implementation of water quality monitoring programme with aspirations for engaging mana whenua to carry out sampling operations.   

5.   Collaborate with community organisations and other agencies to maximise the progress towards achieving a healthy estuary and catchment.


3.        Considerations

3.1      Risks and Mitigations

There are no significant risks to this work programme at this time.


3.2      Climate Change




Reduce GHG emissions

Produce GHG emissions

Sequester carbon

Anticipate climate change impacts

Respond to climate change impacts


Planting and land retirement activities can help to sequester carbon and produce buffers for climate change adaptation. The Cutwater Rd wetland project has the potential to contribute to reducing carbon emissions.

At present, in its current land use as a dairy farm the land is likely to be emitting 5-12 tCO2e/ha/year x 30 ha = 150-360 tCO2e/year. In the future, as a coastal wetland, it will likely sequester carbon at the rate of 1-2 tCO2e/ha/year x 30 ha = 30-60 tCO2e/year.

Council’s total emissions under the Toi Tu certification in 2021 were 999 tCO2e/year, in comparison.


3.3      Implications for Māori

Catchment work spans the rohe of a number of different iwi/hapū, and includes advice and support to Māori land owners consistent with Council’s Environmental Grants Policy. Consideration has been given to the aspirations of iwi/hapu in the work programmes of each focus catchment, with strengthening partnerships in various stages of engagement and development.

The partnership with Te Wahapū o Waihī, representing Ngati Whakahemo, Ngati Whakaue ki Maketu, Ngati Makino, Ngati Pikiao and Tapuika will co-design and create a new wetland, which has positive implications for Maori.


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


3.5      Financial Implications

This work fits within the allocated budget of the Coastal Catchments Activity. Demand remains high for incentivised land management work and new Government funding such as the Hill Country Erosion Fund will continue to increase the scale and quality of on-the-ground actions possible.


4.        Next Steps

The Land Management team will continue to deliver its Waihī Estuary Focus Catchment work programme priority actions with community, iwi/hapū and other relevant stakeholders.








Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Writer:

Matthew Harrex, Compliance Manager - Land & Water

Report Authoriser:

Reuben Fraser, General Manager, Regulatory Services


Report on the implications of recent weather events for Toi Moana



Reflections from Toi Moana on recent weather events


Executive Summary

Over the last 12 months the Bay of Plenty has consistently experienced above average rainfall. As well as Cyclones Hale, Gabrielle, and the Auckland Anniversary Day storm there have been several other significant rainfall events impacting the region.

This report reflects on the impact of this adverse weather on the organisation including:

·     Supporting responses within and outside of our region

·     Building resilience in our monitoring networks, rivers, and drainage schemes

·     Increased workloads to respond to and repair damage

·     Communicating and supporting our community

Toi Moana has significant experience in responding to these types of events. This has enabled us to respond quickly and effectively. Staff support to other regions has been well received. There are a number of opportunities to learn and improve the way we work from these events which will be implemented in time.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Reflections from Toi Moana on recent weather events.



1.        Introduction

Cyclone Hale, the Auckland Anniversary storm, and Cyclone Gabrielle were the headline acts for a period of regular rain events since the start of the year and in fact above average rainfall since last winter. Total rainfall to date across the region ranges between 273% (Paraiti, below) and 130% (Tarawera at ORC) of the normal amounts recorded. It has been an exceptionally wet last 12 months.

Figure 1: Monthly rainfall totals at Paraiti (Upper Rangiuru Rd, behind Te Puke). The 2023 rainfalls are in dark blue.

Both the Auckland Anniversary storm and Cyclone Gabrielle had significant impacts across the Bay of Plenty, road and bridge washouts, damage to the rail network, landslides and flooding caused early estimates of $16m to $21m worth of damage to the region (Source: Bay of Plenty Times 21 April 2023). The Bay of Plenty escaped the worst of the impacts, but there has been a significant draw on resources to support the community to respond to and recover from both these events. Looking to the impact and recovery of these events in Tairāwhiti, Hawkes Bay and Tāmaki Makaurau has given us the opportunity to reflect on where we are at as an organisation and identify some opportunities for the future.

Some reviews are ongoing and the impacts that these events have across our organisation are far reaching. This paper presents a picture of some of the work that has been ongoing to improve our resilience as a region and some of the opportunities that have been identified for the future. This paper is not a detailed review into the Civil Defence Emergency Management[3], Flood Management or other aspects of the response.

1.1      Alignment with Strategic Framework


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.

Safe and Resilient Communities

We support community safety through flood protection and navigation safety.

Safe and Resilient Communities

We work with communities and others to consider long term views of natural hazard risks through our regional plans and policies.

The Way We Work

We look to partnerships for best outcomes.

This report is for information only and has no decisions that will impact on our strategic framework. The work delivered across the organisations directly supports building safer and resilient communities and strong partnerships to deliver this.

1.1.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

þ Environmental

Low - Positive

þ Cultural

Low - Positive

þ Social

Low - Positive

þ Economic

Low - Positive


Preparing for, responding to, and supporting our community to recover from severe weather events decreases their impact and contributes to the four well beings.


2.        Reflections for Toi Moana

2.1      Monitoring Networks

Recent events have reinforced the importance of having a robust and resilient network of monitoring tools to understand and respond to impacts in both real time (e.g. flood management, emergency response) and after the event (e.g. post event analysis and design reviews).

Some key learnings from our counterparts in Tairāwhiti and Hawkes Bay are:

•   Cellular networks failed early on. Secondary communication like radio and satellite communications showed better resilience but ultimately also suffered failures.

•   Although most monitoring sites have battery-based power supplies for when 240v supplies are interrupted, in many case the capacity was not large enough to respond to the duration of power outages following a Cyclone Gabrielle type event.

•   Ability to respond to monitoring network failures during a severe event are challenging, if not impossible, due to roading and other infrastructure damage and the prioritisation of use of alternate methods of transport such as helicopters.

•   In many cases even if access to sites was available, the level of impact due to flooding meant completely new monitoring approaches or locations needed to be established.

These findings have emphasised the importance of an existing body of work the Data Services team have been delivering since the Edgecumbe flooding in April 2017. This work has improved monitoring and support resilience through:

•   Additions to the flood monitoring network to fill gaps in understanding

•   Identification and increased focus on monitoring sites supporting adverse weather impacts

•   Ensuring critical monitoring sites have resilience through redundancy in equipment and communication or installation of completely new surrogate sites 

•   Developing response protocols to site failure, as due to the remote nature and challenges of monitoring in remote areas a degree of acceptance of failure is required.

Specific extra network sites since Edgecumbe flooding are:

•        Two rain gauges in upper Rangataiki

•        Water level site in the Whirinaki catchment

•        Rain gauge at Te Whāiti in upper Whirinaki catchment

•        Level site on the Reids Central Canal

•        Rain gauge in the upper Ngongotahā

•        Two rain gauges in the mid-Kaituna catchment

•        Level and flow site in the mid-Kaituna catchment

•        Rain gauge bordering Nukuhou and Waiotahi catchments

•        Rain gauge in the lower Whakatāne near Tāneatua

•        Rain gauge at Te Kaha

Additionally, we have set up access to data collected from 12 rain gauges bordering our region that are operated by Gisborne District Council and Hawkes Bay Regional Council.

The delivery of improved monitoring support and resilience is challenging and needs independent design on a site-by-site basis along with the availability of appropriate resources and technology, an example of this is soon to be delivered application of satellite communication to four of our critical remote sites now that the technology has improved to a point where we have confidence in its application.

A rain gauge costs about $10-15K in capital and about the same annually to operate.   It’s around double that for a level site and triple for a flow site if it is considered critical. We have $25K per annum in capital for network expansion and $50K per annum for improving resilience of existing sites.

Figure 2: Waioeka at Koranga rain gauge and Whakatāne at Huitieke river level warning site.

2.2      BOPRC Flood Room Response

The Flood Team has been busy over the last year with 111 flood warnings issued since July 2022. The previous year a total of 44 flood warnings were issued. The table below further illustrated how busy staff have been responding to weather events this year. Of note it the significant increase in call numbers to the Duty Flood Manager.

Table 1: Flood warnings and phone calls to the duty flood manager.


