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Glad to go it alone

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 05:00 15/09/2010
CHANGE
JASON DORDAY
TIME FOR CHANGE: Hinurewa te Hau has left Citizens & Ratepayers to run as an independent for the Waitemata Local Board.

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A LOCAL board candidate who made a last-minute decision to ditch her political party says she should have done it months ago.

Hinurewa te Hau surprised Citizens & Ratepayers on Friday by abandoning the political ticket and deciding to run as an independent.

The Parnell resident says her "ethos as a Maori woman" is at conflict with the C&R brand.

The decision has come as a major surprise for the right-leaning party.

"I would rather stand on my own merits with my integrity intact than deliver a brand I'm at conflict with," Ms te Hau says.

She would have liked to see Maori representation on the council "but across the ticket that's not the case".

She believes she will be able to concentrate more on the community's needs as an independent.

"I'm over the politics. I don't want to deal with it. That's what central government is about."

Ms te Hau was campaigning in a C&R team for the seven seats on the Waitemata Local Board, which includes Newmarket, Parnell, Grafton and other central suburbs.

It's part of the Waitemata and gulf ward in the new Auckland Council.

She says she is relieved to have broken away from the party.

"It's the first time in this campaign that I've felt good," the Hobson Community Board member says.

"I should have done it three months ago."

C&R president John Slater says the decision came as a surprise.

"I thought: This doesn't add up," he says.

"It's unfortunate."

He says the party does not have a policy on Maori representation because "we carry out the campaign on the basis of what the law says".

The government rejected the Royal Commission's recommendation for Maori seats.

Mr Slater says the party has made a concious effort to put forward candidates that represent Auckland's diversity.

"Citizens & Ratepayers' team of 120, now 119 candidates, is more diverse and representative of modern Auckland than ever before."

Ms te Hau knows she may face possible legal action by leaving C&R.

By signing her name to the party's terms in its nomination form, she agreed she would abide by the party's "philosophies, policies and processes".

She also agreed to "abide by the majority decisions of any caucus meetings of the elected members of C&R".

She says: "That's a big thing for me.

"Citizens & Ratepayers have made decisions I'm at conflict with and that doesn't reflect my philosophy and thinking."

Ms te Hau is also against the group's endorsement of Heart of the City's Alex Swney.

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Her vote is with businessman Tenby Powell.

She believes in the centre-right philosophy but says politics needs to be kept out of decision-making.

"My focus is on community needs and at times I think tickets forget about communities."

Auckland city councillor and Waitemata Local Board C&R candidate Greg Moyle says he would be happy to work with Ms te Hau.

"Whoever gets elected will need to work together and put party politics behind them."

Former Newmarket Business Association chief executive Cameron Brewer shocked the party in July by announcing he was standing as an independent against C&R's Doug Armstrong for the Orakei ward's sole council seat.

He also worked closely with Mr Slater who chairs the business association board and asked Mr Brewer to run under the C&R ticket. Ms te Hau will be listed as a C&R candidate on voting papers arriving next week. It is too late for the many campaign boards around the city and voting information to be changed.

- East And Bays Courier

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