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NRT – A permanent dictatorship in Canterbury?

Written By: - Date published: 11:07 am, September 15th, 2011 - 13 comments
Categories: Conservation, local government, national, water - Tags: , , ,

NRT continues to provide excellent coverage on the governance of Canterbury:

When the National government disestablished the democratically elected Environment Canterbury and replaced it with a clique of hand-picked dictators, there was at least one consolation: the dictatorship would eventually pass. As drafted, the dictatorship eventually expires, at the latest at the 2013 local body elections.

Now, Nick Smith is hinting that that may not be the case. The Timaru Herald reports that Smith is refusing to commit to an elected ECan in the future:

The Government will “canvass a number of options” on Environment Canterbury’s future structure, Environment Minister Nick Smith said yesterday.


Dr Smith told the Herald the performance was a “huge improvement”, but stopped short of saying ECan would eventually return to having an elected council.

“There’s an important decision that needs to be made about the future of ECan,” Dr Smith said.

“The Government is committed to consulting with the people of Canterbury about a number of options that are available to us.”


Dr Smith said the prospect of a specially created Canterbury water authority, as suggested in the report by former deputy prime minister Wyatt Creech, or a board with a “mixture of appointed and elected people”, were two of the possibilities.

So, we may be looking at a permanent dictatorship in Canterbury, or at the least a massive decrease in democratic control. And all because the people of Canterbury (and specifically Christchurch, where the people of Canterbury actually live) looked like they would vote for the “wrong” things: cleaner rivers, restrictions on irrigation, safe drinking water. It speaks volumes about Smith, and National, that their response is to take people’s votes off them rather than respect their democratic decisions.

13 comments on “NRT – A permanent dictatorship in Canterbury? ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    I’d say that I’m surprised but I’m not. National absolutely hates democracy as it gets in the way of them and their rich mates doing whatever they like to the rest of the people of NZ.

  2. vto 2

    It is not surprising. It is their plan

    Just like the watered down recently released water strategy thing. One of the things in that which was promoted by Smith, believe it or not, was keeping local control of local resources. (seems like that principle applies everywhere but the country’s largest irrigator region, Canterbury. Fits the plan does it not?).

    Now what local control means is local regional councils. And the vast majority of regional councils are dominated by farming interests. That means business as usual as far as farming expropriating the waterways for their own use.

    It is a bloody rort.

    And with fertiliser use up by 700% in the last decade or so you can kiss goodbye to your local creeks and rivers.

    It is entirely about assisting farmers to take the water and fuck everything else. Greedy pricks.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    It is rather duplicitous of Shonkey to publicly criticise the Fiji Commodore and his thuggish ‘government’ by decree when the Canterbury bully boy tories in essence do the same thing. The Surveillence State powers and all those special cop squads exist for a reason.

  4. Scott 4

    Environment Canterbury and now the Auckland Waterfront!
    Is John Key and the Nats just Mao Tse-tung and the Gang of Four in drag?

    • Tiger Mountain 4.1

      Steady on, I’m talking in a Pacific regional context in 2011.

      Shonkey’s boys are not widely pummeling people in back rooms yet, like Commodore Frank’s goons, but are pissing on democracy none the less.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Does anyone recall a few years back how the then Labour govt chose to appoint a commissioner to run what had become a thoroughly dysfunctional Hawkes Bay DHB for some months until the next scheduled election?

    From time to time this kind of thing will happen. What is critical to the success of this sort of move are the underlying reasons for it and a process to restore democratic accountable governance as soon as possible. At the time the Hawkes Bay commissioner was clearly required and a new DHB has been since elected and life has gone back to normal.

    In the case of ECAN this govt fails both tests. The motives were clearly murky, intended to restore power to a farming lobby accustomed to getting it’s way with water use. And the process to restore democracy is now absurdly compromised.

    And with the Hawkes Bay DHB I also recall the hugely vociferous protests from right-wing dominated local governments in the region … all clamouring to tell us how very terrible this ‘anti-democratic takeover’ was. Huge amounts of ratepayers money was thrown at Court injunctions and the like. By contrast with ECAN we get thundering silence.

    Hypocrites as always.

    • tc 5.1

      Yup but paid more now and in nice shiny new beemers they signed off on as they pay off the backers via policy in transport/comm’s/energy/mining etc waiting for another term to take it up another arrogant self serving notch.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      The political-right are quite happy for dictatorships – as long as it’s their dictatorship. Anybody else, no matter the time frame back to democracy (which their one won’t have) and the necessity for the decision in the first place, and they’re all screaming about it.

      Make no mistake about it – the political-right do not like democracy and will do everything in their power to get rid of it.

  6. Irascible 6

    The decision to de-democratise Canterbury and, now, the direct takeover of Auckland disguised by the RWC fiasco are simply the Key led government getting prepared to sell off NZ in smaller, easily packaged sections. A mirror of the process asset strippers behave when they break up a big company and begin the process of profit taking.
    This is the only behaviour a politically motivated business manager bullies himself into the big bonus area.

  7. TuF 7

    Nick Smith talks about consultation with the canterbury people, like how you consulted with us about ECAN in he first place. This was an elected body and the gestapo decided they would take over and now the chief cock himself talks about consultation….Act and National are just mirror images arent they!!!

  8. newbie 8

    Hi you missed the two posts on NRT:

    Labour betrays us on climate change


    Labour betrays us on jury trials.

    And I/S says this is why he/she can’t vote Labour.

    any comment on that?

    Labour = we are a 1/3 better on human rights than the Nats.

    [lprent: Authors here write on the topics they are interested in. We seldom even discuss posts amongst ourselves. The only real editorial work on other peoples posts is usually to move scheduling so posts don’t overlap too closely and fixing typos.

    However we also have a nasty and quite severe moderation policy about people who fail to read the policy. I’d suggest that you read it before trying to tell us what we should do on our site. The moderators tend to regard people like yourself who are to stupid to read the house rules as being violations of our public health policies.

    In other words reading stupid comments by stupid people is like standing in your sprayed around ejecta from your latest self-pleasuring. It causes the moderators to demonstrate some of the best techniques developed over the last decades for discouraging newbie idiot trolls from crapping over social media and especially authors.

    We can live without you thoughts pretty easily. However replacing authors or the site is a lot harder so if you want to comment here learn to comment on the content of the posts rather than trying to be a smartarse attacking the people who make the effort of running the site. It is something that I suggest you remember when you’re on other peoples sites.

    Now if you’d said that without trying to suggest an editorial policy by directing it at the site then I’d have simply noted that I/S has his opinion. You probably have yours. I have mine. And damn near every author here has a different opinion on almost everything. ]

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