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Title: Christine Fletcher and us Credit: Trevor Barnard Comment Friday 8th February 2002 - 12:00pm1013122800 Article: 25 Rights
 
Political columnist Trevor Barnard, a former openly gay Auckland City councillor, ponders Christine Fletcher's determination to regain the mayoral office, and her relationship with Auckland's gays. So Christine Fletcher has announced her intention to stand again for the Auckland mayoralty at the 2004 election. She, like the rest of us, must have been so concerned over the way the homophobe John Banks has been running the city in the three months that he has had, that she can't sit back any longer. This announcement is an interesting reversal of her last campaign. In 2001 she left it to the last minute to decide whether to run and let her great 'friend and colleague' Banksie get a head start on her. Now she decides she will campaign over 2 years 9 months. As a wannabe Mayor she will have at least two problems to overcome. Firstly she will have to have the staying power for the distance (doubtful according to some who know her) and secondly, won't people just get sick of her? If she does stay in the race however what does it mean for us. Certainly when she was the Mayor the Auckland, the City Council had a much more friendly face to it. The antagonism generated by her predecessor Mills and his Deputy Hay towards our community appeared to evaporate. There were even City Council banners along Ponsonby Road for the Hero parade! From my view you could even actually believe the guff that came out in the Council's publication City Scene that the city was an inclusive place that actually cared for all its citizens - something that was patently not true in the period 1992-1998. But if you examine Fletcher's record was she a real friend to us? Certainly following Mills's tenure anyone would be better and she was, but did she ever 'push the barrow out' for us? Did she ever vote to actually increase any funding for gay community groups, did she respond to invitations and attend community events or did she just say she was a 'real friend' to our community when trying to get our vote while at the same time trying not to alienate her base of conservative National Party supporters? Surely for the next election gay Aucklanders will have someone really worthwhile to support without having to rely on a pleasant but basic 'fag hag'. Trevor Barnard - 8th February 2002    
 
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