Environment Canterbury commissioners appointed

Government fix-it specialist Dame Margaret Bazley is to take over as chair of commissioners overseeing Environment Canterbury, and fixing Canterbury's water issues.Environment Minister Nick Smith and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide today announced the appointment of the commissioners and their terms of reference.They are: Dame Margaret (chair), David Caygill (deputy chair), David Bedford, Donald Couch, Tom Lambie, Professor Peter Skelton, and Rex Williams.

Government fix-it specialist Dame Margaret Bazley is to take over as chair of commissioners overseeing Environment Canterbury, and fixing Canterbury's water issues.

Environment Minister Nick Smith and Local Government Minister Rodney Hide today announced the appointment of the commissioners and their terms of reference.

They are: Dame Margaret (chair), David Caygill (deputy chair), David Bedford, Donald Couch, Tom Lambie, Professor Peter Skelton, and Rex Williams.

"The Government has selected experienced and capable commissioners with first-class public service, governance, judicial and business skills," the ministers said.

There was a balance of agricultural, environmental and electricity expertise to match the challenges facing Environment Canterbury, they said.

"We have endeavoured to maximise the number of commissioners from Canterbury and ensured representation from both North and South Canterbury communities," Dr Smith and Mr Hide said.

"A key concern of Government has been the lack of a resource management plan for water in Canterbury and that is why completing a plan has been made an urgent priority in the terms of reference."

The commissioners were required to improve relations with Canterbury's 10 territorial councils, to build on the work of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and to meet all the statutory obligations of the Resource Management and Local Government Acts to consult with the Canterbury community.

The Government wanted to see an urgent improvement in freshwater management around water quality, water allocation and opportunities for water storage.

* Dame Margaret is chair of the New Zealand Fire Services Commission and Registrar of the Pecuniary Interests of Members of Parliament. She has a long and distinguished career in public service and held the positions of Secretary for Transport and Director General of Social Welfare.

* Mr Caygill is chair of the Electricity Commission, chair of the ACC Stocktake Group, chair of the Education New Zealand Trust, chair of the Advisory Committee on Official Statistics, associate member of the Commerce Commission and a board member of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. He had three terms as a Christchurch city councillor and six terms as a member of Parliament.

* Mr Bedford owns a small vineyard in North Canterbury which he manages with his wife and son. He is the chair of Enterprise North Canterbury.

* Mr Couch is Pro-Chancellor of Lincoln University, a member of the Lincoln University Council, a trustee, Ngai Tahu Ancillary Claims Trust and Rapaki Trustee (appointed by the Maori Land Court).

* Mr Lambie owns a 415 hectare dairy farm at Pleasant Point South Canterbury which is BioGro organic certified. He is Chancellor of Lincoln University, chair of Opuha Water Limited, a trustee of the Todd Foundation, chair of the Hikurangai Foundation and a trustee of Motu, Economic and Public Policy Research Trust.

* Professor Skelton is a former Environment Court judge and Associate Professor of Resource Management Law at Lincoln University.

* Mr Williams is the Chancellor of Canterbury University, chair of the West Coast District Health Board, chair of H W Richardson Group and a trustee of the Water Rights Trust.

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