Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A. B. B.

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  • Graeme Easte,

    Response to original message from A.B.B.

    Thank you for your kind endorsement! I am not sure what I have ever done (or not done) to earn your displeasure, but I am also a very hard working and diligent local Community Board member, and have been so since 1992. I have been deputy chair for 2 terms and chair for one. Apart from our two high profile Councilors, our team have not always featured prominently in the press but have delivered good local governance and representation in that time, so much so that our opponents are finding it hard to find any real issues and have resorted to making them up (examples happily supplied on request).

    You condemn me for my associations with the Alliance and for no other apparent reason. Some in the media formed a pathological dislike of the Alliance which unfairly coloured their reporting – am I suffering from this syndrome too? In fact I am not a member of any political party and have not been since the Alliance imploded over the Afghanistan invasion issue in 2002. Far from resiling from my Alliance associations, I am proud of my long community service record and political activity in this area.

    I was a member of the Labour Party up to and including the era of “Rogernomics” under two terms of “Hard Labour”. As chair of the Grey Lynn Branch from 1985-90 I played my part alongside Matt McCarten, Matt Robson, Bruce Hucker and others in the struggle with Richard Prebble for control of the Auckland Central Electorate and for retention of grass-roots input into an increasingly undemocratic decision-making process. One by one my colleagues gave up the struggle and left Labour to join the New Labour Party (which later morphed into the Alliance) - I was one of the last to leave, having endured a series of 33-1 defeats at the local LEC as I naively trusted in working through the constitutional process.

    In the late 80s the Unions and most branches of the Labour Party were afraid to “rock the boat” by publicly voicing their many criticisms of government policy (in particular of the widespread corporatisation and sale of our public institutions). In this vacuum the Alliance played an important and honourable role in providing critical analysis and publicly voicing opposition - at least to the extent that a hostile media would allow our spokespeople air time. Our revenge came a few years later when the Alliance Candidate Sandra Lee was elected in 1993, ousting Richard Prebble. Under MMP we were able to make electoral further gains, but by then Labour had begun to repent and redeem itself with its natural constituency so the Alliance soon reached its natural limit as a fringe party.

    At the 1st elections for the Western Bays Community Board in 1989 the pro-Pebble Auckland Central Labour machine was opposed by a ticket of Community Independents lead by Bruce Hucker (most of them former Labour members, some with no party affiliation). With the left vote so badly split Bruce was the only successful candidate and the C&R team had a stranglehold (8 of 9 positions) on the Board. At the 2nd election in 1992, the Alliance team in Western Bays, including myself, was able to take control with 2 of 3 Councillors and 5 of 6 Community Board members. We have controlled the Board ever since, although the Alliance team became part of the City Vision grouping established in 1998.

    Other significant Alliance actions at a regional level included the election of Mike Lee to the ARC in a bye-election (then under the New Labour banner), and hasn’t he done well. Most significant was the Alliance victory in winning 5 out of 6 seats on the Regional Services Trust (ARST) which was established in 1992 to flog off all our Regional Assets and repay debt. Under Bruce Jesson, the ARST focused instead on repaying the debt from Port Company surpluses and was able to ignore the injunction to sell. Unfortunately, after the Alliance lost control of the ARST, Northern Disposal Systems and the Yellow Buses were both eventually sold, but Ports of Auckland has been retained as both our most significant asset and a prolific source of funds for infrastructure development.

    So as I say, I have good reason to be proud of my past associations with the Alliance and of my achievements and those of my former colleagues in the Alliance.

    Thanks for your attention
    Graeme Easte
    (09) 815-9000 or (0210) 328-782
    email: pastfinders@clear.net.nz

    Auckland City • Since Sep 2007 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I read the loooong comment from Mr Easte, and wondered what it was in reply to, because I couldn't remember having read anything that would warrant such a reply.

    This was all I could find, from Russell's original post:

    I'm not a big fan of Graeme Easte, who comes from the Alliance side (on the other hand, anyone who has these people for enemies has my sympathy).

    If that's the sort of response Mr Easte gives to someone who confesses to being "not a big fan", I'd hate to see the essay a full-on insult would prompt.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    If that's the sort of response Mr Easte gives to someone who confesses to being "not a big fan", I'd hate to see the essay a full-on insult would prompt.

    'Specially seeing as I've decided I'm gonna vote for him ;-)

    I was going to reply to Graeme's email along similar lines, but I might as well do it here.

    Years ago, when the burghers of Grey Lynn voted to end the area's "dry" status, there had to be a subsequent vote as to how "wet" we'd get.

