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Canterbury’s dictators

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 am, April 23rd, 2010 - 89 comments
Categories: Conservation, democracy under attack, farming - Tags: , ,

Reprinted with permission from No Right Turn.

The government has announced its dictators for Canterbury. Besides Margaret Bazley, the list is mostly grey technocrats (including former finance minister David Caygill), though they do have a dairy farmer and a token environmentalist. Apart from Bazley, all are men. “Jobs for the boys” has a literal meaning under National.

The dictators will be paid $900 each a day, with Bazley getting $1,400. The existing councillors get about $52,000 a year, or about $200 / day. Even allowing for the fact that the number of people being paid has halved, the people of Canterbury will be paying more than twice as much for a group of representatives who were not elected by them, not accountable to them, and have no democratic mandate.

The government has also released the terms of reference [PDF] for the dictatorship. These are fairly broad and vague, with much of the detail to come in a letter later (which hopefully people will OIA), but one bit is of immediate concern:

The Commissioners will be responsible for the timely consideration of applications for amendments to water conservation orders and any applications for new water conservation orders in the Canterbury region.

So, their chief job is to gut existing WCOs and give the water away to farmers. A public asset – water – will be effectively privatised, the farmers will get money, and the people of Canterbury will get cowshit and poisoned drinking water.

The people of Canterbury should not put up with this. It’s their water, their environment, and the decisions about it should be made by representatives elected by and accountable to them – not appointed and instructed by the government in Wellington. They should demand elections – and if they are not granted, take their revenge on National at the ballot box in 2011.

Correction: Nope, no token environmentalist. Oh, one of them is involved in the “Water Rights Trust”, but they support irrigation projects rather than opposing them.

89 comments on “Canterbury’s dictators”

  1. Clarke 1

    It will be interesting to see whether the new commissioners continue with the ECan prosecutions of Nick Smith’s brother for RMA breaches, or whether they quietly stop the actions. It will be an immediate test of the integrity of the commissioners.

  2. Jim Nald 2

    I say to the people of Canterbury: repudiate these dictators

    Reject what Central Government has most wrongly inflicted on you

    Reject, reject, reject

  3. kaplan 3

    Protesters rally for ECan

    Smith said there would be no extra cost to ratepayers of appointing commissioners, although others disagreed, saying commissioners would be paid far more than the average $52,000 a year councillors’ salary and more also than the chairman’s $142,000 package.

    Asked how the Government calculated it would cost no more and how much commissioners would be paid, Smith said he was ‘not prepared to speculate further’.

    So where can I sign up to help fight this crap? Who is taking contact details?

  4. Paul 4

    Commodore Rodney Hydemarama has fucked the people of NZ royally. Our govt is now no different from that of Fiji (and I chose my analogy carefully and deliberately).

    The removal of democratically elected peoples officials, replacing them with cronies and with no prospect of a return to democracy – how the F is this any different to Fiji.

    It proves one thing (with these continuing poll results of National), Kiwis are dumb-asses willing to take any manner of shit fed to them.

  5. Kevyn 5

    Caygill was a director of Target Pest Enterprises Ltd. Surely being part of ECan’s most expensive cock-up should disqualify him from this latest jafa raid on New Zealand’s resources.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK0707/S00037.htm

  6. tsmithfield 6

    The powers of the minister are set out in the Local Government Act (2002). Note: this was Labour’s baby. They did not change any of the provisions below.

    Here is an extract:

    12 Minister’s powers if local authority fails to implement recommendations
    (1) This section applies if, by the date specified in a notice given under clause 11 (or any later date that may be subsequently determined by the Minister), any requirement specified in the notice has not been implemented by the local authority to the satisfaction of the Minister.
    (2) The Minister may—
    (a) appoint a person to assist the local authority to implement the requirement to the Minister’s satisfaction; or
    (b) appoint 1 or more persons (including any officer of the Public Service) to exercise or perform all or any of the functions, responsibilities, duties, and powers of the local authority to the extent necessary to provide that the recommendations of the report are implemented.
    (3) A person appointed under subclause (2)(b) may exercise the functions, responsibilities, duties, and powers of a local authority as if the person were the local authority.

    Since the Minister has acted under an act of parliament that was established through democratic processes (and even affirmed by Labour) then the ministers actions can’t be held to be undemocratic.

    • r0b 6.1

      Say TS – I’m looking for the bit that says the Minister may cancel local body elections if they think they might not like the result. Could you show me that bit please?

