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Canty's mixed-member council bill passes

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/05/2016

Legislation that sets up Canterbury's mixed-member regional council has been passed by parliament.

The government sacked all 14 elected Environment Canterbury (ECan) councillors in 2010, saying they weren't carrying out their water management responsibilities, and appointed commissioners in their place.

They were supposed to be replaced by elected councillors in 2013, but the government extended their term until 2016.

This year seven councillors will be elected and six will be appointed by the government.

There won't be a fully elected regional council until 2019.

Environment Minister Nick Smith says mixed governance will ensure a smooth transition.

"ECan has made huge progress under the commissioners appointed in 2010," he said when he introduced the Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Bill.

It's controversial legislation and opposition parties say Canterbury residents are being denied their democratic right to elect their regional council.

The bill passed its third reading, its final stage, on Thursday by 63 votes to 58.

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