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Megan Woods: Democracy isn’t “risky”, Minister

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, March 22nd, 2015 - 60 comments
Categories: local government, water - Tags: , , ,

A guest post from Megan Woods, Labour’s MP for Wigram.

This week the Environment Minister, Nick Smith, has said democracy ‘carried too much risk’ for Canterbury. After delays, he has finally showed his hand and announced that it was not a return to democracy that he favoured, but a mixed governance structure for Environment Canterbury (ECan), with seven members elected and six appointed by Government.

This is not the return to democracy that we in Canterbury have been demanding since Smith sacked our democratically elected council back in 2010. This is an insult to Cantabrians. With 53% of councillors being elected, to use one of Steven Joyce’s favourite phrases, it could be described as “pretty democratic”. This is a nonsense. You can no more have a little bit of democracy than you can be a little bit pregnant. I never thought I had come into politics to fight for adage of “no taxation without representation”.

It should also send chills down the collective spine of the rest of the country. All the logic that the Government is furiously spinning could just as easily apply to the other regional councils. Why is there a special case for Canterbury needing technical expertise and specialist skills for decision-making around the table?

The attempts to justify this move have been feeble and have not stacked up and again give no reason why they would stop at the borders of Canterbury. There has been an attempt to say this is the DHB model and therefore is nothing to see here. Well the “move along citizen” attempts have not washed with me. There is a fundamental difference in that DHBs are spending taxpayer money. It is a dangerous precedent that central Government is saying it has the power to appoint commissioners to spend locally collected rates money.

Smith, who as Minister for the Environment should be seeking to protect the environment has not even attempted to conceal the underlying agenda. This is about increasing irrigation in the region pure and simple. There has been no demonstrable improvement in water quality in the region since the government-sacked the council.

This week I have launched a petition so that together, we can make the government realise that nothing less than democracy being returned to Canterbury will do. It isn’t right that Cantabrians are being treated differently to all other New Zealanders.  You can sign the petition here: http://action.labour.org.nz/ecan

60 comments on “Megan Woods: Democracy isn’t “risky”, Minister”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Was this written specifically for The Standard, or just a re-print of what she wrote elsewhere?

  2. Megan Woods 2

    Hi there. I wrote it specifically for The Standard.

  3. Brendon Harre 3

    Democracy and deciding how your taxes are spent are important issues.

    For Canterbury the choice is whether we ‘farm cows’ or ‘farm people’. Whether Canterbury is a rural support province or the commercial capital of the South Island -something like say Adelaide.

    The decisions we make now regarding land use, irrigation, transport, housing and commercial development will determine the shape of Canterbury for generations to come. This will most affect young kiwis, the opportunities they have.

    For the country the choice is whether NZ has one or two cities of international size, whether future growth is only in Auckland or in other big centre’s too.

    A democratic Ecan is an important issue for all of us.

    Here is some links that discuss these issues.

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/02/27/aucklands-population-to-continue-to-grow-strong/

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/03/06/mots-review-of-capital-spending-on-roads-part-4/

    http://www.interest.co.nz/business/74638/are-economists-obsessed-aucklands-growth-and-growing-divergence-rest-nz-actually-stuc

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/65378638/Canterbury-with-a-population-of-2-million

    • Brendon Harre 3.1

      Here is a link to show the ‘farming cows’ option. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/66537496/Bringing-water-to-make-the-land-lush-and-alive

      The hard real politics is that farming rich listers like Gary Rooney (see above link) will be donating serious money to the National Party to keep them in government and Ecan firmly under control. They do not care how this affects the opportunities and environment for hundreds of thousands of urbanite Cantabrians.

      Lianne Dalziel and Andrew Little’s concern about transport and housing for urban areas are an distraction that is ignored by National and its rural constituents.

      Where is National’s vision for Canterbury -it certainly isn’t focused on urban areas like Andrew Little’s.

      “Congested roads and unaffordable housing were front of mind during Andrew Little’s first speech in Canterbury as Labour leader.

