People’s Choice Announce Regional Council Policies

People’s Choice Announce Regional Council Policies

The People’s Choice is pleased to release a package of Regional Council policies aimed at protecting Canterbury’s fresh water, providing better public transport, and nurturing the regional environment.

Ecologist and regional council candidate Cynthia Roberts says “We’re excited to be announcing these policies in the run-up to the first elections to ECan in six years. There's a real buzz around our Christchurch communities getting to have their say on how Canterbury is managed. Our videos have had over 10,000 views on social media and people can see we’re committed to being a strong voice for water quality, public transport, and healthy ecosystems.”

People’s Choice regional council candidate and freshwater ecologist Lan Pham said “Clean water and swimmable rivers aren’t simply a 'nice to have'. Fully functioning freshwater ecosystems are fundamental to ensuring our communities can thrive. Our local streams, rivers and lakes have experienced unprecedented pollution over the last few decades and that's no longer socially acceptable. Our waterways belong to all of us and we’re committed to restoring and protecting them.”

Pham says “We’re also committed to improving enforcement. Farmers need a level playing field. Those who are working towards sustainable practices should be encouraged — but those who are flouting the rules and damaging our environment for private gain should face serious consequences. We can't go on blindly pushing the ecological limits of what our environment can handle”.

Regional Council candidate Steve Lowndes says “We need to get active in addressing climate change at every level of society, and it's critically important that ECan is leading this at a regional level. We want to establish a Climate Change Unit to work alongside regional and national partners to work towards a zero-carbon future and increase Canterbury’s resilience in the face of climate change. It would be complete and utter negligence for us not to make good decisions now that give generations to come the best possible future".

Steve Lowndes says “Central to acting on climate change is getting our public transport moving. We want to create a world-class public transport system that works for all. This means more investment, investigating free wifi on-board, and working with our partners to help take a strategic approach about the whole transport network across greater Christchurch.”

A People’s Choice-led ECan will take steps to protect and nurture our environment in the face of a range of challenges. Cynthia Roberts says "We’ll protect regional biodiversity and ecosystems, and we’ll remember the obligation we owe to future generations to pass on a healthy, flourishing environment”. Roberts says “Finally, we’re absolutely passionate about seeing a return to a fully-elected council in 2019. Partial democracy isn’t good enough for Canterbury.”

Lan Pham is a freshwater ecologist who directs the Christchurch-based charitable organisation Working Waters Trust which works with landowners, schools and communities on freshwater restoration projects throughout Canterbury, Otago and Southland. She also served on the Christchurch-West Melton Zone committee and the Regional Committee both charged with implementing the Canterbury Water Management Strategy. When not marooned on Raoul Island, where she works as a Biodiversity and Science Contracts Manager, Lan lives in Opawa, Christchurch.

Steve Lowndes was a Banks Peninsula District Councillor before amalgamation, he served three years as chair of the Aoraki Conservation Board and is presently the chairperson of the Banks Peninsula Zone committee and Biodiversity working group chair on the Regional Committee. Steve lives on the shores of Lake Forsyth.

Dr Cynthia Roberts focused her Masters and Phd research on animal/plant interactions, and the impacts of climate change. She was previously Head of Special Programmes Department at Christchurch Polytechnic, a Science advisor for the Department of Conservation and ran her own successful ecotourism business for over a decade. Cynthia lives in Redcliffs in Christchurch which allows her to stay in tune with the Avon Heathcote estuary.

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