Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Canterbury is now a dictatorship

Earlier tonight, the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Bill became law. Canterbury is now a dictatorship, its people stripped of their right to vote in regional council elections, its water resources set to be parcelled out to the government's farmer mates so they can turn it into milk and cowpiss. And Canterbury ratepayers will be paying for it all. Taxation without representation? That's the next four years in Canterbury.

While our shoddy electoral finance laws mean there aren't any formal records, it is likely that Canterbury farmers gave tens of thousands of dollars to the National Party last election. I'd say they just got a hefty return on their investment. And we'll be paying the environmental price of this dirty deal for decades to come.

Finally, I am deeply disturbed that the Bill of Rights Act does not protect the right to vote in local elections, in violation of the ICCPR. Hopefully some politician will be doing something about that soon. This year is the twentieth anniversary of the BORA, and while it has served us well, its time to look at closing some of the gaps in it. Fixing this one would be a good start.