Edmonds Judd

Over the fence

Over the fence

National Environmental Standards for Freshwater Regulations 2020: impacts on winter grazing

The National Environmental Standards for Freshwater Regulations 2020 came into force on 3 September 2020. The standards are designed to protect existing inland and coastal wetlands, improve poor practice intensive winter grazing of forage crops, restrict further agricultural intensification and limit the discharge of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser to land and require reporting of fertiliser use.

The intensive winter grazing rules apply to any grazing crop in situ other than pasture for the period between 1 May and 30 September.

A resource consent is not required if the farm has previously been used for intensive winter grazing between 2014 and 2019 and you are not seeking to expand the area. If the criteria cannot be met, a resource consent will be needed.

The rules on intensive winter grazing and cropping were to have taken effect on 1 May 2021, but have been delayed until 1 May 2022. The exception is the requirement to obtain a resource consent for an expansion of the area which took effect on 1 May 2021.

The regulations include the exclusion of pigs, dairy cattle, dairy support, deer and beef cattle from waterways. This exclusion means at least a setback of 3 meters from any body of water being a lake, river or natural wetland; there are some exceptions for smaller bodies of water. Effective fences must be put in place to ensure stock cannot enter into the waterways.

From 1 July 2021, a resource consent will be required if more than 190kg of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is applied per hectare. This is an average across the whole area in pastoral land use and a limit of no more than 190kg on any one hectare. This applies regardless of the livestock that are grazing. The nitrogen limit does not apply to land in arable use.

Regional councils are putting in additional rules and setting timeframes.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like some guidance about the requirements and compliance with the regulations.

Privacy Act 2020: affects on rural sector too

The Privacy Act 2020 came into force on 1 December 2020, replacing the Privacy Act 1993. It has introduced new requirements for New Zealand businesses (including farms) and organisations to give greater protections for individuals.

If a business or organisation has a privacy breach that has caused serious harm to someone or could do so, then it must notify the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

The onus is on the business or organisation, not individual employees.

There are 13 information privacy principles including collecting only the information you need, advising people what you are doing, storing information securely and giving people access to their personal information. There is more on these 13 principles here.

If you are an employer, it would be prudent to review your employment agreements to check whether there is a confidentiality clause that creates the obligation on both you and your employees both during the employment period and following.

We recommend that you be proactive, consider the information you hold and how you can store employment-related records safely. If you haven’t done so already, you should develop a privacy statement for your employees and contractors, and encourage everyone to engage to consider their actions.

New residential tenancy laws: implications for farm accommodation

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 has made further changes affecting landlords and tenants, including farm accommodation provided as part of a person’s employment. The most recent changes took effect on 11 February 2021.

Landlords must provide a written tenancy agreement. If you’re providing accommodation as part of an employment package, you should ensure that employment agreements include the latest tenancy requirements in addition to the Healthy Home Standards.

When your employee’s employment comes to an end, you must give notice that the tenancy also comes to an end and you should detail the requirement to leave the property.

To find out more about the new legislation and how it may affect you, go here.