Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Open Letter to all Unionists and Fighters in Aotearoa


AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL UNIONISTS AND FIGHTERS FOR EQUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE IN AOTEAROA

Dear friends,

I am writing to urge all supporters of genuine left politics to support and if possible participate in the new Mana Party led by Hone Harawira to found a new movement for radical social change in Aotearoa/New Zealand.The Mana Party is being launched this Saturday, April 30, from 12 noon at the Te Mahurehure Marae, 73 Premier Ave, Point Chevalier, Auckland.

This party is a product of the protracted struggle over the last decades to achieve an independent voice for the interests of Maori people in Aotearoa/New Zealand. That struggle exposed a rift that has seen a the Maori Party captured by pro-corporate elite more concerned with protecting the interests of the wealthy against the interests of the vast majority of people in Aotearoa/New Zealand – whether Maori, Pakeha, Pacifica or Asian.The Mana Party is determined to continue to be the voice of the majority of ordinary Maori and at the same time give voice to the excluded majority across our land – whatever their national or ethnic origin.

In a letter to a unionist this week Hone gave a summary of how he sees the new party’s direction. He wrote:“As you can appreciate the new party to be called Mana hasn’t been launched yet and I’m certainly not in a position to make policy on its behalf at this stage. “However I can say I have been a proud union member in any job I was employed. The party and I will be pro-worker. I am fortunate having several trade unionists taking leadership roles up to assist the new party and who have offered to contribute to its policy.“We have had some policy discussions in the interim working group and can give you a bit of a feel where we are at. Nothing is confirmed of course.“

• Mana will be anti neo-liberal, against monopoly capitalism and against privatisation of the people’s assets. Utilities such as water, power, roading etc should be in the hands of the people rather than a guaranteed money making venture for corporations“

• Our strategy on taxes will be targeted at wealth such as capital gains taxes, death duties, and asset taxes. We will want to abolish GST with sometime like a financial transaction tax (we’d like to call it the Hone Heke Tax). The rich need to pay their fair share. As a start the last tax cut should be cancelled. Labour’s GST cosmetic elimination off fresh veges and fruit says everything about their current state of mind. Timid and uninspiring. “

• KiwiSaver is privatisation of our pensions so increasing the money we give to these financial institutions to do what they want needs more thought. “• We should nationalise monopolies and duopolies. “

• We certainly need an agreed mechanism to set minimum terms of pay and conditions for workers. But given the private unionised workforce is small we think we should probably focus on union building first. The two practical steps would be any bargaining unit covering workers would take a vote. If a majority voted in favour of a CEA covering everyone then a bargaining fee would apply for those workers not wishing to join the union. It stops free loading and undermining the negotiations yet still allows workers to choose whether they belong to the union. The second suggestion is that the state covers any CEA costs for both sides. I would appreciate your feedback on this as a short term step. Ultimately every worker needs to be in strong unions but then that’s your job, not mine. “

• New Zealand needs a planned economy that makes job creation its main emphasis rather than leaves it to the non-existent free market. “Given the short time I’ve had to respond to this I apologise if I haven’t covered everything you’d like. But my response should give you some comfort to where our new party will position itself politically.

“Have no doubt we will be a staunch party that puts people – Maori and non-maori – before the needs of the already rich.I’m appealing to all supporters of the rights of working people and genuine equality and social justice in our land to become part building this new movement.

As the invite to this public launch declares: “Happy are those who dream and are prepared to pay the price to make those dreams come true”. By supporting the founding public launch of the Mana Party this Saturday we take one more step towards making our dreams a reality.

Yours in Solidarity

Mike Treen

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