By Catherine Masters
A would-be Mayor of London has been dubbed a publicity-seeking "git" by Kiwis he wants to oust from his home suburb of Cricklewood in North London.
"Red" Ken Livingstone, Labour's mayoral candidate, has waged a public war against at least three adjacent flats of Kiwis who he says hold raucous, all-night rave-ups.
The result has been a media frenzy of doorstepping television and newspaper reporters - and an offer to appear on British tabloid TV show Neighbours From Hell.
The Kiwis say the attack is nothing but a cynical publicity ploy.
Mr Livingstone, dubbed Red Ken because of his extreme left-wing views, has accused them of spewing out of windows, making out and sleeping in the bargain ambulance they bought at an auction to travel Europe in, and urinating into buckets in the garden.
The result has been articles in about eight major London newspapers and reports on the BBC and ITV.
The Kiwis have turned down the sterling 80 per person offer to go on Neighbours From Hell, but may reconsider if the offer is substantially lifted, says one of the flatmates, Mark Skeet, of Auckland.
He admits his five-bedroom flat of around eight full-timers, and varying numbers of dossers, holds regular parties. The latest had been a bit of a "ripper" going on until 8 am, with police and noise control eventually moving in, but it had been gate-crashed by many people from the nightclub over the road.
He says Mr Livingstone has confused some of the antics with those of a flat of Australians.
The "Luvbulance," as it was known during its European tour, has been empty while it was parked outside.
"As you would expect, we're not that impressed by the git.
"He has decided that he no longer wants overcrowded travellers in his neighbourhood and is attempting to kick us out ... He has portrayed us as being low-life scum, basically."
But most of the flatmates were accountants, bankers and IT workers who wore suits and earned good money.
Mr Livingstone, who could not be contacted, is reported to be selling a sterling 60,000 house left to him by a rich widow to help neighbours fight a legal campaign to "halt the non-stop party lifestyle."
The mayoral candidate, who collects newts, has had an unusual history to his campaign. An earlier report said he had complained he would suffer from depression and outbreaks of a skin condition if Labour leader Tony Blair did not back his mayoral bid.