Constitutional repugnance

Constitutional law expert, Professor Philip Joseph slams the process around ECan:

A top New Zealand public law academic wants the Government to abolish legislation that sacked Environment Canterbury (ECan) councillors.

Canterbury University law professor says the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act, which was passed under urgency last month, breaches several principles of law, is “constitutionally repugnant”, contains “elements of subterfuge” and is a “constitutional affront”.

The act should be repealed and the 14 sacked regional councillors reinstated, he said. …

Joseph told The Press the act was “simply unacceptable”.

“What I’m concerned about is the idea of proper process, and this was a departure,” he said.

“This didn’t go through any select committee consideration, no submissions and no consultation. Why should urgency be taken on a matter such as this?”

While I support the decision to sack the Council, I agree with the criticism around process, and the lack of select committee hearings. Labour sacked the Rodney District Council using the same process (urgency with no select committee) but the ECan situation is more complicated with the powers ECan has also changing.

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