First Quarterly workshop by permitting agencies NES, TMO and ICI

The agencies will discuss the governance of permits and what needs to be improved to add value to the end users. Matthew Paetz, a New Zealand-based urban planner, will present various governance models including a comparison between centralised and decentralised models.
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Te Marae Ora (TMO), Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) and the National Environment Service (NES) started its first quarterly meeting today to strengthen coordination and management of permits across the three agencies. The agencies are mandated as permitting authorities under the Public Health Act 2004, Infrastructure Act 2019 and the Environment Act 2003 respectively.

Following a scoping meeting in 2023, the three agencies opted to strengthen its coordination of permits relating to building permits and environmental and public health related permits. The agencies discussed opportunities to consolidate permitting functions into one unit, however it was agreed that each agency’s mandate is specific to its role.

The agencies will discuss the governance of permits and what needs to be improved to add value to the end users. Matthew Paetz, a New Zealand-based urban planner, will present various governance models including a comparison between centralised and decentralised models.

The agencies will scrutinise each other’s registration and permitting processes, identify gaps and strategies to address in the near future. Halatoa Fua noted ‘NES’s Environmental Compliance Department has implemented a new management system under the Asana programme, to strengthen response times and communication within the team on applications being registered, assessed and approved’. Harmonisation and interface of processes will be key for the agencies moving forward.

The technical capacity and register of experts will also be discussed to understand the plans required to strengthen capacity within each agency.

Lastly, the agencies will discuss applicable guidelines, policies and legislation development, that will inform its direction for future permitting developments.

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About Nes

The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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