      Since the Minister has acted under an act of parliament that was established through democratic processes (and even affirmed by Labour) then the ministers actions can’t be held to be undemocratic.

      Stupidest claim ever.

      • felix 6.1.1

        Stupidest claim ever.

        So stupid in fact that the incredibly stupid Rodney Hide claimed it in the house just the other day – that’s how stupid ts is.

    • Armchair Critic 6.2

      The government did not use the LGA 2002, ts, they enacted new legislation specifically to usurp democracy in Canterbury. There were plenty of things they could have done without legislating, but they legislated anyway. I don’t think the conclusions being drawn as a result have been properly rebutted.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 6.2.1

        The better name for the legislation that was used to abolish ECan , would be ‘enabling decree’ like the version last used in the 1930s
        ARTICLE 1. In addition to the procedure for the passage of legislation outlined in the Constitution, the Reich Cabinet is also authorized to enact Laws. . . .

        ARTICLE 2. The national laws enacted by the Reich Cabinet may deviate from the Constitution provided they do not affect the position of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The powers of the President remain unaffected.

        ARTICLE 3. The national laws enacted by the Reich Cabinet shall be prepared by the Chancellor and published in the official gazette. They come into effect, unless otherwise specified, upon the day following their publication . . .

        ARTICLE 4. Treaties of the Reich with foreign states which concern matters of domestic legislation do not require the consent of the bodies participating in legislation. The Reich Cabinet is empowered to issue the necessary provisions for the implementing of these treaties.

        ARTICLE 5. This law comes into effect on the day of its publication. It ceases to be valid on 1 April 1937: . . .

    • toad 6.3

      FAIL, TS! The Government did not invoke the powers you quote, because the conditions necessary to invoke them didn’t exist. There was no such notice ever issued to ECan.

      Instead the Government rammed all stages of the legislation to impose the Commissioners on Canterbury and take away its local democracy through Parliament under urgency with no opportunity for submissions, no Select Committee hearings, and without even prior consultation with Opposition parties. The Bill was even introduced under urgency, so no-one outside Government had the chance to scrutinise or even read it before the debate began.

      @Paul: “Commodore Hydemarama.” Yep, you’re onto it.

    • Swampy 6.4

      There is a process to be followed in Parliament that is considered democratic, that involves consultation including select committees. For the majority of legislative process this is followed.

      In this case it appears Smith has come to a cabinet meeting 29th March, made his decision, introduced the legislation and passed it under urgency the following day. This is a ridiculous stampeding of a predetermined outcome without any consultation.

      There is no reason why National could not have consulted widely with other parties, at the minimum, across the whole political spectrum – unless parts of the measure were likely to be unpopular in other quarters – such as parts of this legislation undoubtedly are.

      It may appear in National’s camp that they have got what they wanted – yet the public may believe otherwise and choose to punish them for their political ineptitude at the next election as the truth is that Smith has shown himself to be a far from competent political operator over this matter. Who would be dumb enough to choose a former National Deputy Prime Minister and dairy company director and the former CEO of the Prime Minister’s department for Jenny Shipley to conduct an “impartial” review and then propose Shipley as a commissioner. The revelation of meetings going back six months has done further damage. I suspect Smith got beaten round the ears when it came to choosing the commissioners and has been put on a leash since.

  7. Ianmac 7

    2009 Water lobby group and Minister hunts around for a way to increase the access to water.
    An ex Min Creech in spiter of a conflict of interest is appointed to explore.
    Minister Smith decides to remove the E can Council then Creech completes Report.
    Minister invites the Mayors to complain by letter. Mayors do so without consulting with Councillors.
    Bill presented and passed. Ecan demolished.
    Now the way is clear to expand the taking of water without the right of appeal from anyone.
    No wonder unscrupulous Ministers earn their money.
    (By the way Caygill was the bloke who lead the anti-ACC move to privatise ACC in spite of the stated fact that he had no evidence that Acc would become a better service. So he is one who just ignores science and like a religious nut just relies on faith.)

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Think about it Toad. Was the processes you have just described within the rules and process available within our democratically elected parliament. Or did the government go outside the parliamentary rules and burst into ECAN with machine guns and the like?

    • Ari 8.1

      You don’t need to use deadly force to execute an unconstitutional takeover, TS.

    • Armchair Critic 8.2

      A legally created removal of democracy is okay, but when it is done illegally it is not okay? Fuck me – I thought the removal of democracy was wrong irrespective of how it was done.

