The impacts of climate change appear to have been forgotten in new legislation fast-tracking infrastructure projects to help stimulate the economy, Greenpeace says.
On Monday, the Government announced 11 initial projects to be fast-tracked, including roading upgrades, a water storage facility, and a cycleway/walkway between Westhaven and Akoranga in Auckland, which will be allowed to proceed through a fast-track consenting process.
Once the COVID-19 Recovery fast-track legislation has passed, the projects will be referred directly to expert consenting panels - chaired by a retired Environment Court Judge or Senior Resource Management Act lawyer - who will set conditions on the projects before they can proceed.
But Greenpeace spokesperson Amanda Larsson says some of the proposed work will be detrimental.
"We're concerned that the Bill contains some projects that are very likely to increase pollution like roading projects and an irrigation scheme," she told Newshub.
Larrson is concerned the community's voice will be silenced on the projects. She said the new legislation only leaves a small window for consultation.
"The Bill restricts the ability for the public to be consulted on environmental matters - but the whole purpose of the fast-track Bill is to make things go quickly and that has placed some real restrictions on public consultation.
"Any infrastructure project is either going to produce good outcomes for the climate - like these cycling and rail projects we've seen in the Bill - or they can create very negative impacts like this roading project."
In announcing the Bill on Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said deliberate and direct interventions were needed as part of the Government's COVID-19 recovery plan.
"It will mean that projects that are already funded can get underway quickly," she told reporters.
Environment Minister David Parker said the new fast-track processes will likely take between 45 and 70 days, compared to between four and six months for a typical resource consent application.
A full list of the projects can be found here.