Fast-track Approvals Bill

This Bill proposes to establish a permanent fast track approvals regime for a range of infrastructure, housing and development projects.


Fast-track Approvals Bill [New Zealand Legislation]


The Bill has been introduced to the House and public submissions are being accepted by the Environment Committee. 

Make a submission [NZ Parliament website] 

Closing date for submissions is Friday 19 April.

About the Bill

The bill proposes to establishing a permanent fast-track approvals regime for projects of national and regional significance.

The regime’s approval process involves several joint Ministers.

These are the Ministers for:

  • Infrastructure
  • Transport
  • Regional Development
  • Conservation and,
  • the Minister Responsible for the Crown Minerals Act.

The joint Ministers will determine if projects will be referred to an Expert Panel. 

When making referral decisions, the joint Ministers must consider if the project is consistent with the purpose of the Bill – that projects would have significant regional or national benefits​ – and they meet the eligibility criteria [New Zealand legislation].

The Bill describes the groups and authorities Ministers must consider comment and information from during the process. These groups include:

  • relevant local authorities
  • agencies or statutory bodies
  • portfolio Ministers
  • iwi authorities, relevant Treaty settlement entities, and other Māori groups identified in the Bill.    

Section 13 of the Bill describes these requirements in relation to Treaty Settlements [New Zealand legislation].

Expert Panels

The Bill describes the Expert Panel member’s required expertise and knowledge, and how they will apply conditions to manage a project’s adverse effects.

Fast-track Approvals Bill 31-1 (2024), Government Bill Schedule 3 Expert panel [New Zealand Legislation].

Approvals under other legislation in the Bill

The proposed system will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for resource consents, notices of requirement, and certificates of compliance under the Resource Management Act (1991) and approvals required under the: 

  • The Wildlife Act 1953 
  • The Conservation Act 1987 
  • The Reserves Act 1977 
  • The Freshwater Fisheries Regulations 1983 
  • The Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 
  • The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 
  • The Crown Minerals Act 1991 
  • The Public Works Act 1981 
  • The Fisheries Act 1996.

Treaty settlements and other arrangements  

The Bill has an overarching clause requiring everyone working under the bill to act manner that is consistent with existing Treaty of Waitangi settlements and other arrangements.  

During decision-making joint Ministers must consider;

  • A report on Treaty settlements and other obligations prepared by the agency responsible for processing the application (clause 13 of the Fast-track Approvals Bill).
  • Comments received (applicants are required to consult a range of stakeholders, including Māori groups (clause 16).
  • Written comments from certain Māori groups on referral applications (clause 19).

Treaty settlements and recognised customary rights [New Zealand Legislation].

Eligible and ineligible projects

The Bill has criteria the Ministers ‘must’ and ‘may’ consider when determining if a project is eligible for the proposed fast-track process.

Eligibility criteria [New Zealand Legislation].

It has detailed proposals on ineligible activities, including those that would occur on land returned under a Treaty settlement, or on identified Māori land, without written agreement from the landowner.

Ineligible projects [New Zealand Legislation].

The list of ineligible projects includes activities:

  • on land returned under a Treaty settlement, on identified Māori Land, on Māori customary land, on land set apart as Māori reservation, or in a customary marine title or protected customary rights area without written permission from the rights holder.
  • on Māori customary land, or land set apart as Māori reservation under Part 17 of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 
  • in a customary marine or protected customary rights area without written agreement from the rights holder/group 
  • within an aquaculture settlement area without the required authorisation 
  • activities that would be prevented under section 165J, 165M, 165Q, 165ZC, or 165ZDB of the RMA (which deal with occupation of space in the common marine and coastal area). 
  • that require permissions on: 
  • national reserves held under the Reserves Act 1977 
  • on land listed under clauses 1 to 11 or 14 of Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (and clauses 12 and 13 for mining activities).

For projects in the open ocean, activities prohibited under international law, decommissioning activities, and until permitting legislation is put in place – offshore wind.  

This Bill was presented by the Minister Responsible for Resource Management Reform.

Supplementary analysis reports

Proactive releases