      • Swampy 8.2.1

        Any legislation passed by Parliament is by definition, legal. It complied with all Parliamentary processes. It is a legal action.

        • Armchair Critic 8.2.1.1

          Evidently Bill English’s housing allowance shenanigans were legal, too.

    • toad 8.3

      Always shifting your ground, aren’t you TS. Fail on the first argument, on whioch you were demostrably wrong, so put up another to justify your predetermined conclusion.

      Of course what the Government did with ECan was stricly legal, as Parliament is sovereign. But was it proper and democratic? No!

    • Galeandra 8.4

      oh don’t be so tsupid

  9. Zaphod Beeblebrox 9

    Didn’t the latest Bond movie have a bad guy who wanted to steal water from the peasants and direct it towards his own money making ways? Didn’t know you could do it legally though.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    If its so undemocratic and illegal, then why aren’t the police making some arrests of politicians?

    • Armchair Critic 10.1

      Does anyone have a spare brick wall, I need something to bang my head against.
      TS – it wasn’t illegal. But it was wrong. Like a fair bit of other stuff the government has done since being elected. I find it difficult to express the full depth of my revulsion for the government’s actions in Canterbury without Godwining this thread.

    • r0b 10.2

      Trying to put it in terms that TS might understand.

      TS, the government could quite legally amend and / or pass laws cancelling all further general elections and appointing themselves government-for-life. Would you be here arguing that it was fine because it was legal? How about if, say, the next Labour government did it?

      Do you get it now?

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      Ah, the RWNJ still doesn’t understand the difference between “legal” and “moral”. It was legal TS, as the government has absolute sovereignty, it just wasn’t, in any way, shape or form, moral. This doesn’t surprise those of us who’ve have done the reading because, as research has shown, RWNJs are inevitably lacking a conscience and any moral compass.

  11. tsmithfield 11

    r0b “TS, the government could quite legally amend and / or pass laws cancelling all further general elections and appointing themselves government-for-life. Would you be here arguing that it was fine because it was legal? How about if, say, the next Labour government did it?”

    Don’t be so dramatic, r0b. This sort of change would be very difficult to push through. It would fall under this catagory.

    “Certain key elements of the electoral system can be amended only if the people in a referendum approve, or three-quarters of the Members of Parliament agree.”

    Here is the link.

    http://www.cabinetmanual.cabinetoffice.govt.nz/introduction

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Remember the law that said Auckland had to have a referendum before any local government changes were enacted? You know the one that the present set of RWNJ dictators repealed under urgency.

      • Swampy 11.1.1

        No need was there. There was consultation before at the Royal Commission, and consultation during through the select committee.

    • Pascal's bookie 11.2

      Gee smitty. Dontcha know?

      Entrenched laws in NZ need 3/4 of Parliament to change them. But, a simple majority can repeal the entrenchment.

      The only thing stopping them doing it is the idea that doing such undemocratic things would outrage even the govt’s supporters.

      • gingercrush 11.2.1

        Perhaps Labour should have listened to Geoffrey Palmer back when he was pushing for a written and entrenched constitution that would place more limits on government.

        • Pascal's bookie 11.2.1.1

          Shit g, I wouldn’t mind having a written constitution.

          But this passive aggressive blaming labour for National’s sins is a bit beneath you isn’t it?

    • Armchair Critic 11.3

      The three year election cycle is required by section 17 of the Constitution Act, which can only be repealed by a 75% majority in parliament accoring to section 268 of the Electoral Act.
      But section 268 of the Electoral Act can be repealed by a simple majority in parliament, removing the requirement for a 75% majority to repeal section 17 of the Constitution Act and allowing its repeal with a simple majority.
      A little bit tricky, but not too tricky.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/3603344/Papers-disclose-concern-over-ECan-water-rules

    The Government wanted to dilute water-conservation orders and boost irrigation in Canterbury months before the Creech investigation recommended sacking Environment Canterbury (ECan) councillors, newly released documents show.

    Legislation that will see the 14 councillors replaced by Government-appointed commissioners on May 1 also gives the commissioners extra powers to make decisions on water-conservation orders (WCOs).

    Papers released under the Official Information Act show that Agriculture Minister David Carter and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) officials were considering how to take more water from Canterbury rivers six months ago.

    Forest & Bird, which made the official information request, said Government claims it acted on water in response to the Wyatt Creech-led report into ECan were “obviously not true”.

    Even more evidence that the Creech report into ECan was a setup.

    • Swampy 12.1

      Can’t tell which way that commission will swing.

