Fuck John Key

January 29, 2009

(Music by Chuck Berry)

 On the plutey side of Auckland where the salaries swell

In a half acre mansion in the middle of Parnell

Created out of value stole from you and me

There lives a little arsehole that they call John Key

He learned how to play the figures really well

To help the bosses screw the workers down to hell


He came into power by saying he’d tax much less

And doing that would fix the economic mess

Exploiters at the top are going to benefit

While all the rest of us sink lower in the shit

We didn’t used to live in bloody paradise

But no rights for ninety days just tightens up the vice

( chorus)

Now some say the way to lose this Tory germ

Is voting Labour back to have another term

Well, we tried that tactic back in ’84

The slash we got from Rogernomics still feels raw

Don’t let any yuppie bastard fool ya

We need a change of system, not a change of ruler

( chorus)

 Don Franks 2009

Water Metering: Letter to the Capital Times

January 27, 2009

This is a response to a Capital Times article, Hold Your Water (Vol  34  No 11) which argued for compulsory water metering as a conservation measure. Unfortunately the article is not online.

Your article Hold Your Water argued for water metering as a conservation measure. However, domestic water metering is symptomatic of an approach to conservation that shifts the costs of bad infrastructure onto consumers.

Like any user-pays system, water metering hits those on lower incomes hardest. There are alternatives. Fitting houses with rainwater tanks can conserve up to 40% of potable water, without significantly limiting real consumption. If you add greywater recycling and drycomposting toilets to the equation, households can conserve up to 70%. However, these measures don’t have the ongoing financial benefits that meters do.

Read the rest of this entry »

Christchurch WP forum: Solidarity with the Palestinians!

January 26, 2009


The brutal Israeli invasion and occupation of Gaza has led growing numbers of people around the world to question whether Israel can ever act in any way other than what we’ve seen in Gaza in recent weeks. Come along to this month’s Workers Forum and hear about how the state of Israel was set up through the dispossession of the Palestinians and about their continuing struggle for liberation.

Speakers: Paul Hopkinson and Mike Walker

Wednesday 28 January, 7pm
Workers Educational Association, 59 Gloucester St
(opposite City Art Gallery)

Innocent man shot and killed by police in Auckland

January 26, 2009

Jared Phillips

On Friday 23 January, Halatau Naitoko - a 17 year old Pacific Island father - was shot in the chest by police who were in pursuit of an armed bag snatcher. The shooting took place on the North-Western motorway where the suspect attempted to switch get-away vehicles. Naitoko was driving a van, doing courier work.

The lack of clarity and contradictory nature of the information around the events is troubling. Some reports indicated that shots came from the offender throughout the pursuit but not at the scene of the fatal shooting. Police in early reports on the following Saturday implied that the offender was firing shots at the scene of the fatal shooting.

The Herald on Sunday reported that the Auckland Assistant Police Commissioner told a press conference that the suspect’s shotgun had one shell in the bridge, indicating a shot had been fired, while witnesses are reported to have said that shots had been fired throughout the pursuit. Some sources say that the suspect fired upon a police helicopter, however, the police could not confirm it.

It took the police over 24 hours following the incident to publicly admit that the fatal bullet was from a police weapon. The events still do not make sense to the public who should not have to wait around for a full inquiry before accurate details are made available.

Naitoko’s fiancé Stephanie Cook told the Herald on Sunday that ‘I am so angry, they should have been more careful. It is going to take more than an apology. They have taken away my daughter’s father - she is never going to know him… I am so angry I hope they get what’s coming to them.’ In the same report Naitoko’s father is quoted as saying ‘I want justice… I am angry he has lost his life for no reason at all. They could have used different methods to get the guy’.

In its statements the New Zealand Police are appealing for public sympathy. While it is undoubtedly true that the police who were directly involved in the shooting will be regretful, this is not a reason to defend the police over the issue. Just as Naitoko’s fiancé and father have done, progressive forces, community leaders, and others must denounce the shooting. A strong signal of outrage needs to be sent to the government and the police force. If the police force is not criticised we can only expect a steady escalation of police powers and a normalisation of, or desensitising to, these kinds of incidents.

Barack Obama - another Martin Luther King?

January 25, 2009

- Don Franks

The son of murdered black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. has often been asked: did you think you’d ever live to see a black US president?

“People are surprised when I say yes”, says Martin Luther King III. “But I’m sure my father would have said the same if he was alive today. Without that faith and that sense of possibility he would have had no reason to fight in the first place.”

A spirit of faith and hope has accompanied Obama’s election campaign. A Gallup poll on announcement of Obama’s victory shows that a massive 70% of Americans believe they will be better off by the time the new president finishes his term in four years time.

Seldom has the election of a capitalist politician aroused such euphoric public celebration. Obama’s inaugural speech drew a record crowd of close on two million. In the afterglow of the inauguration ceremonies floods of Obama memorabilia continue to be snapped up at three times the volume of the previous record setter Bill Clinton. Read the rest of this entry »

Stop the use of lèse-majesté in Thailand - Defend freedom of speech

January 24, 2009


John Moore from the Workers Party, who has lived and worked in Thailand, gives details of an international campaign to stop the use of lèse-majesté in Thailand.

The Thai government is currently cracking down on dissent, and is using laws to ‘protect’ the monarchy to squash critical voices in Thai society. Such laws are known as lèse-majesté and frame criticism or insulting of a monarch as treason. Thai Marxist and academic Giles Ji Ungpakorn is facing lèse-majesté charges for the writing of his book A Coup for the Rich. A pdf version of this book can be found here.

