This article compares the proximate but not parallel trajectories of Canterbury Regional Council’s (ECan) and the Christchurch City Council’s changing authority to manage the urban and natural environment from 2010 to 2015. We ask why the trajectories are so far from parallel, and speculate as to why the central government interventions were so different. The apparent mismatch between the justifications for the interventions and the interventions themselves reveals important implications on the national and local levels. Nationally, the mismatch speaks to the current debate over an overhaul of the Resource Management Act. Locally, it informs current discussions in Wellington, Nelson, Gisborne and elsewhere about amalgamating district and regional councils.
Ann Brower is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Policy at Lincoln University. She holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s from Yale.
Ike Kleynbos holds a Bachelor of Environmental Management and Planning degree from Lincoln University and is currently doing postgraduate studies at Lincoln.