12 Nov 2015

Council wants elections over govt appointments

9:38 pm on 12 November 2015

The Christchurch City Council has slammed a bill that proposes retaining government-appointed commissioners on regional council Environment Canterbury (ECan).

The Environment Canterbury Bill, which last month passed its first reading, replaces a council made up entirely of government-appointees with one that includes a mixture of appointees and elected councillors.

The city council has written a stinging submission on the bill proposing to keep the commissioners, and which accused the government of being blinkered and extraordinarily arrogant.

It has voted to send the mayor and her deputy to deliver the submission to MPs in person.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said ratepayers deserved the right to elect those making decisions about public money.

There was a good case to be made for the city council to take over many of the functions carried out by ECan.

"There is no taxation without representation; it's an absolute," she said.

"If the government wants to appoint members to run an organisation then they should take the power of taxation off them."

The submission accused the government of being extraordinarily arrogant for making a distinction between appointees, saying appointees would have specialist knowledge, while not specifically saying that elected representatives would.

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