1. On Sunday 3 May 2020, the Government announced Cabinet approval to amend the Resource Management Act 1993 (the RMA) through the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast Track Consenting) Bill.
2. The Bill is expected to be passed in June and will “fast track” eligible development and infrastructure projects under the RMA. The fast-track process is designed as a short-term intervention and will be repealed two years from enactment.
3. Under the new powers, resource consent decisions would not go to local council and public input would not be sought. Instead, the Expert Consenting Panel chaired by an Environment Court judge would make the determinations.
4. The Government has however indicated that:
(a) iwi policy technicians are participating in the development of the new legislation alongside officials;
(b) Treaty of Waitangi settlements will be upheld; and
(c) Part 2 of the RMA, which provides for consideration of tikanga Māori and te Tiriti o Waitangi, will apply to the new legislation.
5. The devil will however be in the detail and we will post further on the Bill once it is released.