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Environment Committee Announces Fast-track Approvals Bill Hearings Schedule

The Environment Committee has committed to an extensive programme of meetings to hear from the public on the Fast-track Approvals Bill. The committee plans to hear submissions from over 1100 submitters at 22 meetings across a period of 6 weeks. The hearings will involve a combination of the committee meeting in full and breaking into two subcommittees.

David MacLeod, Chairperson of the Environment Committee, said, “We’re looking forward to hearing from people and groups from across Aotearoa. We want to speak to as many people as possible, and to make sure the select committee does a thorough job of both engaging with the public and improving the bill.”

The committee received nearly 27,000 written submissions on the bill, with 2,900 requests to speak to the committee. The committee has decided to prioritise hearing from organisations and individuals who made unique submissions. Several thousand form submissions were received in support of different campaigns. Although the committee will not be hearing from individuals who made a form submission, the organisers of every submission campaign will have the opportunity to speak to the committee.

The committee intends to hear from all organisations that requested to speak to their submission, which totals about 550. The committee also plans to hear from approximately 550 individual members of the public. This represents 40 percent of the individual submitters who made unique submissions and asked to speak to the committee.

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The committee faced a difficult decision about how to choose which individual submitters are invited to hearings. The committee opted to use a random selection process. This means submitters will be assigned a number and 550 will be randomly selected. Mr MacLeod said, “We’re committed to hearing a broad and diverse range of voices and opinions, and I think this approach is a fair and consistent way for us to do that”.

Several bills have seen a high level of public interest in recent years. The Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill currently holds the record for the highest number of written submissions, at nearly 107,000 submissions. The Justice Committee of the 2017–2020 Parliament heard submissions from 837 submitters on that bill.

Committee staff have begun contacting submitters to schedule their appearances, and will continue to do so in the weeks ahead. Hearings will be advertised on the Select Committees schedule of meetings and will all be streamed on the Environment Committee’s webpage.

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