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The Sad State Of Local Democracy In Auckland


4th March 2002

The postponement of last week's Auckland City Council meeting reflects the sad state of local democracy in Auckland. If Mayor John Banks had actually entered the Council Chambers, he would have witnessed a different scene to the one of violent, criminal and abusive behaviour he portrayed at the subsequent press conference.

50-60 members of the public were present to hear councillors debate and make decisions on selling Council housing and on returning to chemical weed spraying. They comprised a wide range of people from the very young to very old, 30 of whom had quickly taken up the paltry allocation of public seating.

The one large placard made of lightweight corflute and a few similar tiny ones could never been seen as weapons material. These have been allowed at previous Council meetings. With issues as great as the forced sale of people's Council homes at stake, it is not surprising that people 'would not be moved'. Is this "criminal" as Banks stated?

The Council Chamber was built in the days when Auckland was a fraction of the size it is now. It is antiquated and must change with the times. Auckland needs a larger Council Chamber, and greater democracy, before a new Arena.

Sigrid Shayer (spokesperson for housing action meeting 24th Feb)
ph/fax: 09 3611517
12/7 Hayden Street
Freemans Bay

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