Flood Warnings Issued

Phone calls to Duty Flood Manager

1 January to 30 May 2023 (5 months)



1 July 2022 to 31 December 2022 (6 months)



1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 (12 months)



The Flood Team is in a continuous improvement state. After every weather event either a formal or informal debrief is undertaken. Specific learnings or reinforcements from this latest cyclone season are summarised as follows:

•   Prepare for the worst and hope for the best – always the mantra. Easier to scale down than to scale up.

•   Adding the Duty Flood Managers to the daily Local Civil Defence Emergency Management Controller’s briefing during a weather event proved to be very beneficial for all parties. This has now been adopted as standard practice.

•   Appointing one of the flood managers to the coastal inundation threat during Gabrielle meant that they had the ability to focus solely on that threat and provide clear advice to the local authorities.

•   Ngongotahā Stream Evacuation Rainfall Triggers – Additional triggers are required to cover pre-saturated conditions as the Ngongotahā Stream rose a lot quicker than anticipated during the Anniversary Weekend weather events.

•   Emergency Operations Centre Liaison – in the past we have had liaison roles between the flood room, the Group Emergency Operations Centre and the local councils where our flood schemes are located. These events have identified that there is need to increase our capacity of liaison in some parts of the region. Two additional staff have been identified to support this function in Tauranga. 

•   Evacuation Plans – In the lead up to Cyclone Gabrielle evacuation maps and plans were hurriedly put together using the near complete Coastal Inundation mapping. This served the need at the time to identify at risk populations and undertake some evacuations. However, because the work had not been completed it was new to many using it. It highlighted the benefit of undertaking this work well in advance of these weather events. This will ensure that the information is well understood, and the public can take the appropriate precautions early.

2.3      Rivers and Drainage Operations

The repeat rainfall events of both this year and last year have put extreme pressure on the River & Drainage Operations team resources.

Figure 3 below (which is typical of most rainfall recorder sites across the region) shows rainfall has significantly exceeded previous maximums recorded and has been continuing consistently on that path to date. The recorded rainfall has been extraordinary for being consistently above normal throughout the year meaning catchments have remained saturated and river levels have been elevated.

Figure 3: Cumulative rainfall Kaituna at Te Matai.

While it is difficult to ascertain whether the impacts from the anniversary weekend event were worse than cyclone Gabrielle, we do know the cumulative effects of both storms on an already saturated catchment (and within our catchment control schemes) have been extreme.

With saturated ground conditions and ongoing elevated river levels having an adverse effect on gravity drainage, we have learned that our scheme landowners rely heavily on emergency flood pumping both during and for significant periods following each event. The monitoring and refuelling of temporary mobile flood pumps has become a 24/7 operation which takes staff and resources away from our business as usual maintenance and ability to assist with flood recovery works.

It is apparent that existing Rivers & Drainage Operations team resources (staff and mobile pumping equipment) are insufficient for long term pumping operations that have been necessary to date this financial year. 

Rivers and Drainage Operations have also been kept extremely busy with responding to calls for assistance from landowners, teams within BOPRC and district councils on top of maintaining our drainage level of service to scheme stakeholders. The calls relate mainly to debris removal, erosion repairs, monitoring stop bank seepage.

For example, following the anniversary weekend event and prior to cyclone Gabrielle arriving, we assisted Firstgas with emergency works to stabilise a stream bank below a gas pipeline that had been exposed due to erosion. We also removed significant upper catchment debris blockages to remove flood hazards and protect downstream infrastructure.


Figure 4: Rivers and Drainage staff assisting Firstgas with emergency works to stabilise a stream bank below an exposed gas pipeline.

Although we have internal skills and expertise to assist with these works, we have experienced delays in getting to priority sites due to ongoing heavy rain, site access, staff workloads and the limited availability of specialist machinery.    

2.4      Communications

The Regional Council’s communications function has two key roles during these events:

1)  Business as usual awareness raising via digital channels regarding potential impact, community readiness (this was drawn from all of government messaging channels e.g. NIWA, CDEM, Metservice) and council’s primary functions, specifically rivers and drainage centric via Flood Room capability and communicating directly with customers on council’s flood warning system; and public transport service updates for users impacted by weather-related cancellations.

2)  Public Information Management (PIM) support to the activated Emergency Operations Centres.  This support follows a CIMS (coordinated incident management system) approach i.e. integrating to ensure consistent and coordinated information was shared, primarily on Civil Defence Emergency Management digital channels, and where appropriate, on regional council channels.

In the days leading up to Gabrielle, during and after, the team shared a number of posts on our Regional Council Facebook page about work being done by our staff to prepare for the Cyclone. During the event messaging focussed on the information our monitoring was telling us (via our Flood Room) which served to reassure our communities around the impact the cyclone was having on the region; and where appropriate sharing messages from BOPCDEM. After the event, we took the opportunity to show the work our teams were doing in the community as part of the clean-up from the cyclone.

Gabrielle gave us an opportunity to test our Flood Room communications support and while we were pleased with how we responded and reacted we will always look to improve. We’ll continue to seek further community-owned channels to share our messaging (i.e., regular review of the community groups on social media we belong to where we can share our messaging). We have also identified that different parts of our community will need different types of messaging. For example, even though a ratepayer may not live within line of sight of a river they could still live within a scheme and so need to see the value in the work that we are doing through the information we are sharing.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff supporting the PIM function during these events have shared their insights into the review being undertaken by the Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group. The opportunities for improvement are expected to focus around improving the shift from business as usual to response arrangement. There is also the opportunity to work with the local authorities to improve our region wide alignment and efficiencies across all responses.

2.5      Civil Defence Emergency Management Response

The Group Emergency Coordination Centre was activated for four days as Cyclone Gabrielle passed over the region. A full review of the response is being undertaken by the Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group. Regional Council has a role to provide the Group Emergency Centre Facility and trained staff to help support the coordination of a response.

Gabrielle was the first event to really test out the new facility on the third floor of Regional House. The facility was fit for purpose and overall, the physical space performed well and was a vast improvement on the previous location. High winds over the Monday night certainly tested the resilience of the building. Regional Council Staff supporting the response are drawn from across the whole organisation. While the level of experience varies the value of training and exercising was evident. Civil Defence is an additional part of many staff roles. The reliance on staff to support these events if they are to become more frequent and severe, is a challenging balance to manage.

2.6      Support to Other Regions

The scale and intensity of these events is beyond what any region can manage on their own. It provided an opportunity for us to repay the support that was received during the 2017 Edgecumbe Floods and the 2019 Whakaari Eruption. In response to the Auckland Anniversary storm and Cyclone Gabrielle, Bay of Plenty Regional Council sent over twenty staff to Auckland, Tairāwhiti, Wairoa, and Hawkes Bay.

The feedback from the regions who received our support was of overwhelming gratitude. Well trained and experienced staff coming with a positive and helpful attitude made a significant impact supporting the response efforts.

Deployments are tough on people; they are sent where help is needed. That means usually things aren’t going all to plan, there are a bunch of issues, some that can be fixed and some that can’t. Our people are sent to make the bad stuff a bit better. Having learnt from past events, only trained and suitable staff were deployed. That helped us ensure that they would be prepared (at least in some way) for what was ahead, and they would be effective where they were sent. To look after staff welfare, regular check ins were undertaken to ensure that staff were coping. Where feasible, deployment periods were limited to five days operational response and two standdown days at the end to limit staff burnout.

In addition to supporting response and recovery to the weather events Toi Moana reached out to those affected councils to offer specialist support in a range of areas including legal, CE to CE, and resource consent processing.

There is a lot to be gained in supporting other local authorities during and post these types of events. Sharing our trained and experienced staff has a huge impact in reducing the burden of those affected regions. The Bay of Plenty has had its share of significant events and subsequently we have useful experience and skills to offer. We also benefit from gaining further experience and learning from other events that we can bring back to our region. It does present challenges and increase pressure on other staff to cover those roles in our organisation, while people are on deployment. Ensuring people are safe both on deployment and when they return is important.

2.7      Emergency Works

Following the two storms and other smaller events we received 14 emergency works notifications across the region, mostly for road, bridge and rail repairs. Section 330 of the Resource Management Act (RMA) 1991 provides for emergency works to be undertaken by a local authority or utility network provider to repair and protect property and assets.  Within 7 days of these works being undertaken notification is required to the appropriate consent authority and in some cases retrospective consent is required.

We have seen the benefit of working closely with the local councils and their asset managers to understand what constitutes emergency works, when it will be undertaken and what may require retrospective consents. This has enabled us to identify opportunities to reduce the impact of the emergency works and achieve better outcomes.

