Community input into RMA fast-tracking

Accelerated construction and shovel-ready projects require a speedier process than we currently have. Moves to fast-track the RMA will stimulate the economy, but at what cost to the environment and communities? Carole Smith, WSP Director Environment discusses. 

There are some things we can do

All infrastructure projects supported through the Government’s $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme and existing Provincial Growth Fund infrastructure investments should be reviewed in the context of carbon reduction and what it will achieve once built to change climate risk. 

Procurement of projects should include benchmarking of sustainability performance during the lifetime of the project.  Experience has shown us that major infrastructure projects benefit hugely in relation to cost of delivery if sustainability targets and benchmarking is introduced at the earliest possible time. 

Comprehensive supporting technical reports will continue to be required by the independent hearings panel to support applications.  Applicants who try to shortcut this step with poor quality and lightweight assessment risk their applications being declined. 

Although the notification process may be removed through the fast track process our experience of major infrastructure rebuilds in Canterbury and Kaikōura shows the need for regular engagement with affected parties is actually amplified where the notification process is removed. 

 

 

 

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