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An Occupation Occupied. What’s Next?

Written By: - Date published: 3:31 pm, October 22nd, 2011 - 70 comments
Categories: activism, community democracy, democratic participation, political education, Politics - Tags: , , , ,

I’m not sure where the call for solidarity action on O15 came from. But from scanning through the OWS pages, it didn’t emanate from there. (How could it when no-one speaks for OWS?)

From what I can gather, the pre-planning for the occupations in New Zealand involved a not inconsiderable input by the authoritarian left, ie organisations that have hierarchical internal structures; that operate from a rather particular interpretation of history that informs and guides their agendas; and whose members adhere to prescriptive ‘solutions’ and interpretations of contemporary political events (the ‘Party Line’).

In Dunedin, the pre-planning for the occupation of the Octagon involved the input of the International Socialist Organisation. In other centres, it appears that Socialist Aotearoa were heavily involved.

The result of that particular genesis is predictable (see here) and contrary to the spirit of Occupations elsewhere.

Whereas other Occupations from across the globe espouse ideals of democracy, inclusiveness and horizontal organising, in New Zealand the occupations are heavy with the influence of hierarchy and project a degree of exclusivity.

In contrast to Occupations here, OWS is not exactly awash with the banners of organisations who would proclaim to ‘hold the key’ to the solution for the occupiers’ problems or concerns. The reason for that should is patently obvious to any critical observer. The people in Wall Street are seeking (by various means and through experimentation and revision) to formulate and develop their own democratic structures. Some hope this will empower them and enable them to forge their own future to some greater or lesser degree.  In other words, the people in Wall Street are attempting to develop a movement that is predicated on ideas of substantive democracy; a democracy that allows and encourages the involvement and empowerment of individual citizens. This stands in stark contrast to the disempowering hierarchical, representative democratic structures we have become used to and that demarcate the democratic potential of liberal or traditional organisations.

It is this, and not the plethora of issues peoples’ discontents revolve around that is at the core of the Occupations. And it is this that frustrates and stymies attempts by traditionally structured organisations to either understand what is going on or to insert themselves into proceedings. The media and the authorities want a list of demands they can focus on. The organisations of the authoritarian, prescriptive left want likewise. Neither of these anti-establishment or pro-establishment camps can deal with nebulousness. They cannot understand it. They cannot engage with it and so cannot co-opt and control it. They are politically impotent in the face of ordinary people developing and exercising democratic processes that they themselves control.

Sadly, that’s all half a world and a million miles away from what has happened in New Zealand. In New Zealand, the occupations were contrived. And the structures and habits of the organisations that pre-planned the Occupations have flowed through to and infected them.

In Dunedin’s Octagon, there is no concerted effort to develop and establish resilient and inclusive democratic structures. Token gestures are made and lip service is served to democracy. There is a theatre of democracy on display. But there is no underpinning substance. It is claimed that decisions are subject to consensus, but the observed reality is that consensus is only applied where no opposition to the position held by the dominant faction within the occupation is put forward. Otherwise, questions are decided on, or sidelined via, manipulation of the inadequate decision making processes in use. Important questions or issues are not routinely explored at length and in depth in any organised fashion before a decision is called for through the ‘open mic’.

Meanwhile, practical suggestions that would promote and encourage the development of democratic procedures and practices are being deferred and/or opposed.

There are people involved in the occupation who desire the development of democratic structures and forms. Some are not very experienced and are, anyway, in a bind. Too many things have been done in a less than democratic manner and are now established fixtures of the landscape. Getting them undone is no easy task. In fact, it’s probably well nigh impossible given the situation that has now developed.

To give just one illustrative and literal example of this, (and there are many others besides) the Octagon has various banners on prominent display that, ironically, represent examples of the very organisational structures that the people of OWS and elsewhere have rejected and are forging alternatives to. (Organisational banners for the PSA, Unite, Mana, the ISO and …Save Alan Hubbard.)  Some of the people occupying the space understand that these create a psychological hurdle to would be participants in their occupation and create a less than inclusive environment. The inference these banners make is that to be a part of the Occupation, you are offering de-facto tacit support or endorsement to the various positions, causes or programmes on display.

And they want them removed.

But how do people who want to act via democratic means undo something like that when (maybe half?) of those present overtly associate with, and/or endorse what the banners represent; can’t see the occupation as anything beyond an opportunity to paddle their own canoe and, quite frankly, have no interest in any developments that would, by necessity, silence their organisational voice in order that individual citizens gained theirs?

In an odd way, the position of some of the people occupying the Octagon reflects the very position that the people of OWS and elsewhere were in before they began their occupations. Before they began their Occupations, they had no real voice and, if they wanted to participate in decisions affecting their lives in any way at all, they were compelled to pick and choose between, or offer some level of support to, competing representative options that were presented to them.

People of OWS and elsewhere have walked away from that particular paradigm of agency and are forging alternatives. Occupiers of the Octagon on the other hand (and I suspect the same is true for other Occupations in New Zealand) are mired in it.

The Occupation has been occupied.

Can it be ‘un-occupied’? And if it can be, would those left – those who were genuinely concerned with matters of democracy and individual agency – would those people be willing to spend the next however long in Occupied Spaces (maybe a couple of years or more), waiting for world crises to bite hard enough on New Zealand’s middle class and deliver a potential ground swell of support?

If not, then leave it to the conspiracy theorists and the authoritarians. And know that next time around you will have a heads up on what to expect and also some ideas (which can be worked on in the interim via regular discussion, networking, workshop initiatives etc) on how to protect and nurture an environment conducive to genuine expressions of democracy and empowerment.

At the end of the day, hype can be beguiling and consuming. And it’s hard to walk away from something you have invested time, energy and emotion in. But I think people have to walk away from these so-called Occupations in New Zealand. The Occupations here are not emulating the Occupations of elsewhere and worse, are offering up a sad parody of the very political environment that others are Occupying in opposition to.