In response to the Cyclone Hale (12 January), the Auckland Anniversary Storm, and Cyclone Gabrielle, the RMA was amended to enable emergency works as a permitted activity on Rural or Māori Land under some conditions, provided the damage was linked to these specific weather events. These amendments require notification to the relevant council within 100 working days of undertaking these activities. These provisions were intended to enable essential repair works to be undertaken quickly mainly in those areas worst affected. We do anticipate that there will be a small number of instances where this will apply in the Bay of Plenty.

Following these storm events our flood managers, land management teams and the pollution hotline all receive a large number of calls from the public seeking help or advice to repair damage. Much of this is outside of our remit and often rests with landowners themselves. There is an opportunity to provide better information to land owners around what and how they can undertake works to address storm damage on their own properties and where to direct their enquires.


3.        Considerations

3.1      Risks and Mitigations

The increasing number of weather events (and the magnitude of these) are likely to result in significant and potentially widespread damage to property.  Where damage results from a failure of a flood protection asset owned and maintained by Regional Council, this has the potential to result in claims being brought against Council.  

3.2      Climate Change

The matters addressed in this report are of a procedural nature and there is no need to consider climate change impacts.

While the matters addressed in this report are of a procedural nature, it should also be noted the impacts of climate change do not only bring an increased risk of flooding, but also a risk of increased dry periods as we had over the period of 2019- 2022.  The recent pronounced swings from wet to dry are demonstrated by rainfall deviations from long term normal for our Rotorua at Whakarewarewa rain gauge (Figure 5) where sustained and regular cycles of wet and dry can be seen since 2010.


Figure 5: Rotorua at Whakarewarewa Standardised Precipitation Index



Reduce GHG emissions

Produce GHG emissions

Sequester carbon

Anticipate climate change impacts

Respond to climate change impacts


3.3      Implications for Māori

Like events in the past, we have seen that Māori communities are able and willing to step up and become involved in the response and recovery efforts. There are still a range of barriers to enabling this to happen both outside and within the Bay of Plenty. Events in Tairāwhiti and Hawkes Bay have also shown that many of the small rural communities were quickly isolated and sometimes last to have access, power and water restored. Many of these communities are predominantly Māori and therefore these events can impact Māori more.  Good progress has been made in some areas but there is more work to be done build partnership with Māori particularly in emergency management. Bay of Plenty Regional Council will continue to support the Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group to enable a stronger partnership with Māori in this area. Approaching our resilience building, response frameworks and our recovery efforts with a lens of equity and partnership is essential.

3.4      Community Engagement


Engagement with the community is not required as the report is for information only.


3.5      Financial Implications

The impact of severe weather events has a wide ranging impact on operational and capital expenditure. This has not been covered in this report.

There are no material unbudgeted financial implications and this fits within the allocated budget.


4.        Next Steps

This report has provided an overview of the impacts of Cyclone Hale, Gabrielle and the Auckland Anniversary storm in addition to the ongoing weather events on Toi Moana. There have been a number of opportunities to improve and learn from for future events which will be investigated and incorporated where feasible. Significantly these events have and are continuing to have a significant impact on the workload and capacity of our teams. Many staff are feeling the effects of working in some form of elevated mode of response for the last six months. People leaders are working hard to ensure that our staff are supported and can get a break when they can. This will have some impact on the planned work programmes across council which will be reported back through the annual plan reporting. Staff will continue to respond and support responses to these events. 







Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Writer:

Jon Jon Peters, BOP Harbourmaster/Manager

Report Authoriser:

Reuben Fraser, General Manager, Regulatory Services


To update the Committee on Maritime activities undertaken during the Summer of 2022/23



Maritime Monitoring and Operations Report


Executive Summary

Maritime’s summer initiatives are delivered by Regional Council’s Maritime Team with funding assistance from Maritime New Zealand’s FED funding program.

These initiatives focus on recreational boating issues that have been highlighted on a national scale at the New Zealand Safer Boating Forum, and through IPSOS reports and issues that are specific to the region.

Our initiatives aim to improve the attitudes and behaviours of the boating public, in order to increase compliance, assist in education and to keep people safe.

In addition to on water and shore-based education and compliance work, the programme involves media coverage, educational material drops to retailers and campsites, newsletters and social media content and presentations to Marinas and boating / paddle sport clubs, and a dedicated Iwi initiative.

This report provides an update on activities undertaken throughout the 2022-2023 summer season.

Of note, the inclement weather during the summer meant 20% of patrols were cancelled, yet 4200 interactions were completed and our infringements increased by 46% over the last year.

49% of the general public go boating in some form and 18% go boating in our region – second only to Auckland.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Maritime Monitoring and Operations Report.



1.        Introduction

The maritime summer initiatives are designed to address the key risk factors and contributors to recreational craft fatalities, highlighted by the New Zealand Safer Boating Forum and the National Safer Boating Strategy. They focus on promoting compliance with good safe boating practises under the umbrella of Skipper Responsibility. This is done via legislation, enforcement of our bylaws, safety awareness campaigns and the creation of educational materials. Māori and Pasifika communities are overrepresented in comparison to their participation numbers for those who die in recreational boating accidents, and our iwi have a higher participation in boating and paddle craft use around the region. A dedicated iwi initiative is delivered to educate communities that have had limited access or funding for safer boating education in the past.

The key issues that continue to be present with recreational boating within the Bay of Plenty Region include:

•  Failure to wear or carry a correctly fitting lifejacket

•  Failure to carry suitable communication equipment to call for help when in trouble and ending up in the water suddenly or unexpectedly.

•  Speed of vessels – the 5-knot rule

•  Towing without an observer

•  Failure to check and understand the marine weather forecast and tides before venturing out onto the water or across a bar.

•  Consumption of alcohol

•  Lack of skipper knowledge around the “rules of the road at sea”

•  Lack of knowledge around the Moving Prohibited zone and impeding the navigation of shipping.

The promotion of key messages is done through the use of branded collateral at boat ramps, via drops offs to marine retail outlets, patrol team lake and harbour patrols, newsletter additions and educational presentations to boating clubs, social media posts, billboards and enforcement of our bylaws.


1.1      Alignment with Strategic Framework


Safe and Resilient Communities

We support community safety through flood protection and navigation safety.

The Way We Work

We continually seek opportunities to innovate and improve.


1.1.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

þ Environmental

High - Positive

þ Cultural

High - Positive

þ Social

Medium - Positive

þ Economic

Low - Positive



2.        Initiatives undertaken during the summer 2022/23

2.1      Lake and Harbour Patrol Teams

Summer months in the Bay of Plenty are extremely busy for our maritime team, with many people on the water on our rivers, harbours, and coasts.  Our contracted lake and harbour patrol team worked from Labour weekend to King’s Birthday weekend, and 7 days a week over the peak Christmas holiday season.

Supporting them from the shore, our summer students provide boat ramp safer boating education and educational resource drops to marine retail outlets and local boating and coastguard units.  They also provide pre planned and advertised Boaty BBQ days at some of our more rural boat ramps.

This summer our team consisted of 38 patrol crew, 6 students and 7 Vessels working across the region. They interacted with 4205 vessels and completed 476 on water patrols.  596 breaches of bylaws and 292 infringements were issued, an increase of 40% on last year. Considering the 20% cancellation of shifts due to the unseasonal summer weather the figures replicate the IPSOS report showing a steady increase in numbers of boaties in our region and what they may or may not understand.

Our students completed 26 days out and about around our region at boat ramps and delivering resources. They completed five Boaty BBQ days and four of them completed their Day Skipper and two their marine VHF certificates.

Speed of vessels close to shore, three to ski / towing safely and impeding ships entering the Tauranga harbour continue to be issues but with more visibility on the water, educational campaigns and enforcement we hope to change behaviours.

2.2      Kia marutau ki te wai – Iwi Safer Boating Ambassador initiative

With funding from MNZ this program ran for the first-time last year with a focus on investing in education to change the attitudes and behaviours of our local hapū around water. 

Kia marutau ki te wai is now a multi-year program delivering Safer Boating education in the form of the CBE Day Skipper course and supported by a maritime officer delivering local bylaw and regional area education and resource materials including a lifejacket for those successfully completing the course.

Seven students attended a two-day CBE Day Skipper course this season. Each student received a range of BOPRC created safer boating resources to take away to assist them in sharing their newfound skills and knowledge with their whānau. These students are now ambassadors for us, continuing the education and outreaching to their hapū allowing us to fill more of these courses in more destinations around our region this season.

