Rivers advocate makes regional council bid

Rod Cullinane, general manager of North Canterbury Fish & Game.

Rod Cullinane, general manager of North Canterbury Fish & Game.

A freshwater advocate running for a seat on the Canterbury Regional Council says the organisation has "lost its way" since losing democratic representation.

Rod Cullinane of Christchurch has announced his candidacy for October's Environment Canterbury (ECan) elections and plans to "put people before economic growth".

Cullinane is general manager of North Canterbury Fish & Game and has been an outspoken critic of the regime led by ECan's government-appointed commissioners.

He is a qualified lawyer and accountant and has worked as a senior business executive.

He said that in recent years ECan had allowed for unsustainable land intensification and over-allocated water resources, which had resulted in deteriorating waterways.

"Current and future generations expect our fresh waterways to be swimmable and not polluted to the extent they are only wadeable, or toxic to the extent they kill fish and other aquatic and land-based animals.

"To suggest that we should accept such a standard is outrageous."

He would push for greater compliance monitoring and prioritise ecological and recreational uses of fresh water.

"The freshwater resource is diminishing and in some areas running out. Pollution in sensitive freshwater areas is allowed to continue with little or no enforcement.

"More of the same from ECan is both inappropriate and unacceptable."

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October's elections will be ECan's first since 2007, after the former elected council was sacked by the Government in 2010 due to poor performance.

Seven elected councillors will join up to six appointed commissioners, two of whom will be chosen by Ngai Tahu.

Four councillors will be elected from Christchurch and one each elected from North, Mid and South Canterbury.

The council will have a new chair, following the news that chair of the commissioners Dame Margaret Bazley would vacate the role after the election.

The other commissioners were still deciding whether to seek re-appointment, run for elected positions or vacate their roles.

A fully-elected council is expected to return in 2019.

 - Stuff

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