Greenpeace loses battle for charity status

June 29, 2011

By Alastair Reith

A recent High Court decision has stripped Greenpeace New Zealand of its charity status in this country. The court upheld a 2010 ruling by the Charities Commission that the environmentalist organization is “too political” to be classed as a charity. Greenpeace is challenging the decision. The Commission argued that calls by Greenpeace for peace and disarmament could not be classed as charitable and were political in nature, and that while Greenpeace does not openly advocate breaking the law its members have been involved in illegal protest activity. Greenpeace Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid disputed this, arguing that, “Most of the charities that have got charitable status are very much engaged in change they want to see, positive change for our society today.”

This decision will deal a serious blow to Greenpeace. Apart from the mainstream legitimacy that comes from being registered as a charity, registered groups do not have to pay income tax, and people who choose to donate to them receive their money back in tax rebates. Losing charity status will cost Greenpeace a lot of money in the years ahead, and will discourage those on low incomes from donating. Read the rest of this entry »

Read the July issue of The Spark

June 29, 2011

July issue of The Spark

Last month the question of equality was blown open publicly and in quite a profound way by three events. The most prominent of these was of course the righteous controversy which resulted from Alasdair Thompson - CEO of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, the mouthpiece of a large section of the capitalist class - justifying the gendered wage gap on the basis of women’s menstruation. Away from the PR and spin-doctoring of the employers and government, who may present themselves as ‘centrist’, this really underlined the deeply reactionary essence of capitalism as it exists right now. We also had in Wellington a large demonstration of queer and transgender people demanding the right to not be bashed in the streets, which has prompted some tentative calls for a new GLBT liberation movement. This has included a large demonstration and organising meetings of up to 85 people. Thirdly, we saw the government indicate a possible reintroduction of youth rates, which was promptly opposed by a protest response within one week. We’ve been involved in the thick of the opposition against inequality and we aim to put The Spark and anti-capitalist ideology into the hands of others involved.
Note: As of July 4, this issue will carry a comprehensive insert which overviews te Mana Party by-election victory and the subsequent foundation hui.

Anti-Youth Rates protests send signal to government (regional round-up, photos)

June 29, 2011

By Byron Clark, Jared Phillips, and Chris Matahaere

On June 25 Unite and other progressive organisations, as well as socialists, sent a message to the government that any attempt to reintroduce youth rates will be met with resistance. These protests were very much the beginning and will be intensified - up to and including strikes and high school demonstrations - if the government does pursue a reintroduction. The Auckland and Wellington demonstrations went ahead successfully, with the Auckland demonstration being focussed on the head offices of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, whose CEO had in a radio interview justified the gendered wage gap by claiming that women are less productive because of ‘monthly sick problems’. The Auckland protest drew the connection between unequal pay for women and the potential for discriminatory rates to be applied to young workers. Below is a summary of activities in other major cities. Read the rest of this entry »


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