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Candidate Condemns Anti-Worker Bias Of Survey

September 6, 2004

Media statement for immediate release

Communist League candidate condemns anti-worker bias of Press candidates survey.

The following statement has been issued by Annalucia Vermunt, the Communist League candidate for mayor of Christchurch, to explain why she will not be participating in a candidate survey by the Christchurch daily newspaper, the Press.

The Press has sent each mayoral candidate a mock employment application form to fill out. The paper plans to cover the election campaign by assessing the candidates' responses, arguing that the person elected as mayor will be "the chairman of the city's biggest board of directors".

"I am standing in these elections to provide a working-class alternative," said Vermunt. "If elected, I have no intention of running the council as a business corporation. Rather, I will use the position of mayor to help organise and reinforce struggles by working people in this city to advance our class interests against the employers and government, including against anti-worker policies implemented by the city council."

The Press survey requires each candidate to write three "self-assessment" forms, each a page-long "case study", demonstrating their "competencies" as a board "chairman".

"This approach treats the council election as non-political," Vermunt said. "But council elections are as much about politics as national elections, and the issues facing working people are the same.

"Each candidate should be judged on the platform they advocate," said the Communist League candidate. "My campaign calls for support for workers' right to organise trade unions, a public works programme to create jobs for all, defending and extending affirmative action, self-determination for Maori, support for the rights of women and of immigrants, an end to police brutality, the withdrawal of New Zealand troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and support for the right of semi-colonial countries to electrification, including use of nuclear power."

The Press says that any candidate who declines to fill out its job application form "will not be included in the resulting coverage" of the election campaign by the paper, and threatens candidates that "this information may well be made public".

"I am more than happy for the Press to make it widely known that the Communist League candidate will not be participating in this farcical survey," said Vermunt. She condemned the Press decision as "a violation of the democratic right of candidates to have their views reported in the election and as biased against working class candidates who do not share the same pro-capitalist view of the mayoralty as the Press."

Communist League election campaign: P O Box 13969, Christchurch.

Campaign Office: Gloucester Arcade, 129 Gloucester St.

Phone 3656055. E-mail pathfinder.militant@paradise.net nz

Contact Annalucia Vermunt on 0274 222 764

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