Frequently Ask Questions

FWFP General FAQ's

Your QCONZ FWFP questions answered here and everything you need to know so you can get your freshwater farm plan sorted.

Why do I need a freshwater farm plan?

There are two reasons. Firstly, for many farming operations, it’s a regulatory requirement that’s recently been introduced. So, there is an obligation to create a plan and follow it.
Secondly, freshwater farm plans will be an important way of defining risks to freshwater and how you’ll help manage those risks. That's a great way to show customers who buy agricultural products that we care about our environment.
Can I do it myself or do I need a Farm Consultant?
If you wish to, you can create your plan by yourself. After all, you know your farming operation better than anyone else. The QCONZ digital tool has been designed with that purpose in mind. It will also allow you to share your plan with a consultant if you need assistance. The only part of the plan you can’t do yourself is to have it certified and regularly audited.

Will the company I supply provide me with a freshwater farm plan?

Some companies have provided plans for supplying farms/orchards. If they have you should have a copy of the plan. If not, check with them before you embark on this exercise as they may be considering this.
What do I put in “Catchment Context, Challenges, and Values (CCCV)”?
This part of the plan is where you can show that you’re aware of the values and concerns of the catchment you’re in and that you’ve considered these when formulating your plan. Don’t overthink this – try to use any information you can find about your catchment. In many cases, this information will be provided for you by the Regional Council.

Why is CCCV important to the plan?

The whole purpose of the plan is to manage freshwater quality in your catchment. By referring to the catchment's concerns and values you can better target what actions might be appropriate on your property.
Tool and QCONZ-Specific

Can I use the digital tool if I’m not great on a computer?

If you use email and surf the internet, you will almost certainly have the skills to drive the tool. To support you, we’ve created some short videos and plenty of guidance documents which can all be accessed from within the tool.

Can I build a plan and then opt out of my subscription?

In theory, yes, but it’s not a good idea. A freshwater Farm Plan is a living plan that gets checked and modified over time. If you shut down your subscription your work will be lost, and you’ll have to repeat it all next time.

Does QCONZ help build plans?

QCONZ offers some basic support on how to use the tool, but we are not farm consultants. If you need help it's best to contact your local rural professionals.

How safe is my information and who sees it?

Very safe. The entire system lives in the cloud behind secure firewalls. The permissions structure inside the tool means that your data is shared with no one unless you say it's OK.

How do I create a Land Unit and why are they important to the plan?

Check out our guidance videos and documents to fully understand Land Units. They form a core part of all plans as any risks to freshwater are partially determined by the features these land units have ie. is it steep, flat, swampy, free draining, etc.

In the upload functions what type of file can I upload?

You can upload PDF documents and JPEG images. If you have other file formats re-save them in the required format and upload them.

Can I add more maps other than the ones I complete in the tool?

Yes, you can. In many cases, we’ve provided links to maps held by your Regional Council. These can be saved as a jpeg and uploaded, and they’ll then appear in your plan. The only limitation is you can’t use the tool to modify them.

Do I need to add more maps than the ones provided in the tool?

Not necessarily. The maps we included in the core tool are all that a Freshwater Farm Plan requires. But it might be a good idea to check with your Regional Council. They may want other maps to be included for another purpose.

How do I rate the significance of my risks to freshwater?

Rating the significance of risks should be over-thought too much. Refer to the CCCV page for some clues on this. Completing the Contaminants of Concern checklist we provide will also help you get a good feel for how to rate each risk. In the end, trust your instincts - if you aren’t quite right the worst that can happen is that the plan certifier might ask you to make some modifications.

If you have additional questions to the QCONZ FWFP system that has not been addressed in the sections above please contact us.

Support Line
0800 726 695

FWFP Purchasing FAQ's

Do I have to pay on my credit card?

For individual farms yes, a credit card is the preference. Your subscription should auto-renew each anniversary - a credit card is the best method to make this happen.
For organisations with multiple properties, give us a call. We do have different options available.

What happens if I cancel my subscription?

If you cancel your subscription, access to the system will remain until the end date of your subscription period. Following the expiry date, we will keep your property and data "alive" for a further 6 months. At the end of the 6-month period, your plan will be deleted for data security purposes. This means that if you wish to re-activate your subscription at some future time, it will be necessary to recreate your plan from scratch again.

Will you help me build my plan?

We offer technical support for the application and have an extensive support and guidance website ( that contains articles and videos covering freshwater farm planning and how to use the system. For other queries, we suggest you talk to your rural professional.

Do I need a Freshwater Farm Plan?

Freshwater Farm plans are legislated as a requirement for horticulture farms greater than 5ha, and livestock farms greater than 20ha. In addition, there may be regional requirements for farm plans. The system does have some customisation for these requirements that is either already in place or coming soon. For example:
- Environment Canterbury: supports Schedule 7 requirements and will be an "Approved template" to use by the Canterbury Regional Council
- Waikato Regional Council: coming soon... Plan Change 1
- Southland Regional Council: add “physiograhic” maps as needed

Anything else?

If there is something else you would like to know contact us today.