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Alliance voice needed in Parliament

April 20 2005

Alliance voice needed in Parliament

The Alliance will be the only socialist party on the ballot paper in this year’s General Election and while the Greens will be strong competitors for the left vote, that does not necessarily mean they are a “Left” party, Alliance members say.

The Alliance is gearing up for its election campaign after a series of regional list conferences held in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin last Saturday.

Party members ranked their top regional candidates in bands of three and elected two co-leaders, Jill Ovens and Paul Piesse, both trade union organisers.

Mr Piesse, from Christchurch, says the Alliance is running a campaign to win List votes, but is also standing 12 candidates in working class electorates in each of the main centres, as well as Otaki where clothing workers have been hard hit by the removal of tariffs.

“There needs to be a left-wing party representing working people in New Zealand. In the 2005 election, this will be the Alliance Party,” Mr Piesse says.

He says Party members are mindful that some who have voted Alliance in the past may be thinking of voting for the Greens or the Maori Party because the Alliance has dropped from the media radar.

“The Alliance Party still has the only comprehensive democratic socialist policies and voice. We need to be offering an alternative vision for all New Zealanders,” Mr Piesse says.

Tom Dowie, the Alliance candidate for Wigram, told members at the Christchurch list conference he was “not into a utopian view of a green planet while the poor, sick and elderly suffered from a lack of affordable electricity”.

He said he supported the Maori Party’s struggle, but was concerned about reported statements of Maori Party leader Tariana Turia that the Party would consult its people for advice on potential coalitions and that it remained open-minded about possible partners.
”I am not interested in gambling my vote in the hope that they will go left. I would feel like a right Wally if they drifted right instead. While others might consider my vote for the Alliance a wasted vote, I see it as voting for the type of society that I wish to see. That is why the vote was developed in the first place.”

Members at the regional list conferences selected representatives for the Party’s List Committee which will meet May 7/8 to rank the candidates.

Those on the Alliance List are:

Kelly Buchanan Victor Billot Tom Dowie Sandra Ethell

Julie Fairey Quentin Findlay James Flynn Chris Ford

Eric Gamble Robert Harrison Francie Haslemore Joe Hendren

Marvin Hubbard Margaret Jeune Greg Kleis Peta Knibb

Andrew McKenzie Norman MacRitchie Gail Marmont Kane O’Connell

Jill Ovens Paul Piesse Colin Pounder Paul Protheroe

Len Richards Robert van Ruyssevelt

ENDS

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