Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A permanent dictatorship in Canterbury

When the government dismissed the elected councillors of Environment Canterbury, suspended elections, and replaced them with a clique of unelected dictators, they assured us that it was only a temporary measure. Once ECan's internal administrative divisions were resolved, elections would be held again, and normality restored - in 2013 at the latest.

Of course, they lied. Firstly, the move wasn't so much about internal administrative problems as ECan making decisions on water that National and its farmer-cronies didn't like. And secondly, they're not planning on returning power to the people anytime soon:

Former environment minister Nick Smith says Canterbury doesn't need another dysfunctional elected body making decisions about the region's important water resources. As a cabinet minister, he sacked elected Environment Canterbury councillors and replaced them with commissioners.

When their term expires next year, he hopes they will be replaced by a mixed council of elected and Government-appointed representatives.

In Ashburton on Thursday at a Federated Farmers water forum, he said there were some big water decisions ahead of Canterbury, including bulk storage and tapping into alpine rivers protected by Water Conservation Orders.

He said a fully-elected regional council making those decisions would result in the same "dog's breakfast" left by the previous council, with views polarised into urban and rural camps.

...and might act on the views of the majority of their voters, who want cleaner waterways, rather than those of National and farmers, who want to fill them with shit. And we can't be having that now, can we? So, the democratic right of Cantabrians must be overridden and undermined to ensure that National's farmer-cronies can keep on polluting.

Just another example of how this is an undemocratic, authoritarian government which does not respect the democratic rights of its citizens.