What an appalling set of stories. Each day it gets worse. Revelations of the abuse suffered by young women in Auckland over the last few years, and then further revelations of how their stories and complaints were ignored or dismissed by Police, have horrified many. For days media outlets kept referring to this as a ‘sex’ story, whereas in fact of course it was a story about rape and abuse. Worse, Willie Jackson and John Tamihere used their Radio Live slot as a platform to attack, not rape, but women’s behavior. The so-called “Roastbusters” revelations reveal ugly strains of misogyny in New Zealand society.
A Facebook page – The Pakeha Party – has been launched in response to the Mana Movement’s Maori housing policy announcement during the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by election. This is the second racist backlash in as many months, the first being the cartoon in the Marlborough Times attacking Mana’s ‘Feed the Kids’ campaign.
I’d shed a few tears even before the final vote came through. It was not the quality of the speeches in Parliament, necessarily, although some of them were brilliant, Kevin Hague’s especially. But the sense of living through history was what felt so moving, and will be leading to celebrations all around the country tonight. This is a victory. And it is the culmination of one phase in the struggle stretching all the way back to Homosexual Law Reform.
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.
13 forestry workers have died in work related accidents in the past 3 years, 30 in the last 6 years. Just to put this in perspective the death rate in the UK forestry industry is 10.4 per 100,000 workers and in NZ 343 per 100,000. Some bosses blame workers drug use and call for increased drug testing but there no amount of excuses can justify this outrageous number of fatalities. We need explanations, and the forestry bosses need to be held to account for all these needless deaths.
Between 200 – 300 people marched in Auckland yesterday against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the latest ‘free’ trade agreement designed to give maximum gains to New Zealand business and pain to workers globally. The negotiations – conducted in secret conditions making a mockery of democracy, as Jane Kelsey points out – were going on at SkyCity’s convention centre: if there wasn’t any democracy inside, we were determined to remind the government of the democracy of the streets.
The wealth of Maori business is estimated to be around $37 billion but with 60,000 Maori children living in poverty, Mana MP Hone Harawira has suggested to iwi leaders that “maybe it was time we turned our corporate bus around and went back to get all the kids”.
From the outset of last year’s leadership contest Shearer was the choice of the capitalist class to take over from Phil Goff. There was a reason for that; Shearer was distinctly the right-wing candidate who signalled his willingness to jettison left-wing policies that Labour had adopted for the General Election. Shearer was the puppet of the mass-media. Shearer supporters wax indignant at the claim there is a left-right split in the leadership struggle, but what else are we to make of Shearer’s speeches attacking sickness beneficiaries and the support he’s received – and is receiving – from the right of the parliamentary party?
The TPPA began life as a proposal for a free-trade pact between four Pacific nations that are relatively insignificant on the world stage: Brunei, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand. The entry of the United States and Australia into the negotiations in 2008, along with other nations transformed the TPPA from a small, regional deal to one of substantial geo-political and economic importance.
It might seem like an advance for the cause of the Palestinians; Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced that New Zealand will be supporting a vote in the United Nations recognising Palestinian statehood. But we need to be very clear. This vote, and the ‘statehood’ it offers, offers no advance for Palestinian national liberation. It is a false offer, and one designed to perpetuate injustice, no resolve it.