      Little addressed the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce on Monday morning to outline his vision for the region’s future.

      Christchurch’s heaving roads, caused by population displacement from the earthquakes, were an issue that desperately needed addressing, Little said.

      He floated the idea of light rail as a solution, and urged the need for investment into alternative transport such as cycle paths and walking tracks.

      “The truth is, we currently aren’t doing the infrastructure development we need to keep up with these sort of population movements and we are seeing it in the roads choking on too much traffic,” he said.

      “We’ve seen in Auckland how poor transport planning can put a handbrake on a city’s growth – we can’t let the same thing happen in Christchurch.”

      He said road congestion had increased by 40 per cent since 2009, and locals needed to consider alternative transport methods, particularly in the northern parts of the city.”

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/67415624/Light-rail-may-ease-congested-Christchurch-roads-says-Labours-Andrew-Little

  4. RedLogix 4

    Anyone else remember when Cunliffe as Minister of Health in the Clark govt had to sack a dysfunctional DHB in Hawkes Bay and appoint a temporary Commissioner until an election could be held?

    Any else recall the outrage in the media and the threats of legal action from various local bodies? How this was just more evidence those crazed closet commies in the Labour party were looking for flimsy excuses to shut down the democratic process?

    Now this and … silence.

    • joe90 4.1

      But it’s different when tories do it.
      //

      Inventory2 (9,614 comments) says:
      February 29th, 2008 at 11:09 am

      That’s as may be gd, but does that give the Minister grounds to override the wishes of Hawkes Bay electors? And why Hawkes Bay? Capital and Coast DHB is far more dysfunctional.

    • Tracey 4.2

      can you remind me about it and how long they were unelectedly run?

  5. just saying 5

    Hi Megan,

    Glad to see you working on this issue.
    I’d really like to see the Labour Party make investigating issues around democracy a big priority and create a raft of policies that aim to redress legislative changes that have weakened it and new initiatives that aim to strengthen and extend it.

    And as a first small step, please support the “Fighting Corporate
    Control ‘bill.

    Thanks.

  6. Venezia 6

    Good Megan. I have been waiting to see the Labour response to this issue. Nick Smith’s comments reflect an arrogant sense of entitlement underlying the whole ECAN powergrab. We need to harness the anger people feel here in Canterbury, and highlight for the rest of the country that this ECAN precedent means – today its us, tomorrow it could be you! Stop them in their tracks.

  7. Ad 7

    The harder question here is: what is the point of democracy in New Zealand, particularly at a local level?

    Local democracy in New Zealand has since its inception been dominated by old rich white men. They have had their farming interests installed throughout the regions. Their decisions have built this country.

    If you get to have a look at the breakdown of who submits to local government budgets, that demographic breakdown still holds.

    The rate of voting has plummeted across New Zealand to the 20%+ of registered, let alone the % of citizens eligible. That has something to do with real cynicism by citizens that what they say they want will be acted on.

    One of the alternatives is exactly what the Minister has proposed, namely, the hybrid option of the health system. There are both democratic and elected members on the District Health Boards – no one expects direct democracy, but no one’s complained either.

    • Ergo Robertina 7.1

      What’s the basis for saying that no-one complains about the DHB hybrid system?
      Anyone involved probably wouldn’t dare do so in public – and doesn’t that tell you something?
      DHB elections are a sham, which is why they attract even less interest than local body ones.
      Members are legally bound to carry out the wishes of the Minister of Health making the ‘election’ of representatives of the people deeply disingenuous.
      Your comment identified societal inequalities that engender unequal levels of participation and effectiveness in local decision-making. Turning boards into bureaucratic/partisan vehicles rather than controlled by democratically elected representatives only exacerbates that dynamic.
      And have a think about why ECAN was sacked in the first place.

      • weka 7.1.1

        People complained, quite loudly, when the democratically elected Area Health Boards were sacked by National in the early 90s and replaced with Commissioners then appointees.