    • Swampy 12.2

      Hopefully it is turning into a political embarassment for Smith:
      – revelations that his brother is being prosecuted by Ecan
      – cabinet papers released as noted above
      – choice of Doug Martin and Wyatt Creech on the review both with strong ties to Shipley cabinet
      – apparently approached Shipley to be a commissioner
      – conflict of interest revealed for David Carter
      – Ministry officials recommended against the legislative move

      If Smith turns up to Cabinet March 29th to get it approved and the legislation comes to Parliament the very next day, how likely is it that all of the National MPs had a chance to read the legislation in advance, let alone a say on it?

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Draco “It was legal TS, as the government has absolute sovereignty, ”

    Not absolute, Draco. Have a look at my reply to r0b above. I think if you have a look at the cabinet manual, what they did was perfectly constitutional as well.

    Draco: “it just wasn’t, in any way, shape or form, moral”

    Are you a moral relativist, Draco? If so, I don’t think you can have an argument on the basis of morality.

    • Pascal's bookie 13.1

      You haven’t answered r0b’s point though. If you are arguing that legal=ok, then repealing the entrenchment law and rewriting our constitutional architecture in any way whatsoever should be fine with you.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      No, I’m not. Don’t know why you’d think I was. The only ones who’ve I’ve seen that go toward moral relativism are the RWNJs. this is shown in actions like Blinglish’s housing rort – it was legal, barely, but there was no way it was moral. Legality != morality and in the places where immoral actions are legal then the law needs to be changed to make them illegal.

      BTW, the constitution isn’t perfect and we probably need to look at that which is one of the major reasons I dislike written constitutions – the ability to change them is almost non-existent.

      And can you please learn to use the reply button.

  14. tsmithfield 14

    Of course I don’t agree with over-riding the constitution in this sort of way. However, I don’t think the moral argument is very adequate either. As I pointed out to Draco, morality can depend on your perspective.

    Look at the guys who got off over the spy base sabotage. They thought they were doing the right moral thing in breaking the law. Other people would probably disagree and think it is morally wrong to destroy others property under any circumstances.

    Applying this to the current situation, the minister might think it was morally the right thing to do to fast-track the process to dissolve a local body that appeared to him to be dangerously dysfunctional. The minister might also believe he is acting in the best interests of all by ensuring that aspects of dysfunction are properly sorted out before a new council can be voted in.

    So saying that what he did wasn’t moral depends on your perspective on the issue.

    • Pascal's bookie 14.1

      What do you think? Local population divided such that democratic body can’t achieve something, so get rid of the democracy part and stack the deck so that your mates get what they want. Fair play?

      The ‘problem’ they have run up against is democracy. So they got rid of it. Justify it all you want, lot’s of dictators have in the past so you’ve got company.

      • Swampy 14.1.1

        No, how about
        The local body is dysfunctional and has not done the job they are supposed to, protecting the environment.

        It’s a proven fact that Ecan has presided over increased environmental degradation. Have a read from this insider on their failings in process:
        http://rwmjohnson.blogspot.com/2010/03/environment-canterbury-and-creech.html

        This is fundamentally due to the flawed Regional Council model which Labour has had 9 years to address, yet they changed nothing at all, in spite of the fact that Ecan is not the only regional council to mismanage their environmental role.

        It is just too stupid to expect that a political body such as a regional council which is subject to local parochialism and vested interests is going to able to manage such important functions effectively without political interference which is what has happened here.

        • Pascal's bookie 14.1.1.1

          That’s pretty much what I said swampy.

          oh noes. Competing vested interests and parochialism leading to political paralysis!

          Sometimes that happens in democracy. A lot. People don’t actually agree with each other and where there isn’t a clearish majority or compromise position available, you can get gridlock.

          I happen to think that abandoning democracy at that point doesn’t actually help. It certainly doesn’t make the disagreements go away. All that’s happened is that the large number of people who think the dictated decision is wrong, get quite properly pissed off because they have had their rights taken away. Eventually, they will get a crack of the whip. How hard they crack it depends on how pissed off they are.

          • Swampy 14.1.1.1.1

            If our city council was as paralysed as Ecan something would have been done about it a long time ago.

    • Swampy 14.2

      It was dysfunctional. IN fact it still is, as the whole Regional Council model is fatally flawed given the responsibilities they are granted.

