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RMA Fast-tracking Big Step Forward For Recovery

“The Government’s confirmation that Resource Management Act (RMA) consenting processes will be streamlined is great news for the recovery but must be just the start of the reform process,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair.

“The RMA has become a litigious, cumbersome, and complex piece of legislation. It was never intended to be applied the way it has been, and it was not designed to facilitate recovery from something like the COVID-19 lockdown.

"New Zealand has several successful RMA fast-track precedents, notably after the Christchurch and Kaikōura earthquakes.

“The two-year sunset clause on the fast-track measures should align well with the longer-term resource management reforms being considered by the Randerson Review.

“It is now imperative that the Government also aligns both immediate and longer-term RMA reforms with wider planning and consenting statutes.

“If projects receive RMA approval only to be held up by business case or Local Government Act process requirements, then we won’t get the progress we need.

“Parallel processes are required, so that projects can move through RMA fast-tracking at the same time as design, effects modelling, procurement and funding details are confirmed.

“Eighty per cent of construction projects in New Zealand come from the private sector and local government. Now is the time to experiment with risk and reward conditions to fast track projects of all sizes, not just the big ones we can all name from memory.

“Infrastructure New Zealand’s Building Regions proposal provides a pathway to implementing this reform.

“We have the opportunity to not just get our country moving in the short term, but also to set it up for the success in the long-term,” Blair says.

Infrastructure New Zealand has also released a joint press release (click here to read) with Resource Reform NZ, a partnership between Infrastructure New Zealand, the Environmental Defence Society (EDS), the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA), Property Council New Zealand, and BusinessNZ.

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