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Fast-track Needs Quarries To Achieve Desired Progress

The Government’s fast-track for resource consenting will provide some of the desired progress for New Zealand if quarries are among the list of approved projects.

In welcoming the Government’s announcement and legislation, Aggregate & Quarry Association (AQA) CEO Wayne Scott says some quarries will need to be included in the fast-track criteria alongside significant infrastructure and development projects.

"All these projects will require aggregates and sand so some quarries must be on that list."

He says he made the point in a letter to relevant government ministers in February that the faster consenting pathway for significant projects must also protect the availability of aggregate and sand for such projects.

"Big infrastructure projects can require the supply of aggregate, sand and rock from multiple quarries. Not only do we need some quarries on the fast-track list, we can’t afford to lose other nearby sources of good rock supply to competing development."

A 2021 Infrastructure Commission study acknowledged major projects such as Transmission Gully suffered significant disruption through a lack of aggregate supply.

But Wayne Scott is also cautioning his industry and others not to expect that all consenting delays can be met by fast-tracked applications.

"There could be a 100 of these. Each will need to be considered by an expert panel with people with the necessary skills, supported by staff from various government agencies to provide all the required information.

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"The last Government also established a fast-track to get things moving after Covid and 42 of the projects listed for that process still had no expert panels appointed when the legislation for them expired last June."

Wayne says anyone supplying or building infrastructure projects needs to understand that ministerial announcements are not the same as actual outcomes.

"Even those projects approved under fast-track processes which get an expert panel are still likely to be quite some months from go to whoa."

He says just as important is what the new Government will do to replace its predecessor’s reforms of the RMA.

"We also need to know whether it will abolish or fix deficiencies in national policy statements on highly productive land and indigenous biodiversity which are holding up some quarry developments."

© Scoop Media

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