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Agencies join forces to streamline permits

Tuesday 26 March 2024 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Health, National


Agencies join forces to streamline permits
The participants at the first quarterly workshop attended by permitting agencies Te Marae Ora (TMO) Ministry of Health, Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) and the National Environment Service (NES). NES/24032506

Te Marae Ora (TMO) Ministry of Health, Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) and the National Environment Service (NES) held their first quarterly meeting last week 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.

In a statement released on Thursday last week, NES said that after a scoping meeting in 2023, the three agencies had discussed opportunities to strengthen their 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 had been agreed that each agency’s mandate is specific to its role.

The agencies discussed 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, presented various governance models including a comparison between centralised and decentralised models.

The agencies discussed scrutinising each other’s registration and permitting processes, identifying 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 statement also said that technical capacity and register of experts would be discussed to understand the plans required to strengthen capacity within each agency.

The agencies were also expected to discuss applicable guidelines, policies and legislation development, “that will inform its direction for future permitting developments”.