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About the Environment Canterbury review

This page provides information about the statutory review of Environment Canterbury. The review, which began on 1 March 2014, was conducted by the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Internal Affairs. The review is now complete and Cabinet has agreed on final policy decisions.

About the review

Section 17A of the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act 2010 (ECan Act) provides the Minister of Local Government and the Minister for the Environment the power to review Environment Canterbury’s (ECan) governance structure, membership and enhanced resource management powers. 

The purpose of the ministerial review was to identify possible regional governance arrangements for Canterbury once the ECan Act expires in 2016.

The review covered:

  • governance and membership
  • powers and functions under Part 3 of the ECan Act
  • ECan’s role in earthquake recovery.

It considered the specific regional governance issues facing Canterbury, the progress made by the commissioners appointed by the Government in 2010 to govern ECan and future options for the governance of ECan.

Public consultation

In 2015, the Ministry for the Environment and Department of Internal Affairs sought feedback on a proposed mixed-model governance structure for ECan for after the 2016 local government elections. A discussion document was released on 18 March 2015 outlining the proposal.

Read Environment Canterbury Review: A discussion document

Submissions closed at 5.00pm 1 May 2015.

The consultation findings were summarised and provided to the Associate Minister for Local Government and the Minister for the Environment to support Government decision-making about the way forward for ECan. 

Read Summary of submissions on Environment Canterbury Review: A discussion document

Read all submissions:

Final policy decisions

On 22 June 2015, Cabinet agreed to establish a mixed-model governance structure of seven elected and up to six appointed councillors for ECan for the 2016-2019 local government term. Cabinet also agreed to ECan retaining limited appeal rights powers in relation to freshwater plans and policies for the 2016-2019 local government term. 

Read the Ministers' announcement on the Beehive website [Beehive website]

Read Environment Canterbury Review policy settings for future governance arrangements July 2015 

Next steps

A bill to implement the mixed-model governance structure for ECan will be introduced to the House this year.

Background to the review

  • In 2010, the Government appointed commissioners to govern ECan following significant issues with the council’s performance.
  • The commissioners were given additional RMA powers to advance the region’s water management strategy.
  • The commissioners were originally tasked with governing ECan until the 2013 local authority elections.
  • In March 2013, Parliament amended the Act to extend commissioner-led governance to the 2016 local authority elections.
  • The extension has enabled the commissioners to continue to work on freshwater issues, finalise RMA plans, and to provide stable and effective regional leadership throughout the earthquake recovery work.

Find out more