Incentives not punishment

November 2, 2008

A couple of groups - the Wanaka Wastebusters and Kiwi Plastic Bag Concern - have surveyed the political parties on their stance on the proliferation of plastic bags. These organisations are calling for a levy on plastic bags.

Here’s our reply:

The Workers Party opposes a plastic bag levy as it is a way for businesses to pass their costs on to consumers and further increase prices. However, we support the manufacture of biodegradable shopping bags and would like to see incentives not punishment for people to use reusable bags.

 

There are many things that could be done to help reduce wastage. Shops could give out recyclable bags when people spend x  dollars, as they do with petrol vouchers. They could give a discount per recyclable bag filled. They could give spot prizes to people who use them. There are heaps of things that could be done, but for capitalists the “market solution” of charging is usually the best they can think of.


Why we need fewer cops

October 31, 2008

Talk given by Workers Party Manukau East candidate Daphna Whitmore at an election meeting at Otahuhu College, Auckland 29 October 2008

I want to talk about law and order and police in South Auckland. The Workers Party believe we need fewer cops, not more cops as most of the parties are saying.

I work for a union that is organising worksites such as McDonalds.

For the past month McDonald’s workers have taking strike action. There have been over 40 strikes in the past 30 days. These McDonald’s staff work hard; they are on their feet all day and get just over $12 hour. It’s a poverty wage and the hours of work are uncertain, going up and down each week.

McDonald’s workers at Auckland Airport went on strike a couple of weeks ago. It was a perfectly legal strike and they stood outside in the carpark to hold a peaceful picket. But the security bosses at the airport tried to stop the strikers and called the cops who were there in minutes.

Read the rest of this entry »


Educators, trade unionists support suspended teacher

October 30, 2008

Workers Party media release

Over 30 prominent academics, teachers and trade unionists have signed an open letter in support of suspended school teacher Paul Hopkinson, standing as the Workers Party candidate for Christchurch East in the upcoming election.

Despite campaigning only in his own time (weekends and school holidays), Mr Hopkinson was told that due to a provision of the 1993 Electoral Act concerning
the political activities of public servants he would have
to take unpaid leave for the three weeks leading up to
the 2008 general election.

Mr Hopkinson considered this an undemocratic restriction
on his participation in the political process, as having a
partner and two children to support and not having any
other financial resources to fall back on he simply cannot
afford to take unpaid leave. He also felt that it places
small minor parties like the Workers Party at a
disadvantage, as unlike the major parties Labour and
National they cannot afford to pay their candidates’
wages for the duration of the election campaign.

After refusing to take unpaid leave, Mr Hopkinson has
become the first teacher in New Zealand to be
suspended without pay by his employer.

Below is the open letter in support of Hopkinson and list
of signatories. This document is also available online
here.

Read the rest of this entry »


Workers Party candidate wants socialist solution to cycling issues

October 29, 2008

Workers Party media release

The Workers Party’s Christchurch Central candidate Byron Clark is a keen cyclist, who once rode his bike from Christchurch to Picton, but differs with the mainstream cycling lobby on a few key points.

“Policies that would improve cycle lanes and encourage cycling have my full support” says Clark “but I have to disagree with the Cycling Advocacy Network (CAN) when they say we should spend less money on roads, there should be money there for every type of transport infrastructure our communities need, including cycle ways, roads, rail and buses.”

Clark also thinks CAN’s support for lower speed limits and more power for traffic cops is politically questionable. “Drivers don’t need legislation to show common courtesy to other road users. I think a big way we could improve road safety would be to ensure those who drive for a living have decent working hours and breaks, and reasonable amounts of time to complete their work. In fact even getting employers to ease up on lateness would help. All these things would allow drivers time to be more courteous on the roads, as well as being more alert and less fatigued.”

The Workers Party, which is contesting the party vote this year, also advocates free public transport and the repeal of the Local Government Act which requires many public transport services to be run as if they were commercial enterprises.


Workers Party candidate talk at Baptist Church election meeting

October 29, 2008

Talk given by Daphna Whitmore at a candidates’ forum in Otahuhu, Auckland 28 October 2008

Thank you for the invitation to speak at tonight’s meeting. I’m a list candidate and also standing in this electorate.

Our party has no ties to religion, we consider religion is a private affair and should be separate from the state. Having said that, the theme tune of our election campaign is the hymn All things Bright and Beautiful.

Don Franks, who is our candidate in Wellington Central wrote some new lyrics to reflect our outlook.

All things bright and beautiful in every shopping mall

All the goods and services- the workers made them all

We sell our labour power for a bare subsistence wage

While bosses loll in luxury ­ its time to turn the page!

Workers of all countries ­ in lands both great and small

This earth and all we’ve made of it ­ let us reclaim it all

This election our party has one central message: that workers should be running the country.

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Socialism key to sustainability says Workers Party candidate

October 28, 2008

Workers Party media release

They key to creating an environmentally sustainable society is to put production in the hands of workers, says the Workers Party’s Christchurch Central candidate Byron Clark.

“Right now production is done for private profit, rather than human need, which means environmental concerns are secondary for capitalism.”

Clark is an environmental sociology student but has little time for “modern Luddites and doomsayers.” He is advocating ecological modernisation as the way to deal with environmental problems.

Read the rest of this entry »


A vision of workers’ freedom

October 27, 2008

(Workers Party address to Labour Day left of Labour election forum in Wellington)

It’s a nice change to be at a meeting where the right is excluded instead of the left. This year many Wellington election meetings only invited candidates holding parliamentary seats. The New Zealand Council of Trade unions hosted such a meeting. When I complained about being excluded, while National and ACT were given a platform, the CTU organiser emailed back “You’ll have to ask Helen Kelly.” CTU president Helen Kelly didn’t have the courtesy to reply. Instead, the next email in my box was an urgent notice from the CTU organiser, asking me to support a union picket downtown. I wonder if he sent the same appeal to his National and ACT guests.

That small incident is a reminder that political action takes place outside parliament as well as inside. The Workers Party think struggle outside parliament is more important, but we see elections as a chance to fight for our ideas.

OK, I want to tell you what we stand for and how we’re trying to go about it.

Read the rest of this entry »


Kicking the habit

October 26, 2008

More election campaign posters available for download in pdf format in our resources section.


Workers Party student radio campaign ad

October 26, 2008

Click here to hear the campaign message currently airing on student radio stations around New Zealand.


Labour Day debate on progressive alternatives to Labour

October 26, 2008


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