Street Battle For Freedom Of Expression
Water Pressure Group member, Ike Finau, received a letter from the Auckland City Council on 19 June, 2001, instructing him to remove 'protest signs' from his front yard, because they contravened a Council By Law (the objective of which was to limit commercial advertising in a residential area).
All those defenders of democracy will be thrilled to hear that there are now signs all over his front fence as well. The Water Pressure Group fire engine is parked on the property, the water tank is full, and the water cannon is aimed and ready for any attempt at 'home invasion' or trespass by Auckland city officials trying to carry out political censorship.
In effectively a declaration of 'war', the Auckland City council have sent Ike and his family a
NOTICE OF INTENTION TO ENTER LAND AND DISMANTLE SIGN
TO: Mr E. Finau
OF: 10 Warnock Street Grey Lynn AUCKLAND
TAKE NOTICE that after the 5th day of July 2001 the Auckland city council intends to enter, by its officers or agents, upon the land located at 10 Warnock Street Grey Lynn Auckland for the purpose of removing free-standing protest signs within the front yard and signs attached to the front fence.
This notice is given pursuant to sections 692 and 708A of the Local Government Act 1974 and Clause 184.108.40.206 of the Auckland City Consolidated Bylaw 1998, Part 27.
SIGNED for and on behalf of THE AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL by: Rob Clow.
Ike's original open letter of reply (reprinted below) - remains unchanged.
The Water Pressure Group calls on members and supporters to be prepared to stand in solidarity with Ike Finau and his family, and prevent yet another travesty of democracy from the Auckland City Council.
We had to fight in 1999 to get our proforma submissions into Auckland City's public libraries. (We won). We had to fight for speaking rights at Auckland City Council meetings. (We won). We had to fight to get over 15,000 proforma submissions counted as individual submissions instead of being lumped together as a 'petition'. (We won). We have not been impressed with the workings of democracy on the Auckland City Council. 7 Councillors who were elected promising to abolish Metrowater, have failed to vote to do so. Tens of thousands of people who have made public submissions for the abolition of Metrowater have been ignored. Now our freedom of expression and right to tell the public the truth and expose sellout politicians is under attack!!
Be prepared to stand in front of the fence at 10 Warnock Street on Friday 6 July, from 7.30am, arms linked, to prevent Council officers removing these signs.
The WPG has been in contact with the Human Rights Commission, and we believe that the 'NOTICE OF INTENTION TO ENTER LAND AND DISMANTLE SIGN' is invalid because it is an unjustified denial of freedom of expression under the Bill of Rights.
We will keep you posted! Please pass on this message to everyone you know . WHEN INJUSTICE BECOMES A BYLAW - RESISTANCE BECOMES DUTY!!! (Remember the anti-Springbok Tour days?)
(If you want to ring and offer any support, Ike and the Finau family's phone number is 376 3838 mobile 025 233 5506)
If you can't be there, but support the fightback, you can always send donations to The Water Pressure Group PO Box 19764 Avondale
10 Warnock Street Grey Lynn, AUCKLAND 25 June 2001
Rob Clow, Auckland City Environments, Auckland City Council, 35 Graham Street, AUCKLAND
Open Letter to Rob Clow and Auckland City Council
In reply to your letter of 19 June 2001, I believe that the"free standing protest signs located within the front yard at 10 Warnock Street, Grey Lynn" do NOT fall under the Auckland City Council By Law 1991, Part 27 because they are NOT commercial advertising signs. They are NOT advertising either "the site", or products or services available on the site.
This appears to be a blatant abuse of Auckland City Council By Laws, in an outrageous attempt at political censorship, and attack on freedom of expression.
I wish to draw to your attention, the fact that the majority of Auckland City Councillors were elected on promises to dump Metrowater.
If democracy was alive and well in Auckland City, those Councillors would have voted to abolish Metrowater at the earliest opportunity, and there would have been no reason for these protest signs to be erected.
Councillors who got elected promising to dump Metrowater and have sold out are not going to get away with it.
Where are the Council By Laws that make the politicians keep their promises?
Not only am I refusing to remove these signs - in defence of democracy,I am promising to put more up. I have the full backing of the Water Pressure Group on this matter.
If you, or anyone else attempts to remove these protest signs - it will mean WAR!
WHEN INJUSTICE BECOMES LAW - RESISTANCE BECOMES DUTY!
CC: The Mayor, all Auckland City Councillors and the media.