Labour wary of more consent fast-tracking
Mon, 30 Jul 2012 6:59a.m.
The Government is going too far in fast-tracking "regionally significant" projects with the same resource consent process used for nationally significant projects, Labour says.
Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley told TV3's The Nation on Saturday it was crazy that companies were being taken back to court repeatedly in their bids to win resource consents under the Resource Management Act (RMA).
He met last week with Australian-based Bathurst Resources, which has been frustrated by legal action after being granted consents last August for its Escarpment coal mine on Buller's Denniston Plateau coking coal. It is due back in court on Monday.
Mr Heatley said Environment Minister Amy Adams was considering a way of speeding up resource consents for regional projects so that they were "called in" for consent within about six months and would be challengeable only on points of law.
Labour's environment spokesman Grant Robertson says that's "over the top".
"The public deserve a proper say in developments that affect their communities and environment," he said.
The RMA may not be perfect and Labour was open to sensible amendments, he said.
"Of course there will be cases from time to time that justify an expedited process. The national significance test is a reasonable one for that, but extending it to a regional level is a bridge too far."
Western Australian-based Bathurst Mining is facing an appeal in the High Court from the Royal Forest and Bird Society and West Coast environmentalists arguing that the consents for its Escarpment project should have taken global warming into account.
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30/07/2012 9:22:06 a.m.
Trust labour to want to make things as slow and complicated which also means expensive as possable. Just because things are done quickly doesnt mean they arnt done well. In fact in goverment the opposite is generally the case.
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