      Suppose that National hands some of the RCs functions to territorial authorities so that they have democratic control. Will that be a good thing? It could be. For example regional transport, is just two cities, Christchurch and Timaru, that both TAs can handle easily. It’s not Auckland or Wellington where trains go across TAs.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.3

      Ah, so it’s you who are a moral relativist.

  15. tsmithfield 15

    What you are saying depends on our interpretation of the specific facts of the situation.

    What we can say is, as you, r0b, Draco and myself appear to agree, is that what the minister did was legal. That seems to be emphatically agreed.

    Whether or not it was moral depends on individual perspectives and the degree to which we have a full grasp of the facts. So its a lot more wishy washy.

    PB “The ‘problem’ they have run up against is democracy. So they got rid of it. Justify it all you want, lot’s of dictators have in the past so you’ve got company.”

    The fact is they have acted under the broader democratic mandate they have through established processes. There was no attempt to rewrite the constitution or any such thing. If people think what they did was such a bad thing they can vote them out at the next election.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 15.1

      So you agree then, that the sacking of Ecan and the cancelling of elections was an attack on democracy, at least.

      • tsmithfield 15.1.1

        No I don’t. A much higher percentage of Canterbury people voted in the general election than ever voted in the local body elections. Therefore, there is a lot more democratic mandate for the government than there is for ECAN.

        Thus, the majority are democratically having the government they elected acting on their behalf. As I said, if people don’t like that, then they still have the power to vote the government out next time.

    • r0b 15.2

      Grow a spine TS. First you argue that it’s legal so its moral. Then you argue that it’s morally gray so it’s legal. Now you’re back full circle arguing that it’s legal so its moral again. The only constant in your position is that National are doing it so it must be OK.

      It’s an overthrow of local democracy in Canterbury. There is no precedent for and no excuse for cancelling local body elections. It’s an arrogant abuse of power by any standard. Why not just stand up and say so instead of frantically dancing on the head of the pin looking for a place to stand that doesn’t stab you in the arse?

      • tsmithfield 15.2.1

        Not correct r0b.

        I have argued that moral perspectives on this issue are irrelevant due to the wide divergence of these depending on perspectives, competing interests etc. Therefore, the only relevant question was whether the ministers decision was legal. We all agree it was legal. Whether it was a good idea or not is another matter.

        The democratic implications are another question. I have argued that the government has acted democratically on the basis of its wider mandate that is stronger on the basis of democratic participation than the democratic mandate for ECAN.

        • Pascal's bookie 15.2.1.1

          “I have argued that the government has acted democratically on the basis of its wider mandate that is stronger on the basis of democratic participation than the democratic mandate for ECAN.”

          But that doesn’t fly. And even if it did, it would prove too much. The fact that a bunch of cantabs chose not to vote in local body elections doesn’t tell us anything about their wishes, and it most certainly doesn’t deprive them of the right to a say if they disagree with what the nats have in store from them. Failure to vote in the past doesn’t justify taking away the right to a future vote.

          The Nats have explicitly deprived them of the right to disagree by denying them the opportunity to vote for a new council. Smith was quite upfront about why they did that. He feared that cantabs might vote against the plan. To claim that this is evidence of a deeper democracy is garblgarnding farcisism.

          Whatever broader mandate the nats can claim, it’s hard to justify this. If the community of Canterbury cannot be trusted in the Nats eyes, then what other communities does your argument justify disenfranchising?

          I see no reason that your argument could only apply to geographic communities. Why not bankers? Or unionists? Or Jews? If the NZ population don’t approve of these groups being denied their vote, then they can vote against the govt that disenfranchises them. I think that this is would be clearly undemocratic and wrong.

          You can retreat into solipsistic style relativism of course and say that it would only be wrong to me, but democracy is in large part about pluralism. Pluralism absorbs relativism in a sense. All views should be respected by the superstructure, and the superstructure should not be used to eliminate the rights of those who disagree. These things are the glue if you like, that hold it together, And it’s not a very strong glue, but it’s the best one we’ve fund, which is why we need to pay attention to it I think.

          • Swampy 15.2.1.1.1

            There isn’t long enough before the local government elections to make anything happen, no point in having them.

        • r0b 15.2.1.2

          Therefore, the only relevant question was whether the ministers decision was legal.

          TS, that is not only stupid, it is dangerously stupid. In NZ ministers can make whatever they want legal. That is why there have to be other “relevant questions”. As usual you’re going to go round and round in circles until everyone gets bored and gives up on you. Bye!

          • tsmithfield 15.2.1.2.1

            Sorry you feel that way.

            I think you are both missing the bigger question.