        I didn’t quite follow Ad’s point, but I do agree that the low involvement in local body elections is shameful. It’s also an opportunity. The best thing the left could do to protect waterways (and many other things) in NZ is to organise around regional council elections*. Getting good people to stand, supporting them to run, and getting people out to vote.

        *Except for Canterbury voters of course.

        • Ergo Robertina 7.1.1.1

          I had to read it a couple of times. Ad’s saying local body entities are ridden with old boys’ provincial networks thus a corporate board approach is preferable. I don’t like either of those options.
          The fact ECAN’s board was sacked for trying to introduce proper management of water should give anyone pause for thought before claiming Canterbury would get better outcomes from a Nat-controlled vehicle.

          • weka 7.1.1.1.1

            Ah, yes. Well Ad’s descption could equally apply to national government, but we wouldn’t consider relacing that with hald appointed MPs would we?

            The solution to the regional council problem is to get more people participating in democracy, not less.

            • Ergo Robertina 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Exactly.
              There’s too little use of these bodies to try to push change at a local level.
              A good example of this approach was Bruce Jesson being elected to Auckland Regional Council, which was instrumental in keeping the Auckland port from privatisation in the 1990s.

          • Ad 7.1.1.1.2

            I wish there was a functioning alternative to this hybrid thing that health boards have become. This ain’t Mondragon. I also resent National’s almost-permanent dominance of local government outside of Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin, but that’s the way history’s been written.

            But what the Minister’s decision has done is invite debate along the lines I have suggested from health to local government.

            The amalgamation proposed for Wellington, and that completed for Auckland, finally makes regional/local government relevant to central government policy.

            In many areas, central government can no longer execute policy in Auckland without local government agreeing. Transport and housing are top of the list. This is essentially what Minister Smith is admitting.

            And to really get to my point: would we not be better off if central government was able to properly partner with local government like this, across a wide range of fields? I don’t mean this in the mealy-mouthed communitarian and direct-democracy fashion. I mean requiring central and local government to align, both when they do their finances, and when they have common policies to effect.

            Sure, it would hurt when the Nats were in power, as they are now. But imagine what a future Labour-Greens coalition could do to transport, housing, environmental, and conservation policies if local government were required to align with central government.

            There is currently very little regional or spatial responsiveness or representative voice outside mere electorate MPs. Time for some governance reform of governance itself.

            • Ergo Robertina 7.1.1.1.2.1

              Under your ‘reformed’ local government model is it realistic to expect to continue to collect revenue locally?
              Given the Nats are in office more often than Labour, how could you expect community friendly outcomes to be effected overall?

              • weka

                Seeing as how National changed the local body act a couple of years ago to reduce councils’ obligations to community, I think it’s safe to assume that National will continue to lessen democracy every chance they get.

                The only way I can see Ad’s suggestion being useful is if we have more direct control of central govt (via mealy mouthed direct democracy), but the reality is we don’t and we will always be at the mercy of the cycles of the neoliberals until that change (which incidentally is why the health system is in such a mess, 3 decades of reforms from various govts who wanted different things).

                • Ad

                  What I worry about even more than Minister Smith’s changes to ECAN is New Zealand’s cultural change from democracy to corporate governance. Too much has gone from direct control to reverse it back.

                  What we see in the major councils is 90% of actual stuff being done with accountability to corporate Boards- either as CCOs or other variants. Those boards in turn have only oblique accountability in practice to democractically elected representatives.

                  Naturally I was making up my idea as I went along; I expect whole rafts of legislative change needed to make it work.

                  But our culture of control – indeed our culture of politics itself – is now deeply corporatised even within local government. I don’t see either National or Labour currently proposing to change that.

                  What I am suggesting is a way of making the best of this mean corporatist governance tide. I agree it ain’t the way Habermas or indeed the framers of the 1989 Local Government Act had in mind.

                  But we have to deal with it, in a version that will work, to pick up from where these guys leave things in 2017.

                  • weka

                    Resisting super cities and amalgamations instead of acquiescing and then adapting is an option.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Too much has gone from direct control to reverse it back.

