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Give commissioners a chance, says Minister

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for the Environment

Give commissioners a chance, says Minister


Protestors today demanding a return to Environment Canterbury elections should give the commissioners the chance to address Canterbury’s water problems, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.

"If regional elections were the answer, Canterbury would not have a water problem. The elected Canterbury Regional Council had 19 years to get a water plan in place, but despite having greater issues than anywhere in New Zealand, failed to do so," Dr Smith said.

"The Government had little choice but to intervene if it wanted Canterbury's water issues addressed. All the advice the Government received was the status quo had no chance of tackling the problems and the problems would only get worse.

"The Government shares many of the concerns of the protestors about unmanaged growth of dairying, problems with water quality and the drawn out debates over water storage. We just didn't have the confidence that a highly politicised and divided Council would be able to get on top of these issues.

"The Government has appointed a highly qualified and skilled group of commissioners to get on top of Canterbury's water problems. The commissioners are the best hope of improving Canterbury's water management and the people of Canterbury should give them a fair go to get on with the job."

Ends

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