Wednesday, April 30, 2008


MayDay Greetings from Socialist Aotearoa
to all our comrades and friends
here and internationally.

Mayday rally- 5pm, Britomart
Followed by workshop on May 68- see events.

The Workers United,
Will never be defeated!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

If I had a hammer (and a sickle...!)

Protesters puncture dome at Waihopai spy base

From NZ Herald, 8:28AM Wednesday April 30, 2008

Protest targets spy base
Three protesters this morning invaded the 'spy base' at Waihopai and punctured one of the large white domes that house two satellite dishes.
The base's opponents argue that it is primarily feeding information to the United States in support of wars New Zealanders do not support.
But the secretive Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which operates the base, near Blenheim, rejects this.
The protesters' spokesman, Manu Caddie, said the group had to cut through a razor wire fence before using sickles to deflate the dome.
He said the protest was against the United States led "war on terror".
Mr Caddie said at 8am that the group had not been arrested but a security guard was on the scene.


A group called Ploughshares attacked the base this morning, and deflated the dome which protects the radar dish inside.
A witness at the base said the inside dish was now visible with a lot of white canvas around it. There was no air left in the dome.
In a press release, Ploughshares said at 6am this morning three members of a Ploughshares team entered the Waihopai Spy Base and used sickles to deflate one of the two 30 metre domes covering satellite interception dishes.
"The members then built a shrine and prayed for the victims of the war with no end - the so-called 'War on Terror' led by the United States Empire which also controls the New Zealand taxpayer funded Waihopai base.''
Ploughshares is a London-based organiser for the Ploughshares movement, which delivers its disarmament message by attempting to disable warplanes and other military equipment.
The Waihopai base is operated by the Government Communications Security Bureau. It is described as a satellite communications monitoring facility, but opponents believe it is part of Echelon, the worldwide network of signals interception facilities run by the American and British intelligence agencies.

They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation; and there shall be no more training for war. Isaiah 2/4

Waihopai Spy Base Penetrated

This morning, 30 April 2008, we entered the Waihopai Spy Base near Blenheim. Our group, including a Dominican Priest, temporarily closed the base by padlocking the gates and proceeded to deflate one of the large domes covering two satellite dishes.At 6am we cut through three security fences surrounding the domes - these are armed with razor wire, infrared motion sensors and a high voltage electrified fence. Once inside we used sickles to cut one of the two 30-metre white domes, built a shrine and knelt in prayer to remember the people killed by United States military activity.

We have financed our activities through personal savings, additional part-time employment and a small interest-free loan from one of our supporters.We are responding to the Bush administration's admission that intelligence gathering is the most important tool in the so-called War on Terror. This war will have no end until citizens of the world refuse to let it continue. The ECHELON spy network including Waihopai, is an important part of the US governments global spy network and we have come in the name of the Prince of Peace to close it down.The base is funded by New Zealand tax payers and located on New Zealand soil which makes New Zealand a target through our association with the UKUSA intelligence cooperation agreement.

Five years ago the Clark government opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq . Yet at the same time the Bush administration was using the National Security Agencys ECHELON system, of which Waihopai is an integral component, to spy on UN Security Council members so it could more easily swing them in favour of an invasion.There have been over 100 Ploughshares actions over the last twenty years around the world. Ploughshares direct actions are linked through the common factors of: entry to locations connected to military activity, Christian prayers and most involve some form of property destruction.

Auckland Atelier

Foodstuffs Strikes- Day 2

Monday, April 28, 2008

Food distribution workers strike for $2.50 per hour pay rise

Ninety Auckland Foodstuffs distribution workers began indefinite lunch-time strikes for a $2.50 partial pay parity pay rise starting today, 12 o’clock at 60 Roma Rd, Mount Roskill Auckland.

Great picket today - we had the NDU bus there and lots of pretty flags. One of the placards said "we put the pak into pak n slave". For me the most encouraging thing was seeing the workers gain the confidence to take the megaphones from the officials and start taking ownership of the picket themselves. The response to the chant of 'whatta we want' was 'union power'!

