3 Sep 2010

Fast-track consent process for $2b road plan

9:37 pm on 3 September 2010

Auckland's giant Waterview road project is to be the first of its kind to go through the Government's fast-tracking consent process introduced last year.

An independent board of inquiry has been appointed to allow faster consideration of the impact of the $2 billion plan to build the five-kilometre link between State Highways 16 and 20.

Environment Minister Nick Smith says Waterview is the largest infrastructure proposal ever to be lodged under the Resource Management Act.

He says the Government wants a robust and fair, but timely process.

Dr Smith says a board of inquiry is the best way to decide the outcome of the roading plan.

He says the streamlined process will help fix Auckland's traffic congestion problems faster.

The independent board is expected to make a decision within nine months.

Critics say the process makes it too hard for the public to have a say, but Dr Smith disagrees, saying everyone's interests are served by a process that works in a timely way.