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.

“Like most workers I live from pay day to pay day,” says Hopkinson.
“Effectively what this law means is that unless you are standing for one of the corporate-backed parties like Labour or National – or are independently wealthy – you are either excluded or made to suffer economic hardship.”

“Tens of thousands of public sector workers have their democratic rights curtailed as a result of this law,” Hopkinson added.

“My party – the Workers Party – stands for the repeal of all laws which place restrictions on workers’ freedom of speech and activity. This includes Labour’s ban on the right to strike as well as the
bureaucratic provisions of the Electoral Finance Act.”

See also: Radio New Zealand article

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

  1. sol says:

    does the workers party have a clear stance on standing in elections ?
    i’m guessing its along the lines of utilizing a mechanism of the state to gain more coverage.
    i feel, if one claims to be ‘revolutionary’ then we may be inclined to disregard state run elections and primarily focus on working in the communities we live in, promoting education and tangible projects like utilizing public land for growing food.
    i would also emphasize - in the current social climate, i feel we are entering a stage where parliament will become even more separated than it is now.
    i do not feel this is a defeatist position at all, i feel parliament is not be the main focus of any serious ‘revolutionary’ group and or individual.
    but i realise we all playin our part, and i must say that i admire the workers party’s intentions as i perceive them,

    cheers sol

  2. Byron says:

    “does the workers party have a clear stance on standing in elections ?
    i’m guessing its along the lines of utilizing a mechanism of the state to gain more coverage.”

    Bingo. During elections people are paying more attention to politics, standing candidates gives us an opportunity to speak at meetings and get a little media coverage, and standing a party list gets us some TV and radio advertising, all this gets our message out to people who wouldn’t hear it otherwise.

    Of course elections are only a part of what we do, we publish the Spark all year round, and are involved in workers struggles such as the bus drivers dispute thats going on at the moment and Unites organising campaign at McDonalds. As well as unions we’ve also had people involved in students associations.

    If we did win a seat in parliament we would take it, and use the position as a hub for organising on the ground. Workers Party candidates have also pledged to only take the average workers wage from the massive MP salary and put the rest to furthering workers struggles, though something like for example a strike/lockout fund for the bus drivers.

  3. Barrie says:

    “Workers Party candidates have also pledged to only take the average workers wage from the massive MP salary and put the rest to furthering workers struggles”

    Apparently John Key has pledged that he will give his future salary as P.M to charity. Of course, the fact he has a personal fortune of $10million might go some way to explaining this ‘generosity’ ! :)

  4. I suspect that may have something to do with it. ;)

  5. I totally agree. As a teacher myself I now find myself without an income for the duration of the campaign. Thank goodness I was able to convince WINZ to provide a food grant, other wise it would be a lean 4 weeks. Its just stupid that we are forced into this position. I’m right with you on this one. Workers, regardless of their employer have the right to partake in the election process. Ironically, if I were still employed and working I would not have any time to go out and campaign.

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