Six Years Since Canterbury’s Democratic Voice Was Silenced

This Saturday, a coalition of Cantabrians will gather at Cathedral Square’s stone cairn to observe the loss of regional democracy and the ongoing degradation of the region’s lakes and rivers.

Photo description

Photo description

The stone cairn with rocks from local rivers and lakes (Photo by David Brooks)

This week is the sixth anniversary of the sacking of Environment Canterbury councillors and the appointment of commissioners in their place.

“Canterbury is New Zealand’s ground zero for water quality,” says Jen Miller, Forest & Bird’s local Conservation Manager.

“Some of the country’s most polluted and depleted waterways are in our backyard, and the people of the region are still denied the opportunity to do anything about it.

“Without a fully democratically-elected regional council, the people of Canterbury can only watch as a politically-appointed commission allows our rivers and lakes to be over-allocated, polluted and abused. It will take decades for the area to recover from the water crises that has unfolded on the commission’s watch.”

Forest & Bird, Fish and Game, the Water Rights Trust, Malvern Hills Society and others will gather at the stone cairn in Cathedral Square, where there will be a wreath laying ceremony, and a few short speeches.

The cairn was built in 2010 when about 4000 people gathered in Cathedral Square to protest the sacking of their regional council, bringing stones from rivers around Canterbury to create the marker. It was the intention at the time that the cairn would remain until democracy was restored.

When: 12pm, Saturday, 30th of April

Where: The stone cairn, Cathedral Square Details: This Saturday, a coalition of Cantabrians will gather at Cathedral Square’s stone cairn to observe the loss of regional democracy and the ongoing degradation of the region’s lakes and rivers.