Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Dunne Speaks: The future of Environment Canterbury

Dunne Speaks: The future of Environment Canterbury

3 September 2015

The country quota – which operated in New Zealand from 1881 to 1945 – seems set to return, at least as far as the people of Canterbury are concerned. Under the country quota, rural seats in Parliament were about one-third smaller in population than urban seats, to preserve the power of rural (conservative) voters. Of inherent value to the National Party and its predecessors, the country quota was abolished by Labour in recognition of New Zealand’s increasing urbanisation. Since then, there has been no serious attempt to revive it, or to give rural votes greater weight than urban votes.

However, there are signs that may be about to change through National’s plans to delay the restoration of a fully elected regional council in Canterbury until 2019.

At issue is the allocation of water rights over the central Canterbury plains, which has brought the interests of the last vestiges of the old provincial squattocracy and the urbanites into stark relief. The squattocracy wants more irrigation to facilitate dairy conversions, and therefore, so the argument goes, boost the economic potential of the Canterbury province, while the denizens of Christchurch are somewhat more ambivalent. And their seats on the regional council will be greater than the squattocracy’s. Indeed, the last time they got to elect a full regional council, Cantabrians opted for choices that made it difficult for the squattocracy to achieve its ambitions. So, on the pretext of the council’s dysfunctionality (in other words, one working on the basis of majority rule, not the squattocracy) the National government dismissed it and replaced it with appointed Commissioners to sort things out.

The legislation by which that happened is about to expire and Cantabrians had reasonable expectations of being able to elect a new full regional council in 2016. But, worried by the sustainability of the water management plans developed by the Commissioners, the Government has announced a two-stage process which will see a minority of regional councillors directly elected in 2016, with full democracy not restored until 2019.

Consistent with UnitedFuture’s previously expressed view that the key to successful regional development is supporting regions to implement their agreed priorities, not telling them from afar what their priorities ought to be, it is surely now time to restore full democracy to Canterbury, and for the 2016 regional council election to be for a full council.

The old country quota created many problems – particularly in the area of land and resource management – that took decades to resolve. It would be a very backward step to re-impose its equivalent now, especially in one of our largest and most wealthy provinces.

The people of Canterbury have a right to elect a full regional council in 2016. If it fails to perform, or does not meet their expectations, they have an equal right to expel it in 2019, 2022, or whenever. But after six years, it is now time for the government to trust the local people to make the right decision, as they see it.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Elusive Charms Of Christopher Luxon


Well, the first 36 hours of viewing the Christopher Luxon selfie were always going to be the best, before the repetitions set in. We get it, already. He’s an extroverted/big ego/high achieving/God fearing/country music lovin’/family man who is not at all averse to mansplaining to little ladies like RNZ’s Kathryn Ryan what “technical” words like “productivity” actually mean. But wait, there’s more. National is back! Mind you, that’s not the Bad National of recent experience, but the Good National of days gone by... More>>




 
 


Defence: New Zealand Response To Assist Peace And Stability In Solomon Islands
The New Zealand government has announced that it will deploy Defence Force and Police personnel to Honiara to help restore peace and stability. “New Zealand is committed to its responsibilities and playing its part in upholding regional security,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.... More>>


Government: Delivers Reactivation Package As Aucklanders Reconnect For Summer
A new support package will help revive economic, social and cultural activities in our largest city over summer, and ensure those in hardship also get relief. The Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni and the Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash... More>>



Government: Crown Accounts Reflect Strong Economy Amid Pandemic

The Government’s financial accounts continue to reflect an economy that has performed better than expected, despite the latest Delta COVID-19 outbreak. The Crown accounts for the four months to the end of October factors in the improved starting position for the new financial year... More>>

ALSO:



National Party: Bridges Appointed Finance & Infrastructure Spokesperson

Hon Simon Bridges is the National Party’s new Finance and Infrastructure spokesperson, National Leader Christopher Luxon announced today. “Simon has prodigious skills, incredible talent and the intellectual heft needed to excel as National’s Finance spokesperson,” Mr Luxon says.... More>>

Waitangi National Trust: Waitangi Week
The Waitangi National Trust has decided there will be no in-person events at Waitangi Treaty Grounds during Waitangi Week 2022. Under the COVID-19 Protection Framework it would be practically impossible to safely proceed with the usual events of Waitangi commemorations... More>>


Freedom Camping: Making Sure People Are Up To Play With Changes
People interested in finding out how the proposed improvements to freedom camping might affect them are being invited to an information-sharing webinar... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels