Showing posts from October, 2010


Had the striking miners triumphed at Waihi in 1912, labour moderates like subsequent parliamentary leaders Harry Holland and Michael Savage might have been consigned to the dustbins of history.

And J. B. King, leader of New Zealand’s revolutionary Industrial Workers of the World, instead of fleeing New Zealand to avoid prosecution for preaching violence and sabotage, might have stayed to lead a militant Labour Party to power.

And the banks would have been nationalised and workers’ control of industry implemented and a republic declared and New Zealand begun working closely with revolutionary Russia on foreign policy.

But-- the miners were defeated.
And in the process a union member, Frederick George Evans, a member of the Waihi Miners’ Union, was murdered by rampaging scabs and police seizing the miners’ hall. With Waihi now occupied by police and scabs, Evans’ body was brought up to Auckland and buried at Waikaraka cemetery, Onehunga.
Above his grave rises a broken …

Why Mana Matters

Commentary: Omar HamedAs you may be aware the Labour Party MP for the Mana electorate in Wellington, Winnie Laban, has resigned from Parliament, and on Wednesday 27 October nominations closed for the byelection.The byelection is due to be held on November 20 just before our first Unite conference. The electorate of Mana has been a traditionally safe Labour seat. It’s an extremely unequal area incorporating some of New Zealand’s most deprived areas like Cannons Creek and Porirua East and also some of New Zealand’s most affluent like Whitby and Plimmerton. Labour is expected to win comfortably with party worker Kris Faafoi ghosting to victory. National’s Hekia Parata will also put in a show shoring up support for the Tories in the wealthy coastal suburbs.Yet for many residents of Mana the core issues will be ignored. Wages and taxes. Poverty. Employment. Public transport.A living wage and fair taxation.Unite has fought tirelessly for the minimum wage to be set at a liveable …

Matt for Mana! its time for a New Left.

Commentary- Joe Carolan

In a daring and audacious move, Matt McCarten, General Secretary of the Unite Union, announced his candidacy in the Mana By Election in Wellington earlier today. Matt has had a quarter of century's experience fighting for New Zealand's poorest workers, and was a founding member of both the New Labour Party and the Alliance. Now standing as a member of the Independent Left, he would make an excellent champion for the thousands of low paid and unemployed workers in Mana.

Support for Matt has come in from many members of other trade unions, as well as most of the organisations of the socialist left, who worked hard together in last year's Campaign for a Living Wage Referendum push. That Campaign got over 200,000 signatures of support to raise the minimum wage in New Zealand to $15ph NOW, and then two thirds of the average industrial wage subsequently. It was also successful in getting the independent left out into the housing estates, markets and wo…

Breaking news: John Key promises radical law changes to secure Hobbit

10.40pm UPDATE: Reports have just come through that Robyn Malcom has just been deported to Australia and stripped of her New Zealand citizenship. Journalists reported seeing her being dragged, chained by blue trolls through Auckland airport.


After secret closed door meetings between John Key, Gerry Brownlee and a delegation of Warner Brothers executives the Government have announced sweeping new law changes in exchange for the company keeping The Hobbit in New Zealand.

Speaking at a press conference late on Tuesday night the Prime Minister and Sir Peter Jackson outlined a new law that will be introduced under urgency in Parliament on Wednesday morning and is expected to pass into law by the end of the week.

In comments to media John Key said that the Hobbit Enabling Bill had been drafted to ensure industrial certainty and a profitable economic environment for Warner Brothers.

"The Hobbit Enabling Bill when passed into law will designate all workers' unions as …

Labour Day 2010: In the midst of a working class upsurge

"I believe in workers' rights."

In the last week we've seen the country's biggest union rallies since 1991. We've also seen high profile workplace disputes dominate the headlines- teachers, health workers and dozens of other worker struggles.

The Hobbit dispute has turned from a massive global boycott by actors seeking a collective agreement into a capital strike against NZ by Warner Brothers. On the horizon is the RWC and the potential for significant unrest.

It's never an easy road and employers and John Key have been quick to villify Helen Kelly and Robyn Malcolm for their role in defending unionism. The principle underpinning the resolve shown by unionists from Parnell to Malcolm is summed up in typical Kiwi sentiment, "I really believe in this stuff. I believe in workers' rights."

Winning the 8 hour day
All this direct action would please the old man of the local labour movement, Samuel Parnell, if he was around to see it.

New Zealand is reco…

NZ supporting torture in West Papua

New Zealand continues to train Indonesian police and military forces and McCully remains silent on new video showing horrific torture from West Papua.

The New Zealand-based Indonesia Human Rights Committee is again questioning New Zealand's training of Indonesian police in Papua following reports of a village burning earlier this month.

The reports allege Indonesia's mobile police brigade burnt at least 29 homes leaving about 150 Papuans homeless.

A spokesperson for New Zealand's foreign minister Murray McCully says the brigade is a separate entity from the Indonesian officers New Zealand police have been training in Papua.

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee spokesperson Maire Leadbeater says she accepts New Zealand is not training paramilitary officers, but she says the latest incident raises greater concern about its role in Papua

"Is this is a police force with structural problems where brutality and violence against indigenous people is endemic and is this r…

Matt McCarten - Neo-liberalism is a con job

In a wide ranging interview Unite leader Matt McCarten discusses atheism, socialism, neo-liberalism, the IWW, working class history and the need for a new left party.

