Monday, April 22, 2024

Project applications open for Fast Track

Applications have opened for projects to be included in the Government’s legislation establishing a one-stop shop fast-track approvals regime, RMA Reform Minister, Chris Bishop and Regional Development Minister, Shane Jones announced today.

“Making it easier and faster to build significant projects is a key part of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and get it working for all Kiwis. It is only through a strong economy that we can solve the cost of living crisis, lift incomes and afford the public services Kiwis deserve,” said Minister Bishop.

“The Fast Track Approvals Bill will cut the red and green tape that is holding New Zealand back from building the important infrastructure and other significant projects New Zealand needs to grow the economy.”

The Fast Track Approvals Bill was referred to the Environment Committee on 7 March and does not currently contain any projects in either Schedule 2A or 2B of the Bill.

Projects listed in Schedule 2A of the Bill will be automatically referred into the fast-track process laid out in the Bill, and the listing of a project in Schedule 2B of the Bill will mean it is required to be taken into account by Ministers if and when a project comes before them for referral into fast-track.

“As we indicated when the Bill was introduced, we have established an independent process to provide advice to Ministers about what projects should be listed in the Bill. A Fast Track Advisory Group is in the process of being established, with the members published in the coming days,” Mr Jones says.

“Project applications – by either public or the private sectors – can now be made to the Ministry of Environment until 3 May. The Fast Track Advisory Group will then look carefully at the projects and provide independent recommendations to the Ministers of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Transport.”

Ministers will consider the recommendations and decide which projects to include in the Bill, he said.

“The government’s intention is to recommend the insertion of projects into Schedule 2A and Schedule 2B via an Amendment Paper once the Bill returns to the House,” Mr Bishop says.

“Once the Bill passes into law the projects listed in Schedule 2A will automatically be referred to an Expert Panel which will apply relevant consent and permit conditions before referring each project and its conditions back to the Ministers.

“The opening nominations for ‘listed projects’ is another key milestone toward the fast-track process delivering the projects our regions need.

“Cutting red tape and building infrastructure is just one part of the Government’s wider plan to rebuild and grow the economy, which also includes stopping wasteful spending, delivering tax relief, growing skills and strengthening international connections.”

Further information on this process including how to nominate a project for listing, can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website: https://environment.govt.nz/acts-and-regulations/acts/fast-track-approvals-bill/fast-track-approvals-process.

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