Penny Bright 'a fighter and a warrior for truth and justice' - Lisa Prager

Penny Bright will be fixing up any problems they have in heaven now, says longtime friend and fellow activist Lisa Prager.

Ms Bright, 64, died on Thursday after losing her battle with ovarian cancer. She was hospitalised in April, diagnosed in May and told in early September she had six days to live, at most.

But true to form, Ms Bright lasted another month.

"She put up the most amazing battle," Ms Prager told The AM Show on Friday.

"Penny was essentially a fighter and a warrior for truth and justice, and she certainly wasn't going to let the cancer get in her way. And for that we salute her, for that and for every other battle she stood often alone and unsupported, and yet still attempting to draw attention to the truth."

Penny Bright.
Penny Bright. Photo credit: Getty

Ms Bright fought the power for decades as a grassroots activist, never successfully managing to get elected into a position herself. But Ms Prager says her efforts nonetheless "galvanised hundreds of thousands of people around New Zealand".

"The work doesn't just end - it continues, and Penny will stand forever as a reminder of the strength and courage needed every day to go forward and to fight your local battle."

In her later years, Ms Bright made headlines by refusing to pay her Auckland Council rates bill.

Ms Prager says she wasn't angry about the cancer that ultimately killed her - just those she blames for causing it.

"The only thing she was angry about was the abuse of power by Auckland Council and their continual refusal to become open and transparent, and to tell the people exactly what they're doing.

"We know beyond a shadow of a doubt, the abuse of public assets and resources that's going on. It's pretty obvious to most people these days. Penny was just the one to kick open the door and let the light in."

Asked what those in heaven would say to her on her arrival, Ms Prager laughed.

"They would probably say, 'There's a few things up here that need fixing, Penny - can we have a hand?'"


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