[edit: In light of many comments made and so, for the sake of clarity, this post was intended to compare and contrast only the dynamics present at the Occupation in Dunedin at the time of writing with the practices and themes of the general Occupation Movement and ought to be read in that light. It was not intended as a critique of the all the Occupations under way in New Zealand. That said, I acknowledge that an assumption on the political make up of other Occupations was stated and made.] 

 

[Update: it appears the issue of organisational banners being hung in the Octagon, as well as other matters relating to better expressing the democratic will of the Occupiers has, or are being, addressed]

70 comments on “An Occupation Occupied. What’s Next?”

  1. Shocked and Awed 1

    I agree the banners should be taken down and the movement become more anonymous. I was at occupy Auckland and the extent of the presence you mention is simply not there.

    But to say walk away? Really? Cut off your nose to spite your face?

    If “walk away” is the best option then perhaps we should all just “walk away” and not vote at all because after all its all just too hard?

    Or perhaps just “walk away” and become RWNJ tories also and vote national next election??

    I say that you need to get a clue.

    • prism 1.1

      S&A Give us one or more clues then – it is hard to offer something viable, easy to diss from the sidelines as an observer.

      • Shocked and Awed 1.1.1

        Its funny because your statement is possibly very hypocritical.

        I have been there donating stuff, making suggestions and helping. And like I said I have not seen this at Auckland. (possibly it does not exist at the others apart from the banners also but I cannot say either way)

        So WHO is dissing from the sidelines as an observer???

        How about get involved and use the democratic process to change the movement? Or are you saying they are non-democratic also? (edit: I see he is, but since my experience is not at the same place – who knows?)

        FFS people. This is your one and only shot at being relevent. (being worldwide) You fuck this up by being a whining cynical no-hopers and there is not going to be another for some time, possibly not in your lifetime.

        It was NEVER going to be perfect and it was NEVER going to be the way you wanted it to be. That is life, suck it up or shut it up.

        So I say again: get a clue.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          And if there is no meaningful democratic process, what then? (Yes, I hear you say that’s not the case in Auckland.)

          I think we agree that democracy should be a central theme, yes? And we agree that democracy is not about a perfect reflection of an individual’s wants and desires, yes? But what about when individuals are denied a voice or their concerns ignored becasue a particular power structure has been established that exists to serve a particular section of Occupiers? What (seriously) do you suggest people do when hierarchical structures and those employing them have moved front, center stage?

          • Carol 1.1.1.1.1

            Bill, your posts seem to me to be overly focused on a fairly loose notion of hierarchical structure. This seems to be related to the neccessary constituent factor of an authoritarian/dictatorial dominance by the few over the many. I’m not totally convinced that all hierarchies are bad, and all groups based on direct democracy are good.

            Why are all hierarchies bad?

            I ask this because, in past times I was also very committed to anarcho-syndicalist ideals and notions of democratic leaderless groups. This was very much seem to me the way the women’s movement in London was when I participated in it. This did indeed make it difficult for opponents to undermine. However, this movement was eventually undermined & decimated by Thatcherism and neoliberalism. From this I learned there needs to be a clearer understanding of how the wealthy & powerful elites operate in order to find a way to struggle against them. It’s all very well to be idealistic about leaderless groups, when they are actually shown to be unable to challenge the real centres of power.

            As neoliberalism began to bite, there were articles in publications like The Guardan, criticising the British women’s movement for not having produced some identifiable, well-known feminist leaders that the general public could recognise, as had happened in the US. This was seen as a weakness of the British women’s movement in the long term. I don’t really agree with this, but I do think there is a case for having some public spokespeople that can express some important views related to mass movements to the general public, so they can get a better understanding of what they are about – otherwise all people see of them are the distortions published in the MSM.

            Another thing I learned from my time in the London’s women’s movement was that, even when groups aim to be leaderless and non-hierarchical, some people become more dominant than others. This can be because they express themselves well, are well liked, put more time and effort into the group than others, and for various other reasons. Without an identifiable structure, that may in some ways be hierarchical, it’s hard to stop some people dominating, and in a way that can sometimes be more destructive than in some more hierarchiaclly organised groups. And in fact, the dominance of some individuals or small groups is what happens in the blogosphere and other forums, albeit within the relatively non-hierarchical wider structure of the internet.

            I do think there’s a difference between having large organisations organised as rigid, authoritarian hierarchies, and small groups within a networked movement, some of which may be more hierarchical than others. It’s when one group starts to dominate all the others that there is a major problem. But would this ever happen with a loosely connected network of groups distributed around each country and around the globe? e.g. Dunedin occupiers may be more hierarchically organised than other occupy groups, but is that really going to undermined the largely networked and democratic nature of the whole occupy movement?

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I completely take your point about ‘informal’ hierarchies forming regardless of ‘structural aids’

              I can only relate to my own experiences that occurred within the context of a workers/housing collective. Knowledge/skill sharing certainly lessened, or had a levelling effect on some hierarchies. Very well facilitated meetings lessened or flattened out others. No income disparity between people and no people competing for income also had a positive effect. A culture whereby you took a part in decisions only to the extent they affected, or were likely to affect you, also mitigated the rise of hierarchies.

              And as I’m sitting here thinking about it, I guess there is a difference between (say) arguing the political or philosophical direction of a group…especially when that group and its members exist within and in opposition to an environment dominated by the dynamics of various ‘other’ hierarchies…and living a daily life that is away from, or beyond the influence of that whole environment.

              I’m aware…or believe…that people inhabiting the upper echelons of a given hierachy have a lot more power at their disposal and that it tends, eventually, to be used negatively. eg A benign dictator creates the wherewithall for a malign one.

              back to your comment.

              Having spokespeople is fine in my view, as long as those spokepeople make it abundantly clear that they are voicing their own opinions/reflections ( and that is regardless of whether those opinions/reflections have been ‘created’ for media purposes or not) and not a hard and fast line that is applicable to every one. ie, that they are voices, genuine voices, but not representative voices.

