Stock exclusion regulations

The stock exclusion regulations prohibit the access of cattle, pigs and deer to wetlands, lakes and rivers. These regulations were developed as part of the Essential Freshwater work programme.

Official title

Resource Management (Stock Exclusion) Regulations 2020

Lead agency


Full text

Resource Management (Stock Exclusion) Regulations 2020 [New Zealand Legislation website]

In force from

3 September 2020

Map of low slope land

The low slope land map shows areas of low slope where beef cattle and deer must be excluded from lakes and rivers over one metre wide and natural wetlands with an area more than 500 square metres from 1 July 2025.

In 2021, the Government consulted on proposed changes to the map and as a result of this consultation, the map was updated.

The updated map shows land with an average slope less than or equal to 5 degrees using a new mapping methodology. The average slope is calculated using ‘local terrain averaging’. Slope is no longer averaged across a land parcel. Areas over 500m in altitude are excluded from the low slope map.

For more detailed information about how the map has changed see Regulatory impact statement: changes to the map of low slope land in stock exclusion regulations.

For questions about the application of the maps email

About the regulations

  • These regulations, in force from 3 September 2020, apply to a person who owns or controls beef cattle, dairy cattle, dairy support cattle, deer or pigs (stock). The regulations require the person to exclude stock from specified wetlands, lakes, and rivers more than one metre wide.
  • Dairy cattle, dairy support cattle, and pigs must be excluded from the water bodies regardless of the terrain.
  • Beef cattle and deer must be excluded from the water bodies regardless of terrain if they are break-feeding or grazing annual forage crops or irrigated pasture. Otherwise, the requirements apply to beef cattle and deer only on mapped low slope land.
  • Stock must be excluded from the beds of lakes, rivers and wetlands, and must not be on land closer than three metres to the bed of rivers and lakes. However, stock need not be excluded from land within three metres of the bed if there is a permanent fence in place on 3 September 2020.
  • Stock, except deer, may only cross a river or lake by using a dedicated bridge or culvert, unless they cross no more than twice in any month. The regulation sets out specified circumstances when cattle and pigs can cross without a dedicated culvert or bridge. Deer are not subject to restrictions for crossing rivers and lakes.

Purpose of the regulations

Reducing the impact of damage to our waterways from livestock

When livestock enter water bodies they contaminate the water and damage the banks. This compromises New Zealanders’ ability to use waterbodies for recreation and mahinga kai (food gathering).

Heavy livestock (cattle and deer) and pigs have the greatest impact.

Livestock can carry disease-causing organisms like campylobacter, which can make people sick when they come into contact with water contaminated with livestock dung.

Dung and urine also contain nutrients that promote weed growth and decrease the water body’s ability to support a healthy ecosystem.

When stock trample banks and beds of water bodies they increase streambank erosion and sediment runoff. This has an adverse effect on habitats including those used for fish spawning.

Find out more

For more information visit: