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ARC election changes balance of forces


ARC election changes balance of forces


by GRANT MORGAN
RAM spokesperson

The Auckland Regional Council election saw major political players joined by a new grassroots force - RAM.

RAM is the popular name of Residents Action Movement, a manifesto-based citizen's coalition which grew out of last year's Rates Revolt.

RAM stood eight candidates across four of the ARC's six constituencies (North Shore, Auckland, Manukau and Franklin-Papakura).

RAM candidate Robyn Hughes won a Manukau seat. Robyn's 14.397 votes put her second among the three successful Manukau candidates. She unseated former ARC chair Gwen Bull, who had fronted for the regional council's unjust home rate hikes.

RAM's other seven candidates all did well. Jenny Brookes in Franklin-Papakura and Grant Morgan in Manukau both gained over three-quarters of the votes they needed to gain a seat.

Here are the votes of RAM's seven unsuccessful candidates, followed by a percentage comparison to the lowest winning candidate in their constituency:

* Jenny Brookes (Franklin-Papakura) 6,128 votes, 79%.
* Grant Morgan (Manukau) 10,910 votes, 76%.
* Roger Fowler (Manukau) 10,376 votes, 72%.
* Rachel Asher (Auckland) 16,429 votes, 48%.
* Elaine West (Auckland) 11,779 votes, 35%
* Valerie Vui (Auckland) 10,954 votes, 32%.
* Jeremy Elwood (North Shore) 4,871 votes, 30%.

The combined vote of RAM's eight candidates was 85,844. This is a provisional figure, and should rise to near 90,000 once special votes are counted.

The election result has changed the balance of forces on the ARC.

RAM's one new councillor gives the centre-left a total of seven seats on the 13-member ARC. This is the first centre-left majority in the ARC's entire history.

Within a day of the election, RAM's Robyn Hughes had taken a raft of policy proposals to the other six centre-left ARC councillors.

These proposals include reversing the old ARC's unjust rating policy, expanding grassroots involvement in ARC decisions and fixing gridlock by a resource shift to public transport.

The reception from other centre-left councillors was generally positive. The way looks open to get action on ARC policies which serve the interests of the grassroots majority.

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