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LUKE PARKER - Western Leader
Protester Penny Bright seems an unlikely candidate for mayor.
Especially once you hear her vision for the new-look Auckland Council.
"I want to do something that I think has never been done before," Ms Bright says. "I want to stand as mayor to help organise a rates revolt in order to help stop this corporate takeover – because that's what the supercity is.
"I would do everything I could to make it unworkable."
The 55-year-old self-professed investigative activist and public watchdog says ratepayers are being forced into an amalgamated city that many don't want.
"Under law, we were entitled to a binding poll which never happened," she says. "We want the legislation repealed."
Ms Bright, who once worked as a welding tutor at Manukau Polytechnic is a founding member of the 1998 Water Pressure Group.
But her history of activism spans more than 35 years.
The Kingsland resident has never been married and continues to fight on issues she's passionate about.
It's a fulltime job.
"My house is freehold and I get $150 a week from my flatmate," she says. "I have been in this situation and self-funded for the last 10 years."
This will be her second shot at public office.
"Ten years ago I stood for the water pressure group in the 2000 Avondale-Mt Roskill byelection," she says. "I got 6500 votes, just 700 votes behind Noelene Raffills and nearly caused an upset."
Ms Bright has been arrested 22 times and says she beat all but one charge in court.
She plans to appeal the resulting criminal conviction for trespassing at the town hall before the United Nations.
It is, she says, a matter of principle.
"I was denied speaking rights at a meeting where I wanted to talk about the supercity in November 2006.
"My fight against the supercity goes back some time and I've put my neck out to the point of arrest," she says.
The local body elections run from from September 17 to October 9.
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