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Victory for democracy achieved by RAM

RAM - Residents Action Movement
Media release 23 September 2008



Victory for democracy achieved by RAM and the citizens of Whangarei

"Despite threats from the Whangarei District Council the People's Procession to Parliament scored a great victory for democracy today," said Grant Morgan, RAM chair and national organiser of the People's Procession.

"Thanks to RAM, for refusing to buckle to a local politician trying to ban our democratic voice, and to the citizens of Whangarei."

"One thousand signatures were gathered today in just 2 ½ hours. There was not a single negative comment directed at our GST-off-food petition stall, with one exception, which was the message delivered by the council from one of its managers," said Grant Morgan.

"WDC regulatory services manager Grant Couchman told me that the council was disappointed that RAM went ahead despite being told not to by the council."

"I told Mr Couchman that we'd have to be mutually disappointed, because RAM was disappointed at the council's ban on democracy in the central city."

"Mr Couchman also told me that RAM could be prosecuted under the Whangarei council bylaw that bans so called political activities in the central city. He told me that RAM could face a $20,000 fine."

"I told Mr Couchman that if they were going to take any action they should hit me," said Grant Morgan.

"I am questioning whether the Whangarei District Council bylaw contravenes the Human Rights Act, which guarantees freedom of democracy and political expression."

"The Whangarei Mayor likes to be called Stan the Man. After his council's over-the-top attempt to intimidate RAM and ban us from putting up a GST-off-food petition stall in the central city, I think it would be more appropriate to call him Stan the Ban," said Grant Morgan.

Martin Kaipo, RAM's Whangarei candidate in the upcoming General Election, attend the petition stall in the central city. He believes "the Whangarei District Council's storm cloud was blown away by a fresh breeze: the people of Whangarei."

"It was an excellent day," said Martin Kaipo."The people proudly came out in support of RAM and the GST-off-food petition."

"On behalf of RAM I thank the thousand Whangarei citizens who rallied to our cause and signed the GST-off-food petition," said Grant Morgan. "And I thank the retailers in the nearby shops who gave their support to the petition stall."

"The people have spoken, many came up to our table and said the mayor's not going to chase us away from here. This is our place."

RAM Backgrounder

RAM first arose in Greater Auckland as an organiser of the Rates Revolt against the regional council's massive home rate hikes in 2003. In the five years since its birth, RAM has campaigned for free and frequent public transport, for solidarity with low-paid workers and against hate attacks on New Zealand Muslims. RAM won 100,000 votes in Greater Auckland's 2007 council elections.

In March 2008, RAM decided to go nationwide and to stand for Parliament as a registered political party as well as councils. In the six months since then, RAM has gained 3,000 members in the country's fastest political recruitment drive.

RAM has more than 25 candidates for the 2008 General Election. Several of them are also standing for electorate seats in Whangarei, Auckland, Rotorua and Wellington.

People's Procession main stopovers

9am Sat 20 Sept @ Kaitaia Markets, The Warehouse carpark, Mathews Av.

2pm Sat 20 Sept near corner of Kerikeri Rd & Cobham Rd.

11am Sun 21 Sept near New World supermarket, Marion Pl, next to Hau Ora O Kaikohe offices.

12 noon Tues 23 Sept in Cameron St Mall, Whangarei city centre.

12 noon Wed 24 Sept outside Information Centre on Hurstmere Av, Takapuna shopping centre.

12 noon Thurs 25 Sept outside New Lynn library on Memorial Dve, behind Lynn Mall & off Great North Rd.

12 noon Fri 26 Sept in front of Aotea Square, Queen St, central city.

9.30am Sat 27 Sept inside the Mall, Mangere Town Centre, off Bader Dve.

11.30am Sun 28 Sept at Garden Place, Victoria St.

3pm Sun 28 Sept at park alongside shopping centre.

12 noon Sun 28 Sept at Fraser Cove, next to The Warehouse.

12 noon Mon 29 Sept at City Focus, central city.

11am Tues 30 Sept under the canopy at the shopping hub.

12 noon Wed 1 Oct outside ANZ Bank, Main St.

12 noon Thurs 2 Oct outside Westfield Queensgate Mall, Bunny St entrance.

12 noon Thursday 2 Oct , corner of Cuba and Manners Malls.

12 noon Friday 3 Oct on the steps of Parliament.


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