              And I’ve expressed something, somewhere in the post badly. I haven’t suggested…or didn’t mean to suggest… that Dunedin can undermine any other part of what is happening. My point of concern is that Dunedin has been undermined…or that its democratic integrity has.

              • Carol

                Thank-you. These are very useful and thoughtful points in your response, Bill.

                I’m hopeful that we are seeing a strong oppositional movement and related narrative with the occupy movement – more hopeful than I’ve been in decades. I don’t see it as being entirely new, but a further development from the globalisation and anti-capitalist movements that have risen and ebbed over the last decade or so.

                This morning watching the reports of teachers protesting in Spain, it seems to me that oppositional narratives are gradually growing in legitimacy globally, and undermining the dominance of TINA.

                I can’t really comment on Dunedin as I know nothing about it’s polical groups or occupy Dunedin. I hope things canmove in a more positive direction there.

  2. Hilary 2

    What a strange post. One of the most interesting things about the whole Occupy movement is the number of people wanting to tell the Occupiers how to do it better or differently, not the way it has organically evolved. A certain Standard poster/United Future candidate is a classic example, and the latest Listener’s editorial and Black page offer other variants of the theme. This is a new paradigm without individual leaders and without a hierarchical structure, and that is very hard for many people to understand, including supporters who have found that their individualism or traditional leadership style is not welcomed, however well intentioned.

    I was one of the hundreds of NZers who have been following the Occupy Wall St movement since before 17 September, mainly via Twitter and Facebook as it took a long time for the mainstream media to pay any attention. So when I noticed a message on Facebook about a Wellington planning meeting I went along. It was obvious very soon that this was not about individuals or organisations running anything, but an inclusive collective movement with people contributing as and how they felt. Some mentioned their union or party identities which were not a problem, but anyone who did try to do the individual leadership thing was quickly brought back to the collective as the decision making body. People have been very careful to not be spokespeople for anyone apart from themselves, and it seems that Occupy Wellington has adopted the twice daily inclusive group meeting or assembly for resolution of any issues, that was an early factor of OWS. Not that I have physically participated in the Wellington Occupy, apart from briefly, as there are other ways to contribute.

    So the poster here should go down to his local Occupy and participate in the assembly and put his case for doing it his way, and if the consensus is not to support his individual way of doing things then deal with the bruised ego and move on, rather than running the whole movement down.

    • seeker 2.1

      Well said Shocked and Awed and Hilary. My mental balance is now restored thanks to you after reading Bill’s weird post.

      I think you are witnessing participatory democracy Bill rather thant “substantive”. It is, I believe, a truly wondrous and special human happening. Open your eyes.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Baker
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_democracy
      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/participatory+democracy
      http://upsidedownworld.org/main/venezuela-archives-35/2090-moving-beyond-representation-participatory-democracy-and-communal-councils-in-venezuela

      • Bill 2.1.1

        Seeker. The post is quite explicit (or I thought it was). OWS, ie the people on Wall Street, appear to be developing ways to practice effective participatory democracy. And I absolutely celebrate that!

        But that is not what is happening in Dunedin. Not by a long shot. Now I could, as I’m thinking some people are doing, close my eyes to the reality in front of me and just keep on repeating “This is democracy. This is democracy”.

        Except I can’t do that. For me, empirical evidence triumphs over any wishful thinking every time.

        Which then leads me to ask (and I’m not the only one asking this down in these parts) what the hell, if anything, can be done within the current local context as it really exists right now that could reverse the paucity of democratic decision making etc.

        • seeker 2.1.1.1

          Thanks for replying Bill. Give Dunedin time, at least there is participation even if there is a “paucity of democratic decision making at the moment”. There is no timetable, evolution will occur one way or another.

    • Bill 2.2

      Hilary. There is nothing ‘organic’ about an organisation holding meetings and deciding it will occupy space (a) on such and such a date and that it will do it in such and such a way. I’m not saying there is necessarily something wrong with that, hell….a bit of pre-planning to occupy and take over the runnning of a workplace would go a hell of a long way and be an absolute necessity.

      My point is that if organisations involved in the pre-planning are built around and use the concept of hierarchy, then the result of their organising efforts will, by necessity, be hierarchical. And the authoritarian, prescriptive left are very hierarchical.

      You suggest I “go down to his local Occupy and participate in the assembly and put his case for doing it his way…” well, I have been down to the local Occupy. But there is no question of me putting a case for things to be done ‘my way’. That would be a nonsense. There is, in my opinion, only two ways to do things. They are either done democratically or they aren’t. At my local Occupy, things are not being done democratically. But don’t take my word for it. Go down to the local occupy in these parts and talk to people.

      There is hierarchy. There are leaders. Their influence (that of the leaders) is expressed by the homogenous output of their (hierarchical) organisations members….the ‘party line’. Note. This wouldn’t matter so much where large numbers of people were present and where their influence would be naturally diluted. But we are not talking of huge numbers. We are talking of numbers well within the range whereby ‘numbers games’ can be used effectively.

      It also wouldn’t matter quite so much where genuine democratic procedures or systems were being used or developed because it is much, much harder to manipulate good democratic processes to your (or your organisations) own ends.

  3. Bill the rightwing libertarian troll is becoming a regular here.

    “Individual agency” in capitalist society is that of the alienated bourgeois subject (ABS), a cypher resulting from the expropriation of our our labour value by capital, and its attribution to the commodity as an external value, so that the ABS tries to actualise him or herself as consumer of fetishised labour value. Thus is born the bourgeois fiction of market equality of ABSs. The ABSs then gather in the town squares and say no taxation without representation and they are reborn as bourgeois citizens.

    When after several centuries they are intolerably overtaxed and under-represented they yearn nostalgically for their creation myth of origins. They try to reconstitute the religion of the pure citizens gathered in the town square worshipping pure democracy. Such is the libertarians dream.

