Government approves fast-tracking of shovel-ready projects
Posted at 6:00am Thursday 07 May, 2020 | By Pat Deavoll firstname.lastname@example.org
Cabinet has approved the fast-tracking of large shovel-ready projects, largely by-passing the Resource Management Act.
Queenstown Lakes District Council has proposed six projects for the region, one of which is an upgrade of the Wānaka waterfront.
The announcement, from Environment Minister David Parker, comes as the government continues to identify projects which could begin sooner with a large injection of public money.
The aim is to boost the economy as it enters a sharp downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The new act, due to be passed in June, would take away the ability of the public and councils to have any input into whether projects proceed and instead hand this power to small panels of experts, chaired by an Environment Court judge..
Parker said projects that include transport, environmental benefits, and housing would be prioritised under the plan.
He said the changes were approved last week and new legislation was expected to pass in June.
"We are acting quickly to get the economy moving again and our people working. Part 2 of the RMA will still be applied. Projects are being advanced in time, but environmental safeguards remain," Parker said.
Read edition 973 of the Wānaka Sun here.