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A fast track to a more sure-footed future – Infrastructure New Zealand

‘Setting us up for a more sure-footed future’ is how Infrastructure New Zealand is describing the Government’s new fast-tracking consent legislation introduced to Parliament today.

“It is widely recognised that New Zealand faces the dual challenges of an infrastructure deficit – and an uncertain pipeline to overcome that deficit. This new fast-tracking legislation offers an opportunity to significantly speed up worthy projects and provide certainty to a nervous infrastructure sector and an expectant public,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Nick Leggett.

Infrastructure New Zealand points to evidence that shows that more certainty in the pipeline and a clearer picture of future projects will improve efficiency and reduce costs in a fiscal environment where savings are vitally important.

“We have to be more productive as a country. The link between infrastructure and stronger economic performance is undeniable yet often underappreciated.”

“Time costs money. We need to improve our consent processes and speed them up as the current system costs infrastructure projects an estimated $1.3 billion per annum – a cost that has doubled in the last five years.”

“The concern many kiwis have is that decisions on infrastructure have become far too political. However, we feel balance has to be preserved. This legislation helps steer us away from undue political interference in consenting by appointing an expert panel that will make recommendations and set conditions for projects to go ahead.”

Infrastructure New Zealand says that political oversight is nonetheless important for accountability purposes and therefore it’s appropriate that Ministers can refer projects to the fast-track criteria, but only once certain conditions have been met. Furthermore, the Government must ensure the administration and management of the new fast-tracking consent system is adequately resourced.

“It is also very important that adverse environmental effects are considered and mitigated,” says Leggett. “Processes can move faster without compromising environmental standards.”

 

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