Submission on Fast Track Approvals Bill

Submission to the Environment Committee on the Fast Track Approvals Bill
April 2024
Student Christian Movement Aotearoa (SCMA)

Tēnā koutou katoa Environment Committee:

Student Christian Movement Aotearoa is a progressive Christian group in tertiary institutions across the Motu. We believe that God desires all to flourish, and God’s desire for justice and flourishing informs the way we relate to whenua. Because of this — and guided by Māori theology which urges us to see that we relate to Atua, God, only through relating to whenua — we express our concerns with this bill as currently written.[1]

While we agree with the principles behind this bill, namely, that there can be undue bureaucratic red-tape in gaining approval and consents for some infrastructure and development projects of national significance, we express deep worry that so much decision-making power lies with ministers rather than with other independent experts in matters of conservation and environmental protection.

As a student organisation comprised primarily of rangitahi, young people, we are deeply concerned about kaitiakitanga of our environment, particularly with the effects of climate change already upon us. We are in a climate crisis with Aotearoa seeing the effects of the extreme weather events in early 2023. We are a group that cares deeply about social justice, particularly for those already marginalised, and we have seen from personal experience (supported by academic scholarship) how climate change disproportionately affects persons with disabilities[2], indigenous peoples[3], our Pacifica neighbours[4], and our Rainbow whānau[5].

With no guarantee that the ministers of any government would put the interests of people and God’s creation above corporate profits, we urge the committee to reconsider rendering such power to ministers of the government.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Michael Toy
Public Theologian
Student Christian Movement Aotearoa

[1] Henare Tate, He Puna Iti i te Ao Mārama: A Little Spring in the World of Light (Auckland, NZ: Oratia Books, 2012).

[2] Molly M. King and Maria A. Gregg, “Disability and climate change: A critical realist model of climate justice,” Sociology Compass 16, no. 1 (2022): e12954.

[3] V. Reyes-García, García-del-Amo, D., Álvarez-Fernández, S. et al. Indigenous Peoples and local communities report ongoing and widespread climate change impacts on local social-ecological systems. Commun Earth Environ 5, 29 (2024).;

Danielle Emma Johnson, Karen Fisher, and Meg Parsons, “Diversifying Indigenous vulnerability and adaptation: An intersectional reading of Māori women’s experiences of health, wellbeing, and climate change,” Sustainability 14, no. 9 (2022): 5452.

[4] Christina Newport, Jemaima Tiatia-Siau, K Dee Aimiti Ma’ia’i, Yvonne Underhill-Sem, and Alistair Woodward, “Anchored in pacific protocols–climate change, mental health and wellbeing,” Climate and Development (2023): 1-11.

[5] Samuel Mann, Tara McKay, Gilbert Gonzales,Climate Change-Related Disasters & the Health of LGBTQ+ Populations, The Journal of Climate Change and Health, 2024, 100304,

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