            The reason that ministers can act in this way is because the system allows them to. If you don’t like that, then you need to focus on getting the system changed, rather than focus on political parties that use those rules to their best advantage. Have Labour been banging on about getting the system changed? I doubt it, because they probably don’t want to restrict themselves when they get into power.

            • Draco T Bastard 15.2.1.2.1.1

              No, we got the question. In it’s basic form it was “Dictatorship or democracy” and your gunning for dictatorship.

      • Swampy 15.2.2

        There has in fact been a precedence, in 1941 the national elections for central government were delayed for 2 years.

  16. Descendant Of Smith 16

    Actually they can do more than that – they can protest, they can voice their opinion,.they can boycott, they can debate, they can put in 100’s of applications for water use and tie up the committee with loads of red tape, they can reveal things to the public they the public may not know, they can petition, they can walk into the MP’s office day after day after day complaining peacefully, they can write letters – there are heaps more democratic things they can do without waiting for the next election.

    I’m appalled to find one of the board members was previously involved in failed privatisation of function that cost the amount of money it did. They should immediately be removed – there is a clear conflict of interest based on their past involvement let alone a credibility issue cause they achieved sweet FA. Talk about rising to the level of your incompetence.

  17. vto 17

    I am going to make an application to amend the Rakaia WCO, such amendments to result in even greater strength to the existing WCO.

    I am sure they are expecting applications to weaken WCO’s. Lets surprise them with applications to strengthen.

  18. Swampy 18

    The Water Rights Trust is calling for sustainable irrigation, and that is to a much higher standard than Ecan has managed so far. They asked for Ecan to be replaced by a commission on the grounds that Ecan had failed to manage farming practices, including irrigation, to a sustainable standard. Read it all on their website.

    Examples of Ecan’s failure
    – Rivers drying up
    – Lake Ellesmere and Forsyth poisoned from run-off
    – Dunsandel’s well supply contaminated

    Biggest example: Still no water plan after 20 years.

    The monitoring and enforcement need to be taken away from Regional Councils and given to MFE because some regional councils aren’t doing any.

    • Armchair Critic 18.1

      “Biggest example: Still no water plan after 20 years.”
      One of the subtleties of the RMA is that no regional council is legally required to have a regional plan. The number of plans and policy statements that are required by legislation is actually quite small. Always struck me as a bit of a curiousity.
      I’ve always wondered why neither National (who introduced the RMA) or Labour included this in amendments to the RMA over the last twenty or so years, especially given National seem to have missed the opportunity in their revamp last year (AFAIK – I’m still getting to grips with the latest changes).

      • Swampy 18.1.1

        The MFE has written a lot of policy papers on water. Labour in its last term 2005-8 seems to have been getting around to the idea we need something at a national level, unfortunately the wheels of central government still turn very slowly.

        There needs to be a much bigger debate over the sustainability of intensive dairy farming, particularly on alluvial plains. I find it ironic after the massive campaign for big industries to clean up their emissions (air and water) in recent decades everyone is so slow to act when the land and water are being polluted by dairying.

  19. Ianmac 19

    Swampy? “Examples of Ecan’s failure
    – Rivers drying up
    – Lake Ellesmere and Forsyth poisoned from run-off
    – Dunsandel’s well supply contaminated”

    These are Ecan’s failure???? Looks very like Farming/irrigation failure to me – unless you are saying they should have been tougher! Which of course the incoming group will be!????

    • Swampy 19.1

      Ecan’s job is to monitor the environment and enforce. They don’t have much of a clue in that they have allowed all these things, when they had the power to stop them. For example they have given out water consents for 35 years, who can predict the impacts that far ahead. It is entirely within Ecan’s responsibility to have been able to prevent these impacts.

      Ecan even is opposing the Hurunui WCO on the ground they know best and can manage the allocation of water “sustainably” to farmers in the region. The Water Rights Trust called for a moratorium on new consents, consistently opposed by Ecan. I think that’s pretty obvious, the farmer lobby in the regional council pushes that, however we are supposed to believe that regional councils are doing a great job when nearly all of them are presiding over increased environmental degradation.

  20. SPC 20

    Apparently we seem to approve of strong leaders – so imposing solutions in Auckland and Canterbury, gutting the public service in Wellington and increasing the income gap between the few and the many is making us fawn over this government.

    This is why we have GST on food and hardly any government elsewhere in thwe world would get away with it.

