Not so fast: Iwi wary of plans to speed up resource consents

A south Auckland iwi is calling on the Government to slow down its plans to fast-track the resource consents process.

The Government is set to pass new law which will see major shovel-ready projects bypass the Resource Management Act in an effort to boost our flagging economy.

Ngāti Te Ata is at the center of south Auckland's most intense housing development in the Franklin area. Edith Tuhimata is the resource consents manager for the iwi - overseeing hundreds of new resource consents every week.

"It's a huge job especially considering how intensification of development is happening, especially in the south Auckland area - which is our area."

The late Dame Nganeko Minhinnick was an environmental champion from Ngati Te Ata, who fought for the law to recognise kaitiakitanga values.

Thanks to Dame Nganeko, concepts like kaitiakitanga are now enshrined in our environmental law through the Resource Management Act.

"She set that portion of the RMA - which is those that have powers, must take into account our relationship with our ancestral lands, our taonga our wahi tapu and water." 

Over the last year Minister for the Environment David Parker has signalled his intentions for a comprehensive overhaul of the RMA. Tuhimata says iwi aren't resourced to keep up with the escalating demand.

"I think you know being kaitiaki - you're executive level, but we don't get executive wages."

Like many iwi around the country, Ngati Te Ata will be keeping an eye on how the Government moves forward in it's plans to fast-track development.

"I'll be interested to see how it goes into the future. We try our hardest to maintain our integrity and our mana. Sometimes we're not always able to do that, but we try our best as kaitiaki."

The new fast-track law is due to be passed in June.

The Hui