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ARC councillor takes RAM policies to centre-left

ARC councillor takes RAM policies to centre-left grouping

"Media speculation about centre-left ARC councillors 'jockeying' for top posts in the regional council misses the main point," said Robyn Hughes, a newly-elected Manukau ARC councillor who stood for RAM - Residents Action Movement.

"The main point is what policies changes will happen now that the centre-left has won a majority on the 13-member ARC."

Over 85,000 votes flowed to RAM's eight candidates in Saturday's ARC election.

"85,000-plus votes shows huge public support for RAM's platform of rates justice, public transport and open democracy," said Robyn Hughes.

"Yesterday, I took a raft of RAM's policy proposals to six other centre-left ARC councillors for their consideration. Their immediate response to our proposals was generally favourable, although nothing definite was agreed."

RAM's policy proposals are grouped around five areas: democracy, transport, rates, finance and central government.

"As a RAM councillor, I will be pushing hard for grassroots policies to replace the previous ARC's corporate policies," said Robyn Hughes.

For your information, the full text of RAM's policy proposals to other centre-left ARC councillors is reprinted below.

RAM's policy proposals

RAM advances these policy proposals to other centre-left councillors based on what will serve the interests of grassroots people:

Democracy proposals
(1) First hour of full ARC meetings to be open public forums.
(2) Full ARC meetings to start at 7pm (not 4pm) to allow more working people to attend.
(3) Create more intimate setting for full ARC meetings to encourage more public involvement and more interactive debate.
(4) ARC to invite strategic alliances with a wide range of citizen's organisations, like Greypower, religious faiths, sports clubs, workers' unions, local Maori, ethnic associations, community groups, small business, etc.
(5) ARC to plan for a Citizen's Assmebly on rates to kick off next year's rate setting consultation.

Transport proposals
(1) ARC to convene a public inquiry into Stagecoach fares, subsidies, services, profits and associated matters.
(2) ARC to convene a public inquiry into the Regional Land Transport Strategy.
(3) ARC to take the results of both transport inquiries to Regional Land Transport Committee, Auckland Regional Transport Authority, other local bodies and central government.

Rates proposals
(1) ARC to issue disclaimer on raiding bank accounts to make up unpaid rates.
(2) ARC to assure homeowners that no rates boycotters will have their house taken off them.
(3) ARC to revisit its policy on imposing penalties for unpaid rates.
(4) ARC to foreshadow a likely return of home rates to 2002 levels, by restoring a fair business differential, and ask boycotters to support this policy by paying their arrears minus the penalties.

Finance proposals
(1) ARC councillors to give a lead on reducing spending by doing things "on the cheap", such as staying in backpackers, flying economy class and ending all junkets.
(2) ARC to review spending on its own bureaucracy and on ARTA, ARH and Ports of Auckland.
(3) ARC to review spending on AREDS.

Central government proposals
(1) ARC to review all government legislation that impacts on its public service role and on local government democracy.
(2) ARC to request government to eliminate GST on rates.
(3) ARC to request government to finance state highways by means other than tolls or anything else that undermines public roads.

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