Better infrastructure to be built faster

Finance Infrastructure

Making the Resource Management process quicker, cheaper and better will help boost New Zealand’s economic growth.

“The cost and time it takes to get a resource consent for infrastructure projects has grown significantly in recent years, with smaller projects being disproportionately affected,” Grant Robertson said.

Infrastructure developers collectively pay about $1.29 billion a year on consent processes, amounting to an average 5.5 percent of total project costs.

“That puts New Zealand at the extreme end compared with the UK and the EU, where consenting costs were between 0.1 percent and 5 percent of total project costs,” Grant Robertson said.

The Infrastructure Commission Te Waihanga estimates costs directly related to resource consents increased 70 percent from 2014 to 2019 and the time taken to make consent decisions for infrastructure projects has increased by up to 150 percent over the same period.

“The new resource management system will deliver economic benefits by saving people time and money getting resource consents and getting projects underway. It will also balance this with better protection for the environment,” Grant Robertson said.

The new system will create standards associated with housing and infrastructure, contained in the National Planning Framework and local planning documents that often require consents. These “off-the-shelf” options will do away with bespoke specifications for each project.

A process similar to the fast-track process, put in place in response to the economic impact of COVID-19 and which reduced consenting time by an average of 15 months per project, will be retained.

“Less money will be spent on consents, and spatial planning will help communities, developers, councils and central government agencies build much needed infrastructure projects,” Grant Robertson said.