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FMC's Submission Of Fast-track Approvals Bill: No Space For Undemocratic Fast-track Bill

‘We must closely guard the welfare of our national parks and reserves. These should not be regarded as the property of our minister or the government. They belong to the people of today and tomorrow. We must fight for their protection if necessary.’

- Fred Vosseler, inaugural president FMC -1932

Morgan Gorge, Waitaha river, potentially threatened by the new legislation. (c) Neil Silverwood.

“FMC strongly opposes the Fast-track Approvals Bill and would like to see it withdrawn,” says FMC’s president Megan Dimozantos. “We believe the bill is undemocratic and harmful to the environment, and will not facilitate its own purpose.”

The Bill was announced by the government in early March as a tool to fast-track certain economic development projects. Amongst others, projects like new mines and new hydro schemes are likely to be included - some within National Parks. The deadline for the public to submit their views about the bill is Friday 19th April.

FMC is joining other NGOs, community groups and members of the public, who share deep concerns about the bill and our submission on the bill is now available publicly on our website.

“There is no need for special legislation. The existing statutes, such as the Resource Management Act and its policy documents, could achieve the same outcomes, with less risk to the environment and our national reputation. We hold significant concerns that the bill bypasses democratic processes and places the decision-making power in the hands of a small group of ‘development’ ministers, none of whom hold conservation or environmental portfolios,” explains Dimozantos.

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“If the bill does progress - against our strongest urging - we are reluctantly proposing amendments to it, so the net regional and national benefits of the proposed development projects are clearly evaluated and environmental impacts are taken into account, changes are made to the process so that all projects go through the same referral process, and a public interest register is kept,” added Dimozantos.

FMC sees FtAB as a breach of good faith with the New Zealand public. Any development project on conservation land must be subject to an approval process that is both rigorous and open. A process that carefully weighs up long-term net costs against the benefits and one that speaks alongside economic growth to the widespread concern of New Zealanders to protect and restore our stunning natural environment is essential.

We sincerely hope to see the Fast-track Approvals Bill scrapped.

© Scoop Media

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