2.3      Media

A summary of communications over the summer is below:

•    Safer Boating Facebook adds were shared across the region on our Facebook

page and Boating club’s social media pages to assist our safe boating education messages to local clubs.

•    Boaty BBQ Safe Boating Education days were completed alongside MNZ and customs at Fergusson Park, Ōhiwa, Lake Tikitapu and Pukehina Boat Ramps.

•    Our “Lights at Night” Quiz attracted 67 entries.  With only seven entrants getting all nine questions correct. One winner was selected and presented with a MNZ funded personal locator beacon (PLB) and a range of BOPRC safer boating resources.

•    Don’t be a W-Anchor campaign ran on Hewlett’s Road for two months from 26th


•    A day in the life of a Harbourmaster media release in the NZ Herald


3.        Considerations

3.1      Risks and Mitigations

There are no significant risks associated with this update report.

3.2      Climate Change

The matters addressed in this report are of a procedural nature and there is no need to consider climate change impacts.


3.3      Implications for Māori

Engaging with Māori is an important part of the Maritime Activity. The Kia marutau ki te wai initiative has been a success and will continue to grow and be delivered further afield.  Our summer patrolling ensures rules are being followed and enables us better visibility of issues relating to Māori to feed into the bylaw review.  Collaboration to help clean-up waters surrounding marae’s, communicating around local Rāhui, working with landowners in the Kaituna and other rivers and during oil spill exercises are important in building long term relationships.  Our patrol team employs a number of local Iwi as skippers and crew who share their local knowledge and assist us with educating the community.

The decision to appoint a Sub-Committee for the Navigation Safety Bylaw review that includes Iwi representatives alongside Councillors is an important step towards ensuring that Māori are involved the development of rules for maritime safety.

3.4      Financial Implications

There are no material unbudgeted financial implications and this fits within the allocated budget.

4.        Next Steps

These initiatives support a positive change in Safer Boating compliance and best practise and a Safer Harbour for all users throughout the region. Work and progress will continue to be reported through this Committee.







Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Writer:

Jo Pellew, Rates Manager

Report Authoriser:

Mat Taylor, General Manager, Corporate


To update the Committee on progress with rates collection for the 2022/23 year



Rates Collection Update


Executive Summary

This report provides an overview of the successful completion of the first year of Council's internal rates collection service.

The report covers several key areas.

·     Council's rate collection process, detailing internal procedures. The overall level of outstanding rates remaining for customers that haven’t paid and do not have a payment arrangement in place is 1.7% at the end of May. A collection rate of 98.3% so far for the 2022/23 rating year.

·     Customer contact statistics, offering insights into the Rates team’s interactions with ratepayers. Over 31,000 rates customer contact tickets have been resolved for the current rating year.

·     There is a strong preference for online banking with 68% of our customers using this method to pay their rates, additionally 24% of our customers are on a direct debit arrangement.

·     Preparations are underway for the 2023/24 rating year, ensuring a smooth transition and continuation of the rate collection service.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Rates Collection Update.



1.        Introduction

Overall, the completion of the Rates Implementation Project, and the first year of collecting rates, has been successful. The Rates Project Team demonstrated dedication and motivation to deliver a fully operational rates function on the go-live date, 1 July 2022.

The first year of internal collection of rates, for all involved, has been a learning journey and has evolved over the rating year as we develop and enhance our internal processes to create a seamless and positive customer experience.

Invoices were sent in September 2022 across the region over a three-week period for the due date of 20 October 2022.  Our robust communication strategy meant that over 76% customers made payment on or around this date, and we have continued to engage with ratepayers who were unaware of the change or had other reasons as to why payment was not made on time. This continued engagement has resulted in 1.7% debt remaining from ratepayers (at the end of May) who do not have an acceptable payment arrangement in place.

This report provides analysis of the rate collection process and details customer contact statistics including the number of customers who have engaged with us, metrics on preferred payment methods, and a sample of the type of customer queries that we received over the course of the rating year.

We detail preparations being undertaken for the 2023/24 rating year to provide an understanding of what work is required to ensure the robustness of correct invoicing for our ratepayers.

1.1      Legislative Framework

The Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 (“LGRA”) and the Rating Valuations Act 1998 (“RVA”) are the primary enactments governing the setting, assessment, and collection of rates by Local Government.

In addition to complying with this rating specific legislation, Council also needs to ensure that the rating function and process complies with the Local Government Act 2002 (“LGA”) and the Privacy Act 2020 (“PA”).


1.2      Alignment with Strategic Framework


A Vibrant Region

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

The Way We Work

We deliver value to our ratepayers and our customers.

We continually seek opportunities to innovate and improve.

We provide great customer service.


1.2.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

¨ Environmental


¨ Cultural

Medium - Positive

þ Social

Medium - Positive

þ Economic

Medium - Positive


Collecting rates in-house has a positive effect on social and economic well-being. The economic benefit of the in-house collection includes less cost to ratepayers as internal costs are lower than paying other organisations a commission to collect revenue on our behalf.


Positive social benefits include the community having more awareness about the work that we do and engaging with us more, the public receiving an improved customer experience and equity across the region as council will have control over rating policies and be able to apply a more consistent and holistic view of the Bay of Plenty community.


Cultural benefits include direct engagement with Māori landowners and greater control over rating policies for Māori land. Bay of Plenty Regional Council can decide how to rate whenua Māori, including decisions on rates arrears, remissions and consolidation of whenua Māori land blocks or multiple dwellings for rating purposes.

2.        Rates status update

2.1      Rates update for 2022/23 rating year

2.1.1    Rates collection

The Rates team have focused on the outstanding rates collection position to ensure a positive outcome for recovery of 2022/23 rates. As a result, we have collected $80.6m (98.3%), with the outstanding rates for customers that do not have a payment arrangement in place being $1.4m (1.7%) for the 2022/23 rating year so far. The current collection position is positively comparable with other councils who have shared their collection data for the same period.

These results have been achieved by:

·     Communication with ratepayers: There has been increased effort to communicate with ratepayers with overdue rates balances through two targeted campaigns in May and June for rate reminders by letter, or email. These campaigns were to remind customers of their obligation to pay their rates before the end of the rating year, and consequences of non-payment.

·     Streamlined debt recovery processes: The team is developing its debt recovery process to ensure an efficient and effective structure that we can easily maintain. This has included implementing automated reminders and escalation processes utilising the rates software tools. This is to ensure that outstanding rates are followed up in a timely manner and done so consistently.

·     Customer service: The team has focused on providing excellent customer service to ratepayers, ensuring that any queries or concerns are addressed promptly and professionally. This has helped to build trust and improve engagement with ratepayers.

In July, we will initiate collection actions in accordance with the LGRA to recover unpaid accounts from the 2022/23 rating year. We will collaborate with our collection agency (Baycorp) as well as individual mortgagee agencies to assist with recovery of any overdue rates balances. Our primary objective is to encourage acceptable payment arrangements. However, as a last resort, we may pursue funds recovery through mortgagees or Baycorp.

Payment Type

The overall preference in payment options we offer has been by Online Banking, with 68% of our ratepayers preferring the ability to pay their rates account through their bank.

Offering other options such as credit card payments, in person payment at our service centres, NZ Post, and having a payment agent in Murupara offered by Whakatāne District Council, has allowed those customers not paying by direct debit or online banking to have alternative solutions that best meet their needs.

The graph below shows the percentage split in the total payments received to date and how this has been distributed amongst the payment methods we offer customers.

Direct Debit

In July 2022, we conducted an email campaign to encourage customers who were already on direct debit with their respective local council to set up a direct debit arrangement with us also.

This communication achieved a good outcome and we have steadily increased the number of customers who are paying by direct debit. As of 9 June 2023, there are 35,590 customers on direct debit. This is about 24% of our total rateable properties.

There is a broad spread of preference in terms of frequency options and is detailed in the following graph, with the most popular choice being monthly at 41% of all active direct debits. We currently offer weekly, fortnightly, monthly, and annual frequency options.

Further investigation was undertaken for an alternative quarterly frequency option we could offer that would be like that other local authorities. A quarterly direct debit is unable to be used as we do not invoice until September, the first direct debit payment would need to start in August, so there is inadequate time to advise customers of their payment amount.

