At their first public meeting today, Environment Canterbury’s new council, led by chairwoman Dame Margaret Bazley, and deputy chair David Caygill, opened with a powhiri. Commissioner Donald Couch, who is Ngai Tahu, of Te Hapu o Te Wheke (ki Rapaki), was welcomed with waiata and korero.
Deputy chair David Caygill, speaking on behalf of all the commissioners, noted that the meeting marked a new beginning for the organisation. He also acknowledged the need to build upon the good work of the commissioners’ predecessors and the work done region-wide for many years by many different people.
He said he was strongly aware that the work of the commissioners had to lay the foundation for future generations to continue to benefit from, respect and enjoy the Canterbury environment.
Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon acknowledged the inter-generational accountability raised by David Caygill.
“That is what this is about. If we don’t get this issue around water correct, it will affect our grandchildren. There will be compromises, it is the only way we can go forward as a community.”
He noted that the concept of kaitiakitanga or guardianship was included in the principles of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. He said although water use is crucial to Canterbury’s future, there was more to the discussion than simply economics, and people had to learn to work in harmony with the land.
Dame Margaret said the commissioners were committed to working with Ngai Tahu and all other stakeholders to achieve the full potential of the region and raise its contribution to the country as a whole.
“A key task for the commissioners is the completion of an operative plan for water in Canterbury, “she said.
Dame Margaret reiterated to media and public present that commissioners would be responsible for particular areas of governance and inquiries should be directed through the 0800 Commissioners freephone number and email address - 0800 266 647, or Commissioners@ecan.govt.nz.
The main work of the meeting, following the powhiri, was to formalise the new governance roles for the council’s ongoing regional work programme.
Regional Planning Committee
This committee develops regional policies, plans and strategies in order to promote sustainable management and give effect to the Regional Policy Statement and Council policy directions.
Peter Skelton was appointed Chair of the Regional Planning Committee.
Finance and Audit Committee
This committee deals with audit, external financial reporting, financial risk management, internal control and strategic performance management.
David Bedford, Dame Margaret Bazley and Rex Williams were appointed to Finance and Audit.
Canterbury Regional Transport Committee
This is a statutory committee with two regional council representatives, one elected member from each territorial authority, one representative from New Zealand Transport Authority and six community appointments. This group prepares a regional land transport strategy and a regional land transport programme. It also advises and assists the regional council on any other matter relating to its transport responsibilities.
Rex Williams and Tom Lambie were appointed as the regional council representatives with Rex Williams as chair.
Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management Joint Committee.
This is a joint standing committee under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act, made up of elected representatives from territorial authorities and the regional council, exercising governance and determining Canterbury group emergency management policy.
Donald Couch was appointed the regional council representative.
Chief Executive Performance Review
Dame Margaret Bazley was appointed Commissioner responsible for the Chief Executive’s performance review.
The purpose of this group is to build good relationships and partnerships with Maori, (Ngai Tahu runanga and Nga Maata Waka) and give effect to the council’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi, Ngai Tahu Settlement Act, Local Government Act 2002 and related obligations under the Resource Management Act.
Donald Couch and Dame Margaret Bazley were appointed as Commissioners responsible for this function.
Canterbury Water Management Steering Group
This group provides advice to the Canterbury Mayoral Forum on the development of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. It has representatives of local and central government, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and community representatives, including environmental, farming, industry and recreational interests. The steering group is overseeing finalisation of the strategy targets and the legislative mandate. Implementation of the strategy will be via the zone and regional committees which are being set up at the moment. The regional council has had representation at the councillor level and chief executive level.
David Caygill and Peter Skelton were appointed as the regional council representatives. In addition, existing members of the committee, former regional councillors Eugenie Sage and Angus McKay, who were members of the steering group, were invited to remain on the committee.
Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy (UDS) Implementation Committee
Comprised of the Urban Development Strategy partners - Canterbury Regional Council, Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri District Council, Selwyn
District Council and New Zealand Transport Authority – this group provides guidance and makes recommendations to Council on the implementation of the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy.
Rex Williams and Tom Lambie were appointed as the regional council representatives to the committee.
Regulation Overview Committee (ROC)
The Council undertakes an ongoing review of the performance of the regulatory functions of Environment Canterbury.
Peter Skelton and David Bedford were appointed as Commissioners responsible for
Regulation Hearing Committee
This Council committee has delegated functions to appoint hearings commissioners under Resource Management Act processes.
Peter Skelton was appointed chair of this committee, with members Tom Lambie and Donald Couch.
Council Portfolio Groups
The following Commissioners were appointed responsible for the following portfolios:
• Air quality and energy: David Bedford
• Coasts and navigation safety: Donald Couch
• Hazards and emergency management: Donald Couch
• Land, biodiversity, pest management, waste, hazardous substances and
contaminated sites: Tom Lambie
• Regional land transport and public passenger transport: Rex Williams
• Water quality, quantity and ecosystems: David Caygill
• Democratic process: Dame Margaret Bazley
• Combined portfolios: Dame Margaret Bazley
Media inquiries for all Commissioners: contact Environment Canterbury’s media team Frances Adank 03 353 9731, 027 221 5259 or David Miller, 03 363 9319.