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Alliance Conference asks the hard questions

Monday 20 November 2006

Alliance Conference asks the hard questions

The Alliance Party came out of its 2006 Conference with a question for New Zealanders.

"They will spend our money on a luxury football stadium. We will spend our money on insulating New Zealand homes and ensuring our families can live in healthy and affordable homes. What do you think is the right priority?"

Alliance Party members from around New Zealand gathered in Wellington over the weekend of Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 November to discuss their progress in "rebuilding and revitalizing" their party.

The Conference elected a new President, Victor Billot, and a new group of spokespeople (see below).

Mr Billot says that the party's message will appeal to hundreds of thousands of people, as it stood for positive people-based and practical solutions.

He says that many people were concerned that the Government could find hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for air-conditioned corporate boxes in a football stadium, at a time when its own research showed up to a million New Zealanders lived in cold, damp houses.

"Our advice to those concerned people is don't get mad, get even. Join a party that has the right priorities. It's only by joining together with others that we can gain a voice and make an impact."

He says the Alliance party stands proudly on its democratic socialist policies for secure jobs, free education, a quality public health system, and public, democratic ownership of assets such as Air New Zealand, electricity, rail and ports for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

The Alliance advocates a progressive tax system that reduces the tax burden on low income earners and increases tax levels gradually as income increases.

Mr Billot says the challenges New Zealand and the world faces can only be solved by people taking charge of their own future through more democracy and all people being involved in decision making, and less concentration of power and wealth.

"The left wing of New Zealand politics has been fragmented over the last few years, but we are building up a party that will represent working people and all those who want to solve the social and environmental threats that face us."

The Alliance Party has committed to actively campaigning in local body and national elections, and has embarked on a new quest to build its membership and influence as New Zealand's "party of the real left."

New co-leaders will be appointed for the next election campaign from the pool of Alliance candidates.

Mr Billot says the high point of the Conference was that new faces were coming through.

"We are seeing new activists stepping up, especially younger people, who are attracted to the Alliance because it tells it like it is. They have a concern that the planet is being wrecked and social problems are on the increase and want a positive alternative."

Many of the Alliance spokespeople are workers, either paid or unpaid, in their fields.


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