We held the picket on the Roma Road corner - there is more traffic, and it is right outside the Gilmours distribution centre which is 100% owned by foodstuffs. The Gilmours workers are only on $12.25 for the same job despite working for Foodstuffs - it will be their turn to negotiate next. The Foodstuffs workers will be there again tomorrow - and probably till the end of the week.

If anyone is able to make it down to the picket line I am sure the workers would appreciate the support.

More information about the reasons for the strike HERE.

Makin' flags for the May Day

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Socialist Aotearoa would like to get your support for a letter extending solidarity with the Junior doctor's strike in the face of attacks from both the Labour Goverment AND the President of the CTU, Helen Kelly. Kelly's statement is reproduced at the following link-

We will send the letter to the Junior doctor's union, the NZRDA, to the CTU and to the media. It is vital that the principles of solidarity with striking workers are defended, and that if anything, these workers give unions a good name.


We would like to extend our solidarity to our hard working junior doctors, whose organisation, the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association, finds itself attacked by the representative of the Council of Trade Unions for giving "unions a bad name" in the media.

It is our belief that the job of unions is to represent their members, and not the ruling political party of the day. In that, the NZRDA is to be congratulated for standing up for its workers rights, and it is the CTU leadership that needs a lesson in giving the union movement a good name by supporting rather that attacking those who are in struggle.


John Minto, Editor of Workers Charter, Unite Workers Union (pc)
Simon Ooosterman, Union Organiser, Social Justice activist
Elliot Blade, University of Auckland Greens on Campus
Joe Carolan, Socialist Aotearoa

Meredydd Barrar, Citizens Against Privatisation
Kathryn Tucker, Unite Union Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Socialist Aotearoa
Tom Buckley, Union Organiser, Socialist Aotearoa
Luke Coxon, Union Organiser
Oisin O Connell, Worker, Socialist Aotearoa
Danielle Cullen, Worker, FINSEC member
Richie Steward, Personal Capacity
Nico Woodward, Nurse, Socialist Aotearoa
Gary Cranston, Worker
Heather Lyall, Mother

please email to add your name, organisation
(if in a private capacity, please say) etc.

Support Mount Roskill Foodstuffs strikers!

Ninety Auckland Foodstuffs distribution workers will begin indefinite lunch-time strikes for a $2.50 partial pay parity pay rise starting today, 12 o’clock at 60 Roma Rd, Mount Roskill Auckland.

Distribution sector secretary Karl Andersen says that while every day New Zealander’s suffer food price rises, food companies are making a killing off the backs of their workers low pay.

“Foodstuffs made its biggest profit in the history of the group in 2007,” he said. “Yet food prices continued to rise by 9% since then and grocery and supermarkets sales show no sign of slowing.”

“Foodstuffs - New Zealand’s 2nd biggest company behind Fonterra - made $7.2 billion revenue off the back of its low paid workers who, like other Kiwis, find it difficult to buy food for their kids.”

Mr Andersen says the Reserve Bank’s call for “wage restraints” in light of record profits and increasing sales is ludicrous.

The workers pick and pack food items at Foodstuffs main Auckland distribution centre for its franchises Pak ‘n Save, New Worlds and Four Square.

The company has offered the workers $15.50 an hour.

Mr Andersen says the workers want $17.00 an hour which would achieve partial pay parity with other union distribution centres whose average base rate is $17.50.

The majority of striking staff are on $14.59 an hour and the union is claiming a minimum 5% increase for the minority of higher paid staff.

“Equivalent workers at Progressive - Foodstuffs only competitor - who were locked out several years ago during their own pay parity dispute, are on $17.74 an hour and will go up to $18.34 an hour in August as a result of their successful action.”

Mr Andersen says the union recently won a $3 an hour pay parity pay rise at The Warehouse bringing equivalent workers up to $16.07-$17.73 an hour going up to $16.55-$18.26 in August with another $1.50 pay rise next year in August.

