Eleven infrastructure projects to be fast tracked for Covid-19 recovery

Source: 1News

The Government is fast tracking 11 infrastructure projects in an effort to rebuild New Zealand's economy after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Construction site. (File photo)

It will see project application timeframes go from about four to six months to process to between 45-70 days instead.

The first tranche of projects include high density housing on the Unitec site in Auckland, Britomart East rail upgrade, Wellington Metro Upgrade programme, Wellington Metro Upgrade programme and the Papakura to Drury SH1 roading upgrade.

Environment Minister David Parker said it would open the way for other projects to be fast tracked.

“Accelerating these projects will create opportunities for more employment and a boost to local economies.”

“Extraordinary times sometimes require extraordinary measures,” Mr Parker said. “Positive environmental outcomes will not be sacrificed at the expense of speed. While these projects are being advanced in time, environmental safeguards remain.”

Mr Parker said he would share a copy of the bill with National “as soon as it comes out of the printer”.

The Government hoped it would create 1250 jobs. Panels would be created to “set appropriate conditions on the projects before they can proceed”.

Mr Parker said it would take away the rights for individuals to submit on these projects, instead allowing “the expertise of the panel”.

The project application process still needs to go through Parliament before proceeding. The legislation will self-repeal in two years.

Projects to be fast-tracked:

1. Kaikohe water storage facility
2. High density housing on the Unitec site in Auckland.
3. Te Pa Tahuna – up to 180 residential units and retail space on an old school site in Queenstown.
4. Papakāinga Network Development.
5. Britomart East Upgrade.
6. Electrification of rail from Papakura to Pukekohe and the construction of three rail platforms.
7. Wellington Metro Upgrade programme.
8. Picton Ferry Dock and Terminal upgrade.
9. Northern Pathway – a cycleway and walkway between Westhaven and Akoranga in Auckland.
10. Papakura to Drury SH1 roading upgrade.
11. Te Ara Tūpuna – a cycleway and walkway between Petone and Ngauranga in Wellington.