Protester keen to give it a whirl

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 01/11/2012

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Council wannabe Murray Chong is setting himself up as the people's candidate and has organised a public protest against council practices.

The theme of the New Plymouth protest is "I See Red", after the Split Enz song about a man angry his girlfriend broke up with him.

But Mr Chong is angry about more down-to-earth issues, and it's not just the 2 per cent pay rise for New Plymouth District Council chief executive Barbara McKerrow which sparked the protest promise in the first place.

His gripes are also to do with New Plymouth firm Wells Instrument and Electrical losing out to a Wellington company on the contract to install the TSB Festival of the Lights - and a claim by the council it would take 50 hours' work, at a cost of $2000, to calculate the travel expenses of five of its managers for the Taranaki Daily News.

"I am genuinely concerned about how the process works," he said. "If people are upset and they accept that and do nothing, they are just as guilty as those who agree with what the council is doing."

Having announced in June he intended to run for council next year, Mr Chong denies this is the start of his campaign, though his talk suggests otherwise.

"If you want the game to change, don't vote for the same people," he said.

"There are five or six councillors who are trying to help out.

"There are others who aren't.

"If you vote for them, you are cancelling your own vote."

The mortgage broker and builder of the city's infamous ski fence is not naming names on who he thinks is "helping".

But he hasn't disagreed in the past that his favoured list includes former "Razor Gang" members Sherril George, John McLeod, Shaun Biesiek, Andrew Judd and Craig McFarlane.

No date has been set for the protest which will start and end at the Huatoki Plaza, with a march around the city's streets in between. Those who want to join are asked to wear something red.

"If no-one shows up that's fine.

"I will know where I stand but I am getting a lot of people that just want their voice heard and feel the council is not listening to them," he said.

CHONG'S CHANT

Murray Chong's protest chants – to the tune of Split Enz's I See Red:

"We see the council doing their own thing, we see red we see red we see red.

"They get a pay rise and we get a rate rise, we see red we see red we see red.

"A local quote, is the best quote, we see red we see red we see red."

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