Union distribution workers who work next door to the striking company at Gilmores – a wholly owned subsidiary of Foodstuffs – are watching the outcome of the dispute as they will also be negotiating soon for pay parity from their much lower base rate of $12.25 an hour for identical work.

The union represents workers at Foodstuffs other distribution companies and several of its Pak ‘n Saves who are all on different collective agreements.

· New Zealand Management Magazine Top 200 companies December 2007. Figures based on Foodstuffs Auckland, Foodstuffs Wellington and Foodstuffs South Island revenue sales combined.

Media liaison Simon Oosterman on 021 922 551 or 09 622 8433

Distribution Sector Secretary Karl Anderson on 021 674 310

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Matt McCarten: Anzac Day - we're comfortable with this historic illusion

On Friday, New Zealand saluted our Gallipoli war dead who were butchered in their tens of thousands because of the incompetent British upper-class twits who led them.

As we know, the cream of our country's youth went off to join the other colonials of the British Empire to the killing fields in feudal Europe. I know it's unpatriotic and bad manners these days to mention, but many of these young volunteer soldiers were the same ones who, two years earlier, had saddled up their horses and rode into our cities to smash a general strike of workers.

Our then-conservative Government gave thousands of these young horsemen carte blanche to ride into town using hand-made batons to club workers into submission and smash the strike. After they won, these young farmers proudly nicknamed themselves "Massey's Cossacks" after our Prime Minister at the time...

Read the article in full HERE

Shock as CTU's Kelly attacks Junior Doctors

Many trade unionists in Aotearoa are shocked at Helen Kelly's attack on the Resident Doctor's Association, where she says that she hopes that strikers "don't give unions a bad name". Socialist Aotearoa would like to extend its solidarity to our hard working junior doctors in their fight for justice, and urges unionists everywhere to send their solidarity to the NZRDA by sending them an email here.

It is a sad day when trade unionists working in our hospitals need to strike under a so called Labour government. It is a sadder day when the supposed voice of trade unionism attacks them for striking. With behaviour like this, it is no wonder that the NZRDA does not affiliate to the Labour party controlled CTU, who would do better supporting workers in struggle than their friends in Government.

- Socialist Aotearoa

From Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 27 April 2008

CTU wades into junior doctors' union over strike

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly has questioned the Resident Doctors' Association, saying it has a narrow power base under Powell, who focused on industrial negotiations and failed to work with the rest of the health sector, which could avert strike action. Senior doctors are also angry, saying the RDA's strike action "is doing little to defend the important principle of the right to strike".

"There are alternatives to getting workplace issues resolved. [The RDA] is offered one avenue and that's through industrial negotiations," Kelly said.

"I hope it doesn't give unions a bad name. They have the right to strike, but I would like to see them engaged in the broad range of issues that face the health sector and that the other unions are currently trying to resolve."

Powell was contracted by RDA as general secretary soon after starting industrial advocacy firm Contract Negotiation Services more than two decades ago. She was national secretary for the Association of Professional and Executive Employees (Apex), representing radiation therapists, physiotherapists, dental therapists and other health professionals, and executive officer for the New Zealand Medical Laboratory Workers Union.

According to district health board statistics, the three unions make up 7.3% of the DHB workforce but accounted for 89.7% of all DHB industrial action in the 18 months to February 2007.

Junior doctors held a 48-hour strike last week over pay claims, forcing hospitals to cancel surgery and treatment for 8000 patients nationwide. They plan a second 48-hour strike starting May 7, seeking a 40% pay rise over three years.

In June 2006, it staged the first national doctors' strike. The five-day strike over work conditions delayed about 17,000 patients' care.

Kelly said Powell's three unions refused to join the CTU, which had about 40 affiliated unions and a membership of 350,000 workers, covering 90% of the country's union members and included all other key health sector unions.

Powell's unions also refused to join a tripartite health forum, which held regular meetings with representatives from virtually all other health sector unions, the Ministry of Health and DHBs to work towards a better health system.

The RDA focused on industrial matters and lacked wider professional advisers, such as policy analysts, economists, lawyers and advocates.

"They never really formalised themselves into what a modern union is. I think unions generally recognise their duty to participate in social issues and health is a social issue.

"What I think it does is all their issues come onto the table in bargaining."

Kelly said the RDA had a fast turnover of membership as junior doctors progressed through training.

"It puts [Powell] in a very influential position because she's the continuity, she holds the institutional memory. It's not necessarily a well-balanced organisation."

Powell disputes their criticisms and defends the RDA's tactics.

She said the CTU would not know what the RDA did.

"They're coming from a basis of ignorance and I believe it is motivated by political reasons. The CTU is more interested in protecting friends in cabinet."

Meanwhile, the DHBs revealed 90% of the country's locum doctors are district health board staff or former staff, taking annual leave or resigning to treble their pay packets and earn up to $200,000 a year.

Locums have become increasingly common in New Zealand's hospitals and now account for about 8% of the wage bill for junior doctors and cost $23 million of an annual spend of $305m.

According to the DHBs, there were about 200-250 junior doctor vacancies in New Zealand from about 3000 positions.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

1968- the Revolution Last Time- Workshop

Recommended reading:

France, may 68- the Struggle Goes on

Important lessons from the May 68 events

Ticket to ride

Blair 'caught riding without a ticket'

Wed Apr 23, 12:21 PM ET
LONDON (AFP) - Former prime minister Tony Blair was left red-faced when he was caught travelling on a train without a ticket and said he had no cash to pay the fare, a report said on Wednesday.

Blair, who has earned around 500,000 pounds on the speaking circuit since leaving office in June, was confronted by a ticket inspector as he travelled to Heathrow airport to catch a flight to the United States on Monday, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.
He said he had no cash for the 24.50 pounds fare because money an aide had given him was no longer in his pocket.
The newspaper, quoting Blair's spokesman, said his bodyguard offered to pay the ticket, but the inspector said he could travel for free.
Blair, 54, has taken up a post as the Middle East envoy for the international Quartet -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States.
He also has a lucrative part-time post as advisor to Wall Street bank JP Morgan and advises Swiss company Zurich Financial Services on a range of issues including climate change.

Blair's spokesman was unavailable for comment.

Pepper-sprayed protester sues police for $50,000

Piripi the chicken and Colonel Simon O (right)

Pepper-sprayed protester sues police for $50,000

A veteran protester is accusing police of assault and wants $50,000 compensation after suffering a week-long headache from being pepper-sprayed, Rotorua District Court was told. Simon Oosterman, of Auckland, was sprayed during a protest at Rotorua's Scion on January 30, 2005, the Daily Post reported. He is seeking costs for assault and breaches of his rights. A three-day hearing into the case began yesterday before Judge Chris McGuire.

Mr Oosterman was charged with resisting and obstructing police following the protest but cleared on both charges. Yesterday, Mr Oosterman's lawyer Graeme Minchin said the issue was whether police actions during the protest were reasonable. Mr Oosterman said he was part of what was intended to be a peaceful but noisy protest organised by the Rotorua GE Free group against genetically modified trees. He said he was pepper-sprayed when he tried to stop police from grabbing the group's media adviser. Mr Oosterman suffers mild asthma and had trouble breathing. He was taken to the police station where he continued to wash out the pepper spray but the pain did not ease. Mr Oosterman went to Rotorua Hospital when he was told to continue putting water in his eyes. "The pain continued for perhaps an hour and afterwards I had a serious headache for over a week," he told the court. The case is continuing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Maoist win creates a storm in Nepal

After ten years of fighting a guerilla war, Nepal’s Maoists have been elected to government. Yuri Prasad asks if their radicalism will survive

The victory of the Maoist communists in Nepal, who won almost half of the seats in last week’s constituent assembly elections and are now set to form a government, has rocked the country.
Reports have given the Communist Party of Nepal Maoist (CPN-M)119 of 239 directly elected district seats, with results yet to come from about 20 more. The Maoists were also well positioned for a large share of 335 seats to be awarded proportionally.

For more than ten years the Maoists have fought a guerrilla war against the Royal Nepalese Army, and the monarchy and landlords that it protected.

The scale of the Maoist’s victory is a blow to the US’s policy in the region.
Both the US and Britain helped arm the Royal Nepalese Army and the US state department has described the CPN-M as a “terrorist organisation”.
In 2005 King Gyanendra dismissed the elected Nepalese government in order to take direct charge of the fight against the insurgents – then believed to be in control of 80 percent of the countryside.


A year later a general strike and uprising – in which the Maoists played the central role – faced down massive repression and forced the king into a humiliating climbdown. Parliament was recalled, King Gyanendra’s powers strictly curtailed and elections called. In return the CPN-M agreed to put down its guns and return to being a legal party.

The newly elected government’s first task will be to draw up a new constitution. It is possible that this will see the monarchy abolished altogether. Yet amid the celebrations on the streets of the capital Kathmandu there are also worries about the future. Some commentators are predicting that the Maoists in power will be far less radical than their rhetoric would lead many to believe.

Baburam Bhattarai, who is seen as the CPN-M’s deputy leader and a likely candidate to be prime minister, told a press conference last week, “Our immediate agenda is not to build socialism, but to build a strong economic foundation… to develop industrial capitalism, to abolish all remnants of feudalism.”

Bhattarai said that the main challenge would be to prevent “reactionary forces” from creating instability, and meeting economic growth expectations. He said, “There will be full scope for the private sector and nothing will be nationalised or socialised. There is no reason to panic.”


Nevertheless millions of poor people in south Asia, who face a daily battle for survival, will be cheered by the Maoist victory, believing it to be a chance to redistribute land from the wealthy and create decent jobs, housing, health and education services. They will be hoping that Bhattarai’s statement is merely an attempt to calm the nerves of the US and Indian governments, and that the Maoists remain committed to radical social change.

Only time will tell if their hopes will be realised.

Amnesty NZ's China campaign

Right now in China brave people are putting themselves at risk, simply by asking for human rights. Rights you and I can take for granted.

I'm asking you to support them, and help us campaign to make 'real and lasting' change a reality in China. There will never be a better time to demand that the Chinese government honours the commitments it made.

Because, the reality of life in China is different to the spin:

* Executions: An estimated 8,000 last year, with over 68 “crimes” being punishable by death. “Confessions” extracted under torture and with no presumption of innocence.
* Internet Repression: Internet censorship remains pervasive in China with few signs that the authorities are prepared to relax policies of surveillance and control.
* Re-education through Labour: Critics of the government and members of banned religions can be sent to a labour camp for up to 4 years, without charge or trial.
* Torture: Torture is widespread in the criminal justice system - common methods include electric shocks, beating and sleep deprivation.

* Tiananmen Prisoners: Nearly 20 years after the military crackdown on demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, dozens of people arrested then remain in prison.
* Human Rights Defenders: People who make a stand are harassed and arrested, often relating to vague charges like 'state secrets'. They include lawyers, journalists, HIV activists and trade unionists.
* Workers Rights: Trade unions are illegal (at least the independent ones)
* Religious Persecution: Unofficial religious groups - such as the Falun Gong spiritual movement - are banned as 'subversive' and individual practitioners detained.
* Overseas: Chinas support for repressive governments in the Sudan fuels the terrible crisis in Darfur, and in Burma leads to a cruel regime impervious to change.

You and I must help, we must demand real change. Please help us use this unique time to make a difference for the peoples of Chin and its regions.

With very best wishes

Patrick Holmes
Chief Executive Officer
Amnesty International New Zealand

Paris, May 1968.

a radical Left alternative in London

Monday, April 21, 2008

Food Riots and Capitalism

More and more countries are now facing food riots, as valuable arable land once used for the production of staple crops gives way to biofuels. Comrades might find the following essay useful, looking at the role laissez faire capitalism played in the Irish Famine of 1847.

Read it HERE

Crisis in Haiti as World Bank issues food price warning

by Sadie Robinson

The global crisis over rising food prices continues to grow. Robert Zoellick, head of the World Bank, warned last Sunday that the price rises have put 100 million lives under threat.

His fears were echoed by Ban Ki-Moon, secretary-general of the United Nations. "The rapidly escalating crisis of food availability around the world has reached emergency proportions," he said on Tuesday of this week.

Food riots in Haiti forced the prime minister to step down last Saturday. This followed a week of protests against rises of more than 50 percent for many staple foods in Haiti over the past year.

There has been much finger wagging in the media about the fact that Haiti does not produce enough food to feed its people. But food production in Haiti has been shaped by the needs of global capitalism.

Before 1950 Haiti produced more than 80 percent of its own food and was also an exporter of food. Today Haiti imports 75 percent of its food.


Throughout the 1980s the US pursued a strategy of forcing the country to open its economy to the global market.

The US gave aid to Haitian governments on the condition that they signed structural adjustment programmes that reduced import tariffs and controls, and cut public spending.

These policies had a major impact on agriculture. Poor Haitian farmers – receiving no subsidies from their governments – could not compete with cheap food imports from the US, where the government was happy to subsidise its farmers.

Between 1986 and 1989 the value of US agricultural exports to Haiti more than doubled from $44 million to $95 million.

Poverty compounded the problems facing the country. Low levels of mechanisation, poor irrigation and an inability to afford fertilisers all discouraged farming for domestic consumption and increased Haiti's dependency on imports.

Haiti's farmers have been pushed to produce valuable commodities for export, such as coffee, cocoa and mangoes, rather than staples such as rice.

Rises in global prices of staple foods have a devastating impact on the country's nine million people – 80 percent of whom earn less than $2 a day.

It is the manoeuvrings of rich Western governments that have made Haiti, like many other poor countries, dependent on imports of basic foods.

And it is the madness of the same system that is now forcing food prices up, creating a situation where millions face starvation despite there being enough food to feed them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More Terror Raids in Auckland

Urewera raid police make another arrest

NZ Herald breaking news: 2:47PM Monday April 21, 2008

Another person has been arrested in relation to the Urewera raids by police in October last year.

Police spokeswoman Jane Archibald said the 26 year-old woman was facing 10 firearms charges and had name suppression.

Another police spokeswoman, Angeline Barlow, said the woman was from Auckland and was likely to be tried along with the others who were originally arrested last October.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Italian far left devestated after coalition with Ital's centre left

The experience of Alliance's coalition with Labour here in NZ is repeated in Italy.
This just in from Wikipedia, shows the dangers of going into power with the Social Liberals.

The Left – The Rainbow (La Sinistra – L'Arcobaleno, SA), is a left-wing federation of parties in Italy which was officially launched on 89 December 2007.[1][2] The goal of the federation is to unite Italian left parties in a united bloc, somewhat similar as the center-left forces have done with the Democratic Party. The federation is defined by its members as the "Italian radical left"[3].
The federation is composed of four parties:
the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC, communist, leader: Franco Giordano);
the Party of Italian Communists (PdCI, communist, leader: Oliviero Diliberto);
the Federation of the Greens (FV, green, leader: Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Minister of the Environment);
the Democratic Left (SD, socialist, leader: Fabio Mussi, Minister of University and Research).
Fausto Bertinotti, President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and long-time leader of PRC, had announced that he would like to see Nichi Vendola, the openly gay and devout Catholic Communist President of Apulia, as the leader of the united left.[4]
It is unclear what this federation will exactly mean as the four parties tend to disagree on a number of issues, including the support for the Prodi II Cabinet[5][6], the symbol and the name of the federation with the Greens wanting the word "ecologist" and the Italian Communist the hammer and sickle to be included[7].