    Meanwhile capitalism has long departed its mythical origins and now denies even the most basic human rights to its citizens. The time is ripe to explode the ideology of market fetishism and to expropriate back the centuries of appropriated labour value concentrated as the wealth of the 1%. As is happening everywhere this means abolishing the ABS and creating the liberated collective agency of the proletariat the 99% metaphorically.

    OWS is the least conscious expression of this desire because it is at the heart of the capitalist beast and its protagonists are struggling to climb out of the mire of US pragmatism the philosophy of what works for the US is best for us. Much more conscious are the workers of Greece who show the way to #occupy in the form of a national strike that unites all the 99% in the face of the collapse of Greek capitalism. It is only a matter of days and weeks before this Govt falls posing the question of what a real revolutionary occupation would be. What is needed is not a retreat into the worship of the fetish of the ABS but the material reality of the proletarian commune.

    • Bill 3.1

      Dave. In the ‘material reality of the proletarian commune’ or the ‘liberated collective agency of the proletariat’, an individual would be free, right? And that individual would have agency, right? Not to do exactly as they wanted, but subject to the social context they existed within and which they themselves had positively and in an ongoing basis contributed towards, yes?

      And freedom minus a social context is meaningless drivel, yes? Kind of rightwing libertarian drivel. Not anything like leftwing libertarianism at all. Because leftwing libertarianism recognises that a social context is a necessary precursor to any meaningful freedom for us as human beings, no?

      • dave brown 3.1.1

        Well we are living in an historically specific capitalist society. And as individuals we are members of social classes. Our agency is as individuals organised as a conscious class. The 1% are ruling class which are extremely well organised. The 99% are mainly working class who need to get united and organised. The occupations are a step to the left. But all revolutionary change proceeds via contradictions. I think that the occupations in NZ will develop along the lines of the Greek struggles as NZ is heading for a serious crisis like that in Greece. Another NACT government should bring it on quickly. A Labour government would also do pretty much what PASOK is doing in Greece. So how to organise a general strike to bring down the government would be my question. As a collection of individuals without banners or with banners that do not call for collective action? Hardly. I hear that OWS has agreed to a Robin Hood tax. But that won’t get rid of the the Sheriff of Nottingham let alone the King. But its early days and the ranks of the unions are joining up. The Million Worker March which opposes both main US parties for example. Would you object to me bringing a banner calling for a general strike to overthrow capitalism as authoritarian?

        • Bill 3.1.1.1

          No.

          But do you see the difference there is between people highlighting their own particular concern (or group concern) on placards/banners that carry nothing besides the particular message or concern they are most focussed on and banners that carry, not just an immediate message, but an ‘organisational rider’ that comes with all types of other baggage attached?

          If, (and it’s fairly common) a person agrees or is attracted to a particular message, but is put off by the messenger, then there is a potential for an unnecessary loss to occur.

          Imagine if you like, the same demands that are presently being made, being made by members of the Catholic Church. That’s not diffiicult to imagine. But then imagine that every demand was presented as though it cames from the Catholic Church rather than from Catholics. eg every demand was accompanied by, or visually associated with some religious iconography?

          Which scenario would be more likely to be inclusive, which more exclusive, or do you think there would be no difference?

          • dave brown 3.1.1.1.1

            Bill I think you attach far too much importance to symbols or icons. Capitalism is full of them. We are surrounded right now by RWC flags particularly the All Black ‘national’ flag which carries a lot of ‘baggage’. I nearly took a communist flag on the 15th but ran out of time to alter the hammer and sickle so that it would not be taken for either a Stalinist or Maoist stain on the the original hammer and sickle. So I was mindful of the iconography.; My point is we should be upfront and state our position. I don’t expect people run in terror from a communist flag. A movement that cannot honestly confront all the baggage carried by itself, including all the personal history of alienation under capitalism we all carry, will not stand up to the ruling class.
            I am happy to give an account of my baggage. How about you?

            • Bored 3.1.1.1.1.1

              I nearly took a communist flag on the 15th but ran out of time to alter the hammer and sickle so that it would not be taken for either a Stalinist or Maoist stain on the the original hammer and sickle.

              I would have wiped my nose with it in memory of those Kronstadt “mutineers” so viciously repressed by Lenin and Trotsky, or perhaps those 60,000 Russians already in the proto Gulag at the time of Lenins death. I find your historic revisionism an insult to the victims of those murderous ideologues.

  4. prism 4

    A thoughtful post Irish Bill [Bill and Irish Bill are different people. r0b]. And I think a realistic point that there are few people bringing different agendas and ideas to the argument for how to get a better society. The organisations that still take an interest and act as proxies for many of us have been unsuccessful in denting the titanium surface of complacent and class- ridden attitudes so steeped in old thinking that even evidence of malfunction does not prompt them to question and protest for sharp change in direction, not left or right – which only leaves a leap upwards.

  5. PIB 5

    I respectfully and strongly disagree with your entire post Bill. It is the first post of yours that I have not agreed with! But some good points raised. I would go on to explain why I disagree with you but I have to go – I’m procrastinating hard >_<

  6. KJT 6

    What is your point.

    Left wing organisations support a movement for citizen power and against the takeover of our institutions for the benefit of a wealthy and criminal few?

    Surprise! Surprise!

    The occupations are organised?

    Well they would have to be. Nothing involving more than one person happens without organisation.

    Even anarchists have meetings!

    The decision making processes are not perfect and are still evolving?

    Of course. OWS is a new movement.

    • Bill 6.1

      What’s my point?

      My point is that left wing organisations that employ hierarchical organisational models can not and will not empower citizens. Quite the opposite. Such organisations have, rightfully in my opinion, been marginalised…their influence nullified… by OWS. If they had been allowed to assert or impose their organisational models, then OWS would not be in the throes of developing genuinely democratic structures, procedures etc.

