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Ngai Tahu response to the Fast Track Approvals Bill

Upon a first read, we acknowledge the inclusion of an overarching clause in the Fast-track Approvals Bill to uphold Treaty settlements. This goes some way to maintain agreements made with Ngāi Tahu, but not far enough. Our concern is that the Bill gives ministers the ability to approve consents for a project which could be inconsistent with our Settlements and Te Tiriti more generally.

A key failure of the Bill is that it does not include a reference to Te Tiriti o Waitangi or its principles.

Two-thirds of the conservation estate is situated within our Ngāi Tahu Takiwā, so we are particularly concerned that the new fast track consenting regime will lead to impacts on this whenua, including through the fast tracking of conservation concessions.

We will carefully review this Bill and speak to the government about our concerns so the final Bill strikes the right balance and respects our Settlement rights and te taiao (the environment), including through the Select Committee process.

We are supportive of enabling positive development within our takiwā where appropriate. However, our support will always be contingent on the Crown upholding our Ngāi Tahu Settlement, Fisheries Settlement and Aquaculture Settlement and ensuring the health of te taiao is prioritised. This is particularly important given that the Fast-track Approvals Bill will have wide-reaching impacts across many other Acts.

Our message for all Members of Parliament is to consider carefully the Fast-track Approvals Bill introduced to Parliament to ensure it doesn’t negatively impact on the rights of future generations. Regardless of the Crown’s actions, Ngāi Tahu will continue to exercise our kaitiaki responsibilities and rangatiratanga within the Ngāi Tahu Takiwā.

 

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