Key gets letter over Canterbury democracy

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 15:00 04/12/2012

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Christchurch MPs hand-delivered a letter to Prime Minister John Key today, voicing concerns about the lack of democracy in Canterbury.

Green MP Eugenie Sage, Labour's Lianne Dalziel, and NZ First MP Denis O'Rourke delivered the letter on behalf of signatories including Save Our Schools, Historic Places Canterbury, Christchurch Civic Trust and the Wizard of New Zealand.

The letter requested the reinstatement of democratic elections for the regional council, Environment Canterbury, in 2013.

It also protested the demolition of heritage buildings, school closures, Government acquisition of land in the CBD, and asked for a reassessment of the April 30 deadline for red-zoned home-owners to move out of the red-zone.

According to Eugenie Sage, Cantabrians are concerned they are being disempowered by the Government.

"There is frustration that the decision making is top-down by the minister and CERA," she said.

"So this is an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for much more democracy, in decisions about the schools, and about TC3 residents in the red zone being able to have a bit more time."

The letter said consultation between CERA and the public has "become a farce", and on top of that people in Christchurch will "now suffer the indignity of no elections for at least three more years".

"This is totally unacceptable in a country that values its people and their right to a voice and involvement in decisions on their future," the letter reads.

Sage said Christchurch has a proud history of suffrage that is being trampled on by not allowing elections for the regional council.

Today's demonstration follows a march on Saturday in Christchurch for the same issues, where traffic was halted by around 1000 protesters as they marched from the city's Latimer Square to Cranmer Square.

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