Nation wide protests against the Fast Track approval Bill

Hamilton, New Zealand – On April 5th, 2024, the streets of Hamilton echoed with the voices of dissent as a significant number of residents gathered to protest against the government’s proposed Fast Track Approval Bill. The bill, which aims to expedite the approval process for infrastructure, housing, and development projects, has sparked controversy across the nation due to concerns over environmental and public health implications.

The protest in Hamilton was part of a nationwide movement organized by Schools Strike 4 Climate (SSFC), a student-led environmental activist group. The group’s demands include the removal of the Fast Track Approval Bill and the maintenance of the ban on offshore oil and gas exploration.

The bill, introduced to the House and currently open for public submissions, has been criticised for potentially overriding existing environmental protections and Treaty of Waitangi settlements. Critics argue that the bill’s ‘one-stop-shop’ approach for project approvals could lead to hasty decisions without adequate consideration of environmental impacts.

The government has defended the bill, stating that it will provide significant regional and national benefits by streamlining the approval process for major projects. However, opponents remain skeptical, fearing that the bill could compromise New Zealand’s environmental integrity and public health.

As the deadline for public submissions approaches, the debate over the Fast Track Approval Bill continues to intensify. The outcome of this legislative battle will undoubtedly have lasting implications for the country’s environmental policy and democratic processes.