                    Difficult and certainly not impossible. I suspect the longer the change takes to happen the easier the decision will be: too much dysfunction born of graft and incompetence will make it a no-brainer in the end.

                    You just have to remember that nationalisation isn’t a dirty word 😈

  8. Ed 8

    The ‘mixed’ system appears to be designed to produce the same result as all appointed members, but with an expensive veneer of some elected members – who unless 100% opposed to the government appointed members are unlikely to ever make a difference to policies. This is a cynical sham and a clear waste of money – who pays the election and ongoing costs of appointed and elected members? Where is the Taxpayer Union’s outrage?

  9. Tracey 9

    The rest of the nation may now be ruing keeping quiet over the hijacking of Auckland into a SuperCity and thinking it was nothing to do with them… and as they re-elected the government that did it, they seem surprised their undemocratic ways spread farther south (and North).

    Ir regionalism makes us easier to divide because we have gone halfway without any push from a government wanting to take advantage.

    Until we stop thinking of ourselves as regional tribes and start thinking of NZ as one big city, we might start finding a way out…

    For example, we wouldn’t need a big expensive half full stadium ever 150KM, convention centres at the same distance, and Ports and so on. And before anyone jumps to conclusions I am NOT suggestnig everything should be centred in Auckland, far from it.

    • Ad 9.1

      What are you suggesting?
      What system would work better than the one Minister Smith is installing at ECAN?

      • weka 9.1.1

        What’s wrong with how it was before?

      • Tracey 9.1.2

        I am saying that ACT and many in national think Democracy is an obstruction to their business. They undemocratically shoved a SuperCity down Auckland’s throat, dumped Ecan cos it didn’t love the farmers enough and so on…

        And the people didn’t just stand by, they re-elected them.

        We were told in 2007 and earlie rby this lot that they wanted central government out of local government, that wa sone of the selling points of their SuperCity for Auckland, but it isn’t how it turned out and it isnt what they meant…

        they wanted a right wing Mayor, and lost. They thought a right wing mayor would kow-tow to CCO’s and business would run a social contract based organisation.

        So, now in Canterbury they sacked the local people duly elected and installed their own, under Ministerial control… the opposite of central government out of regional/local government.

        Whenever I now hear people champion less RMA, it is because someone successfully appealled their project (they seek to have the appeal process removed).

        A 6-5 model is suggested, imo, cos this government knows it only needs 2 of the 6 to come from the Right and they are confidant they can always swing that by fair means or foul (DP).

        WHATEVER model we use for ECAN and our country must have sustainability as its core objective… environmental, financial, people, etc

    • tc 9.2

      most kiwis have no sense of scale and think akl is a big city….it aint.

      It’s a quirk of our self serving social engineering and f’d up planning and execution.

      We could have single entities giving cost plus telco, cost plus power, proper logistics based on a few larger ports with decent rail etc

      NZ is a great example of how f’d up the current neo lib system way of ‘business’ punishes those not at the top.

      • Tracey 9.2.1

        That is why we need to start looking at NZ as a city/community of 4.5 million and structure and plan accordingly… as long as people and politicians cling to regionality we won’t spread the right resources in the best way we will however keep spreading the wrong stuff we can’t afford

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    Honestly I think the time has come to play hardball. The opposition parties should make it known that all actions under this undemcratic situation will be called in when they reach power so that a democratically elected body can remake the decisions if they see fit. And the recipients will have to pay back the largesse received if necessary.
    At the moment people are acquiring lengthy so called private property rights ( water take) created in an undemocratic situation. They should be on notice that the rights will be cancelled and and if not reinstated then they pay for what they have had.

    • tc 10.1

      It’s almost like we don’t have an opposition with the lack of ongoing focus on asset stripping, ECAN, privatisation by stealth etc to keep the narratives in play.

      Far too much falling in line with the MSM agenda and happy to get some airtime rather than set the tone.

