New Zealand announces an expert advisory group to help fast-track infrastructure projects


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The New Zealand Government has announced an expert advisory group that will provide independent recommendations on projects to be included in the Fast Track Approvals Bill.

The coalition Government has announced the expert advisory group who will provide independent recommendations to Ministers on projects to be included in the Fast Track Approvals Bill, say RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Regional Development Minister Shane Jones.

“Our Fast Track Approval process will make it easier and faster to build regionally and nationally significant projects as part of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and get it working for all Kiwis. It is only through a strong economy that we can solve the cost of living crisis, lift incomes and afford the public services Kiwis deserve.”

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“The advisory group members are David Tapsell, Rosie Mercer, Vaughan Wilkinson, David Hunt, Mark Davey and Murray Parrish,” Mr Bishop says.

“Collectively they bring many years’ experience working on infrastructure and economic development projects, environment and conservation initiatives, with local government and on Treaty of Waitangi arrangements.

“Advice from this highly experienced group adds another layer of expert analysis to the proposed fast-track process. It’s great that these high-calibre Advisory Group members are on board to ensure the process is transparent, and to thoroughly evaluate the suitability of projects.”

“The coalition Government is establishing a permanent, ‘one-stop-shop’ fast-track approvals regime to speed up delivery of the infrastructure and major development projects needed to get the country moving again,” says Regional Development Minister Shane Jones.

“Having the expert Advisory Group in place is another important step in ensuring the fast-track process delivers the projects our regions need.”   

The Fast Track Approvals Bill was referred to the Environment Committee on 7 March and does not currently contain any projects in either Schedule 2A or 2B of the Bill.

Projects listed in Schedule 2A of the Bill will be automatically referred into the fast-track process laid out in the Bill, and the listing of a project in Schedule 2B of the Bill will mean it is required to be taken into account by Ministers if and when a project comes before them for referral into fast-track.

Project applications – by either the public or private sectors – can now be made to the Ministry of Environment until 3 May. The Fast Track Advisory Group will then look carefully at the projects and provide independent recommendations to the Ministers of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Transport.

Ministers will consider the recommendations and decide which projects to include in the Bill.

Fast Track Projects Advisory Group Members

David Tapsell

David is a Board member of Te Puia NZMACI and Finance and Expenditure Chair of Pukeroa Oruawhata Group. He is a commercial lawyer and company director with over 20 years’ experience. The Pukeroa Group now manages property assets worth over $210 million and is broadening its portfolio into the flourishing tourism market.

Rosie Mercer

Rosie is an experienced executive leader with strong experience in infrastructure, port and supply chain environments.

She is a Civil engineer with experience delivering infrastructure projects and understanding of whole of life requirements for major infrastructure assets. She has Governance experience with specific strengths in regional economic development, supply chain and port related businesses.

Rosie is experienced in developing and delivering innovative and commercial ideas, and partnering with mana whenua, iwi and hapu.

Vaughan Wilkinson

Vaughan has four decades of experience in the marine and seafood sector. He has held a series of senior management positions at various fishing establishments, including Sanford Limited and Simunovich Fisheries Limited. 

Vaughan has extensive experience in transport and logistic supply chains in both the export and import of primary products, as well as diverse governance and public policy experience having Chaired major domestic and international seafood industry stakeholder bodies.

David Hunt

David has over 20 years’ experience in the electricity and broader infrastructure sectors, spanning executive, advisory and governance roles. 

He was formerly Chief Executive of Contact Energy and since 2006 has been a consulting director at Concept Consulting Group. 

David was formerly an independent director of Synergy and is currently on the boards of Accident Compensation Corporation and Christchurch City Holdings. He is also a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. 

Murray Parrish

Murray was a Regulatory Manager at Oji Fibre Solutions from 2010 until retirement in 2022. Prior to this, he worked for Carter Holt Harvey Forests as an Environment Manager, and Carter Holt Harvey Corporate as a Corporate Environment Manager. 

Murray has also been involved in a number of industry associations, such as the NZ Institute of Forestry, NZ Forest Certification Association, Packaging New Zealand and the Waste Management Industry Forum. 

Mark Davey

Mark is an experienced urban planner. He offers a breadth and depth of expertise across the planning spectrum in local government, consulting and academia. His experience has covered integrated land use planning, funding and investment, economic analyses, and policy development and plan implementation.

Source: Crown copyright

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