    One Sunday afternoon, when I was trying to have a quiet read of a book in my lounge in Grey Lynn, a man banged on my window. It was Graeme, and he'd heard I might be interested in getting behind a licensing trust for the area.

    Now, I happened to think licensing trusts, as they manifest in Auckland, were a bloody awful idea, as I tried to explain to Graeme. But he banged on regardless, standing on my deck, talking to me through my window. I was (a) annoyed, and (b) alerted to the fact that I was not Graeme's political soulmate.

    (I might add that I think the subsequent fairly orderly development of boutique licensed premises in Grey Lynn bears out my view of the matter.)

    From memory, I've disagreed with a few other things he's said since, but he's hard-working and I don't think he's a bad guy. And, as I said, I'd hate to be on the Water Pressure/RAM shitlist the way he is.

    It's one of the quirks of Auckland local body politics that there's not a lot of middle ground -- the left of CV is a bit too left for me (I thought the street sign crackdown was mad) and too many of the CitRats come across like Kiwiblog commenters. I'd love to be able to vote for Richard Simpson and I'll be really) pissed off if Hobson voters tip him out this time.

    So, um, yeah ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Blumsky, did he jump or was he bashed up by street kids while perfectly sober & polite?

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Well, I finally did it. I read everything everybody had to say. I weighed it all up very carefully.........and then I voted for all the young, and not so young, lefty ecowarrior people (excluding Bob Tizard who's not young nor is he a hippy, but he's a stubborn old man so I'm hoping he gets to have some good fisticuffs with Wayne Brown on the ADHB)

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    But bugger me, can we not have a GOOD serious choice for mayor, just once?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    I've just taken a serious look through the political allsorts and taken a selection of different flavours.

    What's the story with Cops on the community board?
    Peter Laloli is the cop in charge of the Hornby Police station and uses his police email for council communications.
    Nothing against the guy just it does seem to be a conflict of interest to be a law maker (ok to a lesser degree) and a law inforcer.
    He only need to be a JP & hey presto - Judge Dredd lives.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    but he's hard-working and I don't think he's a bad guy.

    Amen to that. Every Western Bays community event I've been to in the last 17 years (including tree planting in the pouring rain), Graeme Easte has been there, mucking in !

    (I might add that I think the subsequent fairly orderly development of boutique licensed premises in Grey Lynn bears out my view of the matter.)

    I cannot see any reason why this could not also of happened if there was a licensing trust. Not all licensing trusts went the route of those in West Auckland.

    In fact, it is likely that there would be a wider range of outlets if they didn't have to compete with supermarkets.

    Hmmm. I suppose I agree with Graeme on this one - but there is little point in re-hashing it now ... sorry ... I'll toodle off to bed then ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Any favour a Greater Auckland Council?

    I'm agnostic when it comes to a further round of local body amalgamations, because there are serious arguments on both sides worthy of careful consideration. I just wish 'megacity' advocates would start making them, instead of coming across like a pack of dizzy size queens.

    What must not happen again is a group of mayors getting together behind closed doors, with no electoral mandate, and coming up with a fait accompli so badly designed it was hard to read as anything more than a ram-raid on the ARC's assets. (And believe you me, the number of times I agree with Mike Lee can be counted on a clenched fist.)

    Blumsky, did he jump or was he bashed up by street kids while perfectly sober & polite?

    Classy, Michael. I understand he's just not a particularly good fit for Parliament and decided to move on - wish a few more on all sides of the House (and in local government, for that matter) would do the same.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    and too many of the CitRats come across like Kiwiblog commenters

    Funny that.

    Re: Blumsky, it would not surprise me if he was given a subtle nudge, if not a full on push.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    From the 'stil, it could be worse' files...

    A former boxer turned mayor in Romania is facing legal action after beating up five councillors who disagreed with his spending plans.

    Mayor Iulian Florea, from Teslui in south-west Romania, attacked local councillor Mircea Chirita after an argument over the town budget at a council meeting.

    Florea, a former professional boxer, then attacked four other councillors who tried to stop him, knocking out one with a left hook.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Blumsky - yeah a cheap shot & 10 points for a gracious departure.

