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Burns: Firing Of Council An Outrageous Affront To Democracy And Canterbury Voters

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

National's decision to replace the Environment Canterbury Council with government-appointed commissioners for the next three-and-a-half years is an outrageous affront to democracy, says Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns.

"It is also a two-fingered salute to Canterbury voters. They will have to keep paying rates to an organisation over which they have no influence," Brendon Burns said today.

"Environment Minister Nick Smith and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide are saying quite openly that Canterbury voters are not intelligent enough to elect a council that can deal with water management issues in Canterbury.

"That's what they mean when they say that these issues cannot be resolved by the normal electoral cycle. They are saying in effect that Canterbury voters are too thick to work things out for themselves, so let's take the vote off them, and we'll do it on their behalf. That's incredibly arrogant and condescending.

"To add insult to injury, National is rushing this through Parliament today under urgency with no chance for anyone in Canterbury to have a say."

Brendon Burns said the axing of ECAN followed hard on the heels of high-handed tampering with democracy in terms of Auckland super city.

"The Canterbury situation is much worse than that, however. In Auckland National and ACT have ignored proper process and have failed to listen to what Aucklanders have been telling them.

"In Canterbury they have gone even further. Democracy has gone out the window entirely until the end of 2013 so that Mr Smith can get his own way on resource management decisions," Brendon Burns said.

"This is totally unacceptable. National knows Canterbury people won't support their plans, and so they have decided they will eliminate Canterbury people from the equation altogether.

"National's arrogance knows no bounds. Aucklanders already know that. Now Canterbury people are experiencing it --- and experiencing it in spades. Rodney Hide likes to call himself the Minister for Ratepayers, but he doesn't trust them enough to give them a say."

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