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Speeding up recovery: fast-tracking projects to boost jobs, build houses

We’ve announced three additional projects to go through the fast-track resource consenting process. Read below for a quick rundown of what these projects are, what the fast-tracking process means, and why the Government is using fast-tracking as one way to create jobs sooner and accelerate our economic recovery from COVID-19.


What is the fast-tracking process?

The COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 came into force in July this year. It introduced a new way to speed up consents on construction projects under the Resource Management Act (RMA), and help key projects get off the ground faster.

Fast-tracking is one lever that the Government can use to create jobs, speed up recovery, protect our environment, and get critical infrastructure built. 

Important to note: Fast-tracking does not replace or circumvent the current environmental test in the RMA – it provides alternative pathways while upholding environmental safeguards and Treaty of Waitangi and Treaty settlement obligations.


Why did we introduce the fast-tracking process?

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis that will have a lasting impact on almost every part of our economy for some time. Many New Zealanders have lost their jobs, and many businesses are doing it tough. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. We need to support New Zealanders through this crisis, and position our economy for recovery. 

By speeding up the resource consenting process, selected projects can get off the ground sooner. Less time spent in the consenting stage means more time creating new jobs, increasing certainty for our construction sector, speeding up building on infrastructure, and accelerating New Zealand’s economic recovery.

Housing projects are also included, providing another pathway to get more Kiwis into homes sooner. In addition, fast-tracking the consenting process for projects in our regions speeds up regional employment and recovery in our towns and provinces.


What are the recent projects we’ve announced?

On Monday 23rd of November, we announced that three key projects have been referred to the fast-track resource consenting process. These projects are the:

  • Dominion road mixed use commercial and residential development in Auckland
  • Ohinewai Foam factory in Huntly
  • Vines Subdivision in Richmond.

The three projects will support development in Auckland, and provide a boost to our Waikato and Tasman regions. If the three projects gain approval from expert panels early next year, it is estimated that together they could create more than 2,000 jobs during the construction phase, and around 200 permanent jobs once the projects are completed. The projects will also create 160 new homes in high-demand housing areas.


What projects have already been fast-tracked?

The fast-track process has already seen the Matawii Water Storage Reservoir in Northland approved by an expert consenting panel. It will provide drinking water for Kaikohe, and support Northland’s horticulture and agriculture sectors.

The decision was made in around half the time it would have taken for a similar consent to be granted through the usual Resource Management Act consenting process, assuming there was no appeal.


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