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How history will remember Len Brown: scab, coward, judas

Written By: - Date published: 7:23 am, March 9th, 2012 - 86 comments
Categories: accountability, class war, democracy under attack, leadership, len brown - Tags: , ,

86 comments on “How history will remember Len Brown: scab, coward, judas”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Within five years no one will remember much of him – nor of the current Auckland port strife.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    No wonder Helen wouldnt touch the Greens

    • Shane Gallagher 2.2

      ?

      • Te Reo Putake 2.2.1

        A reference to the emotive headline and sprout’s political leanings, Shane.

        • the sprout 2.2.1.1

          that’s how i interpreted it – despite my not actually being a green, although i’ve appreciated their willingness to speak up on the issue

          • Shane Gallagher 2.2.1.1.1

            Oh okay! :-) Good post!

            – I had Jinty MacTavish (an environmental activist turned Dunedin City Councilor) on a radio show I host and she was very proud of the fact that she had helped persuade the DCHL to have a statement of intent that was aligned with the goals of the DCC and took into account the four well-beings of the city – environmental, cultural, social and economic – instead of just the profit motive. Something that Auckland Council should look at doing – that way they can tell POAL to behave like normal human beings and not how they are behaving right now.

            • Pete George 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Shane, do you think it’s POAL bad, MUNZ good?

              • Shane Gallagher

                All the way! POAL represent the 1% and are driving slave conditions. They want the workers to be at the beck and call of the port and have no security of hours or pay. Imagine the stress of that on your daily life.
                – Can you pay the bills this week?
                – Can you feed your family this week?
                – Are you going to miss your kid’s school play or help out with taking them on school trips?
                – How about if you are a single parent? This would stop you being able to look after your child. You would have to leave your job and then how do you look after your child?

                For a Christian (Peter Dunne is one I believe) I would ask you what is more important – their family life or the supposed “flexibility” that is demanded? None of these rich managers would work like this. It is called hypocrisy and we all know what Jesus thought of hypocrites.

                • I understand the problems with wage insecurity – but if POAL and MUNZ were able to work together properly that should be able to be minimised. Instead they are both making a mess of it – I’d be very surprised if that level of dysfunction in a relationship is all one-sided. Hence Len Brown’s and David Shearer’s positiions?

                  Are Greens being deliberately quiet or are just not reported much on this?

                  I really don’t know what Peter Dunne’s religious situation is, that’s his private life. The PoA dispute is not a religious issue anyway.

                  Work ‘flexibility’ has become very common, it has disadvantages for sure, but also advantages – even for some workers.

                  What would be better generally for society – 300 workers earning 90k a year, or 400 workers earning 67k?

                  • Shane Gallagher

                    Pete – when you are a Christian you are always a Christian as far as I was told… I am not one myself you understand but I was well versed in theology by my family many of whom were priests and nuns. :-) So Peter D can’t get away with that excuse :-)

                    POAL have had an agenda from the beginning to break the union – the union has negotiated in good faith and was working constructively with management to improve productivity. This is purely generated by the management – MUNZ have simply done what any union would do in this situation.

                    The Greens have been very supportive and have condemned POAL and I have pasted one of our latest Press Releases for your perusal… The press have not been publishing our statements. It happens sometimes :-)

                    “Ports Of Auckland actions in sacking workers disgraceful

                    The Ports of Auckland’s actions in sacking 300 staff sets a terrible precedent for all workers in New Zealand, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

                    The Ports of Auckland today announced it is making its striking workers redundant and will contract the work out.

                    “The Ports of Auckland’s actions in dismissing staff because they are in a union and willing to stand up for decent work practices, including regular shifts and time with family, is appalling,” said Dr Norman.

                    “The Government’s legislative changes in the last term have set the scene for employers such as the Ports of Auckland to clamp down hard on workers and unions.

                    “John Key should realise that we will never catch Australia by driving down New Zealand wages and working conditions. We will just make New Zealand workers poorer.

                    “The Mayor of Auckland Len Brown and the Auckland Council have sat on their hands over this dispute for too long.

                    “It’s time for Mayor Brown to take a stand in support of the workers that voted for him,” Dr Norman said.”

                  • Vicky32

                    Work ‘flexibility’ has become very common, it has disadvantages for sure, but also advantages – even for some workers

                    You think? I have had only casual work for the past 3 years, and there are no advantages to it that I can see. (Nor to my ’employers, really.)

                  • Zetetic

                    false dichotomy. the choice isn’t crappy work or no work. They have good conditions and the company is profitable now.

  3. James 111 3

    The man that was voted in by the left cant be involved in this dispute. He has to take into account 1.5 million Aucklanders. Not just the wishes of 290 workers, and a few Union delegates who want to keep outdated practises that dont fit in with a competive economic environment. ( mods by the way my week is up)

    [lprent: you missed this one.. Don’t disrespect the moderators because I need them more thn I need you. ]

  4. And when they turn on their own it’s even less pretty.

    • Craig Glen Eden 4.1

      People who stand for nothing but their own gain always struggle to understand, why those with a social conscience do care about others .

      Len Brown is a disgrace Im not sure he could ever redeem himself.

      Peter George would never be able to get his head around the lefts disgust of Browns inaction after all this is the guy that thinks Dunn ( the traitor) is doing no wrong while selling his Nations assets which will only make its citizens poorer.

      • Gosman 4.1.1

        Ah! But they will make us richer before they make us poorer (If you catch my drift).

  5. Whoever is free should come to Auckland university at 12pm today, Len Brown will be there to answer questions. We need more support for the workers there!

  6. Dr Terry 6

    I once supported Len, but no longer. I am, in fact, even beginning to wonder if John Banks could have been any worse! Of course, Brown appeals to the law to justify himself. Even if this is true (which I doubt) he would do well to remember morality, humanity, natural justice. On Campbell Live he meekly admitted that he wishes that the wharf workers had complied with their stinking bosses demands. How convenient for him this would have been. The only thing I would pity Brown about is that he has to contend with the likes of Christine Fletcher and her pals.

  7. queenstfarmer 7

    David Shearer has certainly taken a very neutral stance. Here’s the opening words of David Shearer’s interview with Larry Williams the other day:

    WILLIAMS: You’re backing the union here, Mr Shearer, are you?

    SHEARER: No, I, what I said, and you ah you, you ah quoted me correctly is that I was really disappointed to see where it had got to today.

    Are you saying that history will remember David Shearer’s Labour Party as scabs and cowards too?

    • Gosman 7.1

      The trouble is QSF the Labour party is failing to fall into the cunning trap that we have laid for it. It is refusing to stay still long enough for our allies in the MSM to blast it with the anti-Union rhetoric we’ve been storing up. Still, enough pressure from the left wing activists might encourage it to change their position.

    • There are certainly lessons in what will become of len brown that david shearer and his caucus would be wise to take note of.

      A handful of labour MPs that have shown some solidarity with workers’ rights on this issue and good for them, david shearer however isn’t one of them.

      • Te Reo Putake 7.2.1

        Not actually correct, Sprout. Shearer has at least been on the picket line, has talked directly with MUNZ and the CTU and both those organisations are happy with his level of involvement, at this point.
         
        Brown is not a scab, either, by the way. That’s a very loose use of the word which has a pretty well understood definition in the union movement. Coward and Judas I have no problem with, because they accurately fit his behaviour.
         
        I’m told that Brown will not now be invited to the EPMU conference in Auckland later this year, where it was intended he be a key note speaker again. Given the large number of unionists who campaigned on his behalf, that might well be the final nail in his electoral coffin.

        • Frank Macskasy 7.2.1.1

          At this stage, international pressure is needed . If dollars and cents are all that Gibson, Key, et al, can understand – then that is their weak point.

          Short term it will inconvenience and even cause us economic “pain”. My response is,

          a. Long term we will benefit from a Union victory

          b. Any economic pain can’t be worse than the savage cuts to the state sector – 2,500 jobs lost already and more planned – and slash social services.

          We can’t back away from this one.

          • Gosman 7.2.1.1.1

            Yes, I’m waiting to see the Solidarity Union coming out in a mass action over this. No more Polish sausages for us for a while I imagine.

            By the way when are you going to do that blog posting on the current situation with the Gdansk shipyards Frank?

            • Frank Macskasy 7.2.1.1.1.1

              “By the way when are you going to do that blog posting on the current situation with the Gdansk shipyards Frank?”