In the 2008 general election The Left – The Rainbow gained 3.1% of the vote and failed to gain any seats in the Italian Parliament.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Take Action on Super Fund Investments in Cluster Bombs

Take Action on Super Fund Investments in Cluster Bombs

On Friday, 18 April, the day before the Global Day of Action to Ban Cluster Munitions (19 April), there will be protests at the Super Fund offices in Auckland and Wellington to call on the Fund to divest immediately from companies involved in cluster bomb production.

* Auckland: from 5pm to 6pm, outside the AMP Centre, corner Customs Street West and Albert Street, down by the Viaduct. Organised by Investment Watch, for more information contact email

* Wellington: from 5pm to 6pm, at the traffic lights at the intersection of Queen's Wharf, Jervois Quay and Grey Street. Organised by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Peace Movement Aotearoa, for more information contact email

What is the Super Fund?
The Super Fund is billions of dollars of YOUR tax money invested in heaps of different corporations so that there will be money in the bank to pay for your pension when you retire.

What Cluster Munitions companies is the Super Fund invested in?
As of 30 June 2007, the Super Fund had investments in companies involved in cluster munitions production of around $26 million [6], which they list as Lockheed Martin, investment of $21,850,772 [7] , Raytheon Co. $2,294,974, and Poongsan Corp. $1,582,636. Not included in the Fund's list are Thales S.A. $657,428, and Hanwha Corp. $139,445 - both of which the Norwegian government Pension Fund has divested from because of their involvement in cluster munitions production. There may additionally be investments in other companies that have been involved in such production in the past, but whose current involvement is uncertain.

What are Cluster Bombs?
While all weapons are potentially dangerous to civilians, cluster bombs pose a particular threat to civilians for two reasons: they have a wide area of effect, and they have consistently left behind a large number of unexploded bomblets. The unexploded bomblets remain dangerous for decades after the end of a conflict.

98% of 13,306 recorded cluster munitions casualties that are registered with Handicap International are civilians. Many of these are children. So if you want to let the government know that your not happy with investments in cluster bombs then come along to the protest.

More info:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Labour Yawnfest Disrupted

For a second time in a row, a Labour party conference looked like a shambolic mess, with Maori, trade unionists and activists OUTSIDE shouting in. The disruption of Helen Clarke's speech was a classic political moment, and she looked like the lame duck she is increasingly becoming when she eventually resumed to deliver a tedious and lacklustre yawn fest. "Just do it!"- Labour NZ, sponsored by Nike.

The increasingly shrill and vitriolic hysteria from pro Labour union officials banging on about working class delegates might fool young Labour students cosseted from the reality of the trade union movement, but it doesn't wash with any of the anti capitalist activists who have been on the ground building the fightback with unions like Unite, the NDU and the SFWU.

Throughout the whole of the SupersizeMyPay campaign, not one Labour MP showed up on the picket lines. Radical activists delivered maximum solidarity during the Progressive lockout, when local Labour MP Taito Field was busy exploiting Asian workers.

If the pro Labour union officials want a scrap, let's give them both barrels, comrades.
These guys are going to lose the election precisely because ordinary workers are not satisfied with the crumbs they've thrown our way after nearly ten years in power.

Here are some ideas circulated by socialists that would have a REAL impact on workers lives-

(1) Free public transport throughout NZ. Massive investment in rail and free busses- an emergency Monbiot style "system change, not climate change" programme.

(2) Free tertiary education for all. Cancel all student debts immediately.

(3) A Micky Joe Savage style emergency housing programme. Rent control, New York style.

(4) A minimum wage of $20 per hour. Huge tax cuts for the working poor, funded by taxing the rich (until they bleed!). A massive extension of union rights and power.

(5) Free broadband for all- jack the NZ network up to Korean standards.

On the march....