Doubts for Gielen over claims

BY NIKKI PRESTON
Last updated 13:00 21/09/2010

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A Hamilton mayoral candidate's credentials are in doubt after groups he claims to be linked with strongly distanced themselves from him.

Hamilton mayoral and Waikato District Health Board candidate Jack Gielen claims in the Local Elections 2010 candidate book mailed out to voters at the weekend to be the New Zealand Republican spokesperson for mental health and suicide prevention and a representive of Patient's (sic) Rights Advocacy.

Mr Gielen also says he is involved with the Fathers Coalition and the New Zealand Suicide Trust, which he runs from his Cambridge Rd home.

Waikato Times investigations show Mr Gielen is not part of the organisations he lists in the book nor has he registered any of the groups he claims to have set up.

But he insisted he was not misleading anyone.

The Republic of New Zealand Party, which Mr Gielen claims to be involved in, was deregistered as a political party in June last year after failing to have 500 members. Lewis Holden, a spokesperson for The Republican Movement Aotearoa Inc, said Mr Gielen had nothing to do with the Auckland headquartered society and was trying to piggyback off the society.

Mr Holden said The Republican Movement Aotearoa Inc (also known as Republic New Zealand) had complained about the group because of the name confusion.

Mr Gielen said the Republican Party was trying to get its membership together. "We have 200 members. Provided we get 500 members we can be re-registered for the next election. We are the real Republicans because I burnt a flag and told Prince Wills to go home. We look at them as a poser because they are not the real deal."

Patients Rights Advocacy Waikato Inc also said Mr Gielen was not involved with the group, despite claiming in the candidate book that he is the association's representative for mental health and illness.

Treasurer Laurens de Jong said Mr Gielen had made the same claims during the last election. "He is nothing to do with us at all. We have had a lot of problems with this fellow.

"We took him to task about it last time but couldn't do anything about it."

Mr Gielen said he had been a member of Patients Rights Advocacy Waikato but had set up his own patients rights organisation in 2008. "I used to be part of their group but I'm there no longer."

He claimed his Patients Rights Society has 50 members and his Suicide Trust dealt with 10 people a month on its helpline.

Mr Gielen said there was a Father's Union but he was not part of it because he felt they were compromised. Instead he had set up a Father's Coalition.

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Mr Gielen also claims to a pastor and a counsellor. He is not a registered member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

Mr Gielen has a long, unsuccessful history of running for public office.

- Waikato Times

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