New Zealand Labour Party

Another four years wait for democracy in Canterbury

Today’s announcement that there will not be a democratic vote for Ecan until 2019 means four more years of waiting for Cantabrians to get their vote back, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.

“When John Key stripped Cantabrians of their votes in 2010, it was with the expectation it would be a temporary arrangement. Instead today the Government has announced a ‘mixed governance’ model until 2019.

“The Government appointing nearly half the Ecan councillors in no way, shape or form counts as a return to democracy. Calling it a transition to democracy is misleading, this is just denying Cantabrians their rights for four more years.

“Cantabrians have already waited 1927 days to get their vote back and it will be about another 1545 days under the plan announced today. That’s wrong.

“Documents released to Labour under the OIA show officials warned the Government that continuing with an undemocratic Ecan would set a dangerous precedent for future changes. Today’s announcement shows the Government is barrelling ahead with no concern for democracy.

“This raises the spectre of New Zealanders in other parts of the country being stripped of their votes as well.

“It is an insult to Cantabrians. Once again the Government has decided that people in Canterbury cannot be trusted to make their own decisions about their future.

“The Government should give people in Canterbury their vote back, and reinstate a fully democratically elected Ecan for next year’s local government elections. They won’t do that, so I’ve put a Member’s Bill in the ballot that will,” says Megan Woods.

Contact: Megan Woods 021 247 5500