Connecting New Zealand

Submission - initial consultation on RMA fast track consenting

12 Feb 2024

CCNZ, along with other industry organisations, engaged with Ministry for the Environment to help inform the government’s preliminary resource management reform policy around the fast tracked consenting of infrastructure projects.

Due to limited consultation timeframes, CCNZ based its submission on previous RMA reform advocacy. The fast tracked consenting bill is expected to be introduced by 7 March as part of the Government's 100-day plan, and enacted late 2024. There will also be opportunities for wider feedback from CCNZ members through a select committee process.

Key comments on fast tracking of infrastructure projects under the RMA 

  • CCNZ supports fast track consenting for infrastructure projects. It is currently too common and too costly for projects to be held up by endless and costly debate without satisfactory outcomes for any of the parties involved.

  • CCNZ notes there is precedent for fast tracking of projects in the manner suggested by the Government.

  • It is important fast-track consenting can be applied to a range of project scales. Because of this, we consider the ‘national, regional and locally significant’ approach to be appropriate (although how this is applied will need consideration). 

  • If fast tracked consenting is to become normalised, it is important there is capacity to conduct this at the appropriate scale. 

  • Poor outcomes happen when day to day infrastructure construction is passed over in favour of megaprojects / glamour projects. It is important that any fast track consenting process does not detract from ability to deliver ongoing programmes of infrastructure construction and maintenance. 

  • Fast track consenting should also consider enabling infrastructure such as quarries and cleanfill sites, to ensure projects can be conducted with reduced waste and maximum efficiency. Infrastructure projects should not be considered as separate from the regions in which they are taking place.

  • It is important that environmental impacts can be balanced, and remedial actions proposed as part of consent conditions.

  • There are several other processes involved in infrastructure project delivery (for instance land designations, access arrangements, Department of Conservation concessions, and more). These should be considered in an integrated approach alongside the wider legislative framework, if the process is truly to be streamlined.

  • It is important this process is as de-politicised in its application as it can be. Because of this, it seems appropriate for an independent entity to handle the allocation of projects, lest projects become victim to political point-scoring.


Read the full submission provided to the Ministry for the Environment>>




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