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Cairn in Cathedral Sq in Christchurch protesting against the sacking of Ecan ( RNZ / Conan Young )

Cantabrians will next year get the chance to vote for their regional councillors for the first time in six years. They were sacked by the government in 2010 amidst claims they were dysfunctional and a wish to make progress over proposals for large scale irrigation schemes needed for intensive dairy farming.

Next year's return to democracy is unlikely to please all voters due to a proposal to retain a large number of government appointed commissioners. These selected individuals are needed, the government says, to ensure the momentum doesn't slow on converting the Canterbury Plains to dairy farming.

In this week's Insight, Christchurch reporter, Conan Young, looks at what's happened since the commissioners took charge and what the implications of this new model are for regional councils around the rest of New Zealand.