Time to restore democracy to Canterbury

People in Canterbury should not be second class citizens having to live with second class local body representation, the Green Party said today.

The Green Party is concerned at the prospect of the National Government failing to restore a fully elected Environment Canterbury Regional Council (ECan) in announcements later this week about the council’s future.

People in Canterbury should not be second class citizens having to live with second class local body representation, the Green Party said today.

The Green Party is concerned at the prospect of the National Government failing to restore a fully elected Environment Canterbury Regional Council (ECan) in announcements later this week about the council’s future.

“No other regional or local council in New Zealand has a mix of elected and appointed representatives,” said Green Party Canterbury spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“It is high time for the return of a fully elected, democratic regional council in Canterbury.

“The fact the Government hasn’t restored regional democracy, as Nick Smith stated back in 2010, is a broken promise.

“Four or five elected regional councillors are too few to properly represent citizens in a city the size of Christchurch.

“Cantabrians are being denied their right to full democracy so that the National Government can continue to promote agricultural intensification and an irrigation agenda.

“Having appointed commissioners involved in making decisions on Council spending fails to honour the central democratic principle of no taxation without representation.

“When there was a fully elected regional council there was far more responsiveness to public concerns about the health and state of Canterbury’s waterways, biodiversity and natural environment.

“In 2009, a full state of the environment report was published addressing these concerns.

“The current commissioners have failed to publish any similar comprehensive region-wide state of the environment report so Cantabrians are left in the dark as to the extent of water quality decline.

“It is time for the National Government to trust the people of Canterbury to elect competent councillors and trust them to do their job and be accountable, not patronise Cantabrians by keeping ECan running under its appointed members,” said Ms Sage.

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