Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dictatorship in Canterbury, dictatorship in Parliament

National's Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Bill, which extends the Canterbury dictatorship through a mixed elected / appointed council, is currently being debated in the House. But as if continuing to deny Cantabrians a full democracy isn't bad enough, National is also trying to manipulate the Parliamentary process to prevent them from having a say on the bill which does it:

The Government has radically reduced the amount of time for public submissions on their controversial ECan bill, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.

“This is just absurd stuff from the government. They’re using a sneaky tactic to rob Cantabrians of their right to have their say on a bill that’s about robbing them of their right to have their say on how their region is governed.

“Their shortened timeline could mean that instead of the usual six weeks, Cantabrians get just one week to submit their views on the bill.

“The government knows that what they are doing with ECan is deeply unpopular in Canterbury. They are trying to shorten debate so that people in Canterbury don’t hear about what they are doing.

This is simply wrong. The bill isn't being rammed through under all-stages urgency, and there is absolutely no justification for a quicker timetable. Instead, it simply seems like a transparent attempt to stifle criticism and curtial democratic rights. Worse, with a one-week turnaround, it is likely that the submissions process will mirror that of the Key / Kitteridge Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill, a total farce where committee members did not have time to even read the submissions. Submitting under such a process simply lends it (and the pre-determined outcome) legitimacy; rather than doing that, Cantabrians would be better off protecting outside the select committee hearings to make it clear they reject this insult to democracy.