Fast-track approvals proposed process

Under the Fast-track Approvals Bill's proposals, a broad range of activities will have access to the approval process, including infrastructure, renewable energy, housing and mining.

About the Fast-track approvals proposed process

There are two ways a project can access the fast-track process:

  • Listed projects

    Some projects will be listed in Schedule 2 of the Bill and will go straight to the Expert Panel. 
  • Referred projects

The Bill's proposed process is that, if it becomes law, any person, or organisation, could apply to have their project fast-tracked by joint ministers who will determine whether a project should be fast tracked.

The ‘joint Ministers’ are the Ministers for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.

Apply to have your project listed in Schedule 2

Fast-track approvals application form


The Bill has criteria when determining if a project is eligible for the proposed fast-track process.

Eligibility criteria [New Zealand Legislation].

Projects that can't access the Fast-track process

Ineligible projects [New Zealand Legislation].

Listed projects stage

Step 1

Person or organisation applies through the MfE portal to have their project listed in Schedule 2 (either Part A or Part B)

Step 2

Officials check the project application has the required information, whether it triggers any ineligibility criteria in the Bill and that it meets Treaty settlement requirements. Officials provide the application and their assessment to an independent Fast-track Projects Advisory Group.

Step 3

The Advisory Group will consider whether the application meets the eligibility criteria in the Bill, the purpose of the Bill, and whether a project is regionally or nationally significant. The Group will also consider additional relevant matters such as risk. Note: this is not a substantive assessment of the effects of a project, that would be undertaken by the Expert Panel.

Step 4

Advisory Group provides final recommendation report to Ministers on which projects should be listed. Ministers make final decision on lists, which are proposed to be included in the Bill at the Committee of the Whole House stage.

Step 5

After the Bill is enacted, projects listed in Part A of Schedule 2 will be able to apply directly to an Expert Panel. Projects listed in Part B will still need to apply to Ministers for referral, but will not need to demonstrate they are regionally or nationally significant.

Referral stage

This only applies to referred projects; listed projects skips this step.

Step 1

Person applies to have their project fast-tracked.

Step 2

Ministers receive application and seek comments from certain groups (including other Ministers, Māori groups, local government).

Step 3

Ministers consider the project against the eligibility criteria (eg, does it have significant regional and national benefits) and any comments received and decide whether to fast-track the project.

If the Ministers determine it meets the eligibility criteria the application will be referred to an Expert Panel. Ministers must decline projects at this stage if they don’t meet the criteria outlined below.

Step 4

Expert Panel receives application and seeks comments from relevant groups, such as Ministers, Māori groups, local government, and affected landowners.

Step 5

Expert Pane considers application details and seeks feedback from the applicant and any submitters on its draft conditions.

Step 6

Expert Pane provides its recommendation to Ministers.

Final decision stage (applies to both listed and referred projects)

The Joint Ministers will consider the panel’s recommendations before making the final decision to decline or approve applications. Ministers can also ask the panel to reconsider the conditions or ask the applicant to relodge their application.   

Expert panels

Expert panels will have four members but may have more if extra knowledge or expertise on specific issues is needed.

Ministers will appoint a former (including retired) Environment Judge or High Court Judge to be the panel convener.

The panels will include one person nominated by the relevant local authorities and one person nominated by the relevant iwi authorities.

The Panel will consider the effects of the project and propose conditions to manage the effects.

The Fast-track Approvals Bill proposes set timeframes for Minsters and the Expert Panels to make decisions and recommendations.

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