|Lindsey Rea, a City Vision candidate for the Eden/Albert ward in the local body elections, ponders the remarkable swing to the right in Auckland's new council and community boards. Auckland City is now controlled by the most right wing Council it has seen for many years.
The extreme right, ACT style Auckland Now which split the right wing vote at the previous elections has taken over the nearly moribund Citizens and Ratepayers to form ACRN. Candidates for this new organisation signed a "loyalty pledge" which committed them to a policy of privatization, asset sales, and support for the roading lobby. The election of David Hay as Deputy Mayor (replacing the very gay friendly Bruce Hucker) is indicative of this change in attitude. Lost also are Kay McKelvie from City Vision who is a personal friend of mine and who has been very supportive of funding for gay community groups within the Eden/Albert Ward. The Labour councillor from Tamaki, Jan Welch, was also defeated. This is not a great loss as she voted against Hero funding and was a martyr to every local Church-based pressure group in her ward. There are still two Labour councillors in Tamaki, Richard Northey and Sherryl McKelvie. Richard is very good on our issues, he follows Labour Party policy on diversity to the letter. As a member of Labour's Policy Council he probably helped write most of it. The non-selection for ACRN of Victoria Carter, ex Auckland Now and now the only Councillor for a new group, Team Auckland, also demonstrates the shift in the right wing. Auckland Now, (like ACT) was economically conservative but socially liberal. That liberalism has disappeared from the new order. The social policy of David Hay now rules. The Greens, City Vision and Eden/Albert Ward. Faced with this threat from a united right you would think that all centre left groups would have seen a clear and present danger and united behind the City Vision ticket. Not so the Greens. Although they advised City Vision in a letter dated 14 May 2001 that they did not wish to see a right wing Council across the city, their actions in this last election guaranteed just that. The Greens deliberately chose to run a ticket of two Council candidates and one Community Board candidate in the Eden/Albert Ward. This was the only ward they stood against City Vision. With the retirement of Frank Ryan (the only non-City Vision person elected to the Board at the previous elections) there was a good prospect of three centre left Councillors for this Ward. The Greens were warned that splitting the vote would result in a ACRN victory and this is what happened. Only one City Vision Councillor was elected. To quote Michael Wallmannsberger, co-chair of Rainbow Labour, "the Greens cost us Eden/Albert and Eden/Albert cost us the City." The results were quite clear, more people in Eden/Albert voted City Vision and Green than voted for ACRN. John Banks would only have 7, not 9 ACRN Councillors backing him up if the Greens had not stood. 8 out of 20 is not a majority. The Greens cost us two Council seats in Eden/Albert and the majority on that community board. Over the last three years I had been successful, with this support of the rest of the City Vision team in granting small, but important, amounts of funding for Gay groups such as the Pride Centre, Gay and Lesbian Welfare and GALS. Now that I am no longer on the Board and ACRN has a majority, this funding is at risk. So, when the Airport shares and the pensioner housing are sold, when public transport goes onto the back burner again and when Metrowater continues to send you bills for waste water charges, blame the Greens. When the funding stops and the venues are not available, blame the Greens. Why did they do it? At the moment they seem to be putting their hands up for stupidity. Lindsey Rae - 28th October 2001