National is attempting to control local government in Canterbury, and is denying its people the right to make their own decisions, the Green Party said today.
The Government has proposed to have no regional council elections for Environment Canterbury Regional Council (ECan) until 2016 and then to have Ministers appoint six members of the 13-person regional council after the 2016 elections. ECan has been run by seven Government-appointed commissioners since 2010.
"National doesn't seem to trust the people of Canterbury to elect councillors to act in the best interests of the region. This is a ‘we know better than you’ proposal,” Green Party Christchurch spokesperson Eugenie Sage said.
"What National is proposing is a significant wind back of local democracy. The Government wants to impose yes-men and women to act in the interests of Wellington Ministers rather than have locals who are responsible to the people of Canterbury.
"It’s a Wellington-controlled model, plain and simple. We need a 100% Canterbury-controlled model, the way other regions operate, not one where Cantabrians are second class citizens as far as regional democracy is concerned.
“National has broken its 2010 promise to restore regional democracy by 2013. It stole regional democracy in Canterbury to facilitate more irrigation development, more water pollution and a weaker planning regime to benefit irrigators and water users. That’s why it wants to appoint so many council members rather than trust voters to elect councillors to represent them.
“The Green Party would restore democracy to Canterbury, and put decision-making back into the hands of the people who live there and away from the yes-men and women appointed in Wellington,” said Ms Sage.