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Jones faces down backlash over Fast-track bill protests

Summarised by Centrist 

Government ministers remain defiant against protests over the proposed Fast-track Approvals bill. Actor and activist Robyn Malcolm suggested its passage would lead to fascism. 

Resources Minister Shane Jones dismissed the demonstrations as “green, banshee-like shrillness” and “a Green Party recruitment device.” 

The bill aims to expedite resource consents by shifting decision-making power to politicians – outraging environmentalists and activists. 

Jones argued in favour of the bill saying that currently unelected bureaucrats hold sway over “pivotal resource decisions.” 

“If people don’t like the result, they can reflect their preferences at an election,” he said. 

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon defended the bill, citing the need for faster development. 

Activist Mike Smith attended the protest in Auckland and said the government should be fast tracking the return of “stolen Māori land” and not primary industries.  

Editor’s note: According to The Post: “The Fast-track Approvals bill is proposed to give three ministers the final say on major projects that might previously have been consulted on through public hearings. Those ministers are Chris Bishop, Simeon Brown, and Shane Jones.”

This wording gives the impression that the current ministers—Bishop, Brown, and Jones—are permanently seizing this power. In fact, according to the bill, the final decision on whether a project proceeds will be made jointly by the Minister of Infrastructure, the Minister of Transport, and the Minister of Regional Development, regardless of who they are. This means potentially different outcomes depending on future ministers’ political alignments.

Read more over at The Post

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