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Eroding Cantabrians rights won’t go unnoticed

MP for Wigram

8 November 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Eroding Cantabrians rights won’t go unnoticed

Government attempts to legislate away Cantabrians democratic rights saw tempers flare at this morning’s Local Government and Environment Select Committee says Labour MP for Wigram, Megan Woods.

“Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford’s submission, on the democratic and human rights abuses within the Government’s Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Bill, was met with disdain by National members on the select committee.

Megan Woods said she was shocked at the lack of respect and rude behaviour afforded to the Chief Commissioner.

“Clearly Government members were uncomfortable with the frankness of Mr Rutherford’s analysis. But whether or not you agree with the submitter, a basic level of respect should be shown.”
This Bill delays the election for Environment Canterbury (ECan) until 2016, stripping Cantabrians of their democratic rights for a further three years.

“There is no justification for cancelling elections. As ratepayers, Canterbury residents deserve a say in who represents them and makes decisions on their behalf.

“In his submission this morning Mr Rutherford also pointed to the importance of allowing citizens their voice in the aftermath of a disaster saying, ‘In our view the present legislation has the potential to further exacerbate the resentment that has arisen in Canterbury as a result of the autocratic decision making.’

“It is the commission’s view that the present legislation removes ‘the ability to be heard’ and undermines democratic process.

“The earthquakes have become a convenient excuse for everything this Government does – or doesn’t do. Labour will not sit back and see the wilful erosion of democratic process. If the Government won’t take our concerns on board, it should at least pay attention to submitters,” Megan Woods said.

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