2.1.2    Customer engagement

Since the March 2023 Rates Collection report to this Committee, customer interactions have been steady, but significantly lower than the first nine months of the rating year due to the nature of the rating cycle.  As shown in Table 1 below, most of our customer contact is captured through our customer relationship management system, Zendesk. As of 9 June 2023, the Rates Team have received over 31,000 rates related queries since July 2022.

Table 1: All Rates related Zendesk tickets


Ticket Count

Key / Notable Events

July 2022



August 2022


Direct Debit calculation sent

September 2022


Rate Invoices sent

October 2022


Invoice Due Date – 20 October

Penalty Date – 31 October

November 2022


Penalty Letters sent

December 2022


Penalty Letter responses

January 2023


Penalty Letter responses

February 2023


Rates Reminder #1 sent

March 2023


*Payments made in error to Council – some customer confusion over which Council to pay

April 2023



May 2023


Rates Reminder #2 sent

June 2023


Rates Reminder #3 sent




*There was a spike in the numbers of customers who made payment to us instead of their local council on their councils’ respective instalment due dates, over 300 refunds were processed in February, with another 200+ refunds processed further in March.

Customer contact

There has been a wide range of customer queries that we have received over the course of this year. Table 2 below provides a brief outline of some of these queries.

This is not an exhaustive list but gives understanding of the broad range of queries the Rates team maintain.

Table 2.: Customer Queries

Type of Request

# Received

Rates – General


Rates – Web info Request ‘Contact Us’


Payment Arrangements


Transfer credit to other council


Refund request


Rates by Email Authorisation


LINZ Notice of Change Report


Rates Solicitor Settlement Statement


Rates – Complaints*


*Most complaints related to the new service, and confusion about the change. In addition, customers questioned rate charges on their properties or what they were paying for.

2.1.3    Project Plan update

With the end of 2022/23 rating year approaching, the success of the first year of collecting our own rates has been achieved through increased accuracy in invoicing customers directly. In addition, we have improved debt collection and had direct engagement with our ratepayers.

We will continue to:

·     Enhance our Customer Service experience by providing ratepayers with streamlined processes with the use of online forms and provide opportunities to deliver an enhanced customer experience with timely responses.

·     Continuous Improvement: We are continuously seeking ways to improve our internal and external processes. We will develop and implement necessary changes to ensure efficiency and accuracy.

Several key result areas are being worked through, including recent improvements.

·     Māori Land Presentation: At the LTP workshop on 10 May, Council was presented with information on the importance of distinguishing Māori land in the rates decision-making processes and remission approach. This presentation is being rolled out to a wider audience over the next few months including regional council staff and staff at our local TLAs. A version will also be published on our website so that it is available for everyone to access.

·     Refinement of rates invoices: Based on customer feedback, we will make refinements to our rates invoices for 2023/24, mainly to ensure that our direct debit messaging is well defined for customer information.

·     Process mapping: capturing our processes in a structured way to ensure staff knowledge is recorded and maintained, for succession planning and identification of areas that could be improved.

By addressing these key result areas and implementing improvements, we are dedicated to enhancing our rates collection process and delivering a positive experience to our ratepayers.

2.2      Preparation for 2023/24 rating year

2.2.1    Database management

The Rates Team has been working with the Finance Team with rates modelling for the draft 2023/24 Annual Plan. This includes database management and updating property information, such as the capture of subdivisions in the region for growth metrics and the maintenance of remissions for the 2023/24 rating year.

Rates Modelling

·     Preparing rates modelling data for the upcoming 2023/24 rating year. This work involves setting rates against the proposed Annual Plan figures.

Database Management

·     Updating the database to identify all growth opportunities, such as subdivision maintenance. This is to ensure revenue expectations are accurate for decision-making purposes based on growth within the region.

·     Regular property updates are provided by the Local Authorities to ensure that our data is ready to perform the rates setting function in mid-July. This involves integrity checks being performed within the database, ensuring correct factors (rates) are applied to rating accounts.

Property Remission Adjustments

·     Rates Remissions on properties have been reviewed for applicability for the 2023/24 rating year. This work involves assessing existing remissions and ensuring that new remissions are applied fairly and accurately. We will still observe our region’s local authority’s remission policies, through the Transitional Remission, until our own Rates Remission policy is confirmed for the 2024/25 rating year.

3.        Considerations

3.1      Risks and Mitigations

There are no risks in relation to this service delivery performance update.

3.2      Climate Change

The matters addressed in this report are of a procedural nature and there is no need to consider climate change impacts.

3.3      Implications for Māori

Rating Māori land can be complex. Collecting our own rates, gives Bay of Plenty Regional Council greater control and enables it to apply equity and fairness across the region. With our engagement and strengthening relationships we can address economic disparity and rebuild trust, forging better relationships with local Iwi, Hapū, Trusts and owner/occupiers.

With greater control over rating policies, Bay of Plenty Regional Council will have the ability to decide how to rate whenua Māori including decisions on rate’s arrears, remissions and consolidation of whenua Māori land blocks or multiple dwellings for rating purposes.

3.4      Community Engagement

Rates collection is a statutory process under the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002. Information provided to customers around the rating process is done so under the Act requirements.

3.5      Financial Implications

There are no material unbudgeted financial implications and this fits within the allocated budget.

4.        Next Steps

The Rates team have made significant progress in improving debt collection and reducing overdue accounts during this rating year.  Legislative collection action, as per the provisions under the LGRA, for rate arrears will commence in July. The following actions will be undertaken.

(i)   Application of a 10% arrears penalty for any rates accounts not on an acceptable payment arrangement for any balance remaining in July.

(ii)  Overdue rate accounts will be sent through to the respective mortgage holders “Mortgagees” of accounts where there is a mortgage registered on the property. This process will require the Mortgagee to pay rates directly to Council and they recover this amount from the ratepayer. For those that do not have a mortgage, these accounts will be sent to Baycorp to initiate the collection of arrears.

Assessment of the rates for the region will be undertaken mid-July following Council’s confirmation of the 2023/24Rates Resolution.  Rate accounts on a periodic direct debt arrangement, will be recalculated in mid-July and customers will receive notification of their new amount for the 2023/24 rating year.






Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Writer:

Rachael Burgess, Customer Contact Manager and Rebecca Immink, Facilities & Information Team Leader

Report Authoriser:

Mat Taylor, General Manager, Corporate


To provide an update on customer experience



Customer Feedback Summary Report


Executive Summary

Over the past 5 years, the Regional Council teams have been focussing on raising the organisation's profile and improving the customer experience.

We can measure the impact on public awareness and customer satisfaction by analysing the feedback received through the Zendesk customer satisfaction surveys, and with other activity-specific data collected by teams. This information is used to understand themes of common queries and improve the information we provide to customers.

For the year ending 31 January 2023, 7,000 survey responses were received and these were reported at a high level in the Customer Service Performance update presented to the Monitoring & Operations Committee in March 2023.

The comments contained in the customer satisfaction survey responses are extremely valuable as they provide further insight into how customers feel about the service they receive and help identify ways we can further improve our service delivery.

This Customer Feedback Summary report gives a more detailed analysis using the survey data collected. The report highlights that customer satisfaction is continuing to improve and we are providing a positive experience.

The key insights taken from the customer feedback are that we are easy to deal with, have friendly and helpful staff, and information is easy to access. There is also an opportunity for us to improve our service by communicating expected response timeframes with customers.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Customer Feedback Summary Report.


1.        Introduction

In 2018 Council set a KPI to “ensure a strong culture of customer service is across the organization and that all parts of the organisation have appropriate policies, systems and processes to drive continuous improvement in customer service” and, to “develop and introduce further benchmarks to demonstrate value to customer and community and levels of customer engagement and satisfaction”.

Previous committee reports have presented updates on customer service projects and initiatives, including quantitative data about the way customers access our services. This report analyses the qualitative data to understand how customers experienced the services we provided between January 2022 and January 2023.

Data has been sourced through our CRM, Zendesk, mystery shopping calls, ALGIM surveys, service-specific surveys and call recordings. The report will outline key themes for the main services provided by/on behalf of Council, what is working well, what improvement opportunities have been identified, and how these opportunities will be addressed.

1.1      Alignment with Strategic Framework


A Healthy Environment

Freshwater for Life

Safe and Resilient Communities

A Vibrant Region

The Way We Work

We provide great customer service.


