Workers Party registered today

October 3, 2008

The Workers Party today became a registered political party. This means that in the upcoming 2008 general election for the first time a hard-left party will be able to contest the party list vote and be on the ballot paper in every part of the country!

With just a month to go to election day we don’t need to worry about peaking too early : )

Workers should be running the country!


All things bright and beautiful

September 27, 2008


(Wellington Central WP candidate Don Franks’ opening 5 minute address to Karori community election meeting 24/09/08)

Good evening folks, thanks for inviting me to your election meeting here in the pleasant surroundings of Karori. I was brought up in a similar nice suburb on the other side of Wellington, over in Eastbourne. There, at Sunday school, I used to love singing the children’s hymn “All things bright and beautiful”. I still recall all the words, including the closing verse: The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, He made them high and lowly and ordered their estate. I now realise that the song wasn’t really a cute child’s fancy, but a self-serving reactionary political statement.

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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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Wellington Central candidate supports bus drivers struggle

September 24, 2008

- Workers Party Media Release

” Wellington bus drivers have been treated like shit” says Wellington Central Workers Party candidate Don Franks.

“Its a rotten system where hard working folks can be legally locked out for refusing poverty wages.”

“As I said to these drivers at the depot first thing this morning their cause is fully justified and deserves the support of all other workers” Mr Franks said.

“By standing up to the boss and demanding a better income the drivers are taking a stand which will benefit the whole working class.” Mr Franks concluded.


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.


The best type of government?

September 2, 2008

The Workers Party recently received an enquiry from a high school student trying to get in touch with the New Zealand Communist Party. The year 9 student wanted to ask a few questions “concerning a project on whether democracy is the best type of government.”

Philip Ferguson replied:

We’re actually the Workers Party, not the Communist Party. The CP no longer exists and we are not descended from it. Our organisation contains a variety of views on historical questions - some people are pro-Mao, some are pro-Trotsky and some have no particular historical identifications.

Does your party support independence from Britain, and if so, how could this benefit New Zealand?

New Zealand is independent from Britain and has been for quite a long time. The British monarch may be the formal head of state, but that is a mere formality. For instance, the governor-general, in whose person the monarch’s (limited) power is vested, is appointed by the New Zealand government. In fact, New Zealand gained representative institutions back in the 1850s and the major decisions about what happens politically in New Zealand have been made by the New Zealand state, government and ruling class ever since then.

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Secret donations: the real concern

September 2, 2008

- Eli Boulton


Winston Peters, leader of the xenophobic New Zealand First party - and, ironically, the Foreign Minister as well - has been caught accepting secret donations from various rich businessmen, in particular Owen Glenn, a New Zealand millionaire based in the tax haven microstate, Monaco.

Peters has been slithering around the issue, first denying it, then saying he “only just found out about it”, then claiming there is a “big difference” between NZ First getting secret donations and other parties getting secret donations.

In typical capitalist parliamentarian fashion, both Helen Clark and John Key have pulled their punches when it comes to denouncing Winston Peters, in the hope they’ll get his support in the next coalition government.

It is interesting to note that at the same time as they were backing the anti-democratic Electoral Finance Act, which stipulates that all donations and campaigning costs must be accounted for, they were accepting secret donations themselves!

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EPMU leaders’ strange behaviour

September 1, 2008

- Don Franks

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Labour’s Goods and Services tax, Listener columnist David W Young wrote:

” The reason GST is much-loved by right-of-centre policy wonks in New Zealand and marvelled at by their colleagues overseas, is that it’s “pure”. (Finally, a tax that right-wingers like!) GST wasn’t adulterated to make it palatable to the masses. Calls to exempt food, education and health were rejected by Douglas and Brash’s committee. The few exceptions are rents on residential rental properties, donations and financial services.”

Young noted:

“The biggest concern about GST was that it would disproportionately harm the poor. That argument, made strenuously by unions and mainstream politicians in the 1980s, has shifted over time to the fringes of debate. It’s based on the fact that GST is effectively a regressive tax, because poorer people spend a greater proportion of their income than the rich, who put more into savings.”

(”Happy Returns”, Listener Dec 1 2006)

Today, argument about GST is continuing inside the trade union movement, but with some union leaders opposed to the wishes of their rank and file.

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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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Video: Christchurch campaign launch

August 26, 2008

Below are the speeches given by Christchurch Central candidate Byron Clark and Christchurch East candidate Paul Hopkinson at the official launch of the Christchurch Workers Party 2008 election campaign last month.

Byron speaks on the problem with the ‘mainstream’ parties, and Paul on the alternative offered by the Workers Party.