Three more fast-tracked projects could create 891 homes and 912 jobs

Environment

Three new residential housing projects have been approved for consideration under the fast-track consenting process.

“These projects are in places where houses are needed and, if they are consented, these developments will create 891 new homes and 912 extra jobs,” Environment Minister David Parker said

The COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 is a key part of the Government’s plan to accelerate the economic recovery, speed up some infrastructure projects and boost jobs.

The three projects approved under the fast-track referral process today are the:

  • Glenpanel, Ladies Mile – Te Pūtahi project in Lake Hayes, Queenstown, that will redevelop a site creating up to 748 more homes. The project will include a park-and-ride facility to promote public transport use, and potentially a new school. If consented, the project will create up to 313 jobs.
  • Kepa Road Apartments residential development in Kohimarama, Auckland that will see the development of 58 homes in two buildings, up to seven storeys high. The project is estimated to create 199 jobs.
  • Wellsford North project in north Auckland a medium-density subdivision in north Auckland that will enable construction of approximately 85 homes residential units and create 400 jobs.

These three new projects bring the total of projects approved for fast-track consenting to 56.

Since 2020, half of the 56 projects approved under the fast-track legislation have now obtained consent. They have the potential to create 8901 jobs and 4142 new homes.

Projects that have received fast-track consents include:

  • the construction of Otawere water storage reservoir in Waimate North (Northland) to support horticultural development
  • the construction of two rail stations in Drury, Auckland that are needed to extend Auckland’s electric rail network from Papakura to Pukekohe
  • the Tauhei Solar Farm in Waikato which will contribute to New Zealand’s effort to transition to a low-emissions economy
  • the Whakatāne commercial boat harbour which will promote employment and commercial opportunities in the Bay of Plenty
  • the Picton Ferry Terminal Redevelopment to enable the Interisland ferry service to handle higher numbers of passengers and freight
  • the new Dunedin Hospital Outpatients Building which will provide valuable medical facilities for the people of Dunedin
  • the Queenstown Arterials project which will ease congestion in Queenstown’s town centre by diverting State Highway 6

To improve the resource management system, the Government is also repealing the Resource Management Act 1991 and replacing it with two new Acts, the Spatial Planning Act and the Natural and Built Environments that will better enable infrastructure and homes to be built while also protecting the environment.

The RMA takes too long and costs too much and hasn’t provided for development or housing where needed.

“The Infrastructure Commission have reported that infrastructure developers are collectively spending $1.29 billion annually on resource consent processes. This represents 5.5 per cent of total project costs,” David Parker said.

“That puts New Zealand at the upper end of approval costs, which are 0.1 to 5 per cent in the UK and the European Union.”

“The SPA and NBA will better enable infrastructure development by providing national direction on infrastructure, that is being developed by the Infrastructure Commission, simplifying the consenting and designation processes, and carrying forward into the new system a process similar to fast-track consenting for certain infrastructure projects.”

Notes for editors

  • Projects are considered under the fast-track process in two ways: those listed in the Act, or those referred by the Minister for the Environment (and jointly with the Minister of Conservation if in the coastal marine area) through an order in council. 
  • It does not replace or circumvent the current Resource Management Act 1991 environmental test, but it provides alternative pathways for speeding up decisions on resource consents. 
  • The Act has a ‘sunset clause’ meaning it will be repealed on 9 July 2023. This date was extended by one year due to the outbreak of the Delta strain of COVID-19 in 2021. 
  • The Resource Management Act 1991 will be repealed and replaced with the Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA), the Strategic Planning Act (SPA) and the Climate Adaptation Act (CAA). The Government aims to introduce the NBA and SPA soon and pass them within this parliamentary term.