The Resource Management Act
The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) was introduced “to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources.” It requires every person to recognise their duty to avoid, remedy, or mitigate any adverse effect on the environment that could arise from their activity. The Act focuses on the effects of activities rather than the activities themselves and does not itself provide any mechanisms for measuring or assessing sustainability.
The RMA is given effect through regional and district plans – e.g. regional air quality plans, water quality plans and land (soil) management plans. In particular, Regional Councils have responsibility for controlling discharges to land, water, and air. This has implications for fertiliser handling and use, as well as overall loss of nutrients from land use activities.
Nutrient management activities often include fertiliser use and the disposal of animal waste products. It is important to realise that nutrient management activities that are classed as ‘permitted activities’ (i.e. that can be practiced without resource consent so long as management complies with certain conditions) in one region may have different conditions imposed or even require resource consent in another. It is up to each landowner or manager to make sure they know their regional plan requirements and meet these.
Some Regional Council rules many list fertiliser use applied in accordance with this Code as a permitted activity, but they may also list other permitted activity conditions that the land owner or manager will need to be aware of.