Release: Labour calls for fast track list to be released

Ministers must front up about which projects it will push through under its Fast Track Approvals legislation, Labour environment spokesperson Rachel Brooking said today.

The Fast Track Approvals Bill is currently going through the select committee process, in which submissions from the public have been overwhelmingly against the Bill.

“Because of the volume of submissions from New Zealanders on this Bill, the report back time of the select committee should be extended to enable more people to be heard,” Rachel Brooking said.

The Bill gives Ministers the final sign off on large projects, instead of an independent panel.

In the last month, the Government invited applications for proposed projects, which closed Friday.

“The public have been asked to give their views on the Fast Track Approvals Bill without knowing which projects have applied to use the fast track process,” Rachel Brooking said.

“The public need to know which projects could potentially be pushed through under this legislation.”

Among the companies invited to apply for fast tracking were some that had made campaign donations to National, ACT and New Zealand First.

“Ministers shouldn’t be taking donations from business with one hand, and making decisions about their projects on the other.

“Labour’s fast track consenting approved projects for residential and commercial building, renewable energy, and infrastructure like the Petone to Ngauranga upgrade that gave a great deal of consideration to how those projects could work with nature rather than against it. Approvals were made by independent panels.

“Regional development minister Shane Jones has been blatant about how little regard he has for nature by championing destructive activities like coal mining. His ‘weaponising kiwi’ and ‘goodbye Freddy’ comments show there’s no native species he won’t sacrifice for profit, not even our national symbol.

“The Bill clearly enables private profit to trump our environmental protections, which will ultimately be detrimental to everyone,” Rachel Brooking said.

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