Up to 500 Maori, environmental, anticapitalist and socialist activists came together at Mahurehure Marae in Auckland today to tautoko the launch of New Zealand's newest political party: Te Mana
The atmosphere of optimism and determination from the assembled supporters was echoed from the platform, with an impressive array of speakers lining up to explain the importance of fighting back against Act, National and Labour's support of big business at the expense of ordinary people.
Tonight's TV headlines all focus on Hone's call for a by-election in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate. This is important as it recognises the need for a democratic mandate for Te Mana.
But more crucial is the platform upon which the new party has been formed. Te Mana is calling for the nationalisation of power, water, and housing, and an end to the sell-off of state assets. It demands the end of the 90-day slave labour law where people can be fired by their bosses at will. Hone outlined his call for a 'Hone Heke' tax on financial transactions as a way of redistributing the burden of tax from the poorest people in our society back to the rich who can afford to pay. These are demands that all working people can, and should support.
Syd Keepa, CTU Vice President highlighted the need to speak out for Maori and the working class, calling on trades unionists to support policies that represent the aspirations of poor New Zealanders. Activist John Minto acknowledged the many supporters who had been involved in protests including Bastion Point and the Springboks tour. Former Green Party MPs Nandor Tanczos and Sue Bradford also spoke of the need to challenge the policies of National and the threat by the newly anointed leader of the Act party, Don Brash. Annette Sykes summed up the mood by calling for a movement both inside, but more importantly outside the parliament to call for real social change.
Members of Socialist Aotearoa were proud to stand alongside activists old and new, Maori, pakeha and pacific islanders to support the launch of a new movement with the opportunity to mount a united challenge to the neoliberal agenda of capitalist parties.