Clark rewrites history to conceal Labour started the Dawn Raids in the ’70s

October 25, 2008

Workers Party media release

“Remember the National Party initiated dawn raids in the 1970s” Ms Clark told reporters on the election campaign trail in South Auckland on 23 October.

“Either Ms Clark is ignorant of the facts or she is knowingly concealing the truth” says Daphna Whitmore, Workers Party candidate for Manukau East. “Labour was in government from 1972 until 1975, and the dawn raids on Pacific Islanders began in 1974″.

A quick check of the Samoan history section of the Encyclopedia of NZ confirms that indeed Labour began the raids nearly two years before National came to office.

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Workers Party candidate fights unjust law

October 14, 2008

The Spark recently spoke to Workers Party Christchurch East candidate Paul Hopkinson, the first school teacher to be suspended under the undemocratic provisions of the 1993 Electoral Act.

Under the current law most public servants (including teachers) must take unpaid leave for the three weeks between nomination and polling day. Paul Hopkinson refused to take unpaid leave when requested, and as a result has been told by his employer that he is being suspended without pay.

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Help us fight this undemocratic law!

October 11, 2008

- Spark Financial Appeal

Workers Party Christchurch East candidate and school teacher Paul Hopkinson has been suspended under the undemocratic provisions of the 1993 Electoral Act.

Under the current law most public servants (including teachers) must take unpaid leave for the three weeks between nomination and polling day. Paul Hopkinson refused to take unpaid leave when requested, and as a result has been suspended without pay.

Paul is not going to knuckle under to this law, and he will press on regardless as part of our campaign to make workers’ issues hi-viz this election. But Paul is a working guy with a family who can ill afford three
weeks off the payroll.

Paul is doing his bit to fight for what’s right and he deserves backup. The Workers Party will do what it can to fill the gap, but we are a small group with few financial resources.

We’re appealing to all workers and democrats who hate injustice to help us fight this undemocratic provision of the Electoral Act.

Please send donations to Paul Hopkinson Appeal, c/o PO Box 10-282 Dominion Road, Auckland.


Don’t Talk to Cops

October 6, 2008

US lawyer on why it’s our right to remain silent, and why we should exercise it.

And a cop backing him up:


First teacher to face suspension without pay for challenging the Electoral Act

September 25, 2008

- Workers Party Media Release

Workers Party Christchurch East candidate Paul Hopkinson is the first school teacher to face penalties for challenging the undemocratic provisions of the 1993 Electoral Act.

Under the current law most public servants (including teachers) must take unpaid leave for the three weeks between nomination and polling days.

Hopkinson has refused to take unpaid leave and as a result has been told by his employer that he will be suspended without pay.

“I think that it’s outrageous that just because I’m employed by the state I am not allowed to participate in the democratic process and stand for parliament without being subjected to severe financial penalties,” says the sole breadwinner for a family of three.

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Candidate subject to discriminatory law

September 8, 2008

- WP Media Release

Workers Party candidate for Christchurch East, Paul Hopkinson, may be forced to step aside as a candidate due to a discriminatory clause in the 1993 Electoral Act.

Because Paul Hopkinson is a school teacher in a state school, he is subject to a clause which could require him to take unpaid leave for the duration of the election campaign.

“This clause is onerous and discriminatory because it prevents people from participating fully in the electoral process,” he said.

“Unless you have the backing of a large wealthy political party, or are independently wealthy, you are unable to participate. I should not have to take leave; I should not have to choose between standing in the elections and supporting myself and my family” he added.

If he was employed by a private school, he would not be subject to the clause.

“This is an important issue because this anti-democratic clause means thousands of New Zealanders are prevented from becoming fully involved in the elections,” he said.


ACTs of hypocrisy

September 1, 2008

- John Edmundson

So the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has suspended one of its workers because he is standing for parliament on the Act ticket. Shawn Tan, a former Green Party member who became a convert to Act, has been suspended (on full pay) because there is a clause in his contract which prevents his running for parliament without the permission of the EPMU national executive.

The Workers Party has a very clear view about this case and others like it. Regardless of the reactionary trajectory of Shawn Tan’s politics, we believe it is essential that any worker has the right to express his or her political views and to run as a candidate for political office without the interference of an employer. To take any other viewpoint would be to concede additional power to the capitalists over their workers, not only within the workplace but also in their employees’ lives beyond the workplace.

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October 15 Solidarity: Letter to the Editorial Board

August 8, 2008

To the Spark editorial board:
In your July edition of The Spark, Alastair Reith writes in his article “Armed cops no solution” that “[t]o this day, no charges have been brought against the people that were arrested” in last year’s so-called “terror raids”.

We all wish this were true. However, 20 people are facing charges under the Arms Act! Charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act were never laid because the Solicitor-General did not grant the police permission to do so. The 16 people arrested on 15th October 2007 and the four who have been arrested since have faced Arms Act charges from the beginning.

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Immigration and citizenship: Labour versus workers

July 14, 2008

The article below originally appeared in revolution magazine, #21, August-October 2003:

Samoan protests for the return of their NZ citizenship point up the need for a campaign for open borders and workers’ solidarity as against Labour’s denial of Samoan (and other migrants’) rights, argues Philip Ferguson.

In late March, thousands of Samoans protested in Wellington, Christchurch and in Samoa itself, calling for the repeal of the NZ Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act of 1982.  This legislation, introduced by Muldoon’s National Party government, had stripped 100,000 Samoans of NZ citizenship rights.  The abolition of these citizenship rights was part of a miserable 70-year record of NZ dealings with the Samoan people.

NZ had invaded Samoa in 1914 and was the colonial power there for the next five decades.  Just after WW1, the NZ administration bore responsibility for an influenza epidemic that wiped out a quarter of the population.  The NZ government then viciously suppressed the mass movement for Samoan independence, including gunning down unarmed independence protesters in 1929.

After independence, NZ continued to act as lord and master of Samoa and other former NZ-ruled countries in the Pacific.  For instance, in the 1970s NZ governments masqueraded as generous aid donors to the Pacific.  Yet, at that very same time, for every dollar of aid the Pacific countries of the Commonwealth received from New Zealand, they lost $3.74 in trade with this country.  Most of the NZ aid was actually spent on NZ commodities, services and personnel.  Moreover, it had little impact on expanding Pacific island exports to NZ.  The 1970s also saw mass raids on Pacific Island ‘overstayers’ in NZ and large-scale deportations.

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Immigration Amendment Bill: limiting workers’ freedom

July 10, 2008

- John Edmundson

In the years following the September 11 2001 attacks, the world has seen a massive tightening of immigration controls. In this country, many New Zealanders’ first experience of this trend was the overnight quadrupling of the cost of maintaining a passport. In one fell swoop, the life of a passport was halved, from ten years to five, while the cost doubled as new “anti-terrorism” identification security features were added. In the US, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has gained, and proceeded to use, sweeping new powers to raid and subsequently deport “illegals”, mostly from Latin America.

The latest round of policy change comes with the Immigration Amendment Bill currently being debated in select committee. While this Bill was introduced by Labour, it appears to have support from National, ACT, New Zealand First and United Future. The Bill, if passed in anything remotely approaching its current form, will represent a massive attack on basic civil rights in New Zealand, not only for would-be immigrants or refugees but also for New Zealand citizens.

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