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Do Not Re-Elect The Mayor Who Doesn't Listen

PRESS RELEASE WATER PRESSURE GROUP 11 OCTOBER 2007

Do Not Re-Elect The (Big Business) People's Mayor Who Doesn't Listen!

"I am appalled that the Advertising Standards Authority has failed to uphold my complaint against Mayor Dick Hubbard's election advertising in which he describes himself as 'The People's Mayor' who 'listens'," says Water Pressure Group (WPG) Media Spokesperson Penny Bright.

"My complaint focussed on the following words in his election advertisements which appeared in a community newspaper and in selected letterboxes, (including mine).

"An Open Letter to the People of Auckland It's crunch time! Let's cut directly to the chase.
I'm directly appealing to you to stop the return of John Banks to the Auckland mayoralty...
This contest is a battle of leadership styles...
I believe in values leadership...
I listen to what you want - I tell it as it is. I work collaboratively and not confrontationally.
I want a tolerant and compassionate city..."

As duly-elected Media Spokesperson for the Water Pressure Group (WPG), an unfunded community group who have been campaigning against the commercialisation and privatisation of water services since July 1998, I have been acknowledged by three different District Court Judges as a 'public watchdog' on Metrowater, water matters, and Auckland Regional governance matters.

In defence of our statutory rights under the Local Government Act 2002 to 'open, transparent and democratically accountable ' local government – I have taken speaking rights when unlawfully denied, and refused to leave Council Committee meetings when they excluded the public from matters of public interest.

In total, since April 2005, I have been arrested SIXTEEN times, in defence of these core democratic principles.

Of these SIXTEEN times, Mayor Dick Hubbard has had me arrested SEVEN times.

The first time in Court, Mayor Dick Hubbard LOST, and the trespass charge was dismissed.
Subsequently, the Police dropped three other charges against me, which Hubbard had 'triggered', presumably because they would have lost in Court.

On 11 September 2007, thanks to the 'People's Mayor' Dick Hubbard, I now have a criminal conviction for trespass, because he denied me (and Mayoral candidate) Lisa Prager speaking rights on the waterfront stadium issue on 23 November 2007.

(ARC Chairman Mike Lee granted speaking rights to all 21 people who wanted to speak to the ARC on the same waterfront stadium issue the next day 24 November 2007.)

Now I have a criminal conviction for trespass at the TOWN HALL (arguably the most 'public' of all public buildings) because Mayor Dick Hubbard didn't want to hear what I had to say.

(An appeal against this decision has been lodged.)

The Local Government Select Committee on 20 September 2007, as a result of our WPG petition, has 'strongly recommended' that Auckland City Council review planned Metrowater price increases which would have resulted in over $320 million being paid to subsidise other Council activities.

It should be noted that when campaigning before the last election, Dick Hubbard stated publically (at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club Mayoral debate), that he did not believe that water services should be run as a profit-making business.

That is why me and other WPG members voted Dick Hubbard for Mayor.

However, in an act of sellout treachery, (in my opinion), Mayor Dick Hubbard
supported the planned $320 million Metrowater price increases to subsidise rates - the blatant (mis)use of Metrowater as a profit-making 'ca$h cow'.

The Select Committee stated in their 'Summary of Conclusions'

"We consider that the council could have kept the public better informed about the charitable payments, the rise in water rates, and the decision made to direct the payment from Metrowater into upgrading Auckland's stormwater system.
In future the council should ensure that the public is better informed and that its decision-making process is transparent."

My complaint was that in light of my experience - quite simply – Dick Hubbard was lying.

Pg 1

This, in my opinion, was clearly misleading and deceptive conduct.

Hubbard has had me arrested SEVEN times because he DIDN'T want to listen to what I had to say.

Having spent some hours incarcerated in the cells of Auckland Central Police station, it is my experience that his is NOT a 'collaborative' style of work.

Dick Hubbard says he wants a 'tolerant and compassionate' city.
His ACTIONS have proved he doesn't practice what he preaches.

In my considered opinion,'robust' opinions are one thing - blatant lying is another, and yet
again, I am disappointed that yet another 'public watchdog' has failed to defend the public interest.

I look forward to the voting public giving Dick Hubbard a very clear message, and showing him the electoral door this Saturday at the end of a very large electoral boot.

The Water Pressure Group supports fellow community activist and WPG member Lisa Prager for Mayor, who, (unlike the incumbent), has a track record of supporting the principles of 'open, transparent and democratically accountable' local government."

Penny Bright
Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Email: waterpressure@gmail.com
Phone: (09) 846 9825
mob 021 211 4 127

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