Wednesday, July 08, 2015

No democracy for Canterbury

Back in March, National announced a public consultation on whether democracy would be restored to Canterbury. Today, they released their foregone conclusion: nope:

Environment Canterbury (ECan) will move to a mixed governance council of seven elected councillors and up to six appointed in 2016 as a transition to a fully elected council in 2019, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Associate Local Government Minister Louise Upston announced today.


The mixed governance plan means a majority of ECan councillors would be elected at the local body elections in October 2016, with four elected at large in Christchurch, one elected from North Canterbury for the districts of KaikĊura, Hurunui and Waimakariri, one elected from mid-Canterbury for the Selwyn and Ashburton districts, and one from South Canterbury representing the Timaru, Mackenzie, Waimate districts and the parts of Waikati north of the Waitaki River.

National are so proud of this decision that they released it under cover of a sportsball game in an effort to bury it. And no wonder: it continues the unjustified removal of Cantabrians' democratic rights to ensure that farmers can continue to steal their water and destroy their rivers.

As for the consultation, National has this to say:
534 submissions were received, of which 475 were form submissions generated through an online tool organised by the Labour Party and opposed to the model.

The implication: the views of these people who had taken the time to submit were ignored because of the method they had chosen. Its typical National party arrogance, and it makes it clear that the consultation exercise was simply a sham. National doesn't want Cantabrians (and specifically Christchurch residents) to vote, and they don't give a shit what people have to say about it.

But the question is whether it will pass. National no longer has an easy Parliamentary majority, and are dependent on the votes of either Peter Dunne or the Maori Party to pass this. If neither votes for it, Canterbury's democracy is restored by default. So I think we need to start piling the pressure on those MPs to ensure that this bill doesn't pass.