We deliver value to our ratepayers and our customers


We continually seek opportunities to innovate and improve

2.        Customer Experience

2.1      Customer Feedback summary - Activities

2.1.1    Public Transport

Public Transport is one of the Council’s most visible services and has a broad demographic of customers. The Bay of Plenty network is a service provided by BOPRC staff and local bus operators. We currently monitor feedback for both staff and operators through our customer relationship management (CRM) system, Zendesk, and by independent ‘mystery shopping’ calls. In addition, a bus user survey was conducted in 2022 to understand user experience.

Across these feedback channels, the key themes were “excellent service, query resolution and communication”, “no response to query”, “poor service reliability and driver service” and “no future resolutions provided”.  The most common theme through Zendesk was “good” with no elaborating comment.

These themes highlight that enquiries that are easily and quickly resolved, such as timetable queries and bee card issues are being managed promptly and providing a positive customer experience. However, service reliability and driver customer service were also reoccurring themes over the year. 

There was also feedback indicating our response times didn’t meet expectations and, in some cases, customers had to follow up their query with Council or the bus operator. Below is some specific feedback received about the public transport service.

“I've been known to moan a bit over the last 12 months - but the latest assistance has been great.”

“I spoke with multiple people over a period of time without any clear answers. The last lady I spoke to recently was really good though and solved/explained the issue promptly.”

“Went out of her way to accommodate and resolve the issue - such great service from her and I really appreciated that.”

2.1.2    Rates

As a new service to Council, we have received an abundance of feedback on the processes and information available about the rates collection service. Zendesk was used extensively to disseminate information publicly and collect personal data through an online form, and workflow it to the appropriate team member.

Because the surveys are emailed and email addresses were collected on all online forms, feedback on service by our Rates Team, Customer Service Team and support from the organisation is well documented. The key themes were “easy to deal with and friendly”, “confusion with TLA services”, “phone queues were too long”, “wanting rates $ amount communicated earlier”, and “would prefer to use an online account”.

There were comments about the delays due to postal services. The most common theme through Zendesk was “good” with no elaborating comment. The feedback reflected that we achieved ‘as good as’, or better service than, the TLA and has also provided some opportunities to improve the service which are discussed in sections 2.3 and 4. of this report. Below is some specific feedback received about the rates collection service.

“I was told the rates would be sent out at a later date. I would have liked to receive the bill earlier”

“Your team always give excellent customer service.  I love dealing with them.”

“I thought I was signing up for all communications from the council to come by email. That’s water bill, dog registration etc. but most come by mail”

“Very efficient service like, straight on to the problem and very customer friendly.”

"All answers available on the website"

2.1.3    Consents

Consents has historically been one of our main customer contact and area for queries. The Consents Team has been actively monitoring and reporting on their customer experience for the past 5 years.

We currently monitor the customer feedback on the consenting process via Zendesk CRM surveys and an online survey managed by the Consents Team directly. Most recently the consents survey was reported to Council at the 7 March 2023 Monitoring and Operations Committee meeting. 

From these two surveys, the key themes identified were “helpful staff, got the information needed”, “good proactive communication” and equal feedback received saying “good response times” versus “no or slow response times”. The most common theme through Zendesk was “good” with no elaborating comment.

Three years ago, at the 16 June 2020 Monitoring and Operations Committee meeting, the Customer Service Performance and Organisational Profile improvements report presented “Be clearer in communication and transparent with needs for further information earlier” as an improvement opportunity. The most recent data suggests that communication has improved significantly and that applicants are updated throughout the consenting process.

As the main themes are praising communication, with equal comments on good and bad response times.  Below are some specific feedback received about the consenting customer service.

“Response was very quick which was great. Just clarified some points and waiting on a reply. Thank you for great service.”

“Staff very helpful. Friendly, good communication and follow up”

“The people I was dealing with were helpful and pleasant to deal with but weren't able to resolve the issue. It appears the RMA is the problem. I will be referring this to the Minister for the Environment for investigation."

2.1.4    Maritime

As a regulatory service, Maritime is primarily contacted via the 0800 5 Knots telephone number. The main maritime queries are reporting skipper behaviour and boating incidents, such as sinking or drifting.

Calls are primarily managed by our contact centre with 30% of calls received after-hours by Tauranga City Council (TCC) on our behalf. We monitor feedback for both staff and TCC through Zendesk. the key themes we identified were “quick response”, “good level of information on BOPRC website” and “haven’t heard back about complaint” with the most common theme being “good” with no elaborating comment.

This feedback suggests that as a less interactive service, we are efficiently receiving and actioning service requests. However, we could improve the customer experience by communicating when and how the request was actioned. Below is some specific feedback received about the maritime response.

“Your online system is great. The response was quick and efficient.  Thanks”

"Not the answer I was hoping for but a quick and accurate answer. Many thanks."

"All BOPRC staff have been great to deal with - professional, knowledgeable, and helpful.  I would put these interactions at the top (by a long shot) of any interaction I have had with any public sector agency.  Thanks :)"

2.1.5    Pollution and Compliance

Similarly, to the Maritime customer service, Bay of Plenty residents can contact us via our pollution hotline to report compliance and pollution concerns. The main compliance queries are odour complaints, outside burning, and seasonal spray drift.

Calls are primarily managed by our contact centre with 20% of calls received after-hours by Tauranga City Council (TCC) on our behalf. We monitor feedback for both staff and TCC through Zendesk. the key themes we identified were “quick response”, “professional and approachable staff”, “complaint actioned but not resolved” and “was not informed what action was taken”.

The most prominent theme was “good” with no elaborating comment. This feedback indicates that we provide a good level of service and are quick to respond to service requests but could improve the way we communicate outcomes with affected parties. Below is some specific feedback received about the pollution hotline.

“I am always appreciative that BOPRC staff are very professional, approachable and responsive.”

“Thanks for your survey, we seem to phone you weekly and usually get a great response.”

"The pollution lady came to the house after walking around the neighbouring houses to try and locate the awful smell. It was nice to be heard and that it was investigated rather than ignored"

2.1.6    Biosecurity

As an advice-based service, Biosecurity is a common call type that our contact centre receives. 57% of these calls are resolved at the first point of contact by the contact centre. Issues such as reporting sighting pest plants or animals are escalated to the Biosecurity team to resolve.

We monitor feedback through Zendesk surveys and have identified the following key themes for their customer service, "impressed with the advice and biosecurity initiatives" and "helpful information and resolutions provided". There were a small number of comments relating to a "lack of noxious pest control policy" and not receiving a response, however, the most prominent theme was "good" with no elaborating comment.

This reflects that in general, advice is provided at the first point of contact and the work we are doing in the biosecurity space is valued with some suggestions about further advice we could provide. Below is some specific feedback received about the biosecurity response.

“Very Impressed with this council initiative and with the interaction with the council representative. Thank you”

“I was treated very well, and the matter has been dealt with.  Very happy customer”

“The answer to my message was thorough even if, lol, I didn’t necessarily like it all. Thank you”

“It took 3 phone calls to get that good response!”

2.1.7    First point of contact

Our contact centre was established in 2020 and has significantly improved the way BOPRC provides customer service. We have a contract with Tauranga City Council to take calls out of hours on our behalf, which has contributed to a more consistent service by having more knowledge about council services.

On average, the contact centre and receptions receive 415 queries per day on behalf of the organization, primarily for the aforementioned services. Approximately 10% calls are received out of hours. The Customer Service Team receive feedback from Zendesk surveys, reviewing call recordings, mystery shoppers and the annual ALGIM survey which benchmarks us against other councils.

The key themes identified were “helpful and pleasant staff” and “quick response times”. Because this data spans the first rates collection period, there was also some feedback about the call wait time between September and October. This has been discussed further under section 3.1. Overall, the most prominent theme was “good” with no elaborating comment.

2.2      Customer satisfaction performance

Our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system provides the ability to develop customer satisfaction measures that enable customer service performance management and monitoring across a variety of different customer service touchpoints. This includes comprehensive data reporting to help us better understand our customers and their needs, as well as customer satisfaction surveys that provide valuable feedback regarding the quality of our service.

Customer Satisfaction surveys are sent to customers who contact us by email or provide their email address over the phone. The survey is voluntary, so only a very small proportion of people reply.

From 1 January 2023 to 30 April 2023 a total of 17,071 surveys were sent to customers, with 1,456 responses received. This is an overall response rate of 8.5%, up from 5.5% during the same period in 2022.  Collecting this data over a period has enabled us to analyse the trends that emerge during times when there are issues arising in the community. We can then focus extra attention on these service areas to ensure the contact centre has the correct information they need to respond to queries and that response timeframes are reasonable.

