The Northern Action Group (NAG) is committing resources to a campaign to make north Rodney’s case for leaving Auckland Council an election issue.
The group has secured the services of political strategist and campaign manager Simon Lusk. On his LinkedIn profile online, Mr Lusk writes that he “specialises in third party campaigns to remove political opponents, especially at council level, and has a good network of potential candidates across the country”.
Mr Lusk, who is based in the Hawkes Bay, is no stranger to Rodney. He was the campaign strategist for Rodney Councillor Greg Sayers at last year’s local government election, and Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics claimed that Mr Lusk and Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater were instrumental in installing National MP Mark Mitchell in Rodney in 2011, a claim that Mr Mitchell has strenuously denied.
Mr Lusk attended NAG’s annual meeting held at Totara Park on June 26, where he spoke about the need for NAG to put pressure on politicians and bureaucrats who were stalling in the hope that the group would get tired and the issue would go away.
He believed it wasn’t so much that Parliamentarians were against north Rodney leaving Auckland, but “they just don’t care”. The election was an opportunity to put pressure on them to get a commitment.
Cr Sayers was the guest speaker at the meeting and gave a “warts and all” account of his first few months on Council, describing the frustrations of trying to raise the profile of some of Rodney’s issues such as road sealing.
The meeting elected the following officers:
Chair, Bill Townson, secretary Mona Townson, treasurer Trisha Pieterse, and committee – Chris Thoroughgood, Bill Foster, Barbara and John Maltby, and Lance Taylor.