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Breakout Session


Good the bad and the fast tracked


The paradigm of environmental compliance in large infrastructure projects is shifting, with a growing emphasis on expediting decision-making processes through fast track consenting mechanisms. This trend indicates decision-making authority on major projects could move away from local authorities towards centralised bodies, purportedly to streamline processes and accelerate development. However, this shift has raised concerns regarding the adequacy of environmental safeguards and the capacity of local authorities to effectively monitor and enforce compliance post-consent.

This presentation examines the implications of fast track consenting on environmental compliance, drawing on a comparative analysis of two significant harbor development projects in the Bay of Plenty: the yet-to-commence Whakatane Boat Harbour and the completed Opotiki Harbour Development.

The Whakatane Boat Harbour project serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the potential pitfalls of fast track consenting. Despite its promise of accelerated development, the project encountered significant challenges stemming from inadequate consideration of contaminated land issues during the consent process. This lack of due diligence has left local authorities grappling with unforeseen environmental liabilities, necessitating the implementation of management plans to mitigate risks and address contamination post-consent.

In contrast, the Opotiki Harbour Development stands as a model of effective environmental governance within the fast track consenting framework. By prioritizing comprehensive environmental assessments and robust compliance monitoring measures,  local authorities successfully navigated the complexities of large-scale infrastructure development while safeguarding environmental integrity




Fraser Toulmin
Compliance Team Leader, Bay of Plenty Regional Council.


Prior to working at Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Fraser has a background as an Officer with 10 years service in the Royal New Zealand Navy

Fraser commenced work at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council since 2015, working as a Senior Emergency Management Advisor for Emergency Management Bay of Plenty. 

In 2021 he took up his current role as Team Leader of land based compliance. His portfolio includes dairy farming, forestry and earthworks compliance. 


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