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Seven Environment Canterbury councillors (clockwise, from top left) Lan Pham, Rod Culliane, Steve Lowndes, all for Christchurch, South Canterbury’s Peter Scott, North Canterbury’s Claire McKay, Mid Canterbury’s John Sucknell and Cynthia Roberts for Christchurch were publicly elected in 2016. The seven are set to be joined by five more elected members next year, after the council announced last week it would restore the democratic voting system to all 12 members. The seven councillors pictured were elected by Canterbury residents in 2016, dropping the number of government commissioners on the council to five.

by Greta Yeoman

Environment Canterbury has promised to return to a fully elected council next year.

In a media release sent out last Wednesday, the regional council announced that under its current representation review work, it had determined to allow Canterbury residents to elect the full council in the 2019 elections.

This would be the first time ECan would be made up of fully publicly elected members since the ECan councillors were replaced by government-appointed representatives in 2010.

The then National government sacked the full council eight years ago, claiming the council was dysfunctional and had failed to create a regional water plan and was taking too long to make decisions.

In the 2016 local body elections, seven members were elected by the public alongside five government-appointed members.

Under the current representation review process, the council was determining how many councillors would be appointed and where from.

The initial proposal for how the region would be represented and how many councillors could be elected in each geographical area would be agreed by the council at a meeting on June 21.

The proposal would be made available for public consultation following that meeting.

Environment Canterbury was also exploring ways to continue mana whenua representation around the council table after the 2019 elections.

ECan holds elections every three years.