Gibson: ECan run by Tory bullies

Rangitata Labour candidate Steve Gibson is spitting tacks that he was barred from an Environment Canterbury meeting on clean air, accusing the regulatory authority of being run by Tory bullies.

ECan has responded by saying the June 3 meeting was a media-only briefing with public meetings to follow, and that he had been told he could not attend.

Gibson believes he was barred by ECan commissioner David Bedford because he had challenged the appointed commissioners' public accountability in a newspaper.

"Because the commissioners supplanted the democratically elected councillors, they see no reason to act on behalf of the regional ratepayers in a timely manner, because they are not under pressure to gain re-election.

"This is undemocratic. The correct name for this sort of set-up is a tyranny-totalitarian regime, like China.

"Shame on you, Mr Bedford, and shame on the ECan governance (or more correctly, dictatorship). So why are we paying rates to have unelected Tory toadies bully us and our communities?"

Gibson said he had worked in home heating and energy efficiency programmes, and thought he could have contributed to the discussion.

"I have got the solutions, I know how to tackle it."

He thought subsidies needed to be widened to include more households and to move homes away from open fires.

An ECan spokesperson said initially Gibson was told he could attend but that would need to be verified.

"Environment Canterbury staff reached agreement that it was a briefing for media only and it would not be appropriate for a politician to attend. An email was sent to Mr Gibson on Friday, May 30, apologising for the original response and saying he could not attend the meeting."

Gibson said he did not see the email.

"Mr Gibson attended anyway, saying at the briefing that he had not been emailed," the spokesperson said.

"Prior to the media briefing, commissioner Bedford spoke to Mr Gibson and confirmed the advice already emailed by Environment Canterbury staff. A staff member then gave Mr Gibson her business card so that he could call her after the media briefing."

ECan plans to hold two public meetings in Timaru to hear residents' views on its recently released discussion document.

The Timaru Herald