First teacher to face suspension without pay for challenging the Electoral Act

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.

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Candidate subject to discriminatory law

– 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.

“Crimes against the working class”

– A talk presented by Don Franks at a recent Wellington public meeting in solidarity with those arrested during the so-called “anti-terror” raids in October 2007.

Mass media treatment of politics these days is largely soundbites, titillation and trivia.

The present structure of society is not subject to serious examination or question. Capitalism is accepted as the most natural form of human cohabitation; quantitatively improvable in some areas, but essentially unchangeable.

That position suits those who are well placed in today’s society.
Capitalism’s prosperity and survival depends on mass belief that the present private property system is “as good as it gets.”

I was asked to speak this evening about the nature of the Labour party.

Workers Party members are sometimes asked why we’re so critical of Labour. Why not attack the main enemy, we’re told. Labout is not perfect but National is worse.

In fact, the “National worse” argument is a myth.

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