Teachers get warning about ‘Disaster Capitalism’

Karran Harper Royal

Karran Harper Royal

Adapted from a PPTA media release

The keynote speech at The Post-Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) conference earlier this month was given by American education activist Karran Harper Royal. Royal is a native of New Orleans and the founding member of advocate group Parents Across America. Her speech was entitled, ‘From New Orleans to New Zealand with Love: A Warning About Disaster Capitalism and Public Education’

Royal shared the story of how the introduction of charter schools after Hurricane Katrina decimated the New Orleans public school system, saying that New Zealanders have an opportunity to stand up against an attack on public education that the New Orleans community never saw coming.

Royal sees a parallel between the way charter schools are being forced on the New Zealand population” particularly in quake-stricken Christchurch” and the situation in New Orleans and hopes similar mistakes will not be made here.  [Read more...]

Christchurch earthquake recovery: a look back

Amongst The Rubble: A Look at the Christchurch earthquake from the Bottom Up, October 2010

Statement on Canterbury earthquake disaster, February 2011

Class imbalance will determine nature of Christchurch recovery, July 2011

Class imbalance will determine nature of Christchurch recovery

Byron Clark, Christchurch branch organiser for Workers Party

The public consultation for the rebuild of central Christchurch – done though a combination of public meetings and the web 2.0 ‘Share an Idea’ website has thrown up some great plans. The summary of submitted transport ideas outlines a walkable central city with greater cycle facilities, integrated public transport with a central hub, and surprisingly for a city with one of the worlds highest car ownership rates, talk of a car-free central business district like some European cities are heading toward.  Is that what’s going to happen though? Architect Ian Athfield who was appointed the city’s architectural ambassador after the September 4 earthquake, has told The Press that his bottom line for the rebuild was “no one-way streets and no unnecessary buses through the city”. Mayor Bob Parker  said he has”lots of sympathy” for Athfield’s view.

Christchurch City taken by Ivan Woods

[Read more...]

Workers Party statement on Canterbury earthquake disaster Wednesday February 23, 2011

To local and international friends, supporters, and readers,

Yesterday, February 22, an immense earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand’s third largest city. Currently there are 55 confirmed dead, 20 unidentified bodies, and an estimated 300 missing. The quake occurred at 12.50pm and was followed shortly after by a major aftershock.

This is the second major earthquake to strike Christchurch in 5 months. This more recent quake – 6.3 – in magnitude was far more destructive than the last, as it occurred only 10 Km south of
Christchurch at the shallow depth of 5 Km. It happened during the lunch hour of a working week day which has compounded human suffering and trauma.

As well as injury and loss of life there has been major damage to buildings, houses, and infrastructure. Soil liquefaction has damaged roads and transport. Originally there was an estimated 80% loss of power, as of mid-day today the estimate is now 50%. Currently three quarters of the city has no water. Phone lines and signal towers have also been wrecked or severely damaged. The Canterbury television building completely collapsed and has been one of the focal points for rescue efforts. There is concern that the Hotel Grand Chancellor- the tallest building in Christchurch – may still collapse from extreme buckling. The township of Lyttleton was at the epicenter of the earthquake and was extensively damaged.
[Read more...]

Amongst the Rubble: a look at the Christchurch Earthquake from the Bottom Up

The Spark October 2010

reprinted from Beyond Resistance*

While the dust settles and Christchurch recovers from the 7.1 earthquake, people have begun to pick up the pieces and get on with their lives. But for many working class people this is not so easy. Those most affected by ‘natural disasters’ – whether by the tsunami in the Pacific, earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and now Christchurch, NZ – are those already on the margins of despair.

As the impact of the quake became known we saw the authorities rush to ‘lock down’ the CBD, and after a short time brought in the military in a quasi ‘martial law’ scenario. With the aid of the corporate media and using the odd collapsed and damaged building as a backdrop, a sensational picture was painted of a city in ruins. Their reports were far from helpful – heavily recycling dramatic images while providing little concrete advice and information for those of us on the ground. [Read more...]

Kia Ora Christchurch

A Wellington street collection was made today for low paid worker victims of the Christchurch earthquake.

Brass Razoo solidarity band played  while Workers Party and Trades Hall action group members  leafleted and collected.

Brass Razoo

To the waving of Unite flags and the tune  of the Internationale, $508.80 was raised in 40 minutes.

Additional donations can follow this to Christchurch Unite union office account at 03 0675 0423909 000 Westpac.

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