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Canterbury's new look regional council officially sworn in

Canterbury's new look regional council has just officially met for the first time - and they’ve chosen their chair.

David Bedford, who was previously a government appointed commissioner on the council, was voted in over newly elected councillor Peter Scott.

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"For me, making this team of councillors work effectively is my primary task for the next three years," Mr Bedford told his council as he took the chair's seat.

"I’m very conscious of the fact that in many people's minds we still have a less than perfect model. I'm really confident we will overcome that and will achieve the best outcome for Canterbury."

Steve Lowndes, an elected councillor, will be deputy chair.

I’m very conscious of the fact that in many people's minds we still have a less than perfect model. - David Bedford, Canterbury Regional Council chairperson

This year's local body election was the first time since 2007 in which Cantabrians were able to vote for their regional council.

In 2010, the government sacked the then Environment Canterbury councillors but it's now returning democracy by installment.

Seven newly elected councillors sit alongside six government appointees - some of whom were previously government appointed commissioners on the council.

And while those appointees are no longer accountable to government, there is still an agenda on the table - that the new council will improve the management of the region's water.

"We have left the new council with special powers to complete that water work and we would want to see all 10 of those zone water rules completed in the next three years," Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith told media last week.

Canterbury is home to more than half of the country's irrigated land and hydroelectricity storage.

Here's the new look council at a glance:

Seven Elected Members:

  • Lan Pham
  • Cynthia Roberts
  • Rod Cullinane
  • Steve Lowndes (deputy chair)
  • John Sunckell
  • Claire McKay
  • Peter Scott

Six Appointed Members:

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  • David Bedford (Chair)
  • Hon David Caygill CNZM
  • Iaean Cranwell
  • Elizabeth Cunningham JP
  • Tom Lambie ONZM
  • Professor Peter Skelton CNZM