Media release

Proposed Otago Regional Policy Statement to be notified for public submissions tomorrow

Friday 25 June 2021

Anyone can have their say on the Proposed Otago Regional Policy Statement, up until 3 September.

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) will notify its Proposed Otago Regional Policy Statement 2021 (RPS) tomorrow, beginning a ten-week consultation period during which the public are invited to share their feedback.

The RPS identifies the significant resource management issues for Otago and provides high-level guidance by way of policies and objectives. It also helps to explain how national direction on resource management will be applied in the Otago context and provides direction on how to balance potentially conflicting requirements.

Notification of the new RPS follows Minister for the Environment Hon. David Parker’s recommendation made in 2019, after a review into ORC’s freshwater management planning regime.

ORC Chair Andrew Noone said the RPS’ notification was a significant milestone.

“The RPS outlines what we want for Otago, what’s stopping us achieving this, and how we will solve those problems. A considerable amount of work by staff, governance, and stakeholder reference groups has gone into this document, and I’m very proud of what’s been achieved in a tight timeframe.”

ORC understands that this RPS is the first nationally to be notified since the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 was gazetted, with its requirement to give effect to Te Mana O Te Wai, and to include freshwater visions for each Freshwater Management Unit. It is also the first RPS to be developed under the new National Planning Standards.

“This RPS is a major step towards implementing a fit for purpose planning framework to manage freshwater. I’d encourage anyone interested in the future management of natural and physical resources in Otago to take a look at the proposed RPS and let us know what you think,” Cr Noone said.

After the consultation period, the proposed RPS will go through the new freshwater planning process introduced through changes to the Resource Management Act 1991 last year. This process involves a public hearing of submissions, conducted by a freshwater hearings panel.

Following its deliberations, the hearings panel will make recommendations to Council. Council is required to consider those recommendations and may accept or reject them before issuing its decisions on the new RPS.

To find out more, view the proposed Regional Policy Statement, and make a submission, visit our website at from Saturday, 26 June until 3pm Friday, 3 September.


What is the Regional Policy Statement?

The Regional Policy Statement (RPS) sets the direction for future management of Otago's natural and physical resources. It outlines what we want for Otago, what’s stopping us achieving this, and how we will solve those problems.

The RPS does not contain rules. Instead, it establishes the framework for Otago's regional and district plans in which resource management policies, objectives and rules will sit.

It includes the following contents:

  • Mana whenua
  • Significant resource management issues of the region
  • Integrated Management
  • Air
  • Coastal environment
  • Land and Freshwater
  • Ecosystems and indigenous biodiversity
  • Energy, infrastructure and transport
  • Hazards and risks
  • Historical and cultural values
  • Natural features and landscapes
  • Urban form and development