Labour-Green Budget Responsibility Rules Nonsense

labour green budget

Labour and the Greens prostrate themselves before their rulers, the boss class. Image Credit: KPMG Linkedin

The Labour Party has a death wish. In what looks like a bid to make sure it loses September’s general election, last Friday the Labour-Green alliance launched a major plank of its election platform titled Budget Responsibility Rules. What the Labour Party is saying is that if it wins the election it will hold public spending in check. It is saying it will be no different from National and there will be no change in the neo-liberal voodoo economics that we have suffered for 30 years. And it is saying the working class can go to hell.

No wonder the National Party’s David Farrar said in his Kiwiblog:

“I’m delighted that Labour and Greens have signed up some Budget Responsibility Rules. This represents a huge shift for the middle ground of NZ politics.”

“For the last 20 years or so the parties of the left have campaigned on tax increases and massively increased spending. Now Labour and Greens have said that will keep government spending to under 30% of GDP.”

“In 2008/09 Labour left office with core crown expenditure at 35.5% of GDP.  It took a massive effort by National to get it down to under 30% by 2015. Labour and Greens opposed pretty much every one of those spending cuts or restraints yet now they are saying they will stick to a similar expenditure level. Again, this is a huge shift, and a massive victory for the forces of fiscal conservatism.”

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Pensions under attack – Superfund not the answer

english smiling

All smiles from Bill English as he announces plans to rob workers of their pensions.

Under Bill English the National Party has made one major policy change so far as it heads into the general election on 23 September. This is to adopt Labour’s old policy of ratcheting up the age of retirement.

 

Bill English is proposing that from 2037 to 2040 the retirement age will be incrementally increased to 67. This means that anyone born after 1973 will have to wait two more years until they qualify for the state pension.

 

Furthermore, National’s new policy is to double the residency requirement to 20 years. This change is another blatant attempt by National to compete in the race to the bottom in the anti-immigrant bidding war. Winston Peters immediately responded by announcing that New Zealand First’s policy is that immigrants would have to live here for 25 years to qualify for the pension.

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Mass Action Can Change Society

Anti-mining March 2010

Auckland march against mining, 2010

By Shomi Yoon

 

The mass of ordinary people who can change society. The ruling class, the capitalist media, and academia all stress workers’ powerlessness, and these ideas often filter through to people who want to change the world. The emphasis can get put on heroic individuals, spectacular action designed to ‘shock’ the masses out of their alleged passivity, or a focus on stunts for media attention. But, for society to change, we need to draw in the greatest numbers of people into activity possible. This isn’t just because we have ‘strength in numbers’, although that matters. It’s because, historically, the involvement of ordinary people in their masses has led to wins for our side.

 

If there is a clear lead and purpose, people will march in their thousands. In 2010 a 40,000-strong march in Auckland against mining in the national parks prompted a humiliating back-down from the government. In 2004, some 50,000 people marched on Parliament to protest plans to legislate crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed.

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Wellington students organise against rape culture

Ross Giblinby Andy Raba
Hundreds of people gathered yesterday outside Parliament to protest rape culture in New Zealand. The action was called by several students from Wellington East Girls College. The protest, a direct response to rape jokes made on facebook by students from Welllington College, was loud, angry, defiant and empowering. Chants of “2,4,6,8 Stop the Violence, Stop the Rape” and “My Body, My Choice, My Body, My Choice” rang out across parliament grounds. Placards with demands like “End Rape Culture” and “Respect, it’s simple” were held proudly in the air. And a group of singers in pink pussy hats sang songs of defiance. The chief demand of the protest was that compulsory education around consent the rights of women should be introduced into schools and that rape culture has to go.
It was awesome to see more than one hundred students turn up to challenge the normalisation of rape culture. One of the organisers, Sorcha Ashworth, said she felt heartened by the turn out as rape culture and violence against women is often made invisible in our society. Many students spoke out about their experience of sexism, the fear of going out at night, and how their friends are being sexually assaulted. Statistics show that one in three women experience a form of sexual abuse before they turn 16. We support every action that exposes and challenges this culture.

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Cadbury: Fight for every job

save cadbury jobsJoin the rally in the Octagon tomorrow at 11am, and spread the word. This protest, called by the Save Cadbury Community Action Group, is supported by E Tū, the union of Cadbury workers.

 

Amanda Banfield, Vice President for Mondelez in Australasia, claims closing Cadbury in Dunedin is about ‘its long term sustainability’. Try telling that to the over 350 workers threatened with losing their job. What ‘long term sustainability’ for them?

