Five years ago the Government removed the elected members of Environment Canterbury and replaced them with Commissioners. In 2010 Environment Minister, Nick Smith, sacked the elected councillors in deference to rural interests as the councillors wanted to protect the environment. 
As a result, Environment Canterbury (ECan) lost all democratic representation. This loss of democracy sparked anger and demonstrations at the time. Environment Minister Nick Smith claims ECan Commissioners have made “huge progress” but ECan’s own recent evaluation of lakes and rivers in Canterbury shows water quality continues to deteriorate.
Since the Commissioners were put in place they’ve acted in accordance with the interests of the Government, rather than being the voice of the community. After five years, it’s now time to put the power back into the local community and restore elected members to Environment Canterbury.
But the Government has their own plan to extend the reign of a Commissioner-controlled Environment Canterbury. The ECan Bill currently before Parliament would keep these unelected Commissioners on Environment Canterbury till 2019. The bill narrowly passed its first reading with a vote of 62 to 59 with the Māori Party in support. 
With a public outcry, we can convince the Māori Party to oppose the ECan Bill and support local elections for Environment Canterbury. Add your name to the petition now.
- Ecan's democracy-limiting Bill introduced by Smith, NBR, October 15, 2015
- Controversial ECan transition bill narrowly passes first reading, The Press, October 13 2015
To the Māori Party,
We call on you oppose the ECan Bill and support local elections for Environment Canterbury in 2016.