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ARC Walks Backwards To Defeat

ARC Walks Backwards To Defeat
RAM media release 22.3.04

'ARC walks backwards to defeat' says political voice of Rates Revolt

"By voting for a continuation of the policies which sparked the biggest Rates Revolt in New Zealand history, the ARC's business politicians are walking backwards to defeat in this October's council elections," said Grant Morgan, spokesperson for RAM - Residents Action Movement.

Mr Morgan was commenting on the ARC's majority decision today to go with "option one" of the draft Annual Plan. This continues last year's policy of axing the business differential, which loads the ARC rates burden onto grassroots homeowners by giving rich corporations a rates holiday.

"RAM is the political voice of the Rates Revolt," said Mr Morgan.

Today, RAM invited the ARC to a consultation meeting on its draft Annual Plan.

"RAM is asking ARC chair Gwen Bull and deputy chair Philip Sherry to consult with us over the strategies behind rate rises, public transport and local democracy," said Mr Morgan.

Mrs Bull and Mr Sherry have been invited to lead an ARC delegation to a consultation meeting with RAM on Tuesday, 6th April, starting 7.30pm at the Trades Hall, 147 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn. (Appendix 1 reprints a copy of RAM's invitation.)

No reply has yet been received to the invitation, which was emailed at 2.11pm today.

This coming weekend, 27-28 March, RAM is holding four public meetings in different parts of Auckland. (Details of meetings and speakers are listed in Appendix 2.)

"In the council elections, RAM is standing a full team against the ARC's ten corporate politicians responsible for the rate rises," Mr Morgan confirmed. "Our team will be elected at a RAM Summit in May, when our growing army of supporters across greater Auckland hold a mass conference."

"RAM candidates will stand for the two North Shore ARC seats, the three in Manukau, the ones in Rodney and Franklin-Papakura, and three out of four of the Auckland seats," said Mr Morgan. "We're supporting the three ARC councillors on our side - Sandra Coney, Paul Walbran and Mike Lee."

Two appendixes below.

For more information, please contact: Grant Morgan gcm@actrix.gen.nz

APPENDIX 1

Invitation to ARC to consult with RAM Emailed 22.3.04

Dear Mrs Bull and Mr Sherry

ARC Secretariat director Ewen Hutchinson has informed me that, as part of the ARC's draft Annual Plan consultation process, the ARC is open to attending meetings with "special interest" groups in addition to the scheduled ARC public meetings.

I therefore invite the ARC to meet with RAM - Residents Action Movement. As you know, RAM enjoys a large supporter base across greater Auckland and has a "special interest" in ARC issues.

RAM has taken the initiative of arranging a venue for this 'special interest' consultation meeting:
* Trades Hall Supper Room, 147 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn.
* 7.30pm on Tuesday, 6th April.

I hope this booking is convenient for the ARC. I understand from Ewen that, so far, no other "special interest" groups have yet made a booking with the ARC.

Ewen informs me that the ARC's six scheduled public meetings (one each in North Shore, Auckland, Papakura, Manukau, Waitakere and Rodney) will follow a set format - first, a presentation by the ARC, followed by questions from the floor, and afterwards (presumably if time permits) feedback from the public.

It seems pointless to follow the same format for the ARC's "special interest" meeting with RAM. That would only duplicate matters and contribute little extra to the ARC's consultation process.

I therefore make these proposals on the format of the ARC's meeting with RAM:

(1) We adopt a reasonably free-flowing format, with opportunities for easy dialogue. The discussion to be conducted with proper respect for all parties, such as allowing everyone to speak without interruption and encouraging maximum participation from those who attend.

(2) We examine broad strategies (rather than "micro" details) around three issues of key importance for RAM:
(a) ARC rates, particularly the business differential.
(b) The future of public transport in Auckland.
(c) The ARC's democratic processes.

(3) Because RAM wants to look at broad strategies, rather than "micro" details, we would want to see an ARC delegation weighted in favour of the ARC's politicians, who make the strategic decisions, as distinct from the ARC's officials, who implement such strategies and work out the details. In particular, RAM invites ARC chair Gwen Bull and deputy chair Philip Sherry to attend, along with any other councillors and officials they think appropriate.

(4) We allow the media into the meeting so that all discussions can be seen to be transparent, and also important points relayed to the wider public, which would seem to be an important consideration in any public consultation process.

RAM is open to negotiation with the ARC about the exact format of our "special interest" meeting. I hope to get your confirmation soon so there's plenty of time to notify RAM supporters.

Grant Morgan

Spokesperson for RAM - Residents Action Movement


APPENDIX 2

Details of RAM meetings & speakers
All media invited to the four meetings.

CENTRAL AUCKLAND
1pm on Saturday 27 March
Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, 489 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden
(opposite Potters Park)

SOUTH AUCKLAND
3pm on Saturday 27 March
PACT Hall, 311 Great South Rd, Papatoetoe
(near Hunters Corner)

EAST AUCKLAND
1.30pm on Sunday 28 March
Tahapa Crescent Hall, 22 Tahapa Cr, Meadowbank
(off Meadowbank Rd)

NORTH SHORE
3pm on Sunday 28 March
Sunnynook Community Centre, cnr Sunnynook Rd & Sycamore Dve, Sunnynook
(opposite Foodtown)

SPEAKERS

Each meeting will feature a range of speakers, including:

* Grant Morgan, spokesperson for RAM.
* Barry Wilson, president of Auckland Council for Civil Liberties.
* Alan McCulloch, president of North Shore Greypower.
* Elaine West, chair of Auckland City Residents & Ratepayers
Association.
* Matt McCarten, secretary of Unite workers union.
* Fua Niko, Samoan representative for RAM.
* Graeme Easte, Campaign for Better Transport.
* Jill Ovens, president of the Alliance.
* Peter Cross, longtime unionist.
* Percy Allison, chair of Poverty Action Coalition.

END

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