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NRT: No democracy for Canterbury

Written By: - Date published: 9:14 am, July 9th, 2015 - 8 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, local government, national - Tags: , ,

I/S at No Right Turn writes

No democracy for Canterbury

Back in March, National announced a public consultation on whether democracy would be restored to Canterbury. Today, they released their foregone conclusion: nope:

Environment Canterbury (ECan) will move to a mixed governance council of seven elected councillors and up to six appointed in 2016 as a transition to a fully elected council in 2019, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston announced today.
The mixed governance plan means a majority of ECan councillors would be elected at the local body elections in October 2016, with four elected at large in Christchurch, one elected from North Canterbury for the districts of Kaikōura, Hurunui and Waimakariri, one elected from mid-Canterbury for the Selwyn and Ashburton districts, and one from South Canterbury representing the Timaru, Mackenzie, Waimate districts and the parts of Waikati north of the Waitaki River.

National are so proud of this decision that they released it under cover of a sportsball game in an effort to bury it. And no wonder: it continues the unjustified removal of Cantabrians’ democratic rights to ensure that farmers can continue to steal their water and destroy their rivers.

As for the consultation, National has this to say:

534 submissions were received, of which 475 were form submissions generated through an online tool organised by the Labour Party and opposed to the model.

The implication: the views of these people who had taken the time to submit were ignored because of the method they had chosen. Its typical National party arrogance, and it makes it clear that the consultation exercise was simply a sham. National doesn’t want Cantabrians (and specifically Christchurch residents) to vote, and they don’t give a shit what people have to say about it.

But the question is whether it will pass. National no longer has an easy Parliamentary majority, and are dependent on the votes of either Peter Dunne or the Maori Party to pass this. If neither votes for it, Canterbury’s democracy is restored by default. So I think we need to start piling the pressure on those MPs to ensure that this bill doesn’t pass.

8 comments on “NRT: No democracy for Canterbury ”

  1. hoom 1

    Doubtless there will be countless ‘Democracy Under Attack’ banner headlines.

    Oh wait, this is National so the Dirty Columnists will just praise this instead.

  2. Brendon Harre 2

    If Dunne or the Maori party vote show no solidarity for defending democracy when will the knives come out for them?

    Or are they already rotten boroughs of non-democracy?

    Really it is all a sham and reflects badly on us all when we turn a blind eye to this nonsense. Well done The Standard for raising the issue.

    Note it is not just about the negative politics i.e to irrigate or not. But a denial of democracy in Canterbury is preventing Christchurch/Canterbury in finding a new vision for the future. Something we desperately need as renaming a rebuilt as regeneration makes very little difference to the fact that NZ’s second biggest city is languishing.

    • Chooky 2.1

      +100…”a denial of democracy in Canterbury is preventing Christchurch/Canterbury in finding a new vision for the future.”

  3. Having a 1 vote majority of elected members makes a mockery of democracy – only takes 1 to give central government a majority as the commissioners will continue to do its bidding. Unless Canterbury elects 7 independent and progressive councillors who will work together and stand up to government and corporate/agribusiness interests, it’s going to be business as usual. The only way that will happen is for a group of people to stand – as a collective – on a common programme of rebuilding Canterbury in the interests of the people. If that doesn’t happen then people should register protest votes – to show the process up for the hollow sham it is.

  4. Brendon Harre 4

    Read Transportblog for how Canterbury is bucking the national trend of stabilising vehicle transport movements, with a big increase in car use.


    Canterbury is a massive National party experiment. This is their vision for the country. This is what National want to do to the rest of NZ.

    Wake up NZ!

  5. Penny Bright 5

    Apparently, the ‘dysfunctional ism’ of ECAN is popular myth and legend, but not supported by the Creech report – which actually says the opposite?

    The Creech report can be found at –

    The relevant section is 4.2.1

    “There is a widely held view that councillors are so polarised at times that they are dysfunctional as a group. There is insufficient leadership, and the council is too busy protecting individual / Party perspectives and fails to pay sufficient attention to leading the Region.

    Our investigation did not bear this out.

    ECan is meeting its legal obligations under the LGA but has been unable to establish a firm planning environment which flows through to poor relationships and decisions under the RMA.

    The Review found that while the process for debating strongly opposing views has been marred by poor behaviour and reflects past grievances in some cases, the governance of ECan is functional and enables it to meet its statutory obligations.

    Mostly, the tensions that exist arise from differing political perspectives and not from any fundamental dysfunction.”

    Who still believe in the oldie but goodie – that ‘THERE SHOULD BE NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION’?

    Perhaps Cantabrians should withhold ECAN rates until they get their ‘democracy’ back?

    That’s what I would do.

    Penny Bright


    • Chooky 5.1

      +100 Penny…the annexing of a democratically elected ECAN by jonkey nactional was an absolute disgrace!…shame on his greedy gravy train jumpers…the unelected usurpers of ECAN !

      This is what he intends to do with the NZ flag also with his scurrilous band of wannabe, greedy paid helpers…when all the surveys show NZers want to keep their flag

  6. venezia 6

    So 475 online submissions were opposed to the Governments anti democratic model, but the 59 who were in favour swung the decision their way. I am so angry I am speechless!

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