Letter fuels grey battle for power

The warring within Nelson Grey Power has hotted up with one member sending a letter to some committee candidates demanding that they toe the line or be thrown out and president-in-waiting Gordon Currie saying proxy votes shouldn't count.

With the crunch annual general meeting to be held at 10.30am on Wednesday at the Annesbrook Church, preventing many in the 50-plus age group from attending, proxies have become a major focus of both camps.

Today Eileen Wilkin, standing for the "Progressive Group" who backed ousted president Neville Male, said the other side been handing out proxy forms "like lollies" at the Grey Power office and in retirement villages. Its message was, "just sign here and we'll do the voting for you", she said. "It's absolutely disgusting what's going on."

The Progressive Group had about 50 proxy votes while "they'll have hundreds".

"Old people wouldn't even know what they were signing for."

However vice-president Kevin Gardener said this morning that there was "no way in the world" his team would have handed out proxy forms without a proper explanation.

Currie, who is the only candidate for president, condemned touting for proxies.

"That sort of carry-on should not really be going on. To go round soliciting proxies - and both sides were doing it - I'd like to see the proxy vote taken out."

He also disagreed with the AGM being held at 10.30am on a weekday.

Last week the Progressive Group released its list of candidates for every role bar president, and today Currie backed the candidates on the other side.

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Some have had a long involvement with Nelson Grey Power but Currie, who was president for 21 years, said: "I hardly know any of them."

"What I want are some people who have the good of Grey Power at heart." He backed sitting office-holders and committee members Gardener, Pat Carrick, Bob Hancock, Win Cozens, Pauline Daly and Linda O'Dea and former secretary Pam Coltman, and endorsed committee candidates George Truman, Dan McGuire, Nigel Bailey and Kay Price and urged members to attend the AGM.

The letter to some "Progressive Group" candidates including Wilkin is signed by "loyal Grey Power member" Daphne Stevens and says that if any "Male backers" are elected they will have to swear allegiance to Nelson Grey Power, its president and federation board or "loyal committee members" will cancel their membership. "This as Male knows is the same way he lost his membership when he insulted staff, six committee members and over 20 volunteers who run the office", Stevens wrote.

Wilkin said she would be handing a copy of the letter to police.

 - The Nelson Mail


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