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Fast-track Bill Long Overdue

Reducing red tape and allowing a "can do" approach to significant projects that boost New Zealand’s economy and create jobs is long overdue, says Straterra chief executive, Josie Vidal.

"Straterra supports the principles of the Government’s proposed fast track and one stop shop bill," Vidal says.

"We believe this legislation will be important to mining sought-after mineral resources in New Zealand to contribute to the global supply chain and boost the country’s export-led economic recovery. This will not be at the expense of the environment, as some say.

"We believe that New Zealand’s resource management reform must continue to promote high environmental standards. Responsible New Zealand mining companies are proud of their environmental work and are not looking to compromise that. In fact, the provenance of New Zealand’s mined resources is a selling point - high employment and health and safety standards and strict environmental regulations mean mining in New Zealand is a good bet for investors and consumers and something we can be proud of promoting to export markets.

"But miners are mired in red tape, seeking permits, consents, access agreements, concessions and approvals from a host of different government departments, across at least six different Acts.

"The system is inefficient, repetitive, subject to varying skill levels of people processing applications, and varying timelines across government departments. Sometimes applications are completely stalled by paralysis when it comes to decision-making. This costs everyone dearly, and benefits no one. It puts off investors and can make great projects impossible to proceed with.

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"For these reasons we welcome a one-stop shop approach to streamline and speed up these arduous processes and put decision-making right at the very top, with Government ministers.

"The Government is moving fast on this law, which is a good thing. There has been some consultation already and once the bill is introduced to Parliament on 7 March, there will be further consultation through the select committee process. Fast law making can be good law making.

"As a country known for innovation, we must have flexibility and agility in our systems that allow good projects to get up and running quickly, but with appropriate checks and balances. This is possible.

"We are seeing optimism now, after a period of time where people have looked at what’s ahead to get a project off the ground and sometimes just walk away - it’s not worth the time and cost and constant bombardment of negativity.

"People are over that negativity and want to see success with a productive economy," Vidal says.

Straterra is the industry association representing New Zealand’s minerals and mining sector.

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