Spraying & applying fertiliser

Chemical spraying for weed and pest control is generally permitted without needing resource consent.


The sprays and any drift should be limited to your property to avoid any effects on neighbours or non-target areas.

What you need to ensure

Spraying for weed and pest control is generally permitted without a resource consent provided you comply with the following requirements.

Operator qualifications

  • Anyone carrying out spraying must be properly qualified – they must hold a current GROWSAFE introductory certificate, be under the direct supervision of someone who holds the appropriate GROWSAFE qualifications, or hold other qualifications that meet the requirements of the Regional Air Quality Plan. Further information on the GROWSAFE requirements can be found in the Air Quality Plan - download the relevant section below:

Training requirements for agrichemical qualifications [PDF, 79 KB]

Notifying neighbours

  • Neighbours must be notified unless they agree not to be or if the agrichemicals are applied with hand operated and manually pressurised spray equipment. Notification should include the areas to be sprayed, the dates and times of spraying and the measures that will be used to prevent or minimise spray drift. Different notification requirements apply if spraying is done from the ground or from the air (see the Regional Air Quality Plan or contact the Council’s consents staff).

Avoiding adverse effects

  • Avoid environmental problems by following the guidelines in our Regional Air Quality Plan and Regional Freshwater Plan. Note the Guidelines in the Freshwater Plan on the use of aquatic herbicides.

Air Quality Plan agrichemical spray guidance [PDF, 155 KB]

Freshwater Plan agrichemical spray advice [PDF, 106 KB]

  • Notify the Council as soon as you can if there is an accidental or unintended discharge of agrichemicals.

Keeping records

  • Keep good records of your agrichemical use. This should include the name of the user, the agrichemical equipment and methods of use, the volume and concentration of the agrichemical used, the locality, area and date of application, and the location and nature of any sensitive areas. Your records should also include weather conditions at the time of application, including wind speed and direction and any abnormal situation or incident. You will need to supply these details to the Council on request.

You must meet all of these requirements. Otherwise, you will need a resource consent.

Full details of the requirements can be found in the Regional Air Quality Plan and Regional Freshwater Plan.

Applying fertiliser

Applying fertiliser to land is generally permitted without the need for a resource consent.

What you need to ensure

  • The fertiliser does not spread into any water (including streams, lakes, drains or wetlands). Aerial operators should take particular care to avoid waterways.
  • The fertiliser has been approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
  • There is minimal chance of the fertiliser drifting off your property or on to non-target areas – consider the wind direction.
  • Dust and odour is minimized.
  • Pungent fertilisers such as chicken litter are not spread on hot, still afternoons or are mixed into soil to reduce odour.

You must meet all of these requirements. Otherwise, you will need a resource consent.

It is good practice to prepare a nutrient budget and management plan to provide a total farm system for managing nutrients. This will benefit your bottom-line profitability as well as the environment.

For additional information, the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand's Code of Practice for Fertiliser Nutrient Management can be downloaded via its website(external link). The link is also contained below.