Internationalist response to FTA needed

April 30, 2008

- John Edmundson

The New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed on April 7 is the first free trade agreement China has made with any developed Western country. It is an historic deal for the Chinese government in its push to be fully accepted into the capitalist club.

The deal is historic for New Zealand too, for the simple reason that China’s economy is by far the largest that New Zealand has ever signed such an agreement with. With a growing middle class already numbering over 100 million, China offers a huge market for New Zealand businesses, particularly for luxury goods and services.

Reaction to the FTA has been mixed. Opponents of the agreement have ranged from the Green Party on the left, to New Zealand First on the xenophobic right. The CTU, eager to cosy up to Labour in the lead-up to an election that Labour is uncertain of winning, has come out in support of the agreement.

The critics of the FTA have claimed that the agreement in some way condones the poor human rights record of the Chinese government. This objection has become more strident with the recent Chinese crackdown on Tibetan protests.

The New Zealand government and the FTA’s supporters have countered with the point that New Zealand trades with all sorts of countries with all sorts of human rights records. In fact, government-led boycotts of countries over “human rights abuses” have a dubious record, with the independence of small, weak countries often being threatened by countries in the imperialist world on spurious grounds.

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A letter to our readers

April 30, 2008

Dear Spark readers and Workers Party supporters,

In the last two years the Workers Party has participated in and supported many campaigns, most notably:

* Against racist detention of Iranian migrants at Mt. Eden prison (taking arrests and legal costs)

* Stop The Killings (in the Philippines) campaign

* Hotel workers unionisation campaign

* Restaurant workers unionisation campaign

* Progressive Distribution Centre workers lockout

* Civil Rights Defence campaign after government raids on Tuhoe and activists

* Box city protests - living allowance for students (Wellington)

* Successful Save the Film School campaign at Victoria (Wellington)

* Campaign against the intervention in Aborigine communities Northern Territory

* Middle-East solidarity campaigns

* Numerous workers strikes and pickets (taking an arrest in Auckland)

We have also:

* Raised working class issues through interventions in local government elections

* Been the only left organisation to produce a monthly socialist publication

* Contributed to the monthly Workers Charter

* Held numerous education forums on topics of importance to the movements of workers and oppressed

* Put our website into an upgrade and initiated a blog

* Maintained healthy links with workers organisations and parties in other countries

* Recruited a number of new party activists

Almost all of these activities have relied totally on WP members donating their own time and hard-earned money.

Now we need your financial support as 2008 is the first time the Workers Party will be standing on the party list in a national general election. Please make a donation in one of the following ways:

* Send cash wrapped in envelope to PO BOX 10-282, Dominion Road, Auckland

* Send a cheque made out to ‘Workers Party’ to POBOX 10-282, Dominion Road, Auckland.

* Transfer money from one of your accounts to 38-9002-0817250-01

Workers Party submission to the Electoral Commission on the distribution of broadcasting monies

April 30, 2008

Main points


The previous allocations of broadcasting monies was designed when there were two parties who were keen to make sure that other new parties could not compete effectively with them. A cartel has previously operated in dividing up the broadcast allocation amongst the parliamentary parties. This has previously given only a few crumbs to the parties outside Parliament. The Workers Party welcomes the change in the configuration of the Electoral Commission when determining broadcast funding.


There is a very strong argument to be made that all parties contesting the list vote should receive exactly the same allocation of funding. Any other allocation is contrary to natural justice and notions of democracy and ‘level playing fields’. This is how other countries divide broadcasting funds.


The Workers Party is a new party with over 550 members. We are about to register with the Electoral Commission and intend to contest the party vote and a number of electorate seats throughout the country.

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Public money to parties should be shared equally says Workers Party

April 30, 2008

Press release

The Workers Party wants public election funds shared equally between parties.

“Other countries such as Japan, Italy, India, Mexico and the Czech Republic have equal fund allocations”, said the party’s national organiser Daphna Whitmore, in a submission to the Electoral Commission. “It’s currently a cartel-like arrangement where Labour and National get the bulk of the funding. All parties contesting the list vote should receive exactly the same allocation of funding” she said.

She noted that the electoral rules are the same for all other parties in respect of the size of deposits and limits on campaign expenditure and so should the funding allocation. She argued favouring National and Labour is contrary to natural justice and notions of democracy and ‘level playing fields’.

At the last elections 62 percent of the $3.2 million public funds went to National and Labour.

Currently the division just gives a few crumbs to the parties outside Parliament.


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