 

Cadbury’s closing would be devastating for Dunedin’s workers. The factory is one of the city’s largest employers, and another closure would be yet another blow against workers who are already finding secure jobs hard to come by. 90 jobs went when Hillside was closed in 2012; 430 when Fisher & Paykel closed its Mosgiel plant and 138 when the Burnside meatworks were shut in 2008…Cadbury’s can’t be next.

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Housing battle in Glen Innes

679_stand-to-stop-nikis-eviction_imageby Joshua Sims and Sam Snell

Ioela Niki Rauti is standing firm in the face of property developers.

Late 2014 Niki Rauti was served a 90 day eviction notice to vacate the Housing New Zealand state home she has lived in for over twenty years. With support from the local community, young activists and the Tamaki Housing group, she has fought attempts at eviction and won. The saga of Niki’s fight has been on-going for six years and she is now facing another eviction after the expiration of a new 90 day eviction notice served November 2016. With the possession order being granted by an adjudicator on Friday 24th February, Niki and her supporters have been kept on their toes, but have had some reprieve in a stay of proceedings being granted putting the eviction temporarily on hold.

Residents of Glen Innes along with members of the public and various organisations marched in numbers to Nikis’ residence at 14 Taniwha Street on the 17th January in solidarity and to begin mass occupation of the property. Roughly 300 people descended upon Niki’s property in two separate marches, one comprised solely of locals and the other of interested parties. Since then, the occupation has been intermittent.

This home is occupied! reads the banner outside Niki’s home. [Read more…]

Keep the ‘European Students Association’ off Auckland University campus!

iso-fist1So Trumpism has hit New Zealand shores. A group calling itself the ‘European Students Association’ is trying to set itself up at the University of Auckland. The group’s website is covered in all the usual muck of the far right, with slogans echoing SS phrases from Nazi Germany and weasley phrases about ‘European culture’.

 

This is a clear provocation, and it is heartening to see how students have responded. The Auckland University Students Association is speaking out against the group, and students are planning a protest against the presence of these creeps organizing on campus. We salute AUSA’s stand, and urge all students and staff to join the protest. (Facebook page details are here).

 

At the very best the European Students Association is a piece of post-Trump trolling, stirring the pot of antagonism. At its worst it is a genuine far-right organization attempting to gain a foothold on campus. Either way it needs to be opposed. We say: no space for fascism! Stand up to racism and bigotry!

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Class War in Plain English

bill-englishBy Dougal McNeill

Bill English, like John Key before him, has long cultivated an image of himself as a dull, middle-of-the-road moderate. A bit boring, no surprises. His 2002 election campaign – around the slogan “all paddling in the same waka” – anticipated Key’s rejuvenation and liberalisation of the National ‘brand’, shedding its older Pākehā racism in favour of a modern, multicultural pro-capitalist business party. But, just as with Key, this carefully crafted ‘anti-politics’ image is in service of the rich and powerful. Bill English has spent his life as a class warrior. [Read more…]

Vote Socialist in Mt Albert

iso-fist1The by-election in Mt Albert caused by David Shearer’s resignation from Parliament takes place on 25 February.

 

This is the first possible electoral test for the National Party under Bill English, but they have bottled-out of standing rather than risk another drubbing after the party’s poor performance in Mt Roskill. Given that National won a plurality in the party vote in Mt Albert in 2014, National are not showing any confidence under their new leadership.

 

Labour have selected the list MP Jacinda Ardern as their candidate for this shoo-in. This must be queried. It is a typical example of Labour’s elitist and careerist practice of parachuting-in a “name” rather than select a grassroots local activist. Ardern has been Labour’s candidate for Auckland Central where she has whittled down Nikki Kaye’s majority to 717 in 2011 and 600 in 2014. Auckland Central is the most marginal electorate in the country, so why has Ardern abandoned it for greener pastures instead of persevering and giving Labour the best chance of winning back the seat it held almost continuously from 1919 to 2005?

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Solidarity for Sanctuary – no deportations!

1486938549883by Sam Snell

Unionists and members from the wider community came together last Saturday afternoon in a show of solidarity with 9 Indian students facing deportation. The students, many of whom have finished their studies, face deportation as it was discovered that agents in India had falsified documents without their knowledge.

The students were lured to New Zealand under the pretense of being able to live and stay in New Zealand and with the guarantee of a one year “Student job search” visa. With information from websites such as www.studyplus.co.nz telling students that “You don’t have to come back to India if you successfully complete your studies in New Zealand.” Past, present and future students are being sold the idea of being able to live and work in New Zealand if they only pay extremely exorbitant fees to dodgy tertiary institutions, Visa agents and the New Zealand government.

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