      • Tracey 10.1.1

        It’s not just the Oppositon, it’s the people of NZ tc, we are the ones letting this happen and in big numbers voting for it and cheering it on.

        if 250,000 people marched next month to take back our nation…

        • tc 10.1.1.1

          It’s not us Tracey or anyone reading but not commenting here, it’s the sheeple not bothering to vote, march, make an effort to be better informed. Apathy rules…ok?

          It’s the swinging voters and non participants overly influenced by an owned MSM, fix that and you go a long way to better levels of engagement, debate, buyin.

          I see an opposition mostly committed to the status quo, the green vote last election was very disappointing as they stand apart as a new way and a holistic NZ wide approach.

          Watching Goff, king, mallard, cosgrove, Nash gives me no confidence whatsoever Labour has what it takes to truly repair the NACT damage and chart a brave new course. I wish Megan the best of luck, she’s going to need it.

          • tracey 10.1.1.1.1

            Fair enough.

            We will have to agree to disagree, cos I think it is each and everyone of us…

            Commenting on a blog aint enough
            Going on a march aint enough

            If we keep relying on political parties to make “others” “see”, we are part fo the status quo.

  11. vto 11

    Everyone may as well give up on the Canterbury Plains. They are already nothing but an industrial landscape – may as well be concreted over such is the effect.

    Had cause to drive most of the plains yesterday – river after creek after river after creek, dry as a bone, while immediately adjacent irrigators sprayed the water that belonged in the waterways all over the wondrous green nutritionless grass.

    Disgusting it was. Greed writ large right across the landscape. Just like we weep at the loss of the kauri forests due to the same greed.

    The farmers are greedy.

    The National Party are conservative losers with not an iota of understanding of even our most recent history.

    It is not wonder that, contrary to all farmers claims to want to leave the land in a better state then when they got it, they leave the land in a worse state – generation after generation after generation.

    This is the legacy of the National Party and farmers…. prove it wrong

    • SMILIN 11.1

      This situation in Canterbury is the product of the 1960’s the naive dream to have this marvelous multi land use for farming by a irrigation
      but no one really factored in climate change and actually running out of water as well as the huge effluent problem
      Do hydroponics to see how little nutrient plants can take up efficiently then scale it up you got more shit than you can handle polluting the environment
      What they are eventually going to have to do with cow shit is have dehydration units on farms to cut out the excessive effluent and that will be a bigger carbon cost .This system now is so inefficient that really we should trade it in and by fishing boats as well as coastal gold dredges as well as get a bigger navy so we can actually police our economic zone but thats another dream as well
      Basically its hello international mining,oil , population increase by bank account and any other of the TPPA ripoffs that are goin to happen because of the ZIONIST saviour and chief of this part of the world KEYSTER
      Can everyone get together and tell him to get out of our country fuckin leach that he is

      • tracey 11.1.1

        and farmers changing to dairy in drought prone areas.

        my daughter-in-law’s father in North Otago began converting 3 years ago…

        I have less problem suppporting those affected by climate change but those who made a conscious choice to change to a type of business the land couldn’t sustain are on their own…

  12. Brendon Harre 12

    There is a debate about regional governance and growth prospects here.
    http://www.interest.co.nz/business/74638/are-economists-obsessed-aucklands-growth-and-growing-divergence-rest-nz-actually-stuc#comment-806392

    I have copied the key comments but to follow the links go back to interest.co.nz

    by Brendon | 21 Mar 15, 12:31pm

    There is a mysterious law that accurately predicts the size of the world’s biggest cities. Zipf”s law in most countries and economic regions has held true for the last century. The biggest city is double the size of the 2nd biggest city. Triple the size of the 3rd biggest city and so on.

    There is an interesting debate about why this might be true in the above link.

    by kiwimm | 23 Mar 15, 10:33am

    Interesting article and comments.

    Based on Zipf’s Law, we should see (City, Expected, Actual)
    – Auckland 1.42M 1.42M
    – Christchurch 0.71M 0.37M
    – Wellington 0.47M 0.35M
    – Hamilton 0.36M 0.22M
    – Tauranga 0.28M 0.13M
    – Dunedin 0.20M 0.12M

    Clearly Auckland is overly large for the country by this measure and to increase productivity, we need to grow the remaining cities

    by Brendon | 23 Mar 15, 11:11am

    Thanks Kiwimm I was wondering if anyone noticed my ‘interesting’ article.

