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 at least the 2016 local authority election, following an extension to their original term in 2013.
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.