Russel Norman
Mt Albert and me

Tonight I’ve been selected as the Green Party’s candidate for Mt Albert so I thought I should explain to everyone why I’ve decided to stand.

Green issues are Auckland issues, and as a Green Party candidate I’ll have the opportunity to stand up for Mt Albert issues in a way that the National and Labour are unable to – trapped as they are in the world of cars, congestion and Road Transport Forum (trucking companies) donations.

The Green Party is a strong and independent voice in Parliament and our policies on Auckland governance, Auckland’s transport problems, Auckland’s electricity supply as well as local environmental issues are better for Mt Albert residents than either Labour or National.

Transport is a classic example. The old parties are arguing over two bad ideas in Waterview. They want to either bulldoze a suburb or blow $3 billion plus on a tunnel still buggering the creek. The Green Party offers a better solution. We would fix the public transport system first, relieve congestion and give Aucklanders a faster, cheaper way to get to work and the airport. And we won’t destroy Oakley Creek in the process like the motorway madness.

Auckland governance is another example. The government’s ‘Super-city’ proposals will weaken the voice of community boards, like the Eden Albert Community Board that submitted today against the anti-community provisions of National’s RMA amendment bill. The Green Party is about sticking up for the little guy in Auckland governance and I will be campaigning hard to keep local democracy alive.

Mt Albert residents know our government can do better when Meola Creek, a historic waterway running through the heart of the Mt Albert electorate, is so polluted it is a public health risk. The Green Party are the only party that recognises the importance of our waterways to New Zealanders. As a Mt Albert MP, I will prioritise local environmental issues, so residents don’t have to live with polluted waterways running through their neighbourhoods.

By-elections are a chance for local residents to send a message to the government. A vote for National is a vote of approval for all their attacks on the environment and local democracy. A vote for Labour is a vote for the status quo and sends no message. A Green vote in Mt Albert will show the government that Auckland residents care about public transport, local representation and the environment. The Green Party is the underdog in this race, but I look forward to holding Labour and National to account on these key issues in the campaign.

Although I am currently based in Wellington, I previously lived on Waiheke in the neighbouring Auckland Central electorate for five years and would move to Mt Albert if I was successful in the by-election.

Bring it on!

10 thoughts on “Mt Albert and me

  1. Best of luck Russel. You’re an excellent candidate for Mt Albert. Hope the local voters agree with me and tick your box. Auckland needs a strong voice arguing the merits of public transport… clean waterways is not a bad idea either :)

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  2. I’m glad someone’s sticking up for the “no SH20 Waterview Connection” argument. Seems like National has been effective in turning it into a “tunnel v surface option” debate.

    There are some incredibly dodgy justifications for the Waterview Connection (like how supposedly 98% of people travelling from the North Shore to the airpot would use it – according to its computer model). It can’t be justified on a cost-benefit ratio if it costs $3 billion. Any supposedly cheaper option at the surface level would have disastrous environmental and social effects (and actually would be unlikely to end up much cheaper). Maybe a busway from New Lynn to Onehunga instead?

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  3. Its not just an Auckland election (no sitting MP can move on to a Mayoralty or Council run).

    To the extent which it is an “Auckland” electorate seat – housing is an issue here and nationwide.

    We need an investment in more state housing – all evidence from the industry is that we are not building enough houses and we are facing a shortage (which will force up rents and exacerbate our existing housing unffordability to income, when we already have huge external debt built up because of overvalued propeiorty and reliance on foreign financed mortgages).

    The nonsense of government trying to manage our external debt by cutting government spending when it is sitting on its hands in housing has to be stressed. Given the link to failed housing finance policy to the gloabl economic meltdown this should be a major political issue. If Labour has too many landlord MP’s to care, then Greens should make this issue their own.

    Given all of the increase in state housing now can later be sold off to repay any debt built up means there is no public debt consequence from this economic stimulous. Failure of the National government to act is nothing short of gross incompetence.

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  4. Sssup Norman?

    You needlessly sign an agreement with the one party that cares the least about the environment and then, a week later, you physically oppose the one party (other than the Greens) that cares the most about the environment.

    You already have a job. You are a Co-Leader of the Party and have a seat in Parliament where the actuality of Auckland’s landscape will be decided, yet you are now on the hustings in Mt Albert. Was there really no one else willing to have a tilt? Are you really best employed exploiting a byelection so as to “present a platform for Green solutions” or shouldn’t you actually be proofing the fine print of John Key’s government legislation, like you were elected to do?

    The protection of the environment is better managed with the big (national and global) picture in mind, and appropriate (local) decision making is best left to the locals. As for social justice and non-violence, perhaps these are now negotiable?

    My only solace in your decision to stand in Mt Albert is that you appear to have the support of the other Green Party MPs. I just hope you know what you’re doing, and it pays off.

    Good luck.

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  5. How many other candidates were “talked” into standing aside this time Russ?

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  6. hi russel good on you and best wishes. these days labour or national are so much alike, votes for their candidates cancel each other out. why NZers persist in putting faith in those two self-serving factions is mind boggling.

    dont forget there are unnecessarily defined and denegrated non criminals (both recreational and medicinal) in Mt Albert as well, and a raft of social costs and unintended consequences of ‘criminalisation’ (incl gateway to p and other criminality wide open)

    pot reform seems to be well off green agenda these days??? …meanwhile users are still being home invaded by the fuzz, and too many youth learn to mistrust and reject family and community and environment values from an early age. bring back Nandor i reckon…

    I understand the ALCP is puting up a candidate. not me this time but hopefully someone who will kick your asses a bit

    regards

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  7. Good luck, Russ,
    if anyone can make a difference in Auckland, I’d pick you; given the cross-section of young Greens I’ve met up there in the course of a couple of extended visits & some recreational activism pre-election, I’d say you have a good team of potential campaigners there on the ground, too.

    Wellington will miss your presence at the local liberally social discussion events, and we’ll miss Katya, too, who is highly respected amongst those of us who’ve seen many cohorts of workers and volunteers over the years.
    Kia kaha, e korua.

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  8. um..!..hate to be pernickity here..

    ..but i don’t think he has won yet..katie..

    ..yr farewells to ‘russ’ +consort..

    ..are somewhat premature..

    ..eh..?

    just wishing it dosen’t necessarily make it so..

    ..eh..?

    btw..with a three-way split..

    ..and the caveat of an efficient/successful/well-run election campaign..

    ..(and there’s the ‘rub’..eh..?)

    i reckon ‘russ’ is in with a chance of pulling it off..

    eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  9. Thrilled you are concerned about Meola Creek.

    You didn’t mention the expansion of Westfield St Lukes. The sheer amount of concrete put down will probably sink Meola Creek.

    In terms of environment, what can you do if Westfields owns the land. They’re allowed to destroy both pukeko and tui habitat because the trees in the gully they’re going to concrete over aren’t protected.

    Their solution to traffic issues is to destroy the relatively limited amount of true blue residential in the local area. And public transport isn’t going to fix this issue.

    How can you actually make a difference? Or is this too small fry an issue for central government representatives?

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