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Too Hard To Get Consents For Big Projects

Media release
29 March 2004

Too hard to get consents for big projects

Sadly, today's announcement by Meridian Energy that it's canning Project Aqua comes as no surprise, says Business NZ.

Chief Executive Simon Carlaw says last week's Mood of the Boardroom survey of 300 large and small enterprises showed clearly the barriers and constraints that exist in the New Zealand business environment.

"The Resource Management Act continues to deliver huge and expensive uncertainty to large developments. In the case of Project Aqua, the RMA Amendment Bill was offering an ad hoc, overly interventionist approach to the Waitaki River that did not recognise or protect property rights and was not up to the task.

"Today's announcement is a significant blow to New Zealand's hopes for an adequate energy supply. With insufficient hydro power because of the RMA and a Kyoto-imposed constraint on coal-powered electricity generation, the Government is effectively shutting off the means of harnessing our indigenous fuel sources," Mr Carlaw said.

"We've had dangerously dry winters in two out of the last three years and businesses have been hit hard by high and volatile prices. New Zealand should not be in this situation. The RMA and climate change policies need a fundamental review."

ENDS

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