Legislation for a 2-stage transition of Environment Canterbury (ECan) back to being an elected council passed its third reading in Parliament last week.
The Government appointed commissioners to replace ECan members in 2010 after a critical external review of its performance. Legislation empowering the governance arrangements said their term was to end at the local body elections in 2013.
7 councillors will be elected this October to work alongside 6 appointed councillors, before moving to a fully elected council in 2019.
Environment Minister Nick Smith said: “The commissioners have done an outstanding job of progressing the plans required to properly manage freshwater, rebuilding the organisation, strengthening its relationships with the 10 councils across Canterbury and supporting the earthquake recovery.
“This transition is important in maintaining continuity and the momentum of ECan in areas such as the earthquake recovery, the completion of catchment water plans and its work in regional economic development.”
Dr Smith said the transition was particularly important in respect of freshwater management: “Canterbury had no operative regional plan in 2010, nor any limits on intensification & nutrients. It was a huge step forward when the commission completed the regional water plan. The key to its success is in completing zone plans in each of Canterbury’s 10 catchments. This task is do-able with the transitional mixed governance model & special streamlined planning process provided for in this bill.
“This pragmatic transition for ECan is about supporting Canterbury’s move from earthquake recovery to regeneration, and getting the foundations right for the long-term management of the region’s freshwater resources.”
10 July 2015: Full ECan elections to come in 2019
23 March 2015: Government thinks semi-democratic for Environment Canterbury
7 September 2012: Ministers rate efficiency above democracy as they extend Environment Canterbury commissioners’ role
18 November 2009: 2 teams named to investigate Environment Canterbury performance
Attribution: Ministerial release.