15 May 2024

Scientists warn Fast Track Bill could open floodgates to development on risky land

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 15 May 2024

Scientists and engineers warn of greater flood risks should the government's Fast Track Approvals bill proceed as it stands.

The Rivers Group - comprising 400 engineers, scientists, hydrologists and other river specialists - said the  sole focus on project delivery could lead to increased development in flood prone areas.

It said recent severe weather events, such as the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle, served to highlight the issue of approval in at-risk locations.

The group said there are several examples of new developments - some still under construction - which had been categorised 'unsafe for habitation' after those events. 

The Insurance Council plans to raise similar concerns in submissions to the Environment Committee, which is considering the legislation. Rivers Group chair and Niwa hydrodynamics scientist Richard Measures speaks to Kathryn. 

Central Hawke's Bay flooding after Cyclone Gabrielle

Photo: Supplied / Bryce Fergusson