  21. Ah the sweet small of cowshit rebellion in the air.

  22. Jenny 22

    “….. and the people of Canterbury will get cowshit and poisoned drinking water.”

    And the already endangered Wrybill will get extinction.

    http://www.wrybill-tours.com/wrybill.htm

  23. vto 23

    Rodney Hide must be up for a nobel prize or some such surely. After all he holds himself out as knowing better than 1,000,000 people in Auckland and 500,000 people in Canterbury.

    The man has made a joke of himself. One of his core philosophies has always run along the lines that the market / the people know best and cen be relied on to make the right decisions for themselves. Hence health vouchers, education vouchers, and the like. He has always been one for letting the people decide because they have the most at stake in their lives.

    And conversely be very afraid of decisions coming from any form of government, he says.

    He says that. He has said it always.

    So now he says and does the complete opposite. Now he is in power. Take decisions away from the market / the people and get government to make them, because the people cannot be trusted.

    Hide you are a hypocrite. Spoiled by the baubles of power.

    Out the back door you go dick… can’t wait.

    • Ianmac 23.1

      “And conversely be very afraid of decisions coming from any form of government, he says.”
      Good point VTO. He can’t Hide from Hypocrisy.
      Actually it would form a good question for Question Time. “Does the Minister stand by his comments when he said …..?”

    • Swampy 23.2

      Act’s philosophy changes a lot, at the moment Hide is libertarian.

  24. Kaplan 24

    I propose the people of Canterbury go ahead and hold the next election regardless. They’d be mock elections of course but it’d still generate a lot of media interest. You just needs some advertising and a website for online voting. Sure online voting has issues but we are talking mock elections and it’d be cheaper.

    We need a fund, let’s call it ‘Attack on democracy’ I’m sure there are some people around that would donate money to that…

    Day after the ‘election’ we can send whoever wins in to take back the offices.

    Anti-Spam = ‘Naughty’
    Yep… Civil disobedience is supposed to be.

  25. jcuknz 25

    It boils down to the fact that ECAN has been discussing it for nineteen years and was hopelessly log jambed. Something had to be done and it was done, in a legal manner. Come next local elections the people of Canterbury will have their chance once the mess is sorted out. Maybe not the ‘next’ elections which are ‘this year’ but the one after to give the commissioners a fair go. It is a problem which should have been sorted a decade ago. The last government sat on their hands and ignored the problem, credit to the current government for doing something positive.

    • RedLogix 25.1

      It boils down to the fact that ECAN has been discussing it for nineteen years and was hopelessly log jambed.

      Actually no. It was a long and protracted process, but in fact a plan had been agreed and was due for the first stages of implementation in August this year. The problem arose when the farmers didn’t like the plan…that was when the shit hit the fan and Wyatt Creech was called in to do his whack job.

      The ‘hopelessly log jammed’ line is just flat out lie that you’ve been fed.

      • vto 25.1.1

        Thats it Red, ‘the farmers didn’t like the plan’.

        Just like the “regulatory impediments to water storage”, which means “farmers haven’t got their own way”.

        So they bulldoze through, and fuck anyone standing in their way.

        Also just like Central Plains Water being made a Requiring Authority allowing them to take anybody’s property that they need. And even that wasn’t enough to get the farmers want they want.

        Alan Hubbard and cohorts have one hell of a lot to answer for.

        What menwomen will do in their lust for MONEY

      • Swampy 25.1.2

        Facts are, Ecan was supposed to have had this plan ready seven years ago. There were supposed to be small delays. They turned into big ones. The whole process of producing this plan and implementing it has been characterised by extraordinary (ridiculous even) delays. Meanwhile the water consents were given out for 35 years without metering, they should have been 5-10 years. Ecan does not have much of a clue.

        • vto 25.1.2.1

          swampy, ecan was nearly there.

          Everybody sees what this vile ecan sacking rort for what it is. Farmers and dairy industry push for more loot.

          Farmers and dairy industry have proven themselves extremely poor at looking after the environment. There should be a moratorium until the dairy industry has cleaned up the piles of shit and the polluted waterways before any further expansion.

          • Swampy 25.1.2.1.1

            Ecan let them, hence Ecan is part of the problem. They are supposed to protect the environment. In truth there is too much political power from the farmer lobby in Ecan to ensure that they are capable of doing a proper job. This is probably also the case at other regional councils where the farming sector has a majority of the votes. People have asked Ecan for a water consents moratorium and have been turned down. Ecan opposed the WCO on the Hurunui. Etc.

