Workers Party address to Kelburn election meeting 2 November 2008
Thanks for inviting the Workers Party to this meeting. We’ve contested several elections, but this is the first time I’ve stood myself and I must say it’s been a bit of an eye opener. There is a constant air of unreality to the whole affair.
For example, the relentless muck raking that’s been indulged in by some participants coupled with rhetoric about “fairness” and “trust”.
Also, the many outrageously deceitful claims. for example the sticker saying “more child poverty National - not the change we need” - as if there’s no such poverty today!
Despite the better economy between 2000 and 2004 the proportion of all New Zealand children in severe and significant hardship increased by a third, to 26%. In 2004 there were about 185,000 children in benefit families in some degree of hardship, with 150,000 of them in severe hardship. National has no answer to child poverty, but neither has Labour.
However, to me the most bizarre thing about this election is the flurry of last minute National and Labour promises. The promises to help some of those made redundant in a coming recession. These opportunist bribes are being made because capitalism is starting to threaten workers higher up the food chain, workers more likely to vote. Over the last few years there have been heaps of factory job losses and nary a peep from the politicians. In boom times, before any talk of recession, in a land of plenty, under a self styled worker-friendly government, thousands existed in destitution. About 100,000 workers are stuck on the minimum wage, and many more just a few cents above it. Uncountable casual workers are denied even the minimum security of a 40 hour week. And there are the beneficiaries, whose 90s’ benefit cuts Labour never reversed.
The Workers Party was formed in response to the injustice of capitalism. We’re an internationalist socialist group with branches in the major New Zealand cities. We believe production can and should be organised for social use, not private profit. Capitalism means that private profit comes at the expense of job security, decent incomes and sensible use of resources. Periodically, the contradictions of capitalism lead to chaos, as we are seeing today on an international scale. This situation is not inevitable and there is a remedy for it.
Workers, who produce all societies’ goods and services, can also run society.
The Workers Party exists to foster this idea, and to help in practical ways build up workers power in preparation for socialist revolution. Most of our political work takes place in between elections, on job sites, education institutions and city streets. However, we stand in elections to raise our ideas and win new members. We¹ve won some keen new members during this campaign and we’d be pleased to have more.
If you’d like to come to our election night party next Saturday and get to know us better, see me after the meeting.