High-class land for food production

  • Image, High-class land for food production.

    High-class land is the most productive land for growing food. It supports most crops across New Zealand. Expanding lifestyle blocks and urban areas reduce the availability of high-class land for commercial crop growing, and this land is unlikely to be returned to primary production. This affects our commercial food-production capacity.

    We classified High-class land for food production as a case study.

    Key findings

    In 2011, 5.5 percent of land in New Zealand was classified as high-class land (1.5 million ha).

    • Most high-class land was:
      • in Canterbury (320,000ha) and Southland (184,000ha) in the South Island
      • in Waikato (287,000ha) and Manawatu-Wanganui (148,000ha) in the North Island.
    • Lifestyle blocks occupied 10.1 percent (147,000ha) of New Zealand’s national high-class land.
    • Auckland (35 percent) and Northland (28 percent) had the highest proportion of high-class land converted to lifestyle blocks by 2011.
    • Between 1990 and 2008, urban areas occupied an additional 0.5 percent of high-class land.
    • The Canterbury (4,800ha) and Auckland (2,600ha) regions had the most high-class land converted to urban areas from 1990 to 2008.

    Figure 1 

    Figure 2

    Note: Nelson and West Coast have land areas too small to be seen on the scale of this graph.

    Figure 3

    Note: Nelson and West Coast have land areas too small to be seen on the scale of this graph.

    Definition and methodology

    High-class land is mapped by combining land use capability (from the New Zealand Land Resource Inventory) with thresholds for temperature, annual rainfall, slope, and 10 soil properties (Webb et al, 1995).

    A lifestyle block is land in a rural area that is larger than a residential allotment. The land is non-economic in the traditional farming sense, with its main use being for residence. A block of land can sell for more as a lifestyle block than as traditional farmland (Andrew & Dymond, 2013).

    An urban area is defined as part of a city or town, with associated infrastructure and residential areas (Andrew & Dymond, 2013).

    Data quality

    We classified High-class land for food production as a case study.

    Relevance

    relevance-direct This case study is a direct measure of the ‘Extent of highly productive soils available for food production’ topic.

    Accuracy

    accuracy-medium The accuracy of the data source is of medium quality.

    See Data quality information for more detail.

    References

    Andrew, R & Dymond, JR (2013). Expansion of lifestyle blocks and urban areas onto high-class land: an update for planning and policy. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 43(3), 128–140.

    Webb, TH, Jessen, MR, McLeod, M, & Wilde, RH (1995). Identification of high class land. Broadsheet, New Zealand Association of Resource Management, November 1995, 109–114.

     

    Published 21 October 2015

land-domain

Related content

Access data files

Soils data

 

Related indicators

Land cover

Land use

 

Related links

Environment Aotearoa 2015

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