Submissions open on consent applications for Te Ahu a Tūranga: Manawatū Tararua Highway

Horizons Regional Council is inviting those interested to make submissions on a suite of consent applications received from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency for activities associated with the construction of Te Ahu a Tūranga: Manawatū Tararua Highway.

The highway will replace the closed SH3 Manawatū Gorge route and is part of the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan programme, Accessing Central New Zealand. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says the restoration of the connection is important for local communities, travellers and distributors across the lower North Island.

“We recognise that given the developing COVID-19 situation, the timing of notification presents a number of considerations regarding the consenting process that will need to be worked through,” says Horizons Regional Council strategy and policy group manager Dr Nic Peet.

“Following discussions with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, we have carefully considered two key issues. These are that the project is hugely significant for the region and, indeed, Central New Zealand.

“Projects like Te Ahu a Turanga will be important as New Zealand recovers from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

“Equally, we are conscious that the country is now at COVID-19 Alert level 4. Horizons will continue to discuss these issues with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency as the situation develops, including whether any special measures may be needed over the coming weeks to ensure appropriate public participation in the process.”

Horizons has granted Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s request that the applications be directly referred to the Environment Court. The direct referral process is a streamlined procedure under the Resource Management Act 1991, which allows a requiring authority (such as Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency) to make a request that its notified applications be decided by the Environment Court, rather than the Regional Council.

The Court will consider all submissions on the applications before it makes a decision, however, submitters will only be able to be heard by the Court if they have also filed a section 274 party notice.

Information on the consent applications and details on how to make a submission are available at and on the Kotahi Waka NZ Transport Agency website.

Public submissions can be received up until 4.45pm on 24 April 2020.