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Quarries Want Faster Not Worse Environmental Outcomes

The quarry industry, which provides the foundations for every New Zealand building and road, says it does not want to see a ‘rip, shit and bust’ approach to the environment.

Aggregate and Quarry Association CEO Wayne Scott today told Parliament’s Environment Committee which is considering the Government’s Fast-Track Approvals Bill that he wouldn’t be supporting it if that’s what it contained.

"We are not seeking any different outcomes than those currently achieved using sound practices within the RMA process."

What quarries need are outcomes with more certainty and faster timeframes than those which could take many years to get a consent.

Quarry materials were already in short supply across New Zealand and the legislation needs to ensure these were available for the nationally and regionally significant projects to be considered under the Bill.

The Bill envisages Ministerial decision-making, but Wayne Scott says the Fast Track Projects Advisory Group was competent to advise Ministers on projects for consideration.

"This coupled with the Expert Panel review of conditions should ensure robust decision making and environmental outcomes."

He says if Ministerial decision-making is retained, it could be improved by adding the Environment and Conservation Ministers to the joint ministers.

With many projects likely to be referred to the Expert Panel, the quarry industry leader says it needs resources for the strong economic and environmental analysis required under the Bill.

"Quarries are generally long-term operations, so we are continually obtaining consents or renewing them under the current RMA. Under the direction of this Bill, quarries fully expect to meet environmental, cultural and resource management requirements for new or renewed consents."

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