Fast-track consenting

The COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act lists 17 projects. Other projects will follow if referred by the Minister for the Environment.

Expert consenting panels make decisions on fast-track applications, and set conditions on the projects before they can go ahead. 

The Environmental Protection Authority provides advice and administrative support for the panel convener and expert consenting panels, which are appointed by the convener.

The legislation enabling fast-track consenting came into effect on 9 July 2020. It includes a 'sunset clause' which will see the legislation repealed on 8 July 2022. If an application is received prior to 8 July 2022, the provisions of the Act continue to apply for that application until the application process is completed. 

More information about the fast-track consenting process - Ministry for the Environment website

Expert consenting panels

The panels have similar powers to consenting authorities under the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Each panel will have a minimum of three members. The Panel Convenor, Alternate Environment Court Judge L J Newhook, will appoint the panel and a chairperson. Each panel will be chaired by a sitting or retired Environment Court Judge, or senior RMA lawyer. The local authority and local iwi authority may each nominate a person to be a member of the panel.

Find out more about the panel convenor 

The EPA's role

Some of our key roles in the fast-track consenting process include:

  • supporting the panel convenor
  • assessing whether applications and notices of requirement contain the information required by the Act
  • receiving comments on projects from specified parties
  • support for hearing processes if a hearing takes place
  • supporting panels from when they are appointed through to the issuing of a decision
  • recovering costs from applicants.

Process timeline

This flowchart diagram shows the fast-track consenting process timeline. 

Fast-track Consenting process timeline

Text description of fast-track consenting process timeline

Get in touch

If you have a question about fast-track consenting, please contact us.

Contact the EPA fast-track consenting project team