Bill fast-tracking infrastructure projects - Govt
The government has revealed a bill it says would fast-track 11 named infrastructure projects providing 1250-plus jobs for projects in housing, environment and transport.
Cabinet approved the fast-tracking of such projects early last month.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the government's focus remains on responding and recovering from Covid-19, after the move to alert level 1 at midnight on Tuesday morning.
Today was also the 24th day of no new cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand.
"Our lockdown was stringent but short and we now enjoy more freedom than many others," Ardern says.
She says the lockdown was followed by a period where people spent more than had been expected, but the government must remain focused on economic recovery.
Environment Minister David Parker noted that alongside the 11 projects named in the bill, further secondary projects could apply to also be fast-tracked under the bill.
"The specific projects are listed in the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track) Bill that will be introduced In the House later this week. The Bill also opens the way for other projects to be fast tracked to help deliver faster economic growth and more jobs as soon as possible," Parker says.
The 11 initial fast-tracked projects named in the Bill are:
1) Kaikohe water storage facility - to provide water for agricultural and horticultural use and drinking water in Kaikohe. This project is expected to provide 70 jobs.
2) Unitec - Phase 1 - high density housing on the Unitec site in Auckland, 250 jobs.
3) Te Pa Tahuna - Phase 1 - up to 180 residential units and retail space on an old school site in Queenstown - part of a wider development that aims to provide up to 300 high density dwellings. Up to 100 jobs.
4) Papakāinga Network Development - the delivery of Papakainga across six sites; in Kaitaia, Pt Chevalier, Raglan, Waitara, Chatham Islands and Christchurch. This project will support the Government to provide up to 120 dwellings. It is being delivered by Māori developers with support from Te Puni Kōkiri. Will help retain and expand the existing workforce.
5) Britomart East Upgrade - upgrades to Britomart station to ensure the City Rail Link project can operate at full capacity once services commence. 30 jobs.
6) Papakura to Pukekohe electrification - electrification of rail from Papakura to Pukekohe and the construction of three rail platforms. This project aims to extend Auckland metro services south to Pukekohe providing South Auckland with increased lower emissions transport choice. This project is expected to create 85 jobs.
7) Wellington Metro Upgrade programme - suite of smaller projects aimed at increasing the passenger and freight capacity of trains between Masterton, Levin and Wellington. Works will involve upgrading drainage, new tracks, upgrading stations, new storage yards, and the establishment and operation of a gravel extraction site. This project is expected to create 90 jobs.
8) Picton Ferry Dock and Terminal upgrade - The project will improve rail services by expanding the docks and upgrading the passenger terminal. This project is expected to create 200 jobs. KiwiRail notes that the design of the new terminal takes into account 100 years of projected sea level rise.
9) Northern Pathway - a cycleway and walkway between Westhaven and Akoranga in Auckland. This project aims to create a safe and useable active transport corridor for the North Shore and aims to increase the number of people cycling for commuting and recreation. Number of jobs expected to be 50.
10) Papakura to Drury SH1 roading upgrade - upgrades to SH1 to improve its capacity, as well as constructing new walking and cycling facilities to improve highway access and safety. This project aims to respond to population growth and provide transport options for people in South Auckland. Up to 350 jobs.
11) Te Ara Tūpuna - a cycleway and walkway between Petone and Ngauranga in Wellington. This project will improve the safety and usability of an existing cycleway and aims to increase the number of people cycling for commuting, recreation and tourism. This project is expected to create between 30 and 40 jobs and is an opportunity to strengthen existing sea walls and structures to make it more resilient to sea level rise and increased storm events.
Job-rich infrastructure would be included, he says, the legislation would self-repeal after two years, and it was not a review of the RMA.
"Most resource consent affect both public and private interests, and public and private people in New Zealand expect to be able to be involved in the process including turning up to a hearing.
"What we're doing here is requiring things to be dealt with on the papers and we're also taking away the rights of individuals to submit and leaving those submissions rights in representative groups to submit on their behalf, and we wouldn't want to do that forever."