      I’m not in any way against organising. That would be stupid. But I do recognise that there are different organising models. And the methods or structures employed will determine the nature of any outcomes. Bluntly, hierarchical models cannot deliver democratic outcomes. And if hierarchical models of organising were utilised in the pre-planning of occupations, then we would expect to see a democratic deficit show up in the actual occupations. Which, from what I have experienced down this way, is exactly what is being seen here.

      Meanwhile, I didn’t offer an opinion on OWS decision making processes beyond observing that they are, or seem to be, democratic. And they are developing and evolving. Which is all good. It is the resistance to focussing on democratic processes or of seeking to develop them at all, that I’m critical of. And that critisism is not (obviously) aimed at OWS.

      • Pete George 6.1.1

        I was told at Occupy Dunedin today that “we should get rid of democracy and start again”. On Wednesday it was suggested we should have no central government.

        They didn’t say if we get to vote on that.

        They are adamant they shouldn’t move from the Octagon to another site offered by the council, and are unconcerned what other people think about this.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    What a wimpish post from Bill. The Greeks are indeed cutting to the chase in a manner more to my liking, but in reality each country will develop a response to global capital according to the understanding and organisation of the people. All the better if it can be coordinated beyond nation state borders.

    New Zealand ‘Occupiers’ identifying with OWS looks like solidarity rather than usurping to me. If demands, rather than analysis, are made that would shift resources and power from the 1% to the 99% prepare for the clampdown.

    • Bill 7.1

      I’m not saying that Occupations here are usurping the Occupation Wall Street. I’m saying that the Occupy here (at least Dunedin, and sure, I shouldn’t have made assumptions about other Occupy presences, but I did, so hey) is at wild varience, and in some ways diametrically opposite to, Wall Street and their core ethos, and values, their practices and so on.

      In other words, the Occupy here has been usurped.

      • bbfloyd 7.1.1

        in accurate words… the occupation, in your opinion has been usurped….. that is all…. to make sweeping generalisations regarding the rest of the country is less than wise considering the effort being made to convince us what an undesirable presence the international socialist organisation is…. which is, with respect, arguable as well…

        it struck me as well written nitpicking more than a serious attempt to create any better understanding of whatever issues may face this particular attempt to highlight the wholesale theft of our childrens future…

        the overriding impression this post reinforces is the sheer number of commentaters that really don’t want this occupation to succeed in any meaningful way….i can smell an agenda…

  8. Hilary 8

    I have possibly been too hard on Bill. It is really painful when you pour your heart and soul into something and then others don’t see it your way and don’t appreciate all your efforts. Maybe Bill is young and hasn’t much experience of this – but unfortunately it is the way of almost all political movements and probably even any old committee or board. Collective consensus is a major heartening feature of the OWS movement and the general assemblies seem to be the main tool to sort out issues. So I would assume that in Dunedin there has been agreement that party and union banners are OK although they have not been a feature of some other areas. But it is an evolving movement, in for the long term, and who knows where it will go. I would urge you to cool off for a while and then go back and have another go at participating, and if your values are aligned the other issues should become less of a big deal.

    • I have been told in Dunedin that there is to be no politics, only personal opinions. That’s in direct contrast to reality. One version of politics is obviously allowed.

    • Bill 8.2

      Collective consensus is a major heartening feature of the OWS movement..

      Not in Dunedin. But that was made fairly explicit in the post.

      To be honest, I don’t know how ‘democratic’ the decision to allow partisan banners to be displayed was.

      But from my observations of a total lack of consensus or attempts to develop democratic structures; from the lack of opportunity to discuss matters and explore them before a decision is called for and discussion being manipulated via the open mic, I’m reasonably confident in saying that that decision did not result from any informed consensus.

      Now, taking that to be the case, even if just for arguments sake, care to suggest how a decision arrived at by undemocratic means could be reversed by people wishing to employ genuine democratic practices? Bearing in mind that some people there most definately want to ‘fly their flags’?

      More broadly, how does democracy get inserted or reinserted into proceedings when the horse, so to speak, has bolted and when only a proportion of the people there desire it and when only a proportion of the people there want to explore and develop democratic ideas and practices?

      • The Baron 8.2.1

        This whole banner thing seems to be your major beef here.

        Surely the right of individuals to fly whatever flag they want is exactly what you’re looking for as party of your democratic model of free participation.

        Or are you looking for democracy to legitimating how YOU want the Dunedin protest to be run?

  9. kbrown 9

    Those who can, have left.

  10. Solidarity works in many ways and the international nature of the occupys reinforces the message IMO. I love the fact that many can’t get their heads around the movement – that really gives me hope. My issues have not been about the various groups that would use the opportunity to push their agendas, but rather the general ignorance about the various indigenous struggles that underpin any ‘occupation’ but those issues are being addressed I think. Some of the reports I have read have made me quite sad – that a person of colour has to go through ‘white’ privilege 101 is unfortunate but how else is the mesage going to get through, if not one at a time because the privilege is personal as well as collective.

    a couple of good links

    http://www.racialicious.com/2011/10/03/so-real-it-hurts-notes-on-occupy-wall-street/#more-18224

    http://turangawaewae.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/to-occupy-or-not-to-occupy-the-power-of-words-and-images/

  11. Uturn 11

    In open mic today there is a post by William Joyce that lists some of the slogans people of OWS have created. Read them and see how diverse are the concerns and how varied the attitudes and how many different perspectives are coming together.

    and here the original post confirms this: the OWS movement illustrates the tensions within the modern man, fighting to be an individual and also a member of a group in equal parts; he has his own ideas, but realises he cannot work alone and he knows that the old holds no answers while the idea of utopia through politics is doomed to fail. Everything he does is a catch-22, a contradiction, but he still searches for an answer.