              I’ll let you know, Gosman.

              By the way, how are you coming along on the current situation with your social skills? 😀

              • Gosman

                Much better thanks. I don’t instinctively bite people who spout economic BS, so you should be okay. 😉

                • I’m ecstastic to hear that.

                  And next time I’ll keep my “economic BS” simpler, with single-syllables, so you don’t get so confused.

                  • Gosman

                    Ummm… might I suggest you actually read some basic economic textbooks first before attempting to articulate any concepts (simple or otherwise). Then you might not mistake Balance of Trade with Balance of Payments for a start.

                    • No… that’s too complex for you.

                      Let’s start you off with basics…

                      Given;

                      (A)If a rich man has 100 bananas and a family of four; and a poor man has ten bananas for just him and his wife;

                      (B) the rich man owns the banana plantation

                      (C) the poor man has already earned 10 bananas for the rich man by picking him 100 bananas, and his labour is no longer required.

                      (D) and the Libertarian State has a flat tax of 10%, and no welfare.

                      1. How many bananas will the rich man pay in tax? How many will he have left?

                      2. How many bananas will the poor man pay? How many will he have left?

                      3. How long will the rich man and his family survive, @ 2 bananas each, per day?

                      4. How long will the poor man and his wife survive, @ 2 bananas each, per day?

                      5. Do you actually care about the poor man – or is he a “casualty of the economic system”?

                    • Gosman

                      What economic textbook is that from Frank?

                      People can make up examples of anything they like. It doesn’t mean it actually reflects economic reality. I prefer some real world examples.That is why I enjoy using Zimbabwe to highlight the wroing headedness of some of the leftist ideas.

                    • rosy

                      That is why I enjoy using Zimbabwe to highlight the wroing headedness of some of the leftist ideas.

                      Keep it up then we can confirm how people with an up-close and personal relationship with economic textbooks rarely have had the same with social, geographic and political history.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Economics text books = peer reviewed collections of lies and misunderstandings

        • the sprout 7.2.1.2

          and good on Shearer going to the picket, when the cameras weren’t around, and quietly talking to MUNZ behind the scenes. but why will he not come out more publicly with a statement of clear and unequivocal support for workers’ rights and the right to organize? is he ashamed of labour’s union roots or is it that he doesn’t actually support unionization? wouldn’t this be one time when it’s actually quite important to support a principle rather than a flawed focus group driven campaign ‘strategy’ of terminal invisibility and neutrality in the hope of sleep walking to victory on the back of National’s unpopularity? that just seems gutless to me.

          the term scab is used broadly and is a reference to the point made by the graphic illustrating this post, which is taken from the Save our Port facebook site, where references to Brown being a scab are common. in the sense of the graphic’s point, and in the sense that he’s working against the strikers’ interests, Brown is a scab. 

          • Populuxe1 7.2.1.2.1

            Yes, well, using the word scab “broadly” tends to devalue the force of its specific meaning. All sorts of people are called all sorts of things in all sorts of places – that doesn’t make give one carte blanche to do the same. Rather, it suggests a rather limited vocabulary of abuse on the part of the union. Brown is not actually “working in spite of an ongoing strike” as most dictionaries define the term. He’s a political whore/Judas/Iago/traitor to principle/hypocrite, but he is not a scab.

          • Te Reo Putake 7.2.1.2.2

            It would be fair to say that Brown has gone dog and is now a flea.

  8. Gosman 8

    Good to see the direction of your anger is now targetted towards the correct place. I can understand your frustration. I mean here is a guy that was elected on a broad left platform to counter the right’s efforts to control the Auckland supercity and he is acting like a common centrist. Almost as bad as the Labour Government between 1999 and 2008 who did nothing really to fundamentally alter the employment law landscape. Just diddled around the edges.

    • What economic textbook is that from Frank?

      People can make up examples of anything they like. It doesn’t mean it actually reflects economic reality. I prefer some real world examples.That is why I enjoy using Zimbabwe to highlight the wroing headedness of some of the leftist ideas.

      Apologies, Gosman. It appears that even my “banana metaphor” above was too complex for you. No wonder you couldn’t apply a solution.

      Shall we try something simpler?

      1 banana + 1 banana = ?

