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Forest & Bird is demanding an extension to submissions on the contentious Fast-track Approvals Bill, after successfully asking the Ombudsman to investigate a lack of transparency over who was lobbying to have their projects fast-tracked. 

Among the list of organisations that have been invited to apply are organisations associated with projects that would destroy a pristine mountaintop and rip up the seafloor.  

It includes organisations that have lost cases in the Environment, High and Supreme Courts, with proposals roundly rejected through prolonged court action. 

The Ombudsman directed that the list be released. 


In a deeply cynical move, Minister Chris Bishop gave the public its first glance at the list just hours before submissions on the National-led Coalition Government’s Bill are due to close (11:59pm, Friday 19 April). 

This only happened after Forest & Bird made an official complaint to the Ombudsman’s office.  

“There’s nothing proactive about this. It’s disgraceful that Forest & Bird had to go to the Ombudsman to get this government to release the list of who it has invited to fast-track the destruction of our environment,” says Richard Capie, Group Manager Conservation & Advocacy.  


“That the government didn’t want to release this information, and that it’s now only coming out the day that submissions close, shows just how anti-democratic this whole thing is. 


“How much longer will New Zealanders be kept waiting to find out which of these organisations will have their projects included in the first 100 projects destined to be fast-tracked?” 

“In light of this just-released information, at the very least, the select committee needs to extend the submission process so that people have time to see what kind of environmental destruction is being proposed in their communities,” Mr Capie says. 

“Tens of thousands of New Zealanders have submitted on the Fast-track Approvals Bill – including almost 13,000 who used Forest & Bird’s quick submission template. But they did so not knowing which projects are going to be green lit under the new legislation.

“Essentially, we will have three ministers in Wellington making decisions about communities behind closed doors, shutting out the public from having a say.  

“We have Ministers picking winners and sending invitations to some organisations to get their projects named in legislation, but not others. The whole thing stinks and New Zealanders deserve better. 

“This bill needs to be scrapped – it is anti-democratic and anti-nature.”

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