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New Zealand in efforts to fast track consenting of major projects

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Wellington, March 7

The New Zealand government is expected to cut red tape to accelerate the consenting of infrastructure and other major projects of national significance.

The Fast Track Approvals Bill was approved by the Cabinet and received its first reading under urgency on Thursday, before being sent to the environment committee for public submissions, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We are determined to cut through the thicket of red and green tape holding New Zealand back, make it clear to the world that we are open for business, and build a pipeline of projects around the country to grow the economy and improve our productivity,” said Chris Bishop, Minister responsible for RMA (Resource Management Act) reforms.

A recent report by the infrastructure commission shows that the cost of consenting infrastructure projects has increased by 70 per cent since 2014, and the time it takes to get consent has increased by as much as 150 per cent over the same period, Bishop added.

“For too long New Zealanders have had to wait years, even decades, before crucial projects in their regions are approved and consented, and the benefits flow to communities,” said Regional Development Minister Shane Jones.

In response to the move, opposition Green Party’s co-leader James Shaw said the government is giving big industry a free pass to “bulldoze New Zealand’s precious native wildlife”.

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