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No democracy for Canterbury until 2016

7 September 2012

No democracy for Canterbury until 2016

The National Government is trampling on democracy by cancelling elections and denying Cantabrians the right to vote for their regional councillors for the second time in a row, the Green Party said today.

This morning the Government announced the cancellation of next year’s election for Environment Canterbury (ECan), instead continuing with the Government-appointed Commissioners until 2016.

“The National Government has been far too casual and authoritarian about removing people’s right to vote in Christchurch, without substantive reasons or any public consultation,” Green Party Christchurch and Local Government spokesperson Eugenie Sage said today.

“This is the Government pushing through its pro-irrigation, water development agenda.

“There is no justification for denying Cantabrians a vote on who manages the region’s water, coast, air and natural hazards, or how they are managed.

“The Government is reneging on its promise in 2010 that Cantabrians would get their vote back by October 2013 at the latest.

“It is vital that the legislation tabled today to extend commissioner governance at ECan is not pushed through under urgency and is allowed a proper select committee process with time for the public to make submissions.

“Today’s decision shows a lack of faith in councils and is a vote of no-confidence in local government by saying that elected regional councillors cannot provide stable, effective and efficient governance.

“Local government should be local democracy in action. We need to celebrate and respect the ability of local and regional councils to represent their communities,” said Ms Sage.

ENDS

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