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Business clones & panicky turncoats

Business clones & panicky turncoats

RAM media release 20.2.04

'ARC's business clones, panicky turncoats and political opportunists are history come October'

"Gwen Bull's knife-edge, one-vote majority to continue her unpopular policies on the ARC reveals the panic and the opportunism among the council's business faction," says Grant Morgan, spokesperson for RAM - Residents Action Movement.

The ARC was voting yesterday on whether to keep the status quo on transport rates, including a refusal to restore the business differential, whose axing last year inflicted astronomical rate rises onto grassroots homeowners so that big business could enjoy a massive rates holiday.

"RAM condemns the actions of ARC chair Gwen Bull. She promised to listen to ordinary citizens and move towards a fairer rating system. Instead, she has stuck grimly to the status quo despite the biggest Rates revolt in New Zealand history. Mrs Bull and her cronies are the voice of big business in Auckland. They axed the business differential to give tens of millions to faceless corporations, and heaped the load onto grassroots homeowners."

Bill Burrill and Dianne Glenn, two of Mrs Bull's staunchest supporters in last year's rate rises, yesterday switched sides and voted against the ARC chair. Rodney councillor Brian Smith, who flipped over last year to join Mrs Bull and oppose an attempt to reassess the rate rises, again changed sides to also vote against her faction.

"Burrill and Glenn claim they changed sides to vote against Mrs Bull because they had listened to the people. It's far more probable that they, along with Rodney's Brian Smith, fear losing their seats in this year's election," said Grant Morgan.

"Two ARC councillors who, last year, played a clever game of facing both ways, have now revealed their total commitment to big business and voted with Bull."

"In 2003, Michael Barnett claimed he couldn't vote on the rate rises because he'd made a submission as head of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. This time round he votes with Mrs Bull to keep last year's status quo. Why can he vote now on exactly the same policy that, last year, he couldn't vote on? That's political opportunism of the worst sort," said Grant Morgan.

"Last year, in a late switch, Craig Little voted against the rate rises after supporting Mrs Bull right up to the day of the vote. But he also voted to remove the business differential, the main cause of homeowners' rate rises. This year, Little has shown his true blue business colours by voting all the way with Mrs Bull."

"The whole pathetic crowd of business clones, panicky turncoats and political opportunists who last year helped Mrs Bull inflict major pain on grassroots homeowners are going to be history come this October's ARC election," said Grant Morgan.

"In the election, RAM will be standing a united ticket against all ten ARC councillors who helped Mrs Bull last year. Those who are now switching sides cannot be trusted. Their hearts are still with big business even as they cast around for a political lifeline to save them from defeat in the polls."

"Only three ARC councillors have consistently supported the grassroots: Sandra Coney and Paul Walbran from Waitakere City, and Mike Lee from Auckland City. RAM calls on voters to return these three, as well as voting for RAM in the other ten council positions," said Grant Morgan.

For more information, contact:

Grant Morgan RAM spokesperson gcm@actrix.gen.nz

© Scoop Media

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