NZ Election: the morning after

November 9, 2008

- Daphna Whitmore

For the Workers Party - this was the first time a socialist party was on the party list. A red flag on the ballot paper was an achievement - and one that took a bit of work to get the numbers to satisfy the electoral commission that we qualified. We were the last party to get registered, making it just a few days out from writ day.

It was a last minute campaign for the party vote but the campaigning was good for our organisation. Members got active, our website has been constantly updated and a lot of new contacts have been made. We got our name out across the country so there are now thousands of people who know there is a far left option. We got votes in every electorate of the country. capitalism-not-our-future-don1

In New Zealand as far as I’m aware the far left has not yet ever got more than 200 votes in an electorate and this was reflected again in our vote. With 824 on the first count it is possible we’ll get over 900 once the special votes are counted.

MMP is a funny system. It engenders a lot of the first past the post mentality. Not just in the electorate seats where it is FPP, but in general people still tend to see things in terms of National and Labour. That was reflected in the 80 per cent of votes cast for those two parties.

A really proportional system would be better. It’s hardly democratic that NZ First gets 4.2 per cent of the vote and no seats, while Progressives and United Future each have a seat but a tiny overall vote. And Act gets five seats on 3.72 per cent of the vote.

Low turnout and 10,700 votes for the Bill and Ben Party indicate a lack of public confidence in the options on offer.

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Celebrate anniversary of 7 Nov 1917

November 7, 2008

Daphna Whitmore

November 7, 1917 is the day the working class in the Soviet Union seized power. It marked a turning point in world history, and despite the reversals nothing can diminish the significance of that day.

There are a number of people who identify as socialist but will tomorrow vote for capitalist parties because they see that as the only realistic thing to do. Of course, if you vote for the status quo you’ll be stuck with it.

This election, for the first time in NZ, there is a socialist party on every ballot paper.workers-party-logo-final

Why not vote for something you actually believe in.


GST off beer: on the economic downturn

November 5, 2008

Don Franks, candidate for Wellington central, at the debate amongst alternatives to the Labour Party.


Time for a clean break with Labour!

November 4, 2008

aucklandcivillibertiesdemo

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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Workers should be running the country – to end poverty

November 3, 2008

Speech given by Workers Party member John Moore at the recent
Rally Against Low Pay held on Queen Street in Auckland


We all know we are heading into tough times. There’s a global economic crisis on our hands, and it’s going to be working people like you and me that face the brunt of this. While governments of the bosses’ class bail out the rich elite with billions of dollars, our class is facing massive job losses, skyrocketing prices and increasing poverty. Not a dollar or a cent should be given to the finance parasites. The entire financial system needs to be nationalized under workers’ control.

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Byron Clark’s speech at St Albans Baptist Church

November 3, 2008

Speech by Christchurch Central candidate Byron Clark

Good evening everyone and thank you for the opportunity to speak to you all tonight.

I am here to encourage you to elect me as your member of parliament for Christchurch Central, and to give your party vote to the Workers Party. I want to make the point however that although you will be casting a vote, we do not live in a democratic society. I’m not talking about the 5% threshold that keeps minority views out of parliament, of the electoral funding model the reinforces the status quo, though of course these things are a concern.

I am talking about the existence in our society of one of the most totalitarian institutions humanity has devised- the capitalist workplace. While we may get a vote for a party and member of parliament once every three years, there is practically no democracy in the workplace. With no other way to make a living for the majority of the population, we are forced to sell our ability to work, with minimal control over where we will work, what hours, and what work we will do.

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A vote for the Workers Party is a vote for the Workers Party

November 2, 2008

So the commentators are all toeing the Labour Party line that “a vote for the Workers Party (or RAM or Alliance) is a vote for National”; first the The CWG, then Steve from The Standard and now Matt McCarten has joined in:

There will be a temptation for these [staunch left] voters to give their party vote to openly left-wing parties, such as RAM (Residents Action Movement), the Workers Party and the Alliance (my old party). The combined party vote of these left-wing parties will be less than 2 per cent. That will mean all their party votes they get will be allocated proportionately to other parties that make it into parliament.
Interestingly, that means that half of the staunch left vote will be added to National. If these left-wingers instead gave their party vote to the Greens it would give them another two MPs they wouldn’t otherwise get.

It is true that if a large percentage of the party vote goes to parties that don’t cross the 5% threshold the remaining seats would be divided up between the parties that did. However there will be no remaining seats this election, Jim Anderton, Peter Dunne and almost every Maori Party MP are likely to cause an overhang, meaning there will be extra seats in parliament, so no seats will be given to parties that didn’t win them. Hear that? There is no way voting Workers Party will give more seats to National.

The second myth is that votes for the Workers Party take votes away from Labour or the Greens. We probably will pick up some former Labour and Green voters, as well as some former Alliance voters, but I imagine the bulk of Workers Party votes will come from first time voters; young people and those who haven’t voted before. Our campaigning has not focused on conversions so much as it has focused on those who have been left behind by Labour and long since given up on them. Many left-of-Labour voters are not taking votes away from Labour at all, because they wouldn’t vote Labour anyway, for example this is a comment left on the Standard post:

I’m never going to vote Labour ever. This was the Party who put in place the highly repressive Terrorism Suppression Act. Helen Clark condoned the October 15 police raids last year. During the raids a whole community was blockaded by paramilitary style police and whole families, including young children, (who were not even related at all to those arrested) ordered out of their homes in the early hours of the morning at gunpoint and detained in sheds in the freezing cold.
Labour also sent SAS troops to support th[e] US led slaughter in Afghanistan. I get really angry when Helen Clark goes on TV saying Labour kept out of the war on Iraq. Between October 2003 and October 2004 the Labour government sent Army engineers to support the British occupation forces in Basra.

Most importantly however, is that its not about tactical voting at all, its about making a statement, voting for the Workers Party is saying you don’t support the status quo, and want something better. Every 1095 days there is an election, what you do in the other 1094 will make a bigger difference than what you do on the 1095th. At least now when the Workers Party vote is small, joining and getting involved with the union at your workplace, and joining progressive campaigns in your area will bring us closer to a better society than any vote will. Give us your vote, but get involved if you really want to help make change.

- from Proletblog http://lossenelin.livejournal.com/


A constant air of unreality

November 2, 2008

 

Workers Party address to Kelburn election meeting 2 November 2008

Don Franks

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!


  Read the rest of this entry »


CONFRONTING THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: A DISCUSSION OF LEFT ALTERNATIVES

November 2, 2008

Global Peace and Justice Auckland forum 

Monday 3 Nov 7.30pm

Trades Hall 147 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland 

Left alternative political parties standing in the election have been invited to address this forum and the discuss the best approach to the global economic crisis. Groups invited are: Alliance; Communist League; Green Party ; Maori Party; RAM; Workers Party; Everyone welcome.

 


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