Expert Evidence on Land Use Plan to Preserve Water Resources, New Zealand

The problem

Canterbury Regional Council introduced a new regional land use plan that would prevent land-owners from felling timber on more than 20 percent of their land, with the stated aim of maintaining river and groundwater in flow-sensitive catchment areas. However, this plan would have prevented the continuation of sustainable plantation forestry in the area and had been developed without considering other options to preserve water resources.

How we helped

Castalia’s analysis showed that a more targeted approach, requiring landowners to manage run-off from the land, would achieve the same environmental outcome while imposing lower economic costs. The council’s failure to consider this meant it was in breach of New Zealand’s Resource Management Act (1991), which requires councils to show that the environmental measures they impose are the most appropriate way to achieve the environmental objectives.


Since our analysis showed that the regional council had not complied with the Resource Management Act, the council rescinded the previous plan. A new plan was gazetted that required new activities that lead to deterioration in water absorption to be specifically approved by the council.

The client

Selwyn Plantation Board Limited

Blakely Pacific Limited

Matariki Forest

Our team

Alex Sundakov

Alex Sundakov

Executive Director

How can we help you?

How can we help you?