Is planning value for money?

Approval processes for delivering large infrastructure projects in New Zealand

SESSION: Thursday 20th April
Maree Drury

Huge amounts of time and money are spent consenting and delivering post consent approval documents for environmental management in NZs largest infrastructure projects. Designations are put in place and regional consents approved when these projects are often only at concept design stage. In order to get the best values for money teams then rework design and construction methods, often coming into conflict with how the project's environmental impacts were originally assessed, resulting in "double handling" of the project AEE, management plans and proposed mitigation. This rework and the approval process it can require does not necessarily provide better environmental or social gains. For urban infrastructure projects these post approval changes are most often in relation to construction noise and vibration and traffic impacts, as well as impacts on adjoining properties, generally due to changes to construction methods and cost constraints. As a consequence, this paper will question the competitive Alliance model and whether projects impacts should not be assessed and designations and consents sort until the project, its design and construction methods are more fully developed, and the property and iwi negotiations settled upon. Instead utilising the spatial planning methods and a limit-based approach as advocated in the RMA reform may result in allowing for innovation and flexibility without multiple approval processes being required.

Presented By

Maree Drury