Thursday, April 22, 2010

No election in Canterbury

Environment Canterbury is holding its last meeting today, complete with a coffin and black-clad mourners. As I noted last week, they had a chance to throw a final spanner in the government's works, by calling a special election for later this year (an act which would result in the automatic expiry of the dictatorship). Unfortunately they failed. Oh, the council passed the required resolution, 7-3 (who were those 3 dissenters who hate democracy? They must be named and shamed) - but it was ruled out of order by the chair. And so Canterbury's democracy dies with a whimper, replaced by a team of government-appointed dictators who are neither answerable or accountable to the people of Canterbury.

Such governance arrangements have no legitimacy, and the decrees of the Canterbury dictators cannot be regarded as either lawful or binding, any more than those of Fiji's dictator can be. Every decision the dictators make should be reviewed when democracy is restored, and those not confirmed should be overturned immediately. Those who benefit from the dictators' corrupt looting of public water should be put on notice that those benefits will not last, and that any consents purportedly granted will be reviewed and possibly revoked at the first opportunity. The acts of tyrants should not be allowed to stand.

But the task now must be to ensure a swift return to democracy. And the quickest way of doing that is to change the government at the next election. National voted to strip Cantabrians of their local democracy? Vote them out! Otherwise, you'll be waiting until 2013.

Update: According to The Press, the election motion was ruled out "because legislation suspending elections had already been passed". I think Alec Neill needed to read the law. And while they're correct that ECan couldn't enforce it, and that the government could simply legislate to overturn it, they would at least have to go to the bother (and take the PR hit). But it seems Neill would rather surrender to make life easy for his National Party mates than obey his constituents and stand up for democracy.