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Banks Bans Democracy

WAKE UP AUCKLAND!
MEDIA RELEASE

Date: Wednesday, 27 February 2002

For Immediate Release
Banks Bans Democracy

The Auckland City Council, led by Mayor John Banks and Deputy Mayor David Hay, yesterday denied a deputation from the Director of the Soil & Health Association of New Zealand regarding the planned re-introduction of chemical weedspraying in Auckland and then also banned protesters from carrying banners and signs into council meetings.

Dr. Meriel Watts, has been denied leave to address a full council meeting to put forward a case opposing renewed chemical spraying in Auckland City on the grounds that she made a deputation to the council on the same issue in 1999.

According to a council official, posters and placards have been banned on the grounds that it would distract the Mayor and councilors from the conduct of the business of the meeting.

“These are further disappointing signals of a council that is cutting itself off from the citizens of Auckland in their desire to ram through recommendations from the Birch Report,” says Wake Up Auckland! spokesperson, Marney Ainsworth.

“Dr Watts is a respected professional with valuable information of direct relevance to a decision being made by council. What possible reason could there be for preventing her from speaking other than that they’re scared of what she has to say?”

“As for the public carrying signs, they are denying all opportunities for opposition even going to the extent of trampling on well established traditions of protest - i.e. the peaceful action of holding banners and signs,” says Ms Ainsworth. “It does seem rather petty.”

Wake Up Auckland! and Dr. Watts have called for the public to attend an Eden/Albert Community Board meeting tonight and the full council meeting tomorrow night (Thursday) to voice their concern about the resumption of chemical weedspraying.

The decision goes before the council meeting tomorrow night (Thursday) where there are expected to be a large number of the public present to voice their concerns.

Wake Up Auckland! has called for a public march against the ‘New Direction’ of the council for Saturday March 16, 11am at QEII Square.

For more information:
Marney Ainsworth
Spokesperson, Wake Up Auckland!
Ph: 376 6213
Cell: 021-284 7122
Email: contact@wakeupauckland.co.nz
Website: www.wakeupauckland.co.nz
Meriel Watts, PhD
Director
Soil & Health Association of NZ Inc
Ph/fax 419-4536
Cell: 0211-577-567
Email: m.watts@organicnz.pl.net
Website: www.organicnz.pl.net

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