    Christchurch got described as an aspiring City State recently by a Selwyn councilor & I kind of like the idea. Banks Pen that Bob Parker brought in has poor water supplies & unsafe bridges - so needed cash for infrastructure. Selwyn is rich but I'ld love to have a say in restricting dairying & CPW.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Because, okay, he didn't think gay people deserved basic rights, then he met some and realised he was wrong. Is he going to have to do that with every single other group? He seems... awfully malleable. - post by Emma on p2

    Seems to me the sensible thing to do when faced with new, verifiable information that contradicts previously held beliefs is to change your mind. What would you do?

    What is this obsession NZers have with 'Strong Leaders' who are bullies, dictators and rigid. And ''Yes!", Craig, I do believe the fact that Banks is a bully, as well as a fantasist, hyprocrite and misleading (convicted of misleading advertising, convicted of using a jetski with his kids without them wearing proper floatation devices - the day AFTER having a go at boy racers...) and I DO believe that is an entirely valid reason to vote gainst him. Furthermore, the fact that he achieved very little except putting sand on Kohi beach and pissing off the great majority of the Auckland citizenry helps.

    The first thing Banks did as Mayor as I recall was to build a covered garage in the council car park for his Bentley? Then weasel off a ticket for hooning in the harbour on his jet ski with kids in tow? Then get sued for a shonky honey products business deal?

    The only thing you've left out, Merc, is the bogus 'Financial Crisis' he said the city was in immediately after gaining power, then straight away pulling in his old buddy, Bill (Think Big) Birch for a $50,000 consultancy review of ACC expenditure that called for, amongst other things, an end to public art, subsidies for public transport, selling off the Council Housing and airport shares, an end to using green weed control rather than chemical sprays...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    (convicted of misleading advertising, convicted of using a jetski with his kids without them wearing proper floatation devices - the day AFTER having a go at boy racers...)

    **and** they were jet-skiing in an area jet skis weren't allowed!

    Banks won't be re-elected and I'll stake my real name on that. Swney will pull out in the final week and pass his votes Dullard. Er, Hubbard.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Rumpelstiltskin?

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Banks won't be re-elected and I'll stake my real name on that. Swney will pull out in the final week and pass his votes Dullard. Er, Hubbard.

    Does it work like that in mayoral elections? I mean, if I vote for Swney and he pulls out after I post my ballot, can he transfer my vote for him to Hubbard?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Or can they form a coalition and govern together as a hybrid Mayor Swnubbard?

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    What is this obsession NZers have with 'Strong Leaders' who are bullies, dictators and rigid. And ''Yes!", Craig, I do believe the fact that Banks is a bully, as well as a fantasist, hyprocrite and misleading (convicted of misleading advertising, convicted of using a jetski with his kids without them wearing proper floatation devices - the day AFTER having a go at boy racers...)

    To be correct, he wasn't "convicted" over the advertising, he was found to be in breach of advertising standards by appearing in an ad endorsing Nature Bee products without disclosing his joint ownership of the company. Another "member of the public" who endorsed the product was an employee of the company. It wasn't illegal, just highly unethical.

    The Nature Bee saga was quite an insight into his character. It all ended up in court, where the judge basically called him a liar and ordered costs against the company that called him as a witness for wasting the court's time with his "irrelevant evidence".

    The only thing you've left out, Merc, is the bogus 'Financial Crisis' he said the city was in immediately after gaining power, then straight away pulling in his old buddy, Bill (Think Big) Birch for a $50,000 consultancy review of ACC expenditure that called for, amongst other things, an end to public art, subsidies for public transport, selling off the Council Housing and airport shares, an end to using green weed control rather than chemical sprays...

    The Birch Report had all the practical merit of a Garth George column.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    That sand he put on Kohi came from one of me fav surfbreaks, Pakiri. Now I live at Muriwai and they ain't getting that sand either. Auckland is a harbour city, fix the harbour first.
    I freakin' hate jetskiers, the worst boy racers of them all, even tow-ins.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Russ - Banks never lets facts get in the way of a political point scoring opportunity - why should anyone else. ;)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    A bit late but I seem to remeber that Hubbard came from nowhere to win last time.

    I'd like to think that Alex Sweny has a similar chance this time.

    Also voting Hubbard just to stop Banks doesn't seem like the best way to go.

    I like Swney's positioning and that he has used his blog and comms well. If you haven't voted yet surprise us and make a vote - bump up the participation rate.

    It is time there was someone who has a clue got a chance - I'm picking Swney

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Kennedy,

    "2condchance John" has anounced that he wont be letting you down.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 224 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Like all the AKL Apt investors?

    Aren't they expecting a 100k drop in their investments? Investments of shoddy apts Banks allowed to be built.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Banks is new Auckland mayor

    Worst election ever.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

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