Canterbury’s future must be Canterbury’s choice

A Labour Government will restore the right of Cantabrians to make their own decisions about the future of their communities, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.

“For almost four years Cantabrians have had the right to determine what they want for their communities over-ridden by a law which gives extraordinary powers to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and the Earthquake Recovery Minister.

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“It is past time that power was returned to the community. It is Canterbury’s future; it should be Canterbury’s choice.

“To help bring that about a Labour Government will immediately appoint a board of qualified locals with the relevant skills, expertise and community connections to govern CERA. 

“Members will be tasked with overseeing the smooth transition of CERA and the return of its powers and responsibilities to appropriate and competent local organisations.

“It is expected that CERA powers will be fully transitioned by the expiry of the CERA legislation in 2016.

“Another important step to restoring democracy in Canterbury is to reinstate local body representatives to Environment Canterbury (ECan), a right denied residents since the sacking of the previous council in 2010, as soon as possible. 

“That could mean an election as soon as 2015. 

“My team and I are also committed to working alongside Christchurch’s mayor and councillors to come up with a fair and sustainable solution to the city’s ballooning debt, largely a consequence of a government imposed cost-sharing arrangement. 

“There will be no set restrictions on the options that can be negotiated in these discussions. 

“Christchurch has been through some extremely tough times. Its people deserve a voice, and they deserve to be listened to. Labour will do that,” David Cunliffe said.