Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nick Smith doesn't trust democracy

In an interview with the Timaru Herald yesterday, Environment Minister Nick Smith admitted the real reason behind his push to deprive Cantabrians of the vote: he doesn't trust democracy:

Dr Smith said part of the reason he replaced the council with commissioners – rather than appointing a commissioner adviser to oversee water management issues, as ECan suggested – was he was wary of the outcome of the October elections.

"ECan put forward a negotiated solution, but one of the downsides is that there was no guarantee the commissioner-adviser would have the same powers come October," he said.

(Emphasis added)

And the reason for that is that the "wrong" people might be elected. People who want to protect Canterbury's rivers rather than give all the water to farmers and use the beds as open sewers for their effluent. Armed with a fresh democratic mandate, they might not be willing to cooperate with a government appointee with the opposite goals.

Last election Christchurch elected four councillors on just that platform - putting the rest of the council on notice that they needed to start caring about water or face de-election. Its no coincidence that ECan has got stricter about water use since then - it is responding to the will of its voters. And that is what Nick Smith wants to avoid.