A petition/open letter has been initiated by Thai activists calling for the scrapping of lèse-majesté laws and that the Thai government drop all proceedings in lèse-majesté cases.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn has been a ceaseless critic of the military’s intervention into politics in Thailand. He has accused the current government of gaining power through a coup. The elected Peoples Power Party government was recently deposed through a court order. The current Democratic Party led government was put together with the aid of the head of the military, and has full military backing.

Giles has been a consistent critic of authoritarian measures used by Thai state forces. He has championed the cause of workers and the rural poor in Thailand. He has also campaigned against the brutal military intervention against ethnic Malay insurgents in the South of Thailand.

The Workers Party is happy to play a part in offering solidarity to Giles and to help with the international campaign against the use of lèse-majesté in Thailand.

Below is the open letter/petition which Giles Ungpakorn is asking people to sign:

Read the rest of this entry »

Two states no solution for Palestine

January 22, 2009

-Philip Ferguson

 The current brutal invasion and occupation of Gaza have raised, yet again, the question of the nature of the Israeli state.  For us in the Workers Party the horrors rained down on the people of Gaza are the logical result of an exclusivist-Zionist state set up at the expense, and through the dispossession, of the Palestinian people.  Campaigning for an immediate Israeli withdrawal is the chief priority right now, but such a withdrawal does not even begin to address the wider denial of the rights of the Palestinians as a people – the very thing which ensures that actions like the attacks on Gaza will continue. 

Read the rest of this entry »

A look at the opposition inside Israel

January 22, 2009

-Mike Kay

The carnage rained down on Gaza has had a profound effect on the activism of Arabs within Israel. Around 1.5 million Arabs remain living within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. They constitute about 20% of the population, but are treated as second-class citizens. The past few weeks have seen large anti-war demos by Palestinians and some Jews. Not surprisingly, these acts of defiance have been met with clamp-downs by the Israeli state. As Karl Marx put it, “a nation that enslaves another forges its own chains.”

At least 100,000 in people demonstrated in the northern Arab town of Sakhnin and in Tel Aviv against the assault on Gaza on 3 January. According to organisers, Sakhnin was the largest protest held by the Palestinians in Israel in many years. During the first two weeks of “Operation Cast Lead”, 471 protesters were arrested in Israel, including 149 minors. Almost all of those detained were Arabs.saknin

The Tel Aviv protest took place in the face of opposition from far-right Zionists and the police. Among other things, the police demanded that the organisers undertake to prevent the hoisting of Palestinian flags. The organisers petitioned the High Court of Justice, which decided that the Palestinian flag is legal and ordered the police to protect the demonstration from rioters. However, according to Israeli peace group Gush Shalom, the police disappeared towards the end of the march, allowing the far right to attack and disperse the protesters, preventing a planned rally from going ahead.

Read the rest of this entry »

Workers Party activist speaks at Dunedin Gaza protest

January 20, 2009

John Moore from the Workers Party spoke at a Gaza protest in Dunedin last Saturday.

About 100 protesters were present, with representatives from the Alliance, International Socialists, Workers Party and the local Muslim community. The following speech was given by John at the rally:

This protest and many others that are being held throughout the world serve two purposes. We are here to express our condemnation of the Israeli state’s attacks on Gaza and to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people.

This protest should not just be about calling for peace. There is a side to choose in this conflict. We should welcome the defeat of Israeli forces that are currently at war with Hamas and the Palestinian people.

Overall we need to start thinking about what tactics we use to oppose Israeli state aggression. Who is the enemy in this conflict, who should we be campaigning against, and what forms of solidarity should we give? Seeing this conflict through the prism of the Palestinian/Jewish divide offers no hope for a resolution. Painting all Jews as the enemy and all Arabs as the victims is both counterproductive and pointless.

A small but growing number of Jewish Israelis and larger numbers of Arabs in Israel have recently taken to the streets to show their opposition to the attacks on Gaza. This small but significant example offers hope for joint Jewish/Palestinian action. Seeing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in ethnic terms leads to misguided tactics.

Campaigns against Israeli Jews, whether in Kebab shops or at Western universities, will only be counterproductive and distracts us from who is the real enemy. The enemy is the Israeli state, not Israeli Jews. All working class people in the Middle East are oppressed by despotic regimes, from Saudi Arabia, through to Iran and including the Zionist Israeli state. All Middle East workers have an interest in a fight for the destruction of these states.

500 march in solidarity with Gaza in Christchurch

January 18, 2009


Yesterday around 500 people marched in central Christchurch protesting the Israeli invasion of Gaza which in the past few weeks has claimed the lives of over 1 200 Palestinians (but only 13 Israelis).

Chanting “Occupation is a Crime - Free Free Palestine” the protesters through the main tourist precinct Worcester Boulevard and past the yuppie sports bars on Oxford Terrrace to Cathedral Square in a colourful and energetic display of solidarity with the people of Gaza.


Workers Party members marched behind a banner with the slogan “Resistance is not Terrorism” and also carried placards calling for victory to the Palestinian intfidada,  an end to Israeli apartheid and the creation in its place of a single secular state in Palestine.


The protest was organised by the group “Justice for Palestine”, which brings together a diverse coalition of groups and individuals including Muslims, Quakers, anarchists and revolutionary socialists.

A meeting to discuss plans for future action is being held on Tuesday, January 20 at 6.30pm in the WEA building (59 Gloucester St).


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