Jenkins wants to keep his job

Environment Canterbury chief executive Bryan Jenkins wants to keep his job after the Government on Tuesday sacked the 14-member elected council he is responsible to.

Yesterday, in an interview with the Otago Daily Times, Dr Jenkins was cagey about his future with Environment Canterbury (ECan) under commissioners appointed by the Government, led by chairwoman-designate Dame Margaret Bazley.

He said it was a "sensitive" situation, but was adamant he wanted to continue as chief executive of the Canterbury regional council.

Asked how he saw his future, Dr Jenkins said: "When you take on these roles you realise there is going to be potential for moments like this.

My view is I have a clear mandate in terms of what my responsibilities are, I need to continue delivering on those - which I have told staff as well - but I am not the ultimate determiner of my appointment."

That would shift from councillors to the commissioners.

Community groups and leaders had been critical of ECan's performance and relationship with them.

That criticism had also been levelled at Dr Jenkins and senior ECan management.

Dr Jenkins said for four years, ECan had been pushing the Government for "special tools" to deal with water management issues.

Commissioners would be given powers to impose moratoria, approved by Environment Minister Nick Smith, on new water takes in areas close to or fully allocated.

The Government planned to give the commissioners the power to decide on water management issues without having them appealed to the Environment Court, skipping that process and going to the High Court only on points of law.

The commissioners would also have the power to decide on water conservation orders, again with final approval resting with Dr Smith.

Dr Jenkins said he had a "personal interest" in applying those tools to deal with freshwater management in Canterbury.

"Having received that chance ...

"I would like to go ahead and implement them - but I'm not the final arbiter."


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