  9. Bill 9

    (Disclaimer: I haven’t been following this dispute as closely as I might because I experienced a certain ‘sinking feeling’ when I first heard of it as I imagined the union would embark on the same tried and tested strategies of failure it initially employed last time casualisation was on the cards.)

    About ten years ago, a similar ‘casualisation’ drive was unleashed on some of the ports in the S. Island. It was thwarted back then. But success was achieved…or succesful stategies deployed…in spite of union officials (some of whom are still ‘in office’).

    And ten years ago there was no involvement from the Labour Party and as far as I remember, no involvement from local government either. (I believe the Dunedin council has a stake in Port Chalmers, though I could be wrong)

    I’m curious as to why the union has apparently failed to learn from its own recent history and employ the successful strategies that won them the day back then.

    Anyone got any answers?

    • Gosman 9.1

      So what were the strategies that appeared to be successful down in the South Island Bill?

      • Bill 9.1.1

        As I said, I haven’t been following the dispute at all. But if it’s the case that scab labour is being used to work the port, then that scab labour has to get on site. And if that is the case, then that is the same scenario as existed ten years back.

        And ten years back, it just didn’t seem to cross the minds of those union officials who were calling the shots to simply prevent or obstruct any vehicles carrying scab labour. When initailly non-wharfies blocked scab vehicles, certain union officials were less than impressed. And those same union officials kept telling their members to not impede the access of vehicles.

        That situation eventually broke down and wharfies also began to obstruct vehicles. And it constituted a cost to the company in terms of money and efficiency. And when the company resorted to hiring vans to ferry scabs into the ports and those vans somehow attracted measures of damage, then that too cost the company and had hire firms thinking twice about who they’d hire vans to.

        And when CHH ships were going to be delayed in US ports, that wasn’t because of any action or request by the union or the CTU, but because of initiatives taken by people within their public support.

        It was the same story for just about every tactic, strategy or counter strategy employed. They came from outside the ranks of the union and the union officials only eventually got on board and lent their support (and even then, often very unwillingly from some…regardless of evidence highlighting how successful any given tactic or ploy was.)

        In a nutshell, a lot of direct action was used and the knowledge of how to deploy direct actions effectively and safely (from both a physical and legal perspective) came from outside the union.

        And it was the same for dealing with the media. The fact of the matter was that the union just didn’t seem to have much of a clue on that front either. And so the job of generating positive media coverage (or of avoiding negative coverage) fell largely to people outside the union.

        That was ten years ago. Some of the officials involved are still officials today. They could or should have learned something from all the input given back then, and yet…well, it just seems that nothing has changed.

        • Gosman 9.1.1.1

          I agree that the MUNZ’s PR has been quite bad and needs a bit of an overhaul.

          However I don’t see how you could stop contracted workers from entering the port completely. Certainly the Port could look to ferry them in directly from locations in Auckland that would be difficult to picket.

          Alternatively there could be a blockade of the port from the landward side stopping cargo getting in and out. Might be a bit bad PR wise though.

          • Bored 9.1.1.1.1

            Gos, you have all the time in the world (your output is prodigious)….so why dont we get you to run the POA? You profess to have all the answers, why waste them here, its all intellectual property. Get the job and do the damage.

            Should not be too long before POA resembles a Zimbabwean copper mine with requisite employment conditions……

          • Bill 9.1.1.1.2

            Well, I don’t even know the general layout of Auckland’s port. But I’m guessing there are multiple entry/exit points. So, yup. Compared to the smaller ports of Bluff, Port Chalmers and Nelson, the logistics would be more challenging.

            But where there’s a will there’s a way.

            Maybe shipping containers could somehow ‘magically appear’ and obstruct a number of entrance/exits? And maybe ignition keys for any lifting gear get ‘lost’ or misplaced or said machineries suffer mysterious and ‘hard to diagnose’ break downs?

            I don’t know.

            But the type of nonsence I’ve heard recently whereby other ports weren’t going to handle scab loads but subsequently caved because a court said it ‘wouldn’t be cricket’ has to stop.

            If a scab loads are prevented from leaving their port of destination…or at least delayed (which might be an easier thing to do if preventing it getting loaded in the first place is too problematic), then might that not encourage companies to ‘request’ their shipments be loaded by union labour?