    I think if you took the ‘greater ‘ urban areas for Wellington and Christchurch. Greater Christchurch is still the larger urban area at just under 1/2 million and Greater Wellington is quite close to the 0.47M figure that should be expected for the 3rd biggest city.

    My thought is that if regions like Canterbury, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty could retain more of their taxes and decision making power then they could allocate resources such as transport infrastructure and affordable land for housing and commercial development etc in such a way to promote their key cities -Christchurch, Hamilton and Tauranga to grow to the size expected from Zipf’s Law.

    This sort of devolution of local governance is typical in other OECD countries and I think we could expect the same outcomes -cities to develop the same ranking size structure.

    The lesson from Zipf’s Law for New Zealand is it explains why Auckland is the biggest city but it also cautions against over weighting development resources like new transport funding to Auckland and Wellington our 1st and 3rd biggest cities when there is growth potential in our 2nd , 4th and 5th…. sized cities too.

    by kiwimm | 23 Mar 15, 11:31am

    I too would like to see NZ with more competitive cities. Give the cities more autonomy and watch them grow. For example, if Christchurch had more freedom in its planning process, it could build enough houses and infrastructure to drop its land prices leading to cheaper housing costs (=more disposable income), lower rents for business (=incentives to relocate from Auckland) and lower commuting times.

    This would be a good vent for Auckland which is struggling.

    None of the political parties seem to understand this so unlikely to happen soon. National had the perfect opportunity with the earthquakes and failed to seize it.

    by Brendon | 23 Mar 15, 11:45am

    I agree completely Kiwimm, a massive missed opportunity.

    Look at this data here showing the rorting of some regions transport funding, especially Canterbury’s which for the last decade has sent half its transport taxes elsewhere. Both National and before it Helen Clark’s Labour party are to be blamed for this legalised theft.

    Canterbury was in a poor position to (re)develope when the earthquakes hit and National has done nothing to improve the process.

  13. grumpy 13

    Megan has half a point. In theory few would argue that an elected ECAN is the way to go, however, in practice that has been a forlorn hope.
    The extremely low turnout of voters and the ability for ECAN to be hijacked by a small number of councillors and activist senior staff meant that “democracy” was a meaningless word.
    OK, the voters only had themselves to blame but when a tiny portion of the population of Canterbury got themselves into a position where they could wreck Canterbury economically just to pursue a radical political agenda, the Government had to act.

    • vto 13.1

      HI there grumpy, I think your last sentence is loony…. and would in fact be better written thus:

      “but when a tiny portion of the population of Canterbury got themselves into a position where they could wreck Canterbury environmentally just to pursue a radical agenda of greed, the Government acted to support them.”

      • grumpy 13.1.1

        When ECAN appointed commissioners in the Selwyn Rakaia hearing had to issue a Memorandum to ECAN (available on ECAN website) raising the issue that they were fearful that if the Commissioners ruled in favour of the applicants, that ECAN staff had already said they would not honour the decision – that is out of control.
        In the event that is what happened, ECAN staff refused to implement the decision of commissioners so the Government acted – it had no choice.

        • vto 13.1.1.1

          That is not what Caygill has said about the installation of commissioners.

          That is not what Judge Skelton has said about the installation of commissioners.

          Both of them (and I trust you know their place in this) have said the opposite of what you have posited there grumpy.

    • millsy 13.2

      Yes, the desire for clean rivers accessible to all are h
      just too much for money focused traitors like grumpy to handle.

      • grumpy 13.2.1

        Rubbish. The politically riven old ECAN had made no progress on a Water Plan for 10 years. Now there is one.
        There is more policing of pollution and more control and monitoring of irrigation than ever before. It is just now ECAN policy is driven by science, not ideology. How is that a bad thing?

