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This is a brief overview of the Governments announcements yesterday (7/3/24) around the new Bill that would enable consents and permits etc to be fast tracked.
Called the Fast Track Approvals Bill, this Bill would enable miners (or any other developers) to apply to the Ministers of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Transport for their proposal to be fast tracked.
That would then enter into a 6 month process whereby ann as yet nonspecific ‘expert panel’ would consider it, and push through all the
  • Resource consents, notices of requirement, alterations to designations and certificates of compliance under the Resource Management Act 1991

  • Marine consents under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Environment Effects Act 2012

  • Section 61 land access arrangements under the Crown Minerals Act 1991

  • Applications for archaeological authority under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014

  • Concessions and other permissions under the Conservation Act 1987 and Reserves Act 1977

  • Approvals under the Wildlife Act 1953  AND
  • Aquaculture decisions under the Fisheries Act 1996
The panel would then refer the proposal back to the Ministers for final approval, and with any conditions they recommend. The Ministers can ask them to ‘make the conditions less onerous ‘if the applicant asks”! But the panel cannot decline an application.
The current Ministers who will have all this power would be Shane Jones, Chris Bishop and Simeon Brown.
There is basically no provision for Te Tiriti – outside of honouring settlements and demonstrating ‘engagement’ with settlement entities etc.
There is NO provision for engagement with communities, groups or even Councils.
And the sting in the tail of this for us here in te Tara o te Ika a Maui/the Coromandel is that they have SPECIFICALLY said that Sched 4 will NOT apply to Fast Track projects on the Coromandel!!!! So they have opened the Coromandel to open cast mining again, and effectively taken us right back to the Coromandel having no protection from any mining.
The Bill would also override any other protective instrument, like covenants or local Government restrictions, RMA prohibitions etc. It really would create a lawless development-scape!