18 September, 2012
Environment Canterbury bill passes first reading
A bill extending commissioner governance of Environment Canterbury beyond the 2013 local government elections has passed its first reading in Parliament.
Local Government Minister David Carter says the current Commissioners have made significant progress in resolving systemic issues within Environment Canterbury and addressing urgent issues with water management in the region.
However, speaking to the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Amendment Bill, Mr Carter said the job is not yet complete.
“Since the original legislation was introduced, the Canterbury region has been hit by four devastating earthquake events. These have brought into sharper focus the need for a competent and consistent approach to planning for vital infrastructure,” said Mr Carter.
“Getting the infrastructure planning right is crucial for both the earthquake recovery and continued regional economic growth. To give Cantabrians the best chance of successful recovery, the region needs strong and effective leadership.
“The proposed bill extends commissioner governance until the 2016 local authority elections, with a ministerial review in 2014. It also retains the limited appeal rights on decisions made by Environment Canterbury on plans and policy statements relating to freshwater management.
“It is vital that a clear vision is developed for economic growth and the sustainable management of natural resources in the Canterbury region.
“This Bill is about continuing to provide strong and effective leadership to enable the region to prosper and to return to democracy,” Mr Carter said.