            It’s hard to see which way the commission will go. I think that central government needs to get involved defining the standards and enforcing them in a consistent way, reducing the regional component of environmental protection.

  26. Ianmac 26

    Well Swampy: “Meanwhile the water consents were given out for 35 years without metering, they should have been 5-10 years. ” or no years actually. Still I suppose that this is a good reason to sack an elected body and appoint those who will speed through grants for water without appeal. You are right Swampy. Compelling.
    Now if we find another elected body who is failing in some respect you will arrange for that body to be sacked won’t you? Nact were so elected and on several fronts they have made mistakes so……..

    • Swampy 26.1

      If you can see into the future and predict the outcome of the commission’s decisions in advance then go ahead.

      I prefer to deal with the known facts. I’m waiting for Labour or the Greens or even this blog to investigate the political leanings of its members, the lack of response so far suggests that what has been stated publically so far is about all that there really is.

      There is a General Election in 2011 of course. You can make your choice then.

  27. vto 27

    The new ecan commissars have the power to implement a regional water plan under this new legislation. Under that legislation there is no power to appeal it to the courts.

    That is draconian.

    You know what will happen – when Bainimarama, I mean Key, lets us have elections again there is a high chance that the people will vote in those who will simply and straight away amend that regional water plan to that which the people want.

    Great governance Key.

    Most everyone spoken to about this entire matter down here is, to use the most common word used, ‘angry’. Even those of ‘right’ persuasion. Even those of even temperament.

    Only 6 months until Bob Parker gets the boot … 18 months for Key. (lordy knows what he is replaced with though)

    • Swampy 27.1

      Which way would the Regional Water Plan be altered?

      As things stand, without any substantial change to the way Ecan does business, back to their inept compromised way of doing things.

      • vto 27.1.1

        Altered to that which the people of the region want swampy.

        • Swampy 27.1.1.1

          Which is?

          Subject to whoeever wins the elections.

          Since there is a 50:50 split roughly (city:rural), that means the status quo. A compromise position that has seen a massive increase in water use and in pollution and negative environmental effects.

          I think I’d rather see the MFE coming up with the standards and enforcing them. there’s no reason why there can’t be national water quality and pollution control standards.

          You see, as far as I can tell, in this thread everyone who is defending Ecan, their achievements and “regional democracy” is most probably on the side of conservation, yet they want to defend Ecan’s failings on the grounds that regional control must be the best way of achieving what they expect.

          The big picture is that this environmental degradation is happening around the country, and that regional councils are largely responsible for it. Environmental protection is too big an issue to be left to regional mismanagement where it is too close to political interference and parochialism.

          • vto 27.1.1.1.1

            Well partly – I’ll give you a point for that point.

          • lprent 27.1.1.1.2

            Actually and surprisingly, I think I probably agree in broad terms with swampy for a change. The MFE should probably have the broad control over the water plans. Largely what they should do is have “thou shall not” broad plans because they’re simply not currently resourced to monitor and control adequately.

            However there should be local access as well for “thou can” proposals that they have to battle through the MFE.

  28. Ianmac 28

    The Press today: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/3618491/Officials-opposed-ECan-changes

    “The country’s top legal brains warned the Government that Cantabrians would be stripped of rights enjoyed by other Kiwis if it forced through Environment Canterbury (ECan) changes.

    Just-released Cabinet papers show the Ministry of Justice vigorously opposed legislation that sacked regional councillors, put off ECan council elections until 2013, gave commissioners extra powers over water and took away the right for communities to appeal to the Environment Court. “

    • Swampy 28.1

      Smith is a fool. He must have let Hide draw up the legislation. This has blown up into such a big issue in the papers, there have been letters every day for the last month. Rodders made such a big stuff up in Auckland that they have got National MPs in there as well to make sure he doesn’t stuff up even more. I mean there is an election barely 18 months away, and Hide doesn’t care what happens as long as he keeps his seat.

  29. Flatfish 29

    What does this (and the Auckland muddle) mean for the other Regional Councils?
    Will you bother standing for a Regional Council position in the up coming elections with this kind of horse play going on from Central Government?
    We have enough problems as it is getting competent people to stand forward for any kind of political position!

    Which Regional Council will get done to next Horizons, with Law(less) on the loose?
    Waikato with Barry Brill loose in the west?
    Northland with Wayne Brown whipping up discontent?

    And by doing this (decapitating Regional Government) we are going to over take the Aussies who really know how to manage water, carbon, farming etc

    Yeah Right!

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