    The defining feature, for me, of the movement is that these things have finally been expressed by so many at once. The simmering tensions are now out in the open and the struggle has been openly defined. People are now communicating to each other that they are searching, together. How important this is cannot be overemphasised.

    The Standard has allowed the OP opinion to stand in a place where it is alternative to a large proportion of the views normally posted. It is another example of a coming together of divergent views in an effort to find something new.

    That the OWS is not immediately returning a measurable, recognisable, definable result is not to say it has failed. It has suceeded because it has happened at all.

    • seeker 11.1

      A very good comment Uturn especially “It has suceeded because it has happened at all.”

      • LynW 11.1.1

        I agree seeker, an excellent posting from Uturn. I also found William Joyce’s list of slogans wonderful with its diversity and thoroughly support the closing comment re its success.

    • just saying 11.2

      In the long run I don’t think we can underestimate the ongoing struggle we are going to have finding ways to work together as the diverse 99 percent. The interests of different groups and individuals are gonna clash. Huge amounts of goodwill towards different opinions and world views is essential and there will be lashings of bickering, offence, hurt feelings, hostility, competitiveness, clannish factionalism, nastiness, and every other problem that stems from our humanity. Each individual will be dealing with their own unique set of isms.

      We can do it because of all the good things that also arise from being human (although we may not). One of the hardest things, imo is going to be finding ways of supporting each other in being outside of our comfort zones together.

      But then, for reasons outside our personal control, all our comfort zones are beginning to crumble away already, and people are aware of it

      What pisses me off is the comfortably-off commentators with not many years of ‘what the fuck are we going to do’ yawning ahead of them saying NZ isn’t ready for this movement – we’re still too comfortable – we aren’t suffering enough. Apart from arrogantly writing off as insignificant, and underestimating the extent of the large numbers are who are suffering suficiently actually, and have been for some, they also seem to be oblivious to the very real plight of being young at this time in history. And it’s not about it being a long wait for middle-class kids, till they can inherit their parents wealth, (as some say) and its nothing like the protest movement and living with the possibility of global nuclear annihilation that their parents might have experienced. Things are very different now.

  12. From what I have seen of the Wellington occupy movement it is completely non-hierarchical. When they came over to back benches for example they had no planned speaker it was simply who was closest and had an idea and they very much took the stance that they have no stance yet and it could take years to have one as they were going to decided by consensus.

    I haven’t been taking part myself because I am working as part of what exists currently rather than seeking a new way forward but I respect their aims and will gladly help them so long as my “helping” doesn’t end up being obstructing.

    If you don’t like the banners at your local occupy group. Go down there, call a meeting and say you aren’t happy with them being there because they make you feel alienated. Maybe people will listen, maybe they won’t but it makes an awful lot more sense to try that then telling people to give up on the movement nationwide because you don’t like your nearest one.

  13. I wonder what you think of this bill – btw I enjoy your posts alot.

    “As Occupy Los Angeles rounds out its third week, other groups that have set up camp on City Hall grounds have added to the movement’s various voices.

    On the south side of City Hall, flags representing Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico, among others, plot off an area where members of the Indigenous Peoples’ Committee have pitched their tents.”

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/10/occupy-la-protest.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lanowblog+%28L.A.+Now%29

    So if for instance a Māori group set up a flag, a camp, a visible presence then would that be different to a political party, or union. (As an aside i would be surprised if this hadn’t happened already but no TV and a long way from the cities means I am not up to speed on every occupy in this country.)

    • Bill 13.1

      The camp in the article is, from what I can gather, separate from other camps, yes? Like, there are various camps dotted around the show. And in that instance, people could visit or not visit various camps etc depending on their own politics/prejudices etc.

      But am I right in assuming you are asking more about an instance whereby a Maori group set up a flag within the parameters of an occupied space? (And in a NZ context, probably quite a small one?)

      In the latter scenario, I’d be of the opinion that, just like union or political org flags/banners (and whether or not I agree with them), they give a prominence and volume…an elevation…to a particular facet or message of an occupation at the expense of other facets. And unless the entire assemblage agreed to its being flown, it should be lowered.

      Any written/printed information etc that the group has…or any group has… should be displayed and made available on the same basis as all other info (whether ‘whoever’ agrees with that info or not, and even if it flat stick contradicts other available info).

      Other ways of getting a message across, ie through talking or running workshops etc, would be their affair.

      Now, where’s the hook? Occupation is going to come into this, innit?

      • marty mars 13.1.1

        Thanks bill

        I suppose looking from another angle that if it was an occupation dedicated to say tino rangatiratanga and if other groups wanted to support that, then their banners etc would be in reinforcement to the overall cause being highlighted – everything being displayed aligns with the reason for being there.

        anyway, good post and discussion – thanks again

        • Bill 13.1.1.1

          Actually marty mars, on reflection….the flag is essentially a demand expressed in pictogram (if that’s the correct term) form.

          It is a demand for sovereignty. And it doesn’t belong to or represent any organisation.

          So….it should be allowed to be flown.

    • This is sort of the case in Christchurch. We have several flags flying – a New Zealand flag, though a couple of people aren’t too comfortable about it due to the prominence of the Union Jack and the colonial symbolism, a rugby one, the Canterbury flag and the rangatiratanga. We also use quite a fair bit of Te Reo when speaking – speckling sentences like talking about wharepaku, greeting people with “ata marie!” or “morena!” or occasionally a couple of people with more fluency will speak entirely in Te Reo for a brief conversation. When I mentioned (Un)occupy Albuquerque changing their name out of respect to indigenous people in New Mexico I got a very positive response, though we haven’t discussed doing it ourselves and most likely won’t. We also reached out to Ngai Tahu and local marae to open lines of communication with them. The activist community in NZ is fairly closely tied to Maori in my understanding, and particularly since October 15 was the four year anniversary of the dawn raids!

