The future delivery of non-regulatory land and water management services


HenleyHutchings was commissioned by Horizons Regional Council to deliver a think-piece which would consider the adjustments which could be made to Council capacity, capability and operating methods to better achieve sustainable and prosperous outcomes for the region.

The subject of this think-piece was the non-regulatory activities of the Council’s land and water management groups.

The think-piece was designed to lay the ground for Council to continue to be a leading-edge and future-proofed performer amongst regional authorities by:

  • Exploring what it would mean to do what is possible, not just what is a statutory requirement.
  • Assisting to clarify and focus thinking about the role of the Council in unlocking opportunities for the region.
  • Helping assess what capability and capacity is required to capture new directions and priorities.
  • Being seen to be up-to-the-moment, particularly in light of the fresh demands on regional councils on setting environmental limits.
  • Building on and refreshing past Horizons’ regional leadership performance such as that displayed by the Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) programme, information management (Land and Water Aotearoa - LAWA) and the multi-year and highly successful river engineering programme.



At the heart of this project, commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries, was the intention to test the merit of an extension model designed to support the sheep and beef farming opportunity which was outlined by HenleyHutchings in the ‘Manawatū-Whanganui Regional Growth Study’. The intent of the extension model was to achieve increases in on-farm profitability and productivity, leading to greater regional prosperity and sustainability by providing an efficient mechanism for the sharing of sought after information.

The particular focus of the project was to:

  • Confirm the obstacles (regulatory, information flow or otherwise) that may impede farmer performance.
  • Prioritise the on-farm and off-farm interventions and subjects / information needs where investment in practices, inputs, provision and support may unlock farmer productivity increases. 
  • Design an engagement approach which was supported, sustainable and of proven value.