Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Locals: Bright, Brown or Vermunt?

Auckland Supercity Mayor debate- who should the Left support?
Commentary- Joe Carolan

I've just come back from a Supercity Mayoral Candidate's debate in the Quad, hosted by AUSA, in which most of the main candidates (bar John Banks) appeared, and several of those supported causes that Socialist Aotearoa members have been campaigning on. At the end, I was approached by a young student activist, who asked me which candidate we would endorse. A good question.
One that this blog hopes to answer in the next period.

Len Brown was clearly the favourite, with an army of Labour/Green "City Vision" placard holders, and a down to earth folksly style. How are YOU doin'? And Len said some good things- he was a big supporter of the Living Wage campaign, he wanted swimming pools to be free all across the Auckland Supercity area like they are in Manukau, he wanted better public transport options etc. He's been listening to workers at NDU stop works and he promised a place for the unions at his table if he was elected Mayor. All good stuff. But it was when he talked about Auckland being a partnership of business and workers that he started to lose out. And that's the problem with Len- in Manukau, his council operates under the CCO model- unaccountable profit driven organisations providing public services like water.

Now Penny Bright is a good friend and a longtime activist and comrade in the movements. Penny draws a line in the sand- she's against the Supercity and calls it nothing but a Corporate Coup- where all of the cities assets will now move to be controlled by the unaccountable CCO model. Penny has been involved longtime with the struggle against Metrowater and at the time of writing, had been arrested 22 times, as a judicially recognised watchdog against corporate corruption. Penny wants to kick Veolia out of Auckland- a move that would delight pro Palestinian activists, and also re nationalise companies like Metrowater and Auckland's bus fleet- putting them under democratic control. Alleluia, say the locked out busworker unionists. Penny supports unions fighting back.

The last candidate for consideration is Annalucia Vermunt from the Communist League, who is standing for a workers Auckland.

“The plan to amalgamate Auckland into a so-called Super City will strengthen the hand of the ruling rich over working people, increase the bureaucratic powers of council, and provide cover for deeper attacks on wages, conditions, and jobs for workers in the city,” she said.

“Working people are beginning to live through times of tremendous economic crisis and social dislocation, like we haven’t experienced in decades. I will use my campaign, and my office if elected, to support all workers’ struggles.”

Socialist Aotearoa will be interviewing all three candidates, asking them questions our readers want answered. If you want us to submit a question, email us at solidarityjoe@yahoo.com
We also invite commentary on the above story below.

Who should the Left support for mayor in Auckland's Supercity election? Bright, Brown or Vermunt?



No comments: