Thursday, November 17, 2016
AntiCapitalists against Trump- Michael Treen Nadia Filistin Line Lux and Joe Carolan discuss the Trump Presidential victory and what it means for politics in America and elsewhere, on this month's Workers Voice radio show. http://www.planetaudio.org.nz/workersvoice/player
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
Deportation is a word that sends shivers up most ordinary people’s spines. Having invested all they own and can find financially, emotionally and socially, being deported out of a country that they want to make home temporarily or long term is every migrant’s worst night mare. Social stigma attached to deportation is so overpowering that most people fail to consider that the deportees may be innocent and being victimised.
The issue of deportation orders being handed out to International Indian students in New Zealand has taken over much of the media and political arena to some extent in the last few months. Hundreds of students mainly from Hyderabad and Punjab are affected by the unfair deportations. Unfair because India based unscrupulous immigration agents acting on students’ behalf submitted fraudulent financial documents as evidence for living expenses to Immigration New Zealand. The agents have been committing this fraud together with corrupt Indian bank officials. The students had no knowledge of this fraud. This fraudulent activity has been revealed in an investigation report publicised in June 2016 by Immigration New Zealand’s Mumbai Area Office. How is it fair to punish the students for something they have not done?
Some responsibility must also be taken by the Private Training Establishments (PTE) in this entire mess. Since receiving deportation orders the affected students have been almost abandoned by the PTEs and been referred back to India based agents who are nowhere to be found. Many have been stopped from attending classes. New Zealand Qualification Authority’s code requires all PTEs to comply with Pastoral Care of International Students whereby the PTEs are responsible for the students’ mental health and wellbeing.
However, the largest, the most critical and the most influential responsibility sits with the New Zealand Government. Let us start with the National government list MPs of Indian origin. New Zealand has 2 at present that conform to this category. When requested to intervene on behalf of the affected students, both MPs have been repeating standardised statements handed down from the bosses - the matter is in the hand of Minister of Immigration and it would not be appropriate for them to comment etc. One of the MPs went as far as comparing the students with fridges imported to New Zealand from China that are returned to China if they are found to be faulty on arrival in New Zealand.
The students and their supporters formed a delegation consisting of representatives of the affected students, The Catholic Church in NZ, The Anglican Church in NZ, Secretary of NZ Council of Trade Unions, leading human rights lawyers and members of civil society. This delegation requested in person meeting with the Minister of immigration. After consistently making contact with the Minister’s office for two weeks the delegation’s request was rejected on the basis that the Minister does not deal with individual cases. One has to wonder at the ability of NZ government officials to grasp basic information. Hundreds of students are affected by unfair deportations and the delegation had clearly stated in their request that the aim of the meeting was to seek amnesty for all affected.
Further to this some cabinet ministers and MPs have been claiming in media interviews that many students facing deportation have been involved in criminal activity in New Zealand. This a very careless and irresponsible statement as this manufacture’s public’s consent to label all student facing deportation as criminals. On one hand the government is unwilling to meet the delegation as ‘it would not be appropriate to discuss individual cases while they are being investigated.’ And yet on the other hand the government is happy to label ordinary people as criminals without providing any evidence. Where is justice?
Help has also been sought from the Indian Government by requesting the Indian High Commissioner in New Zealand to intervene. Several tweets have been sent to Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister. Neither have helped in any way.
The actions taken in support of the affected students by Migrant Workers Association along with other supporting organisations (NZ Council of Trade Unions, Unite Union, Socialist Aotearoa, First Union, The Catholic Church, The Anglican Church, The Labour Party of NZ, The Green Party of NZ, The Communist League, Racial Equity Aotearoa, Panthak Vichar Manch, Azad Rang Manch, Radio Inqilaab) have consisted of public meetings, a petition, 5 protests in six weeks, extensive media interviews and many awareness raising sessions. This has now truly turned into a campaign that is gathering strength very fast. The evidence lies in the fact that the Prime Minister of New Zealand and many of his MPs are consistently being asked by media and the public about the student deportations and what the solution is. 2017 is a general election year in New Zealand and before that one of the Auckland constituencies with a large Indian population will have a by-election in December this year. Immigration is one of the main points for most political parties in the upcoming elections but even more so for the governing National party.
Most international students are given entry into New Zealand to study not so useful courses. As a vast majority has to work to live, they end up in jobs that pay very little and mostly well below the legal minimum. New Zealand is effectively bringing in cheap labour under the guise of export education. This government has to stop treating people like commodities and it has to provide meaningful opportunities for all in New Zealand. Like most capitalist countries New Zealand also suffers from concentration of wealth in the hands of few. The ordinary people need to understand this phenomena and hold the government accountable, and not the migrants, for speeding up the killing of an already dying economy.
While the students and their supporters have been successful in building a strong campaign, the journey is not over until the demands have been met.
Student demands are very simple and straightforward:
Cancellation of deportation orders
Permission to stay in New Zealand to complete education
Permission to apply for one year open term work visa upon completion of education
Migrant Workers Association
Saturday, September 24, 2016
International Indian students facing deportation from New Zealand continue to fight for justice with a protest planned outside a meeting on Monday evening being attended by National MP Dr Parmjeet Parmar and Minister of Finance Bill English.
The students and their supporters are particularly incensed at the failure of several National MP’s of Indian ethnic origin who claim to represent the Indian community but have been conspicuously silent on this issue
They students say they are victims of unscrupulous India-based immigration agents who have used fake financial documents to get them into the country on student visas. These students had no idea that fake documents were used by their agents. Deporting them for something which they have not done is unfair.
The students held a peaceful protest on 3 Sep outside the offices of National Party list MP Dr Parmjeet Parmar. A petition by the name of ‘Justice for Indian Students in NZ’ will be delivered to the Minister of Immigration and the Prime Minister. There has also been support from the wider community through public meetings.
Earlier this week the issue was raised during question time in Parliament by the Labour Party, The Green Party and New Zealand First.
Representatives from the Catholic Church in Aotearoa, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, the Council of Trade Unions and other members of civil society including Dr Rodney Harrison QC have been requesting to see the Minister of Immigration on behalf of the students for over a week now. The Minister continues to ignore their request.
Despite such outcry from all quarters, the government has not made any efforts to deliver justice to the Indian students. Instead the government continues to portray the Indian students facing deportation as criminals. The students’ future is in the hands of the New Zealand government.
To further the cause of delivering justice for the Indian students facing deportation, a protest has been organised for 6.30pm on Monday 26 Sep outside Lynfield Community Church, 35 The Avenue, Lynfield, Auckland.
Let’s gather Monday 26 Sep at 6.30pm outside Lynfield Community Church, 35 The Avenue, Lynfield, Auckland
Friday, August 05, 2016
"There is something deeply morally wrong about a small minority in our society making huge profits from non-productive speculation, setting the economy up for a crash, whilst hard working people struggle to keep up with rack renting, never mind never being able to afford their own home," he says. "Unions have had enough of this, and we are going to build a movement to solve this problem like we did in the 1930s."- Joe Carolan, Unite Union.
Ben Peterson, Unions Auckland Housing Action Committee
Mike Treen, National Director of Unite Union
For Sale ? For Living ?
Who destroys our dreams ?
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
Recently around the country, mostly in Auckland, a peaceful protest movement called Park Up For Homes is growing and spreading. Organised by community members in conjunction with Child Poverty Action Group, the protest is about the complete inaction by the government to provide warm, dry, safe and affordable homes for the most venerable in our society. As a result of their inaction more people are homeless and sleeping in cars and many more people having 15+ people living in one 3-bedroom house as private rentals are becoming unaffordable for many. So the general public are coming out in support by sleeping in their cars overnight to show their solidarity for the people who this is a constant sad reality for. Hundreds have turned up at each protest.
So far we have seen protest action in Otara, Mangere, Onehunga, Henderson, outside of parliament and protests also being planned for Hamilton and Napier. A few politicians have come out to give a speech and show support. The most frequent being Marama Davison from the Green Party. Park up Onehunga even had world renown boxing great David Tua showing his support.
What has caused this? Wages over the last 30 years have not kept up with the cost of living and inflation, we have a housing market which is a “free for all” for investors buying up houses and leaving them sitting empty due to excessive capital gains being made in short periods of time. We have over 33,000 empty homes in Auckland alone. We have a housing shortage in Auckland of approx. 40,000 homes.
An uncontrolled thirst for property ownership caused by successive capitalist governments only serving the interests of the rich with their neo-liberal policies for the last 30 years are fuelling this crisis. The current government is so pre-occupied in selling of state housing to private developers in the middle of this shortage to serve the own selfish and inhuman ideology.
The National party has proposed giving out $1b in loans to councils for infrastructure which is really only going to be going to rich private developers. Labour has reached out further announcing it would build 100,000 homes, 50,000 in Auckland and at least 10,000 homes each year nationwide. Whilst this is definitely an improvement, it does not go far enough to stop housing from being an investment option. With Labour saying that an affordable house is going to be approximately $600,000. Even someone on $70,000 annual salary wouldn’t be able to service a $500,000 home loan, neverlone a $600,000 one. And what would you even get for $600,000 in Auckland anyway? And to top this off, neither party has mentioned anything about rental control.
Average rental prices are over $500 per week in Auckland. To move in you’re going to need at least $2,500 in bond and advance rent. How’s someone on minimum wage of $15.25 going to afford the rent, never lone the bond to get it? “Too bad!” according to our two main political parties.
Socialists and community activists must keep the pressure on our capitalist government to ensure that as much attention as possible can be brought to this monstrosity of an issue in hope that people power will prevail and we’ll get some real action. People before profit all the way.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
In recent times we have seen a lot of police brutality on a global scale and especially in the US, and then last week we saw similar crimes in New Zealand with two separate incidents within a few days of men being shot by police – one, who was unarmed, died, and the other is in a critical condition.
o justice. This year alone police in the US have shot 600 people. It is obvious from the actions of the police that they know they have complete impunity.
about US police doing training in Israel in the horrific and illegal methods used by the Israeli military to oppress, torture and murder Palestinians including women and children. It shows an attitude in policing that “treats minorities as enemies that must be pacified rather than citizens to be served” as Aljazeera America put it in a 2014 article about the Israel connection.http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/8/ferguson-police-violenceisraeliandusmilitarizedpolicies.html One must wonder what is behind all this.