< April 2024 newsletter


It is generally acknowledged that excessive red tape is hindering much-needed infrastructure projects in New Zealand. According to the Minister for RMA Reform, Chris Bishop, “Consenting major projects in New Zealand takes far too long and is far too expensive.” In response, the government recently announced its solution - the Fast Track Approvals Bill  - in a bid to make it easier to get infrastructure built. However, concerns are being raised about the undemocratic and the racialised nature of this proposed legislation.

Extensive power will be granted to three Government ministers, (joint ministers), who will have the authority to approve projects without standard consultation or due process. Protections provided by existing laws can be disregarded - proposed projects can side-step approval processes under the RMA and nine other sets of laws and regulations. In what is called a ‘one-stop-shop’ consenting regime, an applicant would only need to go through one process, rather than several separate processes, to get approval for a project.

The legislation also enables the decision-makers to deny public involvement in the approval process - the public will not be able to have a say on individual projects, even those of great community concern.

Furthermore, the decisions of the joint ministers can only be appealed against in the narrowest of circumstances, “on points of law only,” which further lends to a loss of the democratic process.


Project owners may apply to the joint ministers for access to the fast-track approvals process. These ministers will assess the project against specific criteria to determine if it qualifies for fast-tracking. An expert panel, (who are appointed by these ministers), will then evaluate the project, and make recommendations to the ministers, who must then seek and consider comments from other government ministers, local government, and relevant Māori groups before deciding to grant or decline an approval.

‘Some are more equal than others’

While public consultation is not required, not everyone will be required to sacrifice their right to have a say to support this process. The decision-makers and the expert panels must actively seek Māori views. The bill outlines requirements for information, engagement, and procedures for applicants, ministers, and the expert panels regarding specific Māori groups or interests during various stages of the fast-track process.

The consultation process begins with the applicants, who must not only consult with local authorities, but also with iwi, hapū, and Treaty settlement entities before submitting a referral application for approval.

The bill also includes provision for 'iwi authorities' to be directly involved in the decision-making process. The four-person expert panels must include one person representing iwi authorities.

(An iwi authority as defined under the RMA is the “authority which represents an iwi and which is recognised by that iwi as having authority to do so.”)

Because of the specific consultation provisions for iwi/Māori groups, they will have the ability to influence outcomes in a way that benefits their own interests, (including their business interests) - a right denied to other citizens.

Throughout the election campaign, both the Act Party and NZ First campaigned on the intention to end race-based policies, such as those requiring consultation based on race. Despite this, both parties supported the Fast Track Approvals Bill at it first reading, apparently disregarding its integral and deliberate racial bias.

Public submissions on the Fast Track Approval Bill are now open. The closing date set for Friday, 19 April 2024.

Please consider making a submission on the undemocratic and racialised nature of the Bill. To make a submission, click here:


You may also like to send messages to the leaders of both the Act Party and NZ First, to remind them of their election promises. Their mail addresses are: 

Hon. David Seymour: [email protected]

Brooke Van Velden: [email protected]

Rt Hon Winston Peters: [email protected]

Shane Jones: [email protected]


Fast Track Approvals Bill

Ministry for the Environment – Fast Track Approvals Bill

Act’s policies

National/NZ First Coalition Agreement 2023


RNZ: The unprecedented power the government is handing three of its ministers under its new Fast Track Approval Bill


The ACT party manifesto states:

Ending divisive race-based policies
Reverse race-based policies such as Three Waters, the Māori Health authority, undemocratic local government representation, and Resource Management law that requires consultation based on race.
New Zealand must remain a modern, multi-ethnic liberal democracy where we are all alike in rights and dignity.

The NZ First coalition agreement states:

Equal citizenship
The Coalition Government will defend the principle that New Zealanders are equal before the law, with the same rights and obligations, and with the guarantee of the privileges and responsibilities of equal citizenship in New Zealand.
The Coalition Government will work to improve outcomes for all New Zealanders, and will not advance policies that seek to ascribe different rights and responsibilities to New Zealanders on the basis of their race or ancestry.


Go back to the April 2024 newsletter