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Ministry officials to help new commissioners in Canterbury

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 3 NZPA - Government officials will help Environment Canterbury's (ECan) appointed commissioners because of concerns over their workload.

In February a review team recommended commissioners be appointed urgently to replace the ECan council and turn around what it considered woeful performance in terms of administering water management responsibilities and resource consent processes.

Cabinet papers revealed today by The Press newspaper show Environment Minister Nick Smith had concerns the government appointees would not be able to manage their workload.

Environment Ministry officials from Wellington and Christchurch have been approved to help the commissioners.

That help was expected to cost about $200,000 a year until the next ECan election in 2013, the papers showed.

The new commission is chaired by Dame Margaret Bazley with former Labour minister David Caygill as deputy. Other commissioners are North Canterbury vineyard owner David Bedford, Pro-Chancellor of Lincoln University Donald Couch, South Canterbury dairy farmer Tom Lambie, former Environmental Court judge Professor Peter Skelton, and Chancellor of Canterbury University Rex Williams.

The commissioners hold their first public meeting Wednesday.

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