Regional Council Chair sends open letter to election candidates

Peter Scott, Chair, Environment Canterbury

Peter Scott, Chair, Environment Canterbury

Ahead of the General Election, Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury) Chair Peter Scott is urging those who see themselves forming the next government to start thinking beyond Lambton Quay and Queen Street.

In an open letter (PDF file, 189.86KB) to political parties and candidates, Scott highlights the important role of Waitaha Canterbury in a national context, and asks that regional government is trusted and resourced accordingly.

"We have a lot to offer here in Canterbury, but we’re under the pump. We want a strong relationship with central government, and for them to understand our potential and our priorities.

"It’s important for us to put our expectations on the table, for everyone to see, ahead of the next government forming in October," said Scott.

Scott said he had become increasingly frustrated when trying to influence decision makers in Wellington as he advocated on behalf of the region.

"Our ratepayers have made some significant investments in river management and flood resilience, pest management, and public transport. But, like a lot of regional councils, we’re running out of the funds we need to respond to major issues we’re facing.

"We’ve got some real and complex challenges staring down at us and it’s frustrating hearing about half-baked million-dollar policies and election promises that won’t add any value to us here in Canterbury.

The letter references four key areas that the council wants prioritised this election: recognising the role of regional government, flood resilience and adaptation to climate change, sustained investment in biodiversity and pest management, and planning and investment in public transport.

"We have received government support in the past for flood resilience and pest management, however the funding doesn’t go far enough for us to protect Canterbury from the real and ongoing risks we face.

"I don’t want to see government action (or inaction) force us to compromise our community and our environment," said Scott.

The letter invites ‘anyone who sees themselves being part of the next government’ to meet with Scott and his Councillors, and to keep Canterbury in mind as they set policies and make funding decisions.

"We’re looking forward to hearing how candidates and parties plan to prioritise and support our region ahead of the election.

"I hope they get the message and pick up the phone to give me a call."