Customer Satisfaction Survey Results from January – April 2023


No. of Responses

Thumbs up sign outline          


Thumbs Down outline


Change from Jan - April 22

General Call Queries





Rates Calls





Baybus Calls





Consents Calls





Pollution Hotline





Maritime 0800 5 KNOTS







The comments that are extracted from survey data are also valuable as they provide further opportunities to improve our service delivery both internally and externally. Feedback received is shared with the respective teams and has formed the basis of this report.

2.3      Customer experience wins, and improvement opportunities

Over the period, January 2022 to January 2023, there was a customer satisfaction level of 79%. Though reviewing responses to the satisfaction survey, the main theme across all call types was respondents selecting a ‘good’ rating with no comment (51%).

This indicates that overall, we are delivering a positive customer experience. The survey responses identified that; we are easy to deal with, have friendly and helpful staff, and information is easy to access. Most call categories also received some comments about slow or no responses. This has highlighted an improvement opportunity to identify and communicate our expected response times with customers at the first point of contact. 

3.        Considerations

3.1      Risks and Mitigations

Following the 2022 rates collection period, several risks were identified as having the potential to negatively impact customer service levels during the project. One of these was the risk that if the volume of customer enquiries were much higher, call response rates could drop leading to customer dissatisfaction.

This could also result in urgent services such as pollution hotline notifications and maritime emergency calls being stuck in a queue rather than being answered quickly.

Although we implemented a priority queue response for the pollution and maritime phone lines to minimise this risk, this year we will explore whether it is more effective to divert these calls to the Regulatory Admin Team during peak call times to ensure these urgent calls are dealt with as quickly as possible.

Another risk that we have identified is securing additional resourcing during peak periods, such as rates collection. The labour market is currently strained which may make it difficult to source enough skilled people to fill customer service positions. We are expecting that there will be less demand this year, however, we will still need additional temporary staff to increase the capacity within the call centre.

We plan to start this recruitment earlier this year to allow more time to secure people and get them well-trained. We also intend to scale up our resourcing to ensure we have enough coverage during the winter months when Covid and other illnesses are more prevalent.

3.2      Climate Change

We have considered carbon reduction in our service delivery model by providing four channels for customers to engage with us with us digitally. This is important as recent customer service data shows a growing trend in people wanting to access customer services and process their bill payments online.

Our customers can access answers to many frequently asked questions through our website or send us a request by email or via social media. We also use the Antenno app which helps ensure members of our community are informed about issues affecting their area and enables another channel to log requests. In addition to this, our customers can call us 24/7 and speak to a call centre agent.

3.3      Implications for Māori

The Bay of Plenty is a growing region, and this is reflected in our increasingly diverse population. Embracing cultural differences in customer service empowers our people to better understand and accommodate the needs of their customers and connect with them appropriately. Our customer service model is designed to provide an inclusive and accessible service for all customers. Our staff training focuses on the need to be flexible, patient, and empathetic to ensure that our customers have a positive customer experience.

3.4      Community Engagement


Engagement with the community is not required as the recommended proposal / decision [relates to internal Council matters only].


3.5      Financial Implications

There are no material unbudgeted financial implications and this fits within the allocated budget.

4.        Next Steps

Customer service continues to be a focus area for Council. We frequently monitor and review the way Council delivers its services to ensure we are providing an excellent experience for the customer. In the next year, we will be involved in several projects that have a customer service component, as well as introducing improvement opportunities that we have identified.

We plan to integrate our Customer Relationship Management system into the wider organisation to provide effective customer journey mapping and a single view of a customer.

Finally, this report has identified the need to communicate our expected response times with customers. Different activities have appropriately defined response expectations. We will work with teams to understand their response times and communicate this through an automatic reply when a service request is logged in our Customer Relationship Management system.







Report To:

Monitoring and Operations Committee

Meeting Date:

28 June 2023

Report Writer:

Mark Le Comte, Principal Advisor, Finance and Kumaren Perumal, Chief Financial Officer

Report Authoriser:

Mat Taylor, General Manager, Corporate


To discuss the overall process for capital project budgeting, approval and delivery



Capital Project Budgeting, Approval and Delivery Process


Executive Summary

This report outlines the key processes and considerations for capital project budgeting, approval and delivery.



That the Monitoring and Operations Committee:

1       Receives the report, Capital Project Budgeting, Approval and Delivery Process;

2       Notes the process for capital project budgeting and delivery.


1.        Introduction

This report outlines the key processes and considerations for capital budgeting and delivery. Overall trends and best-practices have been investigated for consideration of the appropriate practices at Council.

This report is about the general approach and processes and does not include a detailed review of any particular projects at Council.

1.1      Legislative Framework

Capital budgeting and delivery is an important part of budgeting and reporting through long term plans, annual plans and annual reports required by the Local Government Act. In addition, specific projects will need to comply with relevant legislation, consents, and contract requirements. Externally funded projects may also require bespoke reporting to meet funding conditions.

1.2      Alignment with Strategic Framework


A Healthy Environment


Freshwater for Life


Safe and Resilient Communities


A Vibrant Region


The Way We Work


Capital project delivery is one way that Council delivers on its Community Outcomes.

1.2.1    Community Well-beings Assessment

Dominant Well-Beings Affected

¨ Environmental


¨ Cultural


¨ Social


¨ Economic



Capital project delivery is one way that Council delivers on its Community Well-beings.

2.        Capital Project Delivery

Capital project delivery statistics internationally, and nationally, frequently show project delays and project cost over-runs. Of these two factors, project delays tend to have a larger effect than project cost over-runs as total annual capital budgets are often underspent. The table[4] below shows a breakdown of capital budget spend compared to budget for councils across New Zealand. This shows that the majority of councils, and frequently more than half, spend less than 80% of their capital budget annually.

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Table 1: New Zealand Councils Capital Spend Profile

The table below shows BOPRC’s capital delivery for the last five years. Delivery has been over 80% twice and under 80% for the other three years.






Percentage Spent





















Table 2: BOPRC Capital delivery for the last five years

Understanding these delivery statistics, and potential approaches to improve delivery, requires an understanding of how capital projects are designed and costed.

3.        Capital Project Design and Costing

Capital projects are developed over multiple phases. As each phase progresses, all the information is progressively elaborated with more detail. These details include:

·     Desired benefits

·     Community view

·     Options to deliver the benefits

·     Design options

·     Contracting

·     Cost estimates

The figure below is an illustration of how project design details are progressively elaborated as the project progresses. The diagram does not show pre-design considerations like the decision to even build a monument and its benefits. While this section uses architectural design as an example; engineering and software design usually follow similar processes.

A diagram of the eiffel tower

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Figure 1: Design phases

Naturally, early cost estimates are based on limited detail and therefore have high levels of uncertainty. However, these early cost estimates need to be included in Asset Management Plans and Long-Term Plans and become viewed as the initial project budget against which changes are often judged, despite their high uncertainty.

The following sections are a brief explanation of the standard architectural design phases[5], with some comments.

3.1      Concept or preliminary design

The concept design stage is described as:

Once the architect has a clear idea of the project budget, has considered the brief, researched the site, and gathered any additional information required from other professionals, he or she will start putting together some initial concepts for the design.

All architects work differently, but generally during this stage of the design process, an architect will put together a range of possible ideas that fit the requirements of the brief. These are commonly created with drawings, sketches, floor plans, renders or models.

Note that:

·       Even concept designs assume the ”architect has a clear idea of the project budget”.

·       In the local government context a considerable amount of community engagement may be required to develop a project brief.

·       The process of community engagement can lock in the early estimate of the project costs and benefits creating a need to manage expectations.  


3.2      Developed design

The developed design stage is described as:

The developed design phase is a critical one. Once a concept from the preliminary design phase is agreed upon, the architect will refine the details and create a final design. It is in this phase that your last opportunity exists to make changes before moving on to the planning and consent phase.

It is common for a quantity surveyor to be engaged at this stage to estimate costs based on the architect’s developed design. Although cost estimates may not be exact, they provide a clear indication as to whether the design the architect has created is achievable in terms of the budget.

It is also during the developed design phase that a resource consent will be applied for.

Note that:

·     Changes to the project after this stage become very difficult and costly.

·     This is often the first time that the professional cost estimator or quantity surveyor is engaged.