      OTOH we would absolutely not allow a Mana party banner – political parties are banned by full consensus. We haven’t had unions wanting to put up banners so not sure on that. One of our more well-known people is with Unite union and he is very, very careful to explicitly state that he is *not* there as a unionist and he is *not* an organiser or leader of Occupy. But we do have support from several unions including the nurses’ one especially since we’re camped just across the road from the hospital.

  14. Afewknowthetruth 14

    The ‘Occupation’ in New Plymouth is devoted to raising awareness of basic truths about the money system, the economic system, the political system, the hierarchy of power, corporate cotrol of society etc., and how they are impacting on the lives of people and the environment.

    At this point of time it is very much a grassroots movement which has no connection with any particular organisations. Long may it remain that way.

  15. just saying 15

    I think you need to give the movement a chance Bill.

    I appreciate that you fear that an authoritarian takeover will ruin it, as this problem has ruined other movements you have been involved in, and that the banners are a kind of ‘thin end of the wedge’.
    Maybe part of the answer could be more banners : schools, workplaces, clubs, religions, streets, particular hobby-horses*….. And maybe they could be located, together, in just one banner park at the venue to emphasise that the people are occupying as individuals representing themselves.

    Also it would be a shame if you, and people like you, didn’t lend your knowlege and skills. Have you raised the issue of the problem of a takeover and discussed it with the occupiers? I’m sure there is always room for compromise, and nothing has ever been or will ever be perfect. Maybe you could be part of a kind of anti-authoritarian watchdog for the group.

    The ‘usual suspects’ will always swoop into movements like this. The trick is always going to be managing them. Your knowledge could be very valuable here. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    *At the moment I’d be keen to join a a ‘Fuck off Pete Squirrel’ faction, and would volunteeer to make the banner myself…………………………………however that would not be in keeping wtih what the movement is about – not exactly inclusive.

    • Bill 15.1

      Just saying.. that’s a bloody brilliant suggestion…a cacophony of not necessarily meaningful banners just might be a way to go. Thanks :-)

      btw who or what is Pete Squirrel?

      • just saying 15.1.1

        Just another party trying to use the occupy movement for personal power and other gain.

        In my chrystal ball I see a bid for mayor once he has built up his profile sufficiently….

        • Pete George 15.1.1.1

          Wrong – my whole approach to politics has been to initiate a better democratic process – semi direct deomocracy – in Dunedin. I am trying to do that within the current political system. Ie I am using the deomocracy we have to try and make it more democratic.

          The concerns Bill has over Occupy Dunedin (I don’t know enough about other occupations) are similar to my concerns, on two levels.

          I’m concerned about the level of Mana, Green and Union involvement in OD. That seems contrary to basic principles of the Occupy movement. Isn’t it?

          I’m concerned about the faux democracy – on an occcupation organisation level, but more importantly on a national level.

          Dave Brown said:

          So how to organise a general strike to bring down the government would be my question.

          Several people I have spoken to at OD have talked about scrapping our current democratic system and replacing it with something new.

          Derwin Smith, presumably the person behind the Socialist Aotearoa and Mana presence at OD, has said:

          As revolutionaries we must be very clear. Our enemies are the employing class… and their lackeys in parliament.

          Our task is clear – we need to build a fighting workers movement. This is a task of decades not months.

          As part of this fighting movement we need to lay the foundations for a mass workers party so when the time comes – there will be the political clarity and militant leadership needed for the working class to overthrow capitalism and institute a truly free society – one democratically controlled by the workers.

          Troy Janson has been involved in OD since the organisation stages:

          Political Views Vote No Confidence! the system has failed and we need a new system that actually works for the people and with more say from the people

          Troy said OD will issue a statement soon outlining their aims. I hope it explains what democratic process they intend to use to initiate the huge political change they want.

          They have made it clear they intend staying in the Octagon until they achieve their aims.

          I remain sympathetic so some of the aims and principles of the Occupy movement.

          I am opposed to one small group taking over a significant Dunedin amenity “indefinitely”.
          I am opposed to the apparent aim of a small group to dump our current democracy.

          This is far bigger than my political (improving democracy using existing democratic processes) ambitions. And I find it ironic that my use of democracy is criticised.

  16. Martin 16

    Another question is: If the police came and tried to do a clear out, as they have done in many other cities including Melbourne, where would you stand? With the Occupiers or with the police?

    Incidentally, I hear 92 year old Pete Seager joined the OWS march today, and they sang some 60s protest songs. Have we a NZ equivalent? (Tim Shadbolt?)

  17. Martin 17

    In New York police arrested writer Noami Wolf. Bad idea. Here is her story.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/19/naomi-wolf-arrest-occupy-wall-street?

    • Afewknowthetruth 17.1

      Martin.

      Thanks for that. It’s just further confirmation that the US is a fascist state.

      NZ is not far behind, of course.

      Presumably, once the election is over, the fasicts in both major political parties will push ahead with the agenda of further corpatisation of NZ society, together with acts of desperation to maintian the fossil-fuel-based ecoonomy.

      By the way, Harry Donothing (ex-Minister for looting the planet) is now mayor of New Plymouth> And guess what? He’s doing nothing to help the awareness group occupying Huatoki Plaza.

  18. You all talk too much and navel gaze whilst our country slides into foreign ownership and increased debt

    • Carol 18.1

      I don’t see it as an either/or situation. Political action and policy development needs to go hand-in-hand with reflection and the development of a narrative/s that will give any action direction and momentum, and that will serve to engage widespread support.

      • prism 18.1.1

        Carol That’s a good summary clearly stating the reality and what I think but couldn’t put so concisely and well.

    • Afewknowthetruth 18.2

      Mary.

      Please don’t include me amongst the navel-gazers. I’ve supported the NP group every day for the past week, and not just with words.

      Hopefully others will start doing the same.

  19. See for yourself and make your own mind up – Occupy Dunedin

  20. happynz 20

    It appears that TV1 has decided to have their news readers refer to the Occupy ______ (fill in the location) movement as the ‘Anti-Capitalist’ movement.

