Release: Quick, submit – stop Govt’s dodgy approvals bill

The Government is trying to bring in a law that will allow Ministers to cut corners and kill off native species, Labour environment spokesperson Rachel Brooking said.

Submissions close this Friday 19th April on the Government’s Fast Track Approvals Bill, which skips checks and balances, and gives Ministers the final sign off on projects, instead of an independent panel.

“The Bill enables private profit to trump our environmental protections,” Rachel Brooking said. “The Bill will enable projects to be given the tick with little regard for their impact.

“Just this morning, Shane Jones announced changes to the Resource Management Act that will make it easier to mine coal – a massive backward step for New Zealand’s climate action.

“Labour was already speeding up the approval and reducing the cost of consenting projects like school building projects, housing, clean energy projects and green areas to absorb water in a flood. But this Bill goes way beyond that.

“Instead of an expert panel making decisions within the confines of environmental protections, we have Shane Jones and Chris Bishop signing projects off instead.

“One of these Ministers has already made it clear he will run roughshod over any species that gets in the way – Shane Jones said “if there is a mining opportunity and it's impeded by a blind frog, goodbye, Freddy” in the address in reply debate last year.

“This is scary. It allows projects with few or no criteria to be rushed through because a Minister deems it worthy. This could include decisions to allow overseas companies to mine our conservation land, the habitat for our precious, endangered species.

“If Ministers are making the decision to push go on a project the door is open to lobbying from companies and interests here and offshore. It also undermines decades of environmental work by successive Labour and National Governments.

“In reality, this will see projects slowed down as they will be opposed. It has the potential to undermine environmental protections and our international standing as a corruption-free country with good, transparent processes for decision-making.

“I encourage anyone concerned about this to submit their thoughts on the Bill. But hurry – it has to happen by Friday night,” Rachel Brooking said.

You can submit on the Bill here.

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