The Hurunui, born in a nest of shale…

I have just finished reading The Water Thieves by Sam Mahon. Sam Mahon is an artist who lives in renovated flour mill in Waikari, North Canterbury. He was recently in the news for his bust of Environment Minister Nick Smith, made entirely of cow dung. The bust was created as part of a campaign to stop the Hurunui River from being dammed for irrigation. Continue reading

The history of regional government – Part 2: are we entering a new era?

The earlier article A short history of regional government in NZ contained musings about whether there might be clues in the history of regional government in New Zealand that help explain the predicament that Environment Canterbury (ECan) now finds itself in. The article failed to answer this question, but promised a future article to explore this question further. An examination of our more recent history reveals that this – at least in part, may be a product of an increasingly challenging environmental landscape outgrowing the RMA model of regional council focused on end-of-pipe, point-source pollution. Continue reading

A short history of regional government in NZ

The recent government intervention in Canterbury, which led to the replacement of the Environment Canterbury’s elected council with government-appointed commissioners [click here to read more], has brought regional councils into the spotlight. Regional councils are responsible for the bulk of environmental management and regulation in New Zealand. But what is their history and does their history provide any clues to the plight that ECan finds itself in? Continue reading