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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 6—Environment

6. Hon JUDITH COLLINS (National—Papakura) to the Minister for the Environment: What confidence does he have that there will be sufficient support in Parliament to pass all stages of his bill to allow fast-tracking of consents for certain projects?

Hon DAVID PARKER (Minister for the Environment): It’s not for me to prejudge the determination of parties in this House. We do, though, have the support of governing parties to first reading and further consideration of the bill following the select committee process.

Hon Judith Collins: Does he believe that the process of introducing this bill meets the goal of being the most open and transparent Government ever?

Hon DAVID PARKER: Yes, in the circumstances. I would note that the select committee period, which is yet to be determined, may be up to 12 days long, which, in fact, is 300 percent times the Kaikōura earthquake select committee process, which was just four days.

Hon Judith Collins: Does he realise that the Kaikōura process that he’s just referred to referred to one project and not to multiple projects over the entire country?

Hon DAVID PARKER: Yes.

Hon Judith Collins: Is it correct to say that this bill that he would like passed next month has not yet been drafted?

Hon DAVID PARKER: The drafting has not been finished, but it has been started.

Hon Judith Collins: What are the criteria that he will use in deciding which projects would be fast-tracked?

Hon DAVID PARKER: The primary criteria will be employment.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Could I ask the Minister, would that be an essential for the Government now if the previous nine years of the previous Government had have done anything whatsoever with the Resource Management Act (RMA)?

Hon DAVID PARKER: If the RMA had been earlier reformed, it may not well be. In truth, the underlying RMA takes too long, costs too much—

Hon Member: You never voted for it.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: You had the majority.

Hon DAVID PARKER: —and has not protected the environment.

SPEAKER: Order! Would the pair of senior members just let the Minister answer. Former Minister.

Hon DAVID PARKER: In truth, the underlying RMA takes too long, costs too much, and hasn’t protected the environment, and that’s why we’ve got that root-and-branch review of the RMA going on at the moment. I’m expecting a report back from that panel led by retired Justice Randerson QC before the election.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does the Minister expect that the governmental parties will pass this legislation and are not going to throw the responsibility on other parties in the Parliament like the previous one did, who blamed members of the Opposition, when they had a majority, for not passing their own legislation?

Hon DAVID PARKER: I’m confident that we will pass this legislation.

MIL OSI