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Environment Canterbury Commissioners appointed

Environment Canterbury Commissioners appointed

Environment Minister Nick Smith and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide today announced the appointment of Commissioners and their terms of reference to oversee Environment Canterbury and fix Canterbury’s significant water issues.

“The Government has selected experienced and capable commissioners with first-class public service, governance, judicial and business skills. We have ensured a balance of agricultural, environmental and electricity expertise to match the challenges facing Environment Canterbury. We have endeavoured to maximise the number of Commissioners from Canterbury and ensured representation from both North and South Canterbury communities,” Dr Smith and Mr Hide said.

The Commissioners are: Dame Margaret Bazley (Chair), Hon. David Caygill (Deputy Chair), David Bedford, Donald Couch, Tom Lambie, Professor Peter Skelton, Rex Williams.

“A key concern of Government has been the lack of a resource management plan for water in Canterbury and that is why completing a plan has been made an urgent priority in the terms of reference,” Dr Smith said.

Mr Hide said: “The Commissioners are also required to improve relations with Canterbury’s 10 territorial councils, to build on the work of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and to meet all the statutory obligations of the Resource Management and Local Government Acts to consult with the Canterbury community. These measures will improve the performance of Environment Canterbury leading in to the 2013 Local Government elections.”

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Dr Smith said: “The Government’s objective is to see an urgent improvement in freshwater management around water quality, water allocation and opportunities for water storage.”



Environment Canterbury Commissioners

Dame Margaret Bazley (Chair)

Dame Margaret is Chair of the New Zealand Fire Services Commission and Registrar of the Pecuniary Interests of Members of Parliament.

Dame Margaret has a long and distinguished career in public service and held the positions of Secretary for Transport and Director General of Social Welfare. She has also been the Deputy Chair of the State Services Commission and Chair of the Foundation for Research Science and Technology.

Dame Margaret has experience as a commissioner, having headed the inquiry into Police Conduct, the Review of Legal Aid and as a member of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.

Dame Margaret brings a wealth of experience both in management and governance of large organisations and has specialist skills in organisational structure and change management as well as a long history in working with Maori communities at whanau, hapu and iwi level.

Hon David Caygill (Deputy Chair)

Mr Caygill is Chair of the Electricity Commission, Chair of the ACC Stocktake Group, Chair of the Education New Zealand Trust, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Official Statistics, Associate Member of the Commerce Commission and a Board member of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

Mr Caygill had three terms as a Christchurch City Councillor and six terms as a Member of Parliament where he held Ministerial portfolios in Trade and Industry, Health and Finance before reverting to the law as a partner in Buddle Findlay.

He brings a significant background in politics at both local and national level as well as strong management and governance skills. His work in the electricity sector will be valuable when working through the issues of water allocation.

David Bedford

Mr Bedford owns a small vineyard in North Canterbury which he manages with his wife and son. He is the Chair of Enterprise North Canterbury.

Mr Bedford has an extensive history initially in human resources and change management and latterly in senior management of large enterprises. He was Chief Operating Officer Australia for Telecom before retiring in 2003. He had previously held senior management roles in Telecom New Zealand and, prior to that, the former Electricity of New Zealand.

Mr Bedford's experience in corporate management and his ability to manage culture change programmes to improve service delivery in large organisations will be essential to the Commission.

Donald Couch

Mr Couch is Pro-Chancellor of Lincoln University, a member of the Lincoln University Council, a Trustee, Ngai Tahu Ancillary Claims Trust and Rapaki Trustee (appointed by the Maori Land Court).

He has a long history in resource management both here and in Canada and has held elected positions on both regional and city councils in Canada and was until recently Deputy Kaiwhakahaere, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

Mr Couch is the ideal person to guide the Commission on any issues concerning Ngai Tahu and has the support of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu in this capacity. He also brings a wider experience of resource management law from his time spent in Canada in the 1970s and 1980s.

Tom Lambie

Mr Lambie owns a 415 hectare dairy farm at Pleasant Point South Canterbury which is BioGro organic certified. He is Chancellor of Lincoln University, Chair of Opuha Water Limited, a trustee of the Todd Foundation, Chair of the Hikurangai Foundation and a trustee of Motu, Economic and Public Policy Research Trust.

Mr Lambie has a long history of farming politics and was National President of Federated Farmers from 2002-2005. His long involvement with the farming sector and in particular his close association with the development of the Opuha Water Storage Dam makes him an ideal candidate for the Commission as he has an in-depth understanding of the economic and environmental benefits of good water management.

Honorary Professor Peter Skelton CNZM

Professor Skelton is a former Environment Court Judge and Associate Professor of Resource Management Law at Lincoln University. He presided as an Independent Commissioner over the hearings by Environment Waikato into Variation 5 to the Waikato Regional Plan concerning the control of nitrates entering Lake Taupo and, as an Independent Commissioner appointed by Environment Canterbury, has been completing a series of decisions on Lower Waitaki Catchment water applications

With more than 20 years as a Judge of the Environment Court and having presided over the Lower Waitaki hearings, Professor Skelton brings the depth of knowledge and experience required for the Commission to fulfil its role in Water Conservation Order matters and the development of water management plans for Canterbury.

Rex Williams

Mr Williams is the Chancellor of Canterbury University, Chair of the West Coast District Health Board, Chair of H W Richardson Group and a trustee of the Water Rights Trust.

Mr Williams was the Managing Director of Holcim Cement and has more than 30 years experience in senior management positions. He has served on a number of boards and is recognised for his business acumen and governance skills.

Mr Williams was a key founder of the Environmental lobby group the Water Rights Trust formed in 2002 to address increasing concern about poor water management and deteriorating water quality in Canterbury. He is a keen recreational angler and enjoys a number of outdoor sports.

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