Yesterday I joined the demonstration in Cathedral Square to protest the sacking of the elected councillors of Environment Canterbury and the Government's insidious plans to open Canterbury's rivers and streams to the dairy industry and big business . The dairy industry, of course, has close and strong connections to the National Party.

One Government minister who stands to benefit is the Minister of Agriculture Minister David Carter, who has a farm in the Hurunui and who isn't saying no to the fast tracking of irrigation in the Hurunui.

Although the media says there were 3000 at the demonstration I think it was close to 4000. Regardless, this was the largest demonstration seen in Cathedral Square for some time. The fact it was a bitterly cold and damp afternoon didn't stop local people making their feelings known.

The Government has severely underestimated the depth of anger that there is Christchurch and Canterbury generally.

The Environment Minister Nick Smith has been bleating about giving his stool pigeons/ commissioners 'a chance' but this will cut no ice = people are well aware what Smith's agenda is and he isn't going to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.

Speaking of unpopularity, Mayor Sideshow Bob must feeling a little uncomfortable right now since he was one of the central agitators to have the Ecan councillors sacked. He told the media that it was a 'constructive' move to deny local people their basic democratic rights.

Sideshow Bob's cavalier attitude toward local democracy hasn't gone down well with the local populace and I heard many and varied uncomplimentary comments and yells about Bob. I imagine this is only a small taste of what he is in store for once he hits the mayoral campaign trail.

Bob is in big trouble. A local opinion polls shows that Jim Anderton has more than twice the support of Sideshow - 46% to 21% with 11% yet to decide. 49% of those polled have a negative opinion of Bob.

Sideshow Bob might be feeling the heat but lets not forget that his stooges on the Christchurch City Council also supported the sacking of the Ecan councillors and that includes Gail Sheriff, Sue Wells and Barry Corbett.

Strangely they don't seem willing to defend themselves. They are trying to keep a low profile while Bob takes all the flak. Yes, they are all trying to save their political skins. Let's hope they all get booted out of office, along with Bob, come October.


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