3.3      Detailed design

The detailed design stage is described as:

When resource consent is approved, the detailed design phase begins. At this stage, the architect will provide more detail to the agreed designs, allowing for a builder to see the extent of the project and what will be required.

The detailed design includes materials, systems, finishes and construction details. When the detailed design is completed, those plans can be submitted to the relevant authority for building consent.

Note that:

·     Cost estimates are usually updated by a professional cost estimator or quantity surveyor at this point.

·     Depending on the project, a significant amount of time can be required to complete designs and achieve building consent which can result in cost escalation.

·     The project is normally tendered for construction after this stage is completed.

3.4      Concrete design

Even after building consent is granted, there are many smaller design details to be addressed in the actual building process and implications from sequencing of construction elements. For projects that include refit or renewal of an existing asset there are often unplanned discoveries made about the existing asset condition that impacts on construction. These are usually managed as contract variations.

4.        Design and Costing Process alignment with Long Term/Annual Planning process

One of the key tensions in the capital budgeting process is the capital projects are most appropriately viewed on a total project capital budget basis (or whole-of-life costs for full cost benefit analysis) while budgets are viewed on a financial year basis. The different emphasis can lead to some artificial constraints, or potentially misleading views of delivery progress, or inappropriate decision making. For example, from a whole-of-life costing point and asset management point of view, delaying the replacement/renewal of capital assets can be the efficient decision but will adversely impact capital project delivery measures.

The table below shows an outline of how design and costing for a project may be updated over multiple LTP/AP processes.


Design Phase


Idea for new project

Concept (at best)

Major projects may have high-level community consultation.

Included in future year AMP/LTP financial forecasts but viewed as a project budget

Subsequent LTP/AP


Initial budget estimate updated for changing inflation assumptions

Community Consultation


May have community consultation on key project scope options, with incomplete cost estimates and rating impacts.

Detailed Design may be procured (operational expenditure).

Financial estimate updated.

Design for preferred option

Detailed design

Detailed Design may be procured (operational expenditure).

Financial estimate is updated and may lead to changes to rating impacts. Potential for project rescoping/redesign

Design for preferred option

Developed Design

Developed Design may be procured (operational expenditure).

Financial estimate updated and could lead to updated rating impact estimates.

Building consent

Developed Design

Building consent may lead to design and cost amendments.

Budgeted for next year’s annual plan.


Developed Design

Procurement plan approved

Project delivery procured through competitive tender.

Financial estimate provided by delivery contracts for the first time. Cost and milestone estimates updated.



Contract variations managed under Standard conditions of contract.

Fixed price contracts will still include provisional sums that may increase, time delays could increase costs, schedules of quantities and/or rates may be corrected.

Financial estimates updated and variations managed against contract contingencies and risk provisions.


Concrete (and as-built)

Final construction completed. Defect management period and any outstanding contract claims resolved.

Final project cost is known, and estimates of maintenance/renewal/operating costs updated.



Maintenance/renewal/operating costs updated.

Table 3: Example project lifecycle

5.        Capital Budget Management Practices

This section identifies several practices that are used by various councils to manage capital budgets and the application of these processes at Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

5.1      Central budgeting assumptions

Some councils apply budgeting assumptions on top of project managers’ estimates. The two main types of adjustments that some other councils make are increasing project budgets to allow for cost increases through design and /or applying a ‘smoothing’ or deliverability assumption to reduce overall capital budget.

Applying assumptions to increase project budgets is an attempt to correct for systematic under-estimation of the budget for a project over its life. This adjustment can include factors like the current stage of the project design and the track record of the project manager who is leading the project.

This approach surfaces the implicit, and often false, assumption that the initial project estimate is accurate. However, this approach also comes at the risk of setting budgets too loosely and costs increasing further. This can also be viewed as too many contingencies or additional allowances being included in a financial estimate and these estimates being reduced anyway.

Applying an overall under-delivery assumption to reduce the total capital budget is an attempt to correct delays in project delivery resulting in under-spend in a given financial year.

This approach surfaces the implicit, and often false, assumption that the initial project timeline delivery of every project is accurate and that none will be delayed unexpectedly. This approach risks that that capital may not be available, or debt limits could be breached if the majority of projects are delivered on time.

These two central budgeting adjustments generally result in lower capital budgets in the early years of a Long Term Plan, but higher total capital budgets over the ten years covered.

5.2      Project Monitoring

Project monitoring is conducted through the Annual Plan process through deliverability reviews and through the Arotake Performance report to track actual delivery.

Annual plan deliverability reviews are a quality assurance process to check the robustness of capital expenditure forecasts provided by activity managers. The Finance Team work with the activity managers to review their plans based on:

·     consenting status,

·     community engagement requirements,

·     procurement status,

·     project milestones, and

·     delivery track-record.

Project delivery is monitored through capital forecasting in the Arotake Performance report. Each project/activity manager is required to update capital expenditure forecasts, and these are reviewed by the Finance Team.

If forecast spend is markedly different to actual spend, the Finance Team will discuss those forecasts in more detail with the project manager. Compared to deliverability reviews, reviews of capital forecasting in the Arotake are based more heavily on project monthly spend trends and milestone delivery progress.

5.3      Cost Escalation

Cost escalation is the inflationary impact on project delivery, it is about how the cost increases to delivery of the same project over time. Construction costs increase at a different, and often faster rate, than the consumer price index (CPI).

For example, the Capital Goods Price Index for civil construction has increased by 11.7% for the year to Mar 2023 and 9.9% for the year to March 2022, compared to 6.7% and 6.9% respectively to CPI.

Council’s budgeting process uses the appropriate cost indexes to adjust capital budgets. Any cost escalation may be perceived negatively, however, general index adjustments do not necessarily match a specific project’s cost component profile.

5.4      Project Contingencies

Capital projects generally include an allowance for a contingency to cover items that cannot effectively be costed at the earlier stages of the project. There is frequently a healthy tension between having a large contingency to manage any risks that arise and small contingency to keep the project manager focussed on cost control and avoiding scope creep (see 5.5).

Depending on the project, contingencies may be held as a single aggregated pool or some major risks could have an itemised contingency (e.g. an amount for geo-technical risk). The important point is that, while contingencies can be estimated and budgeted, the actual cost of the work will be paid.

Generally, monitoring the extent of contingency use, in addition to total project spend, compared to budget and milestone progress, provides an indicator of risk that the project will go over budget.

5.5      Scope Creep

Often changes to the project scope, or deliverables, are blamed as the reason for project cost over-runs. There can be legitimate reasons to expand the project scope if those changes are required to deliver the project benefits and the increase in cost is appropriately approved.

Having too large a project budget can lead to a risk of ‘spending to the budget’ instead of ‘spending to the scope’.

5.6      Project Methodology

Council has a Project Support Hub that includes representatives from each major project delivery group in Council. The Project Support Hub provides advice on managing projects, however, does not recommend a single mandated methodology. Instead, major capital delivery teams like Rivers and Drainage and ICT use approaches that are tailored to their specific needs.

Other teams that do not frequently deliver major capital projects usually use the methodology of their approved contractors to leverage off their appropriate commercial expertise. The Project Support Hub may provide project set up advice and coaching.

6.        Capital Budget Risk Factors

Overall, the following factors increase the risk of the total capital budget not being delivered in a financial year:

·     Projects that are at early stages of design or tendering processes or have significant community engagement to be completed.

·     Projects that are one lump sum transaction like land purchases.

·     Projects that are relatively new or bespoke (compared to more repeatable projects like road resurfacing).

·     Having relatively few large projects that comprise the majority of the capital budget as one project delay can cause a large total percentage variance.

·     Not having forward designs completed so ‘next year’ projects can be accelerated if another project is delayed. 

7.        Considerations

7.1      Risks and Mitigations

This report generally discussed risks associated with capital budgeting and delivery processes.

7.2      Climate Change

There are no direct climate change implications from this report.

7.3      Implications for Māori

There are no direct implications for Māori from this report.

7.4      Community Engagement

There are no direct community engagement implications from this report.

7.5      Financial Implications

There are no direct financial implications from this report.


8.        Next Steps

mmendations. No new content.

Capital budget management remains an important focus for Council.




[1] Ministerial Inquiry into Land Uses in Tairawhiti and Wairoa 17 May 2023

[2] NIWA Climate change projections and impacts for the Bay of Plenty Region October 2019

[3] Will be subject to an independent review as per section 0

[4] Source Insights into Local Government: 2021;