The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Our Policy Advice Areas › Environment Canterbury

Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Bill introduced

On 26 August 2015, Minister for the Environment Hon Dr Nick Smith introduced the Environment Canterbury (Transitional Governance Arrangements) Bill to the House. The Bill implements the mixed-model governance structure for Environment Canterbury for the 2016-2019 local government term, and extends some of the special resource management powers under the current Commissioners.

Further information and a copy of the Bill can be found on the Parliament website.

Outcome of the Review of Environment Canterbury: Mixed-model governance structure for 2016-2019

On 8 July 2015, the Minister for the Environment and Associate Minister of Local Government announced the outcome of the Statutory Review of Environment Canterbury, which began on 1 March 2014.

The announcement confirms the decision to implement the mixed-model governance structure for Environment Canterbury for the 2016-2019 local government term. The mixed-model governance structure will have a mix of seven community elected councillors, and up to six Government-appointed councillors. See also:


Environment Canterbury has been governed by seven Commissioners since a review of the elected body in 2010 found poor performance at the Council. The legislation governing their terms states that these end at the local government elections in 2016.

On 1 March 2014, the Minister for the Environment and Minister of Local Government began a statutory review of Environment Canterbury, as required under the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act 2010. The review was carried out by the Department of Internal Affairs and the Ministry for the Environment.

As part of the review Environment Canterbury Review: A discussion document was released for public consultation on 18 March 2015, outlining the proposal for the mixed-model governance structure. The outcome of the review is based on the submissions received, as well as discussions with Canterbury Councils and other key stakeholders.

2010 Appointment of Commissioners

In 2010, following an extended period of poor performance, the Government replaced the Environment Canterbury councillors with Commissioners. Divisions had impaired the effectiveness of planning and decision-making, and the local community had lost confidence in its elected representatives.

2012 Extension of Commissioners

In 2012 the Government extended the term of the Commissioners until 2016 and provided for a Ministerial review from 2014.

The announcement is available on the Beehive website (7 September 2012).
See the Regulatory Impact Statement (Environment Canterbury governance arrangements).

Cabinet Papers on Environment Canterbury Governance

These papers relate to the decisions above. They were publicly released on 5 October 2012: More information is available on the Ministry for the Environment website.