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
(09) 815-9000 or (0210) 328-782