Erosion of environmental representation at ECan

And so it begins… Forest and Bird revealed yesterday that the first local committee set up under the new ECan structure to consider the future of the Hurunui and Waiau river catchments was unlikely to have any members representing environmental concerns.

I wish I could say I’m surprised, but with the Government’s not-so-hidden agenda for Canterbury’s water – signalled by the PM in his opening speech to Parliament and promptly acted-upon with the passing under urgency of the terrible ECan Act – the writing has been on the wall for a while.

However, I understand that since Forest and Bird’s release, the nomination process for the committee has conveniently been delayed and the shortlist extended. Funny that!

Perhaps some of the environmental representatives who applied to be on the committee and were turned down, despite the fact that the terms of reference ask for representation from biodiversity or conservation interests as well as irrigation interests, will now be getting a call-back.

Nevertheless, even if a biodiversity expert is hurriedly appointed, they will still be a lone voice on a committee with ample representation for irrigation interests, developers, and agribusinesses.

The implications of this are serious. Among other things, the zone committee will consider the contested Hurunui Water Project, which plans to dam one of our last remaining wild rivers for an irrigation scheme. Environmental groups have applied for a Water Conservation Order on the river that would prevent this, but the entire Water Conservation Order mechanism and process in Canterbury has been severely weakened by the ECan Act

The Hurunui and Waiau zone committee is the first of ten zone committees like this to be set up to implement the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. Nominations are also being called for the overarching Regional Water Management Committee. Hopefully Forest and Bird’s good work on this issue means the commissioners will be more diligent about ensuring environmental interests are represented on these committees in future.

Meanwhile the good people of Canterbury are gearing up for another big event to show their concern about water and democracy issues their region: 3pm in Cathedral Square on 13 June. See you there!

17 Comments Posted

  1. Ecan is dead dudes.
    Its only a body you are looking at and it will not revive.
    Like stephensmikm says
    the law is the law.
    Its good that now we can burn open fires and be happy


    OK back to the thread; if the government are setting up the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and they are asking for environmental and skilled personnel to go on the Regional Water Management Committees and as Russel mentions they seem to be rigged, then why should Greens, Conservationists and left democrats etc. co-operate?

    Especially if the Conservationist/Greens don’t wish to recognise the above committees mandate!

    I would be of the view to boycott the Canterbury Water Management Strategy!!!

    How would it look if those committees had 100% representation from irrigators, dairy corporations and developers?

    St George never tried to clean the feet of the dragon, the dragon had to be slayed!!

  3. yes so was I. Aaron Gilmore is second from bottom on the National party list – he got in with 66 votes on the party results.

  4. Um, stephensmikm, I was talking about the Party Vote, not individual electorates. The antidemocratic FPP electoral system was voted out by New Zealanders 17 years ago.

  5. @greenfly – I was referring to the previous comments on this regarding the fine ladies and gentlemen at the Corpthorne event


    At present my understanding of the situation is that we’d (the people of New Zealand) under present circumstance, probably lose Aaron Gilmore,MP on party votes (unless he shifts south…) and Nicky Wagner,MP would be permanently shafted from winning central chch, but everyone seems pretty safe but then again there haven’t been any region specific polls so this is just guestimate work I suppose…Wigram will be an interesting seat….
    and anyway democracy will be restored…in 2013…or 2012.

  6. @stephensmikm 8:39 PM

    I wasn’t aware of Mr Goff’s intention’s of electoral campaigning so soon Greenfly

    Mr Goff is actually an irrelevancy here (and a liability to the Labour Party, but as a Green that doesn’t bother me in the slightest – more votes for us and less for them as long as he remains there).

    Regardless of party politics, we need to build a movement to restore democracy in Canterbury that is so strong every party has to listen.

    Lose Canterbury (about half a million voters) and you likely lose the next general election.

  7. yes, I wasn’t aware of Mr Goff’s intention’s of electoral campaigning so soon Greenfly, hence why I re-canted my statement 😀

    Though I still stand by the statement we aren’t really listening to the protesters. 🙂 your opposition in govt is another matter entirely

  8. oh really? how about that, I retract my statement wholeheartedly then. Shame the Bill will fail though. 🙂

    There is still that issue of after the Bill fails will they then reattempt it…this just could be an election ploy…

  9. protests will be meaningless now, it’s happened and won’t change unless it happened to be a part of some miraculous coalition deal with the Greens :), even if labour got in I doubt Goff would reset the date of elections…

  10. You might not be listening stephensmikm, but I’m picking a big turnout in the Square. New Zealanders care about democracy (over 2000 submissions on the two of the three Auckland Supercity Bills they were allowed to make submissions on), and the Government has abrogated democracy totally in Canterbury (no submissions allowed at all on the ECan Act).

  11. Meanwhile the good people of Canterbury are gearing up for another big event to show their concern about water and democracy issues their region: 3pm in Cathedral Square on 13 June.

    Go Canterbury!!! Just make sure there are not too many darkies farmers on the team.

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