No Right Turn on the Nats’ continuing contempt for democracy.
As expected, National has decided to extend ECan’s dictatorship for another three years, until 2016. And as the Minister’s press release makes clear, the reason is control of water and denial of the rule of law:
“The Canterbury region has significant economic growth potential but also faces significant challenges. It is critical for New Zealand that the planning governance structure for Environment Canterbury is stable, effective and efficient,” Ms Adams said.“To keep the freshwater management work on track, we intend to retain the limited appeal rights on decisions made by Environment Canterbury on plans and policy statements relating to freshwater management.”
Reading the Department of Internal Affair’s Regulatory Impact Statement [PDF] on this makes it even clearer: an elected ECan was rejected because it might not make the “right” decisions around water management. Rather than being regarded as a baseline which must be accepted, democracy was sacrificed in the name of farmer profits economic growth. Its the sort of thinking you expect in an authoritarian state like Singapore, not in an established democracy like New Zealand. And it really makes me wonder how these people regard our Parliamentary democracy. Is National lusting to overturn that too (in the name of “stable government” and “economic growth”, of course)?
The scary thing is that even with all its anti-democratic language and explicit opposition to the rule of law, the RIS recommends a transition back to democracy via a partially-appointed model. The government rejected that out of hand. The message is clear: according to National, no democracy is good democracy. The people of Canterbury cannot be trusted to manage their own resources for the benefit of their farming elite.
Its another ugly window into the minds of our anti-democratic, authoritarian government. And another reason why we need to throw these fuckers out of office.