        • millsy 13.2.1.1

          The farmers want all the water to themselves. And rednecks like you want to let them have it. Surely you can do withou an extra BMW for a clean swimming hole?

        • tracey 13.2.1.2

          Do you know how many farmers have converted to dairy in the region in the last, say, 5 years, and in which areas of Canterbury?

        • Robert Glennie 13.2.1.3

          Nonsense grumpy.

          Environment Canterbury had some sort of cover for virtually every river it is responsible for. The Natural Resources Regional Plan was the over arching plan for water quality and quantity, air quality, riparian margins and so forth.

          Its funny that the N.R.R.P. would have been complete in 2010 with or without the Commissioners. It’s size and complexity is a reflection of the fact that no other council had attempted such a plan before, so this one was travelling in uncharted waters so to speak.

          There were plans for rivers that the Commissioners said there were not. For example a plan actually did exist for the Waitaki River. It just so happened that the Council of the day did not like it, but the plan was there nonetheless.

          • vto 13.2.1.3.1

            Exactly.

            The lies around Ecan and its workings prior to the coup are massive.

            Nick Smith is a bald-faced liar and nothing more.

  14. SMILIN 14

    We can suspect the piece of ground that the US owns has got a lot to do with it because having a bunch of elected individuals is a security risk whether you believe the HAARP conspiracy or not about the earthquakes
    But the need to suspend a democratically council because the govt believes they are not capable to administer their duties because of a huge natural disaster is just BS
    There should never have been a suspension of the council and there should also have been no need to implement power reserved for a war in the matter of the earth quakes and this govt should be out because of their treasonist actions and those who make this legal should be seriously under question thats if we had a parliament that was working properly
    The party in govt are not the rulers they are the elected representatives who are supposed to represent the constituents in the electorates
    How does anyone know that the govt is operating that way when they do this shit to democracy get real we are being sold

  15. Malaria 15

    The reason why ECAN were sacked was because they would not kowtow to Central Plains Water who want to turn Canterbury into dairy land. CPW disregarded to reports by geologists, etc, that the land would not support the irrigation and grazing that they demanded. Their appeals to the Environment Court were continuous and their appeals were funded by both the Selwyn District Council and Chch City Council whenever they failed. The land is just not suitable for dairy and the nitrate leaching will poison our aquifers.
    Democracy would not allow Central Plains Water to get what they wanted so they used their leverage with SDC and CCC to have ECAN dumped.
    We will not get our democracy back until the Councils are no longer beholden to Central Plains Water.

    • vto 15.1

      Yes well people reap what they sow….

      try finding a nice pleasant picnic swimming spot on a Canterbury river…… HA. Enjoy swimming in it farmers – its all yours. Keep it and wallow in it – this is your legacy

  16. vto 16

    they slayed the giant kauri forests.

    they slayed all the seals and whales.

    now they slay the rivers and our water.

    1892, William Pember Reeves in his poem ‘The Passing of the Forest: A Lament for the Children of Tane’ wrote of his fellow settlers…. “Nature’s rough-handed foreman, keen to smite and mar the loveliness of ages”

    and continued…

    “Ah, bitter price to pay
    For Man’s dominion – beauty swept away”

    history repeats

  17. vto 17

    ….just pulling some more stuff out of NZ Geographic magazine …..

    In the 1890s a William McHutcheon (Dunedin postmaster) argued that the destruction of indigenous nature was culturally foolish as well as being wasteful and immoral. Reflecting on his travels in Fiordland, he wrote that only a dullard could fail to recognise that “the real value of this estate to New Zealand lies above and beyond the realm of filthy lucre, that its intrinsic value cannot possibly be gauged by the almighty dollar… No, the real value of this sublime Wonderland… lies in the formative influences it will exercise upon the mind of the coming New Zealanders”

    And there we have it – our lands ruled by dullards, immoral wastrels and cultural fools. And today there is no influence upon our minds OTHER than the almighty dollar – witness our current prime minister who knows nothing else. John Key and all his supporters stand in sad evidence.

    Shame. Such a sad sad shame.

    We should hang our heads in shame

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