Thousands say: “John Key, you’ve got mail, Aotearoa is not for sale”

May 8, 2012

Ian Anderson

The Aotearoa is Not For Sale hikoi departed from Cape Reinga on April the 23rd and reached parliament on May the 4th. This march demonstrated that tangata whenua are at the forefront of struggle against privatisation, expressed widespread opposition to asset sales, and raised questions of how to move forward.

Broad kaupapa
The kaupapa was broad, and contested. Thousands were united by opposition to National’s plans of selling 49% of state-owned assets to private companies. Other issues of corporate and ‘foreign’ ownership included the AFFCO meat-works lockout, offshore drilling and the Crafar Farms sale.

In an article for Scoop, Anti-capitalism must feature at hikoi against asset sales, Valerie Morse argued the focus should be on capitalist ownership rather than foreign ownership: “A number of very well known ‘kiwi’ brands equally well meet the definition of a multinational corporation… The fight shouldn’t be about domestic or foreign ownership; the fight should be about ownership full stop.” Read the rest of this entry »


Whanau Ora and Maori today

April 27, 2010

Phil Ferguson
The Spark
May 2010

On April 21, the report of the government-commissioned Whanau Ora taskforce was made public.  The key idea of Whanau Ora (“Well-being”) is the establishment of a one-stop- shop approach to the problems of individuals and families in relation to problems of health, education and the justice system.  Funds are to be diverted from existing stage agencies into a new Whanau Ora Trust which would contract out work to service providers to deal with the problems on a whanau basis.  In other words, where an individual family member had health, education or justice system problems, the individual would be viewed as part of their whanau and the whole whanau would be engaged in finding solutions.  This is seen as “empowering” both whanau and individual Maori.

Although Whanau Ora was originally conceived by its Maori Party architects as a programme for Maori, there is now agreement that all “families in need” will have access to the services provided through the programme. Read the rest of this entry »


Much of the left crying wolf over Nats

November 12, 2008

- Philip Ferguson

One thing the election and the days since have confirmed is the inability of many on the left to make a sober analysis based on reality and, in particular, the way in which bourgeois politics is related to the economy and how bourgeois politics is centrally concerned with the maintenance of conditions such as social stability which are necessary to the operations of the market. Instead much of the left has cried wolf about the new government, seeing it as a re-run of the 1984-1993 period of ‘new right’ dominance. John Key makes acceptance speech

For instance, the headline on the Socialist Aotearoa blog is “RESISTING THE NAT-ACT JUNTA- What is to be done?” Does the author of that piece really believe that we are about to be ruled by a “junta”? Are they unable to distinguish between bourgeois democracy and military dictatorship? If they are able to make the distinction why use terminology that bears no relation to the reality and simply misleads and misorients people?

Although, in the context of a worsening economic situation, there would certainly have to be attacks on the working class, Key is not creating a junta of any kind. In fact, he appears to not even be creating a National-ACT coalition but opting for Clark’s own strategy - a minority government with ministers out of cabinet from what he sees as both the ‘left’ (Maori Party) and ‘right’ (ACT) and support on confidence and supply. The temptation for the Maori Party to go for this will likely be pretty substantial, as Key and co. well know. This was apparent before the election - and was reiterated by Key on Saturday night, by Matthew Hooton on ‘Eye to Eye’ on Sunday morning, by Key again on TV on Sunday night and Monday night. In fact, Key even wants to talk with the Greens. (Since this was written on Monday 11 November, things have moved along further with the Maori Party.) Read the rest of this entry »


Could the Maori Party and National do a deal?

March 1, 2008

Most on the left struggle to see how the Maori and National parties could ever coalesce, or even how the Maori Party could help National into power. Surely the two parties are mortal enemies?

In this article political science lecturer and blogger Bryce Edwards argues that this view fails to understand the political nature of both parties. These two nationalist parties have much more in common than most realise:

Despite the illusions of many on the left, repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act would be a right-wing law change, which is why National and Act could be comfortable with it. (The fact that it would also involve the Maori Party and the Greens says much about their ideological confusion and centrism).

Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed Act was progressive in terms of nationalising the beaches so that they could continue to be used by all.

Those arguing for its repeal - including the Maori Party, Act, and the Greens - are essentially falling into line with a right-wing approach to property rights, in fact private-business property rights. In this sense it was always rather inconsistent - but highly pragmatic - of the National Party to support Labour’s F&S Act in the first place.

Could the Maori Party survive putting National into power?

The Maori Party MPs have already made much of their willingness to go with whatever major party offers them the best policy concessions for Maori.

As recently as Waitangi Day, Maori Party MPs were talking up their own relevance by proclaiming that they will hold the balance after this year’s election. Obviously a strategy that involves holding the balance of power logically requires that the party be genuinely willing to negotiate with both Labour and National.

Read the rest of this entry »


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