Fast-tracked Consents Good For Recovery
Fast-tracking consents for 11 significant infrastructure projects across the country is a good start aiding the recovery and will be particularly welcome in the Auckland region where a number of the projects are based.
"Some of these projects have been on the books in Auckland and elsewhere for a number of years so finally getting them consented, especially on a fact-track, is a welcome development," says EMA Head of Advocacy and Strategy, Alan McDonald.
"This is the Government using its powers in a way that clears regulatory hurdles and gets stuff done, just what we need at the moment."
The fast-tracked proposals concentrate in the housing, transport and water sectors and have a focus on jobs and need.
Several Auckland projects are linked to larger-scale transport initiatives that enable maximum use of existing public transport networks.
"The Papakura to Pukekohe electrification project is critical to maximising capacity increases resulting from Auckland’s Central Rail Loop especially when rapid housing development in the area is likely to significant increase pressure on the roading network," Mr McDonald.
"Giving agencies such as KiwiRail and NZTA the ability to self-consent on smaller maintenance projects is also a good initiative to clear hurdles and speed up delivery.
"However this is yet another workaround for the problematic resource Management Act highlighting once again that the Act is now longer fit for purpose and needs to be repealed to create new fit-for -purpose legislation that enables growth and protects the environment. The current Act fails both those tests."
The initial fast-tracked projects in Auckland named in the Bill are:
1. Unitec - Phase 1 - high density housing on the Unitec site in Auckland, 250 jobs.
2. Papakāinga Network Development - the delivery of Papakainga across six sites in Kaitaia, Pt Chevalier, Raglan, Waitara, Chatham Islands and Christchurch. This project will support the Government to provide up to 120 dwellings. It is being delivered by Māori developers with support from Te Puni Kōkiri. Will help retain and expand the existing workforce.
3. Britomart East Upgrade - upgrades to Britomart station to ensure the City Rail Link project can operate at full capacity once services commence. 30 jobs.
4. Papakura to Pukekohe electrification - electrification of rail from Papakura to Pukekohe and the construction of three rail platforms. This project aims to extend Auckland metro services south to Pukekohe providing South Auckland with increased lower emissions transport choice. This project is expected to create 85 jobs.
5. Northern Pathway - a cycleway and walkway between Westhaven and Akoranga in Auckland. This project aims to create a safe and useable active transport corridor for the North Shore and aims to increase the number of people cycling for commuting and recreation. Number of jobs expected to be 50.
6. Papakura to Drury SH1 roading upgrade - upgrades to SH1 to improve its capacity, as well as constructing new walking and cycling facilities to improve highway access and safety. This project aims to respond to population growth and provide transport options for people in South Auckland. Up to 350 jobs.