Land Intensification

Central Otago is a district with a strong rural character and a healthy agriculture/horticulture/viticulture sector. Farming plays an important role in the district and is a permitted activity in the Central Otago District Plan.

Central Otago is also known for its landscapes. The climate and geology of the area creates habitats that support indigenous plants and animals that are unique and require special protection. These areas are identified and acknowledged in the District Plan.

There are some areas where farming practices, such as land clearance and cultivation, will require resource consent from the Central Otago District Council.  These consents may be related to landscape, indigenous vegetation, habitats of indigenous fauna, wetlands and the margins of lakes, rivers and streams.

There are four key activities that may trigger the need for a resource consent:

  1. If you wish to clear or cultivate areas on property that contains indigenous vegetation.
  2. If you wish to cut tracks, excavate or cultivate land in an area identified as an 'Outstanding Natural Landscape'
  3. If the activity affects an area of significant indigenous vegetation or habitat of indigenous fauna or wetland.
  4. If you carry out activities within the margins of lakes, rivers and streams.


Clearance of indigenous vegetation (Rule 4.7.6KA)

Clearance is defined in the District Plan as "the felling, clearing, or modification by cutting mechanical crushing, spraying, burning and any activity causing disturbance to the soil".

Resource consent is required for clearance of indigenous vegetation where the vegetation:

  • Comprises more than 10 hectares of snow tussock or more than half a hectare of any other indigenous vegetation.

Note:  The clearance of matagouri and direct drilling associated with existing pasture is excluded from this rule.

  • Involves a species listed as acutely threatened or chronically threatened in Schedule 19.6B of the District Plan.
  • Is more than 1080m above sea level.

Note: There are some exceptions to this rule and it is recommended that you contact the CODC planning department prior to undertaking land clearance.


Outstanding Natural Landscapes (ONL)  (Rules 4.7.6L & 4.7.2 (vi) (a))

Landscapes that have a particular value have been identified as 'Outstanding Natural Landscapes' (ONL). Generally they are located in the high country area, but may include some areas in the valley floor.

  • Resource consent is required for clearance of vegetation in areas identified as ONL where the area to be disturbed is greater than 50m2 or greater in any one hectare in any continuous period of 5 years.
  • Resource consent is required in areas identified as ONL for any new bladed or excavated fence line, new fire break, new fertiliser bin, new stock yard, or fire fighting water ponds.


Areas of Significant Indigenous Vegetation, Habitats of Indigenous Fauna and Wetlands (Rule 4.7.6K)

Areas that have plants or fauna with particular values and require protection are listed in Schedules 19.6.1 and 19.6A, or are identified as 'Area of Significant Natural Value' (SN) in the District Plan and include any wetland over 800 metres above sea level.

  • Resource consent is required for any clearance or cultivation in these identified areas and for adversely affecting significant habitat of fauna, draining or adversely affecting any wetland.


Margins of lakes, rivers and streams (Rule 4.7.6I)

Land disturbance at the margins of lakes, rivers and streams (water bodies) can impact both on water quality and on the natural character of these areas. Fencing of the margins of water bodies is recognised as a means of protecting these areas.

  • Resource consent is required to remove vegetation or carryout earthworks that exceed 20m³ within 10 metres of any water body


For more information:

See our Central Otago District Plan, including the maps, here on our website or in hard copy at Council's office, service centres and libraries.


Note:  These guidance notes have been prepared to give a general overview. There may be other factors to consider, for example whether the site contains any archaeological sites. You are encouraged to contact the CODC planning department to discuss prior to undertaking land intensification to establish if any resource consent is required.

Page reviewed: 29 Jul 2014 6:17pm