Five years ago the Government removed the elected members of Environment Canterbury and replaced them with Commissioners. As a result, Environment Canterbury (ECan) lost all democratic representation. 
The process is now underway to return some elected members to Environment Canterbury, but the Government is still trying to get away with retaining non-elected Commissioners on the Council after next year's election. The plan they have outlined in their new Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Bill says that Environment Canterbury will have a portion of elected members to Environment Canterbury, but still retain a portion of the seats for non-elected Commissioners.
The Christchurch City Council has labelled the Government's gradual approach to returning Environment Canterbury (ECan) to a fully elected body as "extraordinarily arrogant" in the submission they’ve made on the Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Bill saying that “there is no justification for the return to a fully representative governance structure for ECan to be delayed beyond October 2016.” 
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. The Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Bill is currently before a select committee and is open for submissions. You can make a submission on the bill with our quick and easy submission form. The submission we’ve written for you outlines changes to the legislation for:
- Full democratic representation of Environment Canterbury, and
- Allocation of seats for local Iwi representation on Environment Canterbury as part of Treaty commitments.
When, and if, full elections are enabled in 2019 it will have been nine years without democratic representation for the people of Canterbury. This isn’t acceptable in a democracy. Now is the time to demand full representation for the people of Canterbury.
- Ecan's democracy-limiting Bill introduced by Smith, NBR, October 15, 2015
- Council labels Government's Environment Canterbury plan 'arrogant', November 12 2015