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Forest & Bird warns the Fast-track Approvals Bill poses significant risks to the environment, to local communities, to democracy and to future generations of Kiwis.  This is the premise of its submission to the Select Committee.

Forest & Bird wants the current Bill to be withdrawn.

Forest & Bird’s Chief Executive Nicola Toki says, “This Bill needs to get in the bin.  Instead of encouraging sustainable development that will provide a win/win/win for people, the environment, and the economy, this Bill is a giant-leap backwards for New Zealand.

“It will cause significant harm to our environment and communities. It is completely at odds with New Zealanders’ relationship with nature and our need for a low-carbon, sustainable economic future.

“This Bill and its processes have been a shameless two-fingers to the public of New Zealand, who rightly want to have a say about the natural environment that defines us,” Ms Toki says.

“We need to stand up and stop this Bill and this government’s relentless war on nature.”

The Forest & Bird submission highlights risks to New Zealand’s democratic processes – pointing out that the Bill encourages developers to lobby Ministers directly to refer and approve their projects, and that there is no right for affected communities and those representing nature to advocate for the environment.

Ms Toki says Forest & Bird understands the desire for faster consenting processes and supports process improvements – but these should not compromise the environmental outcomes provided for in existing legislation.  

She says Forest & Bird also recognises the importance of enabling development that will help New Zealand to achieve its emissions reduction targets, however the Bill, as it is currently worded is only going to fast-track one thing – environmental destruction and further damage to the thousands of threatened species found here.

Forest & Bird is encouraging all concerned Kiwis to put in their own submissions on the Bill ahead of the fast-approaching deadline (one minute to midnight, Friday 19 April).

To date, almost 11,000 people have submitted via Forest & Bird’s quick submission template.

Many others have written detailed individual submissions to articulate their concerns.

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