General policy statement
On 31 March 2010, Parliament passed the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act, sacking the elected representatives of Environment Canterbury and replacing them with unelected commissioners. The commissioners will hold power until the regular 2013 local authority elections (at the latest).
Such a long period of unelected rule is unacceptable in a democracy. The right of the people to elect their local authority representatives is fundamental, and affirmed by article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which New Zealand is a party. The abrogation of democracy in Canterbury violates both democratic principles and international law.
This Bill remedies this appalling situation by requiring the commissioners of Environment Canterbury to immediately call a special general election, to be held within 3 months of the Bill becoming law.
Clause by clause analysis
Clause 1 is the Title provision.
Clause 2 provides for the Bill to come into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.
Clause 3 provides that the Bill amends the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act 2010 (the Act).
Clause 4 sets out the purpose of the Bill.
Clause 5 inserts new section 23A, requiring the commissioners to immediately call a special general election.