For Otago miners - ORC Plan Change 7

Hi Otago miners,

The Otago Regional Council currently has a poorly considered Plan Change 7 out for consultation., Submissions close on 4 May.

The guts of this submission is for those with dredges (and consents) when it comes to renewing your applications, the Council will

  • only give a 6 year term maximum, and
  • treat it as a non-complying activity.

This is a problem as firstly your take is non-consumptive (this applies to some Otago land based operations too) and that it will make you go through a consenting process with what is probably the most disfunctional Council in the South Island with a culture of conservatism and being difficult. It will mean your other consents i.e disturb the bed and discharge sediment will be out of synch (given they are probably 10 year terms). As a non-complying activity it is more complex to prepare applications and you will need a consultant to get the legal and technical aspects right or the Council wont accept your application. This will cost you, and for no environmental benefit.

The submission info is here:

The points I put into mine reads as:

“The Plan Change and s32 analysis does not acknowledge or understand the numerous suction dredge gold miners in Otago who are forced to seek consent, including for non-consumptive water takes. The proposed policies and rules do not provide any policy support to these non-consumptive takes and force them via a non-complying consenting pathway and a maximum duration of six years. Given the costs associated with renewing consents this presents an unnecessary burden on hobby gold dredgers with no environmental benefit.”

“Provide for non-consumptive takes such as suction gold dredging as a permitted or controlled activity and adopt a sensible term of consent for these takes rather than a blanket 6-year term that is commensurate with the (if any) effects on the environment.”

“Your plan change has not considered non-consumptive takes that have no impact on the environment but require a resource consent. It would be counter-intuitive to force a non-consumptive take via a non-complying consent process and require a maximum duration of 6 years. Many non-consumptive takes are in conjunction other consents, and a 6-year maximum term will require the cost and frustration of having to seek further consents from your Council outside the natural consenting cycle.”

Mine is more polite than it deserves. Make sure you have your say or be prepared to pay these guys another 5-8k for consent and consultant fees every 10 years…


Mangrove your a legend I woudnt have even seen this if you hadn’t posted this. I see they ORC thought they could get away with putting this through on the sly and not many people would notice it during this lockdown. I see as such they have decided to extend the length of time to make submissions which is great.

Just did my submission

To all you miners in Otago and outside- This is your chance to have your say. We are blessed in Otago compared to the rest of the country for out ability on the most part to not having to worry about obtaining resource consent for mining especially suction dredging. This plan change takes that away and we dont want that!

This is is your chance to have your say and you really need to get of your ass and make a submission…

Its a piece of piss and takes less than 5 mins to do. follow the link:
Copy and paste what Mangrove has written to use as a template or do your own


Thanks for the heads up Mangrove, have added a submission

Thanks once again Mangrove, you’re a legend. It’s crazy that the ORC are able to try and implement rule changes without having to inform affected parties. ORC and ECAN for example are trying to walk all over us wherever they see fit and our rights get eroded more and more. So let’s not allow them to do that without a decent fight.


They are trying to replicate Australian rules where water is a controlled commodity. One government controlled entity has control and dictates use and volume with indigenous and consevationists controlling the mandate ! I have seen it in Australia we had ponds in the outback to draw water from for roading but had to be fenced because cattle owners had not paid for the wright to let there animals drink from the ponds is this where we are heading!

Thanx again, will the permitted activity still apply for less than 10 hp and 150mm nozzel size mac

No change Mr Eel, only to water takes. I see the ORC are so incompetent the Environment Court is going to run and decide the outcome of this Plan Change and another they helpfully call ‘the omnibus’…which apart from the fact highlights the level of competence the organisation has (and thats despite spending $40,000 on consultants salaries per week im told), we will now have an intelligent and neutral judge ruling on the outcome…the issue is, calling in these Plan Changes means Otago folk have lost their ability to negotiate or mediate region-specific outcomes. It goes straight to Court and that decision (notwithstanding an error in law) is final. Basically the councillors driven by Hobbs has ripped a level of consultation and natural justice from Otago.

1 Like

Thanx, is there an oppurtunity to establish a larger hp to line up with the QLDC’s new plan, thet way the twin 6.5 folks would be complying

No. The scope of the Plan Change only extends to water and deemed permit replacements.

Many thanks for the heads up Mangrove, I will make my submission today.

In your opinion, what is the sentiment of the ORC towards suction dredging? Do you think they may look to remove it from the Permitted Activities classification, as per 8.6.3 of the current Water Plan? or are we safe for another 10 years…


Hi sam. Dredging is safe and wont be removed as a permitted activity on the basis the sensitive schedule7 areas are identified and dredging is excluded from those areas. This plan change only relates to replacement water or deemed permits. Cheers

Excellent, Thank you

Not long left to make a submission guys, anyone who’s not gotten around to it yet.

Also might be worth adding something along the lines of “The additional consenting process will also impose a greater burden on gold dredge operators during these hard economic times.”? I’d imagine it might help the case in light of the decline in tourism.


Hi dredgers who lodged a submission with the otago regional council.
This process has been taken off the orc as they are a shambles from the very top down (which is a shame as there are good people there who have to work with fools). The EPA is now taking over the process and it will be re-notified. That means allsubmissions will need to be re-lodged after notification. This means we lose the ability to mediate after a council decision is made (which is a crucial opportunity) so isnt a good outcome at all. Not to mention the huge waste of ratepayer money.


this is called passing the buck.

What it is, is the ORC not being capable or competent enough to carry out their statutory functions set down in law. So the Government body, the EPA will.

Nice work to all the dredgers who lodged submissions on the otago plan. Am fairly confident the ORC will get rolled on the points we challenged.

For the record, 21 miners put submissions in!


Hi mining folks
Those of you who submitted on the dopey rules drafted by ORC will have recieved a notice from the environment court. I think ORC have taken a cynical path here to silence many of those who cannot afford a lawyer to deliver the uppercut this plan change deserves.
I will mull over the court memo and offer my opinion noting few if any will want to co-fund a lawyer. Will report back once i understand the issues better.


So having read the court documents, any of those 21 can attend court or pay/arrange someone to speak on your behalf.

There are two key issues being non-consumptive takes need to be treated differently to the proposed rule and policy framework and the maximum term proposed for all takes of 6 years shouldnt apply to non consumptive takes.

I think the plan drafting failure has been clearly articulated and that there is no need to spend money, time and stress attending court. The judge will consider the content of our submissions and should recognise the issue and accommodate us in the final plan. So, on that basis, you 21 submitters have done what you need and do not need to do anything more…

Thank you for getting stuck into the dopey ORC


Thanks mangrove. Really appreciate your work for the greater good!