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Environment Canterbury Bill Passes Second Reading

Hon Chris Tremain

Minister of Local Government

13 February 2013 Media Statement

Environment Canterbury Bill Passes Second Reading

The Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Amendment Bill, which extends commissioner governance of Environment Canterbury until the 2016 local government elections, has passed its second reading in Parliament.

Local Government Minister Chris Tremain says the Commissioners’ impressive record to date includes:

• Receipt of eight out of ten Zone Implementation Programmes under the Canterbury Water Management Strategy;

• Successful applications to the Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean-Up Fund for Lake Ellesmere and the Wainono Lagoon;

• A massive increase in consent processing timeframe compliance, up from 28 per cent in 2008 to 93 per cent.

“However, the job is not done yet and it is vital that the Commissioners can complete their turnaround of the situation in Canterbury,” says Mr Tremain.

“A number of critical initiatives are still in progress. The second generation Land and Water Regional Plan and other plans will not be adopted by late 2013. Nor will the Canterbury Water Management Strategy be fully implemented. These initiatives are critical for freshwater decision making, and unlocking Canterbury’s economic potential.

“In addition, the impact of the Canterbury earthquakes has reinforced the need for a consistent, competent approach to infrastructure and recovery.

“I acknowledge the concerns raised by many submitters to the Select Committee regarding the postponement of elections until 2016. This decision was not taken lightly. The Government’s clear intention is to transition the regional governance of Canterbury back to elections by 2016, with a review in March 2014.

“This Bill is about providing Canterbury with stable and effective governance. In order for the region to prosper, we must allow the Commissioners to continue their vital role.”

ENDS

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