The Government's decision to keep its control on Environment Canterbury for another four years is being called appalling.
Environment Canterbury has been run by commissioners since the Government sacked its councillors back in 2010.
A bill amending the Environment Canterbury Act 2010 will be tabled in Parliament today, extending the commissioner governance model for the next four years, with a ministerial review in 2014.
Green Party MP and former ECan councillor Eugiene Sage says the Government is trampling on local democracy.
"I think it is appalling because, the legislation in 2010 which was passed under urgency, with no opportunity for public submissions and it sounds as if this might be happening with the new legislation, had a commitment that there be elections for the regional council in 2013."
She says it's a big move by the Government.
"They are showing a complete lack of faith in local government by saying that because of the growth potential and the significant challenges that they can't trust elected councillors to do that."
A former chair of ECan says the public won't agree with the government's decision to keep its commissioners in charge.
Sir Kerry Burke says ratepayers will find this decision highly offensive.
"I think they've got a lot of worries on their plate at the moment haven't they, everybody has, this will just simply add to that and detach the community more from the governors who are making decisions for them."
He says it's another example of local democracy is being killed off in Canterbury.
"The (Christchurch) City Council has been stripped of pretty much all of its authority, except it's still allowed to meet and make some decisions, but democracy has almost become on the border of extinction."
A former ECAN councillor is calling on Cantabrians to fight the government's move to keep commissioners at the helm.
Jo Kane says the decision is rubbish.
"It's totally outrageous, totally unacceptable. What they're saying to the people of Christchurch is you don't deserve to have representation."
Local Government Minister David Carter says it's absolutely essential ECan continues with its current commissioners to develop the fresh water resource in Canterbury.
"It is critical that the momentum on freshwater management and the regional cooperation that has been developed, is not lost, if we were to remove the current leadership arrangements."
Mr Carter says there are no guarantees ECan will return to democracy in 2016, but the government has every intention to do so.
Demands are being made for democracy to be returned to Canterbury.
New Zealand First MP, and former Christchurch City Councillor, Dennis O'Rourke says Canterbury will become 'Wellingtonised', with all decisions about it being made in the capital.
He believes it'll create a rift between locals and the authorities governing them.
"There's no reason why Canterbury, even in the current circumstances, shouldn't have democratic local government like every other part of New Zealand."
Photo: NZ Herald