Ecan pushes for unelected representation on council with voting rights

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Aug 17, 2021 |

Environment Canterbury is again promoting a Local Bill to Parliament which, if passed, will ensure mana whenua representation on the Council.

In 2019 the Local Bill with Ngāi Tahu did not pass its first reading in Parliament.

In a statement the regional council said “to ensure ongoing contribution and representation, in October 2020 Environment Canterbury appointed two Mana Whenua Experts on Council.

The Tumu Taiao provide advice to Council in the interests of mana whenua.

(Above) Yvette Couch-Lewis, Ngāi Tahu, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke. Yvette Couch-Lewis has experience in the natural resources area and has been a Resource Management Act Hearings Commissioner.

However, under the Local Government Act 2002, Tumu Taiao do not have Councillor decision-making powers to vote at Council meetings.

The Tumu Taiao were appointed by the ten Papatipu Rūnanga Chairs of the Canterbury region in September 2020 following a selection process.

The statement said “the two Tumu Taiao members make a valuable contribution to Council’s governance and operations, including greater efficiency in planning and consenting processes, reduced costs for both Council and consent applicants, and improved enforcement decisions.”

”To continue these benefits and to ensure full decision-making powers to vote, Environment Canterbury wishes to reinstate direct Ngāi Tahu representation at Council level, as happened under the previous Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Act.”

“The Council has worked closely with papatipu rūnanga and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu on the updated Bill.”

(Above) Iaean Cranwell Ngāi Tahu – Wairewa. Iaean Cranwell was previously an appointed Councillor for Environment Canterbury, representing Ngāi Tahu from 2016-2019, and has governance experience particularly in Māori and commercial areas.

Ecan Chair Jenny Hughey

Chair Jenny Hughey said “the Bill will provide for mana whenua representation around the Council table, by empowering Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to appoint up to two members of the Council. This will be in addition to the elected members we currently have.”

“Environment Canterbury’s reasoning in 2018 when it first promoted a Bill to Parliament has not changed, but in some ways our rationale is stronger with the whanaungatanga/ collaboration of the relationship between Councillors and our two Tumu Taiao. This whanaungatanga of mana whenua around our Council table is invaluable and being able to have mana whenua on Council with voting rights is the right thing to do.”

The Bill will be available for inspection from Monday 16 August 2021 to Friday 3 September 2021 on Environment Canterbury’s website:

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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