Friday, May 14, 2010

A conflict of interest in the Canterbury dictatorship

David Bedford is chair of Enterprise North Canterbury. Enterprise North Canterbury is a major force behind the planned Hurunui Water Project, which would drain the Hurunui river dry in order to give the water to greedy dairy farmers. David Bedford is also one of Canterbury's dictators. And the dictatorship wants to appoint him to the Hurunui-Waiau zone committee to decide on water issues in North Canterbury. But apparently this isn't a conflict of interest, no - its just using his local knowledge.

Bullshit. Appointing an advocate of irrigation to decide on irrigation and water use calls the neutrality of the process into question. It's a prima facie case of bias on any water-management decision he makes in that role - meaning that all of those decisions are potentially subject to High Court judicial review. The same applies to any decision he makes on Hurunui water management issues as part of the dictatorship - for example, the decision on the Hurunui Water Conservation Order. Given this, you really have to wonder why the government bothered to appoint him.