Winstone Wallboards, a division of the Fletcher Building empire and the manufacturer of GIB plasterboards has told unions that they want to cut back their Penrose, Auckland operation from four shifts to three, resulting in redundancies. The unions issued the following statement in response:
(Wellington Central WP candidate Don Franks’ opening 5 minute address to Karori community election meeting 24/09/08)
Good evening folks, thanks for inviting me to your election meeting here in the pleasant surroundings of Karori. I was brought up in a similar nice suburb on the other side of Wellington, over in Eastbourne. There, at Sunday school, I used to love singing the children’s hymn “All things bright and beautiful”. I still recall all the words, including the closing verse: The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, He made them high and lowly and ordered their estate. I now realise that the song wasn’t really a cute child’s fancy, but a self-serving reactionary political statement.
- Workers Party Media Release
Workers Party Christchurch East candidate Paul Hopkinson is the first school teacher to face penalties for challenging the undemocratic provisions of the 1993 Electoral Act.
Under the current law most public servants (including teachers) must take unpaid leave for the three weeks between nomination and polling days.
Hopkinson has refused to take unpaid leave and as a result has been told by his employer that he will be suspended without pay.
“I think that it’s outrageous that just because I’m employed by the state I am not allowed to participate in the democratic process and stand for parliament without being subjected to severe financial penalties,” says the sole breadwinner for a family of three.
- Workers Party Media Release
” Wellington bus drivers have been treated like shit” says Wellington Central Workers Party candidate Don Franks.
“Its a rotten system where hard working folks can be legally locked out for refusing poverty wages.”
“As I said to these drivers at the depot first thing this morning their cause is fully justified and deserves the support of all other workers” Mr Franks said.
“By standing up to the boss and demanding a better income the drivers are taking a stand which will benefit the whole working class.” Mr Franks concluded.
Much has been made by the corporate media and Western governments over the threat supposedly represented by Iran’s civilian nuclear program (despite the CIA themselves admitting that there is no evidence at all the Iranian government is developing nuclear weapons). Many ostensibly “progressive” people (including our own Labour government) have backed UN sanctions against the Iranian regime, yet remain conspicuously silent on the issue of Israel’s already developed arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Is it simply a case of the left needing to be more consistent in its policy of intervention, or should we instead uphold the right of the Iranian people themselves to overthrow their regime without interference from Western interests?
Come along to this month’s Christchurch Workers Party forum, where we discuss these questions as well as what Iranian leftists themselves are doing to oppose both the threat of US military intervention and their own government as well.
Wednesday September 24, 7pm
Workers Educational Association, 59 Gloucester St
- WP Media Release
Workers Party candidate for Christchurch East, Paul Hopkinson, may be forced to step aside as a candidate due to a discriminatory clause in the 1993 Electoral Act.
Because Paul Hopkinson is a school teacher in a state school, he is subject to a clause which could require him to take unpaid leave for the duration of the election campaign.
“This clause is onerous and discriminatory because it prevents people from participating fully in the electoral process,” he said.
“Unless you have the backing of a large wealthy political party, or are independently wealthy, you are unable to participate. I should not have to take leave; I should not have to choose between standing in the elections and supporting myself and my family” he added.
If he was employed by a private school, he would not be subject to the clause.
“This is an important issue because this anti-democratic clause means thousands of New Zealanders are prevented from becoming fully involved in the elections,” he said.
The Workers Party recently received an enquiry from a high school student trying to get in touch with the New Zealand Communist Party. The year 9 student wanted to ask a few questions “concerning a project on whether democracy is the best type of government.”
Philip Ferguson replied:
We’re actually the Workers Party, not the Communist Party. The CP no longer exists and we are not descended from it. Our organisation contains a variety of views on historical questions – some people are pro-Mao, some are pro-Trotsky and some have no particular historical identifications.
Does your party support independence from Britain, and if so, how could this benefit New Zealand?
New Zealand is independent from Britain and has been for quite a long time. The British monarch may be the formal head of state, but that is a mere formality. For instance, the governor-general, in whose person the monarch’s (limited) power is vested, is appointed by the New Zealand government. In fact, New Zealand gained representative institutions back in the 1850s and the major decisions about what happens politically in New Zealand have been made by the New Zealand state, government and ruling class ever since then.
Winston Peters, leader of the xenophobic New Zealand First party – and, ironically, the Foreign Minister as well – has been caught accepting secret donations from various rich businessmen, in particular Owen Glenn, a New Zealand millionaire based in the tax haven microstate, Monaco.
Peters has been slithering around the issue, first denying it, then saying he “only just found out about it”, then claiming there is a “big difference” between NZ First getting secret donations and other parties getting secret donations.
In typical capitalist parliamentarian fashion, both Helen Clark and John Key have pulled their punches when it comes to denouncing Winston Peters, in the hope they’ll get his support in the next coalition government.
It is interesting to note that at the same time as they were backing the anti-democratic Electoral Finance Act, which stipulates that all donations and campaigning costs must be accounted for, they were accepting secret donations themselves!
- Nick Kelly
In February 2007, management at Go Wellington introduced a new shift structure designed to reduce all bus drivers to 8-hour working days, to limit drivers’ access to overtime. At the same time, a document described by drivers as a “scab flat-rate contract” was introduced to weaken the Tramways Union at the Wellington Kilbirnie depot.
As a result of these changes, a number of drivers quit and the company faced a shortage of labour. To fill the gap they began recruiting migrant workers from Fiji. The company also recruited some drivers from agents in Fiji, who would tell applicants to avoid joining the Tramways Union if they came and worked in New Zealand. They were encouraged to join the scab contract with inferior conditions instead.
However, the migrant workers got wise to what was going on and the majority signed up to the Tramways Union.