Carter reveals Govt’s agenda for regional councils
The Local Government Minister has admitted that the cancelling of elections for Environment Canterbury is part of a
longer term government plan to get rid of Regional Councils, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“Our suspicion has always been that the denial of democratic rights to Cantabrians was part of a wider agenda. And
today, under questioning in Parliament, David Carter confirmed that was the case.
“The Minister said that while officials had advised that there should be a transition to a democratically elected
Council, he rejected that because he wanted to see what recommendations the Land and Water Forum would make to
government about the future of regional councils.
“I am not sure what David Carter may already know about the Forum’s recommendations but this is a different story from
the one he has been using so far.
“He has tried to justify denying the rights of Cantabrians on the grounds that the Commissioners were ‘doing a good
job’. Now it seems he is just waiting for the Council to be abolished.
“Whatever the case, there is no justification for cancelling elections. As ratepayers, Canterbury residents deserve a
say in who represents them and makes decisions on their behalf. This is a basic right.
“This Government would be quick to condemn another country where elections are cancelled as being anti-democratic, yet
that is exactly what they are doing.
“David Carter keeps referring to the reasons why the Government decided that they needed to sack the Environment
Canterbury Council in 2010. We question the merits of that decision, but in any case those reasons cannot be used today
to deny a basic democratic right.
“The Government must give Cantabrians the right to elect their representatives as every New Zealander would expect,”
said Grant Robertson.