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Alliance Conference to go ahead

November 5 2004

Alliance Conference to go ahead

The Alliance Conference is going ahead on November 27/28 as planned. Matt McCarten, Laila Harre and other Councillors who have decided not to put their names forward for leadership positions at the Conference have written to Alliance members to explain their actions.

Jill Ovens, Conference convenor and former Alliance President, says an organising committee has been established and will vote in a new leadership.

“I personally want to thank Matt, Laila and others who have taken a leading role in the Alliance over many years and contributed so much to the creation of a just and equal society,” Ms Ovens says.

McCarten and Harre announced on a Council conference call earlier this week that they would not be seeking leadership positions. McCarten has been selected as campaign manager for the Maori Party if there is a by-election in Tamaki Makarau as a result of the Tamihere affair and Harre said she was also supportive of the Maori Party.

Alliance General Secretary Gerard Hehir announced that he is stepping down as of November 12 and the Council appointed Christchurch lawyer Andrew McKenzie as Acting General Secretary.

An organising committee has been set up for the Conference and a new Leader and President will be elected there. Ms Ovens says members were angry at media announcements by McCarten that the Alliance would not be putting up a list in next year’s election but would instead urge its supporters to vote for the Greens or the Maori Party.

“All over the country there are people who are excited about organising for a stronger Alliance that will contest the Election and put our stake firmly in the ground as the long-term Party on the left of Labour.”

She says the Alliance is recognised as the Party that led the opposition to privatisation of State assets. “Share sales of publicly-owned companies are going on under our noses – witness Vector. We have to re-write the rules under which these public services operate as commercial enterprises.”

The Alliance has a vision of a society in which all people can fully participate, and Ms Ovens says there were significant achievements while the Alliance was in Government, such as Paid Parental Leave.

“But there is still much to be done. The task before us is to organise and fight for our policies both in the Parliament of the streets and as an electoral Party.”

ENDS

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