    Quelle horreur! Across the land the blue-haired tea and biscuit crowd will soon be clinking their cups against saucers with an almighty sigh, ‘Oh dear…tsk tsk tsk. Communists. That’s not nice. Not nice at all.’

    TV1…sheesh…

  21. Kerry 21

    The Occupy Otautahi group appears from the outside to made up prodiminantly from people not involved established radical left grouplings. This has seemed to have caused certain ruptions with some rather untrue slagging offs coming out of the local radical left and a rather unsuccessful taking over from one certain member of the ‘old left’.

    It’s not too surprising that the ISO is running things in Dunedin, who else is left down there?

    • lol, I would agree with that assessment of Ōtautahi! We have a couple of people who are pretty experienced in activism but a lot of new faces with no particular allegiance too. And heck, last night I was on security with four people each from different countries some of whom are just passing through, as I understand it.

  22. ‘Occupy Auckland’s communal kitchen under gazebo cover – received an “A” grade rating from Auckland Council within 24 hours of being established.

    Quite an impressive display of ‘people power’ – in my considered opinion.

    As a participant in ‘Occupy Auckland’ from ‘Day One’, and having experienced ‘democracy’ at the Auckland Town Hall and Auckland ‘Civic Building’ – I have to say I much prefer democratic decision-making of our daily ‘Occupy Auckland General Assemblies’.

    NZ is currently being led by John Key, an ex-Wall Street banker, who was a foreign exchange advisor to the privately-owned New York Federal Reserve, and was in charge of ‘derivatives’ when he worked for Merrill Lynch.

    If ‘derivatives’ have played a crucial role in bringing down the global economy – how much responsibility is/has John Key taken for his previous role as head of global foreign exchange, European bond and derivative trading when he worked for Merrill Lynch?

    We thus have a direct link with those who started the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement in New York.

    Our current NZ Prime Minister John Key was one of those Wall Street ‘bank$ters’, at the highest level.

    Isn’t it time for John Key to stop trying to pretend that he’s part of the NZ ‘99%’ – when he clearly is part of the 1%?

    In my considered opinion, John Key’s corporate packaging is starting to fall off, and as New Zealanders learn more about his Wall Street ‘bank$ter’ background – support for him as Prime Minister and the National Party – will continue to plummet……………

    Penny Bright

  23. Martin 23

    Interesting comments about Occupy from Matt McCarten. Even conservative old Chris Laidlaw on Radio NZ this morning is featuring it including commentators from Wellington Occupy and those in Tunisia and Spain

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10761021

  24. John W 25

    Right on about our PM gangster. A lot more could be added . He is complying with the orders to run us into debt while demolishing our public infrastructure shifting it into private hands. The banker has no conscience having committed robbery selling junk as AAA rated.

    Bill your post is less than helpful. Also get rid of the BMW luxury car add from your sponsors.

    [Bill: I don't own or profit from 'the standard', John W and I don't have sponsors.]

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    On the Left | 30-10
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    Thirty-odd years ago in the Kingdom of Denmark lived some brave people who disliked nuclear power and loved renewable energy. Determined to keep their country clean and safe, they began building their own wind turbines. Today, thanks to these passionate...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • TPPA Bulletin #58
    NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014 Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin,Invercargill. REGIONAL UPDATES Auckland (1:00 pm at Aotea Square): speakers include Robyn Malcolm (Actors Equity), Bunny McDiarmid (Greenpeace), Dayle Takitimu...
    NZ – Not for sale | 30-10
  • Seabed mining: drums in the deep
    Out on the Chatham Rise, the ridge jutting into the waters off Christchurch and extending out beyond the Chathams, Chatham Rock Phosphate has a mining permit and is now seeking EPA approval for its project to mine phosphate for fertiliser,...
    Pundit | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today.“Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so again...
    CTU | 30-10
  • Contact’s big solar buy-back drop bad news for Kiwis with solar
    The Green Party are calling for a law change to establish an independent umpire to set fair and reasonable buy-back rates after Contact Energy announced, from today, new small scale solar and wind generators will receive 50 percent less for...
    Greens | 01-11
  • John Key’s asset sales outed by his own Minister
    National needs to come clean about the motivations behind selling state houses after Paula Bennett's asset sale admission, said the Green Party today.On Saturday, Paula Bennett, the Minister for Social Housing admitted, in a televised interview, that the sale of...
    Greens | 01-11
  • James Shaw speaks on the four Bills formerly known as the Accounting Infras...
    The assurance industry is a critical component of our economic framework. The idea that there is a trusted independent watchdog of the public interest underpins investor confidence and ensures financial probity on behalf of our country's leading institutions. New Zealand...
    Greens | 31-10
  • ANZ needs to look after its workers after another super profit
    The ANZ bank needs to acknowledge the super profits it makes are coming at the expense of its workers, the Green Party said today.Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 2014 full year results show a lift in performance...
    Greens | 31-10
  • James Shaw’s maiden speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • National’s “Auckland housing boom” a fizzer
    Falling Auckland consent numbers show the Government’s housing policy is going backwards contrary to wild claims by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith that we are on the cusp of a massive construction boom, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Local job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must
    The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Return to less holidays on the cards?
    John Key needs to lay his cards on the table regarding the Government’s intentions around holiday pay and annual leave entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “A day after National pushed through laws that take away the legal...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Catherine Delahunty Speaks on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • The Nation: Lisa Owen interviews Mike Moore & Chris Liddell
    Lisa Owen interviews NZ Ambassador to the US Mike Moore and corporate high-flyer Chris Liddell about the US midterm elections....
    Scoop politics | 01-11
  • David Parker event – the future of work, Sun 2 Nov
    Labour leadership candidate David Parker, an experienced lawyer and businessman as well as a former senior government cabinet minister in the Helen Clark Government, will join three prominent New Zealanders in a panel discussion on Sunday to address...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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