Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020

Posted September 15, 2021

Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 

Following the emergence of a global pandemic that threatened to significantly affect and damage local and international economies, the Government passed a bill for the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 (the Act) to provide for a short-term consenting process to fast track projects that will boost the employment and economic recovery in New Zealand.  This legislation came into effect on 9 July 2020 and provided for three different types of fast-track projects:

  1. Listed projects included in Schedule 2 of the Act – large scale projects that have been identified by the Government;
  2. Referred projects – these can be applied for, the project must meet the eligibility criteria and be referred by the Minister for the Environment;
  3. Work on infrastructure by approved organisations – work on infrastructure projects by Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail can be carried out as a permitted activity if conditions of the Act are met. 

The Act provides an expediated process where decisions are made by an expert consenting panel and are not bound by the statutory timeframes, requirement to hold a public hearing or opportunity for public participation as set out in the Resource Management Act 1991. The panel have to make a decision on an application within 70 days of receiving the application and appeal rights are limited to points of law and judicial review to the High Court. 

How have we been involved?

Brown and Company Planning Group were involved in successfully obtaining the second fast-track resource consent to be approved through the Act in New Zealand, namely the Northbrook Retirement Village in Northlake, Wanaka. The Retirement Village consists of 100 architecturally design residential units, onsite elderly and hospital care facilities with amenities such as a pool, gym, lounge bar and kitchen.  The development will result in 770 jobs during the peak construction phase and provide for ongoing local employment of 41 jobs per year, contributing to $133m to business activity within the district over the first 5 years and an additional $9m in GDP. 

What does this mean for you?

Unless the Act is amended, fast-track consenting process will only be available to applicants until 9 July 2022 at which time it will be repealed. However applications can be made right up to that date, so if you are interested in taking advantage of the fast-track consent process, get in touch with our team to discuss further. 

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