Thousands of brown paper bags filled with sandwiches, fruit and juice packed the back rooms of the Community centre. Dozens of MANA volunteers and supporting parties, parents and activists worked to together to put MANA’s bill into action. Making the Feed the Kids campaign a reality. MANA fed over 2000 children in the Feed the Kids campaign this morning, in a massive show of strength and organisation.
While the world was focused on the outcome of the US election, some 100 residents from Glen Innes (Auckland), Maraenui (Hawkes Bay) and Pomare (Lower Hutt) marched in protest to Parliament to present a petition for immediate action on the housing crisis affecting low-income families in these areas.
Ka whawhai tonu matou, Ake! Ake! Ake!: Rewi Maniapoto’s words from the Waikato Wars of the 1860s rang through the twentieth century and into our own. Maori resistance to colonisation and land theft has never ended and the Maori struggle for self-determination has continued across the generations.
On April 30 this year, a new political party was formed by former Maori Party MP Hone Harawira – Te Mana Party. It was formed from a left split, as Harawira was expelled for opposing his party’s support for the National Government. Mana immediately drew support from veteran activist and lawyer Annette Sykes and Unite Union leaders John Minto, Mike Treen, and Matt McCarten. It has also received support from CTU vice-president Syd Keepa, Ngati Kahu leader Professor Margaret Mutu and former Green Mps Nandor Tanczos and Sue Bradford. It’s clear from the policies Hone has so far offered that he is determined to broaden his support beyond his te Tai Tokerau electorate by appealing explicitly to the working class.
The general situation was depressing. In the third year of John Key’s administration he and National were massively ahead of Phil Goff and Labour in the opinion polls. More dismally still, action by unionists was at rock bottom. The number of work stoppages for 2010 was the lowest since the Statistics New Zealand series begun in 1986 with only 6,285 person-days “lost” to the working of capitalism. The Labour Party, stuck in rectitude to neo-liberal economics, timid and defensive, seemingly unable to inspire hope. The Maori Party in coalition with National and Act selling out the Maori working class.
One of the most striking differences between John Key and the last National Party leader, Don Brash, is Key’s relationship with Maori political leaders.
Key could not govern without the support of the Maori Party – a party which was formed supposedly in opposition to Labour’s raupatu (confiscation) of the seabed and foreshore but in reality was born of massive Maori opposition to Don Brash’s inept attempt to play the race card.