Last month, the government announced that it was extending Canterbury's dictatorship for another three years. The decision flew in the face of advice from Internal Affairs and Ministry for the Environment, which supported a transition back to democracy via a mix of elected and appointed members. And, as The Press reports today, it was opposed by the dictators themselves:
However, in an April letter to Carter, released to The Press under the Official Information Act, ECan chairwoman Dame Margaret Bazley backed the mixed model. She wrote the proposal for a mixed-model was based on the commissioners' experiences, learning and observations.
"The proposal allows for and recognises the unique situation in Canterbury currently and the significant role the region plays in the national economy and potential for the future."
A report by the commissioners, which accompanied the letter, called Regional and Local Government Structure in Canterbury, said ensuring the earthquake recovery and the implementation of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy were not jeopardised was "paramount" in their recommendation to reinstate democracy. It recommended a mixed-governance model of six to eight elected member plus four to six Government-appointed members as the "most appropriate solution".
Also opposed was the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, who initially supported the removal of democracy.
So who supported the extension of the dictatorship then? Cabinet. They don't trust the people of Canterbury to manage their own resources in their own interests (or rather, they think that those resources should be pillaged in the interests of a few greedy farmers, with those of everyone else ignored). This is not a good attitude for elected representatives to have, and it really makes you wonder about their commitment to our Parliamentary democracy.