19 Sep 2012

Carter defends bill extending governance in Canterbury

8:04 am on 19 September 2012

The Local Government Minister David Carter is making no apologies for extending the governance by commissioners of the Canterbury regional council until 2016.

The Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Amendment Bill passed its first reading on Tuesday with National, the Maori Party, ACT and United Future supporting it.

The Government-appointed commissioners have been in charge of the council since elected councillors were sacked in 2010.

Local body elections were to resume in 2013.

But Local Government Minister David Carter told Parliament the commissioners have made significant progress in resolving systemic problems within the Canterbury regional council.

Mr Carter said their job, made more difficult by recent earthquakes, is not finished and would have been irresponsible of the Government to have pulled them out early.

The minister says he has not received any indication that Cantabarians are outraged at the decision.

Oppositions parties say suspending council elections until 2016 is anti-democractic and shows a lack of respect by the Government.

The legislation will now be considered by a select committee.