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Alliance members vote to stand list in Election 05

Alliance members vote to stand list in Election 2005

Delegates at the Alliance National Conference in Wellington this weekend agreed to contest the party list vote in the 2005 election and to stand in selected electorates.

The Alliance has opened nominations for the Party’s candidate pool.

Newly elected Alliance President Jill Ovens says members endorsed an election strategy for 2005 of getting the Alliance Manifesto and its policies into the hands of working people, beneficiaries and others in whose interests the Party stands.

“The goal is to get back into Parliament by 2008. But members said if Peter Dunne could go from ‘’ to ‘9’ with his incoherent policies, why assume the Alliance couldn’t do the same in 2005 with its well thought out policies."

She says that, given Labour's strong polling, Labour supporters can afford to give the Alliance their party vote and still get a Labour-led Government. Supporting the Alliance will send a strong signal that more needs to be done for workers, beneficiaries, students and others on low incomes.

"We’re talking about a living allowance for students, about decent jobs and housing, about electricity and who controls it.”

She says delegates to the Alliance Conference also focussed on internal party democracy.

“We know we have to consciously become a new type of Party with an emphasis on activism and grass-roots decision-making. We cannot continue our historical legacy of dependence on ‘the Leader’. We must organise in such a way that our members are empowered.”

She says the Conference endorsed a Secretariat of volunteers who are taking on the administrative roles of the Party, and delegates also voted to replace the “Leader” and “Deputy Leader” with two co-leaders who will lead the Parliamentary wing of the Party when it gets back into Parliament. The co-leaders will be selected when the Party list is determined early next year. Meantime the focus is on Party building and campaigning in the “Parliament of the streets”.

Ms Ovens say the Alliance Conference rejected the Party’s former focus on the media as the way to engage in politics, in favour of determined, patient work to build support and credibility among working people.

“Our involvement in the Maori Party was seen by the former leadership as a way of being ‘relevant’ in the media. But the emergence of the Maori Party was ‘the story’, not the Alliance and its policies, and our Leader was part of that as their campaign manager.”

Delegates said the task of the Alliance was to recruit and involve new members, to lead campaigns and raise money, none of which could happen while the Party’s attention was on other projects.

“These things can and will be done if the enthusiasm shown at the Conference is anything to go by,” she says.


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