Time for a clean break with Labour!

November 4, 2008


Workers Party media release

When election time comes around every three years it seems that there is never any shortage of people on the left busy telling workers that they have to be ‘realistic’ and lower their horizons to whatever crumb is on offer in the electoral circus.

The object of the exercise becomes not how to advance an alternative to the existing system but how to soften the blows within the existing system (although that didn’t work too well in 1984 when the left urged people to vote Labour and the blows got ten times worse).

The Workers Party says that it’s precisely that approach that has gotten us in the sorry, weak situation the left is in today in NZ (and throughout the First World).

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Byron Clark’s speech at Linwood Community Arts Center

November 4, 2008
Christchurch Central candidate Byron Clark recently spoke at a meeting at the Linwood Community Arts Center organised by ICENG (Inner City East Neighbourhood Group, Inc) and Te Whare Roimata Trust. Candidates were asked to speak on the three most important issues facing New Zealand and the three most important issues facing Christchurch Central.

It was not difficult to pick the three most important issues facing New Zealand that I will talk about tonight.

The first is inequality.

A recent OECD report showed that inequality has increased significantly in New Zealand since the mid 1980s, while in the same period, there has been a significant increase in income poverty. It is notable that for most of this twenty year period we have had Labour in government. Inequality is not the result of some people being paid more than others, its the result of most of the wealth created by workers being legally stolen by an exploiting class the produces nothing, while we are paid just a fraction of that wealth in wages. To help alleviate this, the Workers Party would remove all restrictions on workers right to organise and take industrial action for better pay and conditions. For the unemployed, who’s numbers are expected to increase and capitalism goes further into an inevitable downturn, we would reverse Nationals 1991 benefit cuts, something Labour hasn’t done after nearly a decade in power.

Secondly, Freedom, or lack there of. We support the unrestricted right of people to speak, publish and participate in the political process, one of our candidates has been forced to take unpaid leave from his job for the duration of the campaign due to an undemocratic provision of the Electoral Act that prevents public servants from standing without giving up their income for three weeks. But its not just public sector workers that have their free speech rights restricted, I could draw your attention to the recent case where a Warehouse employee was fired for a critical comment about her employer made on the Internet, or I could bring up the -pefectly legal- contract McDonald’s employees sign saying they won’t talk about their working conditions to the media, without risking dismissal. When you can take someones income away from them for speaking out, you are taking away their right to free speech.

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