Matt McCarten is the secretary and founding member of the Unite Union – one of the few unions anywhere in the world to have successfully unionised McDonald’s restaurants.A founder of both the New Labour and Alliance parties, Matt McCarten is regularly used as a left wing pundit by the media. After a childhood spent in orphanages Matt McCarten’s union activism began at the age of 17 in a spontaneous occupation of a hotel he was working at in Queenstown.Ideas producer Jeremy Rose talks to Matt McCarten about some of the individuals, writers and thinkers who have influenced his own ideas, a list which includes: Spartacus, psychoanalyst Victor Frankl, writer and activist Bruce Jesson, and Noam Chomsky. Listen here | Download here (45 mins)

Key puts class struggle centre stage- Minto

thanks to John Darroch, Mike Treen begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting and Nicholas Maine for the pics above.

Commentary: John MintoThe well attended union meetings and rallies around the country yesterday were the most hopeful sign for New Zealand I've seen for a long time.I went to the rally at TelstraClear stadium in Manukau but never got in. First we were stuck for half an hour in a traffic jam as we neared the venue (bigger than a normal Auckland jam) and when we got there the stadium was overflowing with as many people outside as inside.Attending the meeting were mums and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers who represent all that is decent about New Zealand. Too often it is the big private capitalists who get feted by politicians but the real work is done by these wage and salary earners whose energy has built the country.These workers are in a campaign to fight back against Act/National/employer policies to make our low-wage economy eve…

Workers up the ante - another Aotearoa is possible

22,000 workers mobilised on October 20th to send a message to the Government - we are going to fight for our rights.
As one factory worker told 3News - "Workers rights? There's no workers rights. It's all about the money. It's all about the rich getting richer the poor getting poorer. No one wants to say it. I'll say it. Hell yeah."The biggest mobilisation of union members since 1991. The action marks a turning point for the union movement. At union offices in Wellington Trades Hall, banners from the 1990s were being taken out of the cupboard. The old banners, slogans and activists of a fighting movement will be be given new polish.As nurse and socialist activist Grant Brookes said, "The NZ Nurses Organisation has called stop work meetings in District Health Boards nationwide, for the first time since 2004. You can't imagine how long some of us have been waiting - and pushing - for this."Most importantly the union leaders are promising further…

France in revolt shows our power

by Charlie Kimber in ParisThe fightback in France against attacks on pensions has shown magnificent resistance. Workers are fighting President Nicolas Sarkozy’s attempts to make them pay more for their pension and to work to 67 before they get a guaranteed full pension. It is the main symbol of the rich trying to make workers pay for the crisis.Mass strikes, demonstrations and student protests were in full flow on Tuesday.Petrol shortages were spreading across the country as all 12 oil refineries had joined a continuous strike. Some 2,700 of France’s 12,600 petrol stations had completely run out of supplies.Blockades of oil depots continued at Caen, Reichstett, Dunkirk, and Saint-Pierre-des Corps. Lorry drivers were also on strike, launching go-slow “Operation Escargot” (snail) protests on many major roads.Almost 1,000 of France’s 4,300 secondary schools were on strike, with 600 of them blockaded. In several areas school students had barricaded roads and fought back against pol…

Defend our work rights - We are winning

On October 20th many thousands of unionists will take to the streets to defend employment laws from attack.The Nat's plan to allow unfair dismissals during a 90 day "fire at will" no rights period, cut sick leave, remove the right to union access and chop up other work rights has been met by a furious response from the unions and the left.As we hit the streets let's remember,80% of New Zealanders don't support employment law allowing unfair dismissalThe first 90 day case to go to the Employment Authority was won by the CTU.The high profile Unite response to Burger Fuel sacking Joanne on her 89th day ended in compensation being paid and Burger Fuel agreeing not to use the 90 day clause.Thousands of unionists and workers have already taken to the streets on August 21 in the four main centres to oppose these law changes.Support for the National-Act coalition has dropped from 57%, just after the National Party conference when it announced these law changes…

After Paul Henry - Rally against racism at Auckland University

The recent Paul Henry case has ignited a huge debate in New Zealand about race and what a real Kiwi is in the 21st Century. Unite on Campus hosts speakers from the many different communities that make up modern Aotearoa, asking the question: “After Paul Henry, how do we fight racism in New Zealand?”

John Minto, Global Peace and Justice Auckland
Mohsen al Attar, Lecturer in International Law, Auckland University and opponent of Islamphobia
Syd Keepa, NDU and Convenor of the CTU Runanga ( Maori workers affiliated to the Council of Trade Unions)
Lei Jin, Chinese Workers Association and Unite Union
Nicola Owen, anti racist activist and Socialist Aotearoa

Also representatives from the NZ Indian community, NZ Muslim community and others.

New Anti-capitalist - Paul Henry, European rebellion, Clicktavism and more

Take a look at our brand new Anti-Capitalist. This time it's double the content with 8 pages full of news, views and analysis straight from the streets and the workplaces. 200 copies were eagerly picked up in Aotea Square by rank'n'file Labour Party delegates over the weekend.

You can download the full PDF here. (15MB).
In this issue:We take a look at Paul Henry's racist garbage and set out a socialist response.Workers' revolts from Europe to Aotearoa are turning the table on the capitalist class. Neo-liberalism continues to fall apart. We ask, is this just the beginning of the resistance?Austerity politics is making disabled people and beneficiaries the scapegoats that the bankers created. Let's unite the unemployed, disabled and the unions to fight the right.Joe C. takes a good hard look at life in Ireland after the crisis and paints a vivid picture, "It’s like seeing an old friend again, and when they smile, seeing that they’ve had all their…