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?

[Read more…]

Union News – Feb 2017

 

lyttelton-portLyttleton Port Strike

On 28 January this website posted a report on the Lyttleton port dispute. This is a brief update.

The port company’s legal challenge to the Maritime Union’s strike notice for the Waitangi Day long weekend failed clearing the way for the 3–day strike. The Maritime Union has given notice of a strike from 17-19 February, in addition to the notice for 11-12 February previously reported.

 

Junior Doctors – New Zealand Resident Doctors’ Association

Junior doctors staged a national 73 hour strike from 17 to 20 January. This follows a 48 hour strike in October. The issue: fatigue. The doctors are seeking more reasonable hours of work in their negotiations over a Multi-Employer Collective Agreement with the District Health Boards. Currently they can be made to work for seven nights in a row and up to 12 day shifts in a row. The union has been campaigning for a maximum of four nights and 10 day shifts in a row.

In an interview with RNZ, the NZRDA’s general secretary, Deborah Powell, explained that a compromise agreement had been worked out in negotiations, but the employer side had not been able to make a formal offer without consulting the DHBs’ chief executives. At the time of writing, the union was still waiting to find out whether the employers were willing to sanction the draft agreement. [Read more…]

Beneficiaries locked out from services

a-closed-door-policyBy Joshua O’Sullivan

From the 13th of February, Work and Income New Zealand will now demand that you provide a community services card and a valid photo ID such as a passport or driver’s license before being allowed to enter the building. This is nothing less than an abandonment of people in need in New Zealand, preventing them from even enquiring about the services the state is legally and duty-bound to provide.

The difficulty and expense of getting a passport or a license in New Zealand now precludes the ability of some of the worst off in New Zealand to even ask for assistance from a department whose sole responsibility is to look after the vulnerable. [Read more…]

Know Your Class Enemy: Graeme Hart

Graeme HartHe is New Zealand’s richest man and yet virtually no-one knows about him. Famously recluse and avoiding media attention, Graeme Hart is New Zealand’s most successful vulture capitalist. He is valued by Forbes magazine last year at $11.6 Billion. Beginning life as a high school dropout and working as a panel beater, Hart’s rags to riches story is upheld as the epitome of the Kiwi battler. But much of his wealth has come through debt financing and hostile takeovers at the cost of workers and the environment. [Read more…]

Blethering Bishops’s Bigotry Blockaded

teach-love-not-fearBy Gowan James Ditchburn

Under the second covenant Jesus died for our sins and God would no longer go around smiting people out of wrath until judgement day. Apparently nobody informed Bishop Brian Tamaki of this. His accusations that LGBT people and their sins are responsible for the Kaikōura earthquake has angered many not only in the Queer community but in the Christian community and the wider public. So it was that a small protest gathered to march on Destiny Church in Wiri, South Auckland, to show the Bishop that his bigotry would not go uncontested. The crowd was small but the energy immense. With rainbow flags, placards and music blasting out from the speakers atop the van we marched on the Church. All the while the Bishop’s own sermons were blasted back at us. Clearly he was a little put out by all this, from time to time between songs he could be heard complaining about those outside.

But while there was a distinct lack of support from inside the church the same cannot be said from those who drove passed. Many people who went passed showed their support, honking horns, waving, thumbs up and giving the odd high five. Indeed, it was not until the service had ended and those inside were going home that we received disapproving looks from those going by. Yet even Brian’s flock could not resist when we started playing YMCA across the car park at them. Braving sun burn and hostility from church goers and Destiny’s own news crew our little protest made itself heard. [Read more…]

Key’s gone – now let’s get rid of National

john-key

Stake my future on a hell of a past / Looks like tomorrow is coming up fast / Ain’t complaining about what I’ve got: / I’ve seen better days but who has not?

By Andrew Tait

 

All aboard for the gravy train. John Key just pulled off another coup, leaving at the top of his  popularity (National just polled 47% to Labour’s 27%), forgoing the chance for a fourth term but avoiding any of the unpleasantness usually involved in leadership transitions.

In fact, if anything sums up his style, it would be avoiding unpleasantness.

John Key leaves as much as a cipher as when he entered office. Sure he’s smart – he was underestimated for years by the Opposition – but he has never shown any substance.

In a world thrown into turmoil by the Global Financial Crisis (a crisis he had a hand in as a banker at Merrill Lynch), Key’s New Zealand appeared an oasis of stability.

None of this had anything to do with his policies. [Read more…]

Labour wins Mt Roskill – what next?

michael-wood

By Josh O’Sullivan

 

Michael Wood, The Labour Party Candidate has swept the floor in the local Mt Roskill By-election to replace Phill Goff as the new MP for Mt Roskill. His main opponent the National Party’s Parmjeet Parmar trailed behind with a lower percentage of votes than her previous run against Phil Goff in 2014. Michael Wood received 11,170 votes compared to Parmar’s 4652, though as with most by-elections the turnout was much lower than the 2014 election (37% of registered voters voted compared to 73% in 2014.) [Read more…]

Keeping the Faith – RIP Fidel

Fidel Castro in 1957

Fidel Castro in 1957

Fidel Castro has died. We mourn him from the depth of our hearts; for his victories and for his failings, for the achievements of the Cuban revolution and for its weaknesses but most of all for the achievements of his generation, for our own parents and our grandparents.

Fidel Castro “invaded” Cuba, his homeland, in 1956. At the time, the country was under the control of a US-backed dictator – Batista. Castro’s strategy was flawed: to get peasant support in the back country and then invade the cities. Socialism is about working people taking power themselves, not armed guerillas freeing them. However, the Batista regime was so rotten and corrupt that Castro’s rebellion, combined with general strikes in the cities were enough to overthrow it. [Read more…]

Solitary confinement is torture!

npipBy Emma Walker
The UN agrees, anyone with a conscience agrees, even the scum over at the Department of Corrections agree: solitary confine is torture. But change the name, call it “23-hour lockdown” and suddenly Corrections is perfectly fine with it. Well, we’re not. Corrections can pull whatever linguistic stunt they want; the meanings of words are determined by use and what they refer to not, whether those in power prefer to be known as “torturers” or not. Corrections is currently using solitary confinement to torture a trans woman in a men’s prison, her mental health is suffering as a direct result as reported her advocates at No Pride in Prisons. The prison is a violent institution for all it places within its walls. It is rotten to the core. But for trans people this is magnified even further. Systemic transphobia is present at every part of the prison industrial complex.
[Read more…]

War Profiteers Not Welcome Here

Photo Credit: Cathy Casey

Photo Credit: Cathy Casey

“This is not a weapons trading event, this is normal everyday New Zealand businesses that supply goods and services to support the New Zealand Defence Force and Ministry of Defence” is what a representative said of yesterday’s Weapons Conference in Auckland’s Viaducts Event Centre, which was sponsored by none other than the world’s largest weapon’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin.

This quote’s description of the conference as “normal everyday New Zealand businesses” is reminiscent of the phrase “there’s nothing to see here”; which always means that there is something to see. “Normal everyday” is a strange combination of words, one that might be used by someone caught doing something wrong. “No, don’t worry, this is just a normal everyday grenade I always carry around.” Putting the words “normal” and “everyday” in front of a concept doesn’t remove the violence it represents. [Read more…]