            There must be a million and one ways to introduce chaos and delay to shipments. The union should at least be exploring its options and making it clear to members that it does not in any way condone actions such as x, y or z that members might feel inclined to involve themselves in with regards scab loads, as such actions would effectively cost port authorities money and have a negative impact on the port’s customer relations.

            • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.2.1

              Maybe shipping containers could somehow ‘magically appear’ and obstruct a number of entrance/exits? And maybe ignition keys for any lifting gear get ‘lost’ or misplaced or said machineries suffer mysterious and ‘hard to diagnose’ break downs?

              Indeed. There are a million and one imaginative ways forward.

              • Colonial Viper

                I’d also add that it’s Len Brown’s office which needs to be picketed, and every Council meeting which is held.

        • dave brownz 9.1.1.2

          Obvious. Mass solidarity strikes went for 151 days in 1951. MUA mass community picket won in 98. Dunedin community picket won ten years ago.
          Two months ago threat of ILWU plus Occupy mass picket won at Longview, Oregon.
          Results. Mass pickets win. Why don’t the union leaderships recognise this?
          The union leaderships don’t want to break the labour law which is the basis of their existence. They control the ranks unless and until the wider militant layers of workers intervene and rescue their struggle. They are ‘won over’ only when the ranks wake up and force them to move, until the next time when repeat performance as unions get weaker and weaker.
          Conclusion. Unions need to be controlled by the members and act independently of both the bureaucrats and the labour law. Occupy was born as an outlaw wildcat movement.
          Union ranks + Occupy = new labour movement, both democratic and militant (potentially).
          Will enough workers realise this and stand up in time?
          http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/new-zealand-auckland-port-employers-out.html

        • just saying 9.1.1.3

          I was talking about the SI dispute ten years ago.

          • Bill 9.1.1.3.1

            Your clarification (of what?) has confused me 😉 Are you referring to your comment (9.3) below ?

            • just saying 9.1.1.3.1.1

              Damn – the delete button doesn’t work.
              Just a misunderstanding when I thought you were replying to my comment. I thought I’d deleted it before it was even seen.

              As you were.

              [lprent: Yeah the crazies who took over the re-edit code are playing silly buggers. Weekend fixup. ]

    • Why have the unions folded before the neo-liberal attacks. They all havnt, but they were bashed about by Labour’s Rogernomic counter-revolution that destroyed full employment the basis of the welfare state. Bill Anderson once admitted that he made a mistake in shutting down the dispute at Marsden Point to help Labour get elected in 1984! LOL
      Then Nats ECA in 91 was met by staunch union resistance like the seafarers and timberworkers but sold out by Ken Douglas of CTU who said a general strike would undermine his power to negotiate with the Nats. What he meant was he would try to do a deal with Nats by getting workers to be more productive (more exploited) and allow the bosses to take most of the increased value.
      In truth the labour movement has never been strong outside the militant breakawys of the Red Fed 1908-1913 and the TUC walkout of the FOL in 1951 because its been run by bureaucrats who are the loyal servants of NZ national capitalism.
      Nearly 30 years of neoliberal crisis economics has weakened the unions to the point where they use the ERA as a crutch and wouldnt know a wildcat if they fell over one.
      MUNZ was chosen by the NACTs as one of the few holdout unions that has put up a rearguard action in defending their historic gains.
      This is a 1951 type campaign by the bosses to destroy the unions and ride roughshod over workers rights and all resistance to total domination of the economy. Unless the working class rises up to stop it welcome to the rip, shit and bust return to the colonial 1890s.

    • just saying 9.3

      Remember it well Bill,
      Might’ve seen you there when I joined in once or twice, but I tended to try and hide in the tea tent, due to the inflammable levels of testosterone from police and protesters alike.
      As I recall the dispute was won because the workforce stood firm, and the scabs who were bussed in were, I think, all out of towners.

      It took/takes support from the wider community. Lot less of that in general in Auckland imo. It would have been resolved sooner with better politcal and union support.

  10. Zeroque 10

    Yes it is disappointing. It makes me wonder what current politician (if any) would have stepped in. Based upon what Brown says, it makes him look like just another neo-liberal. Or maybe it was just the characteristics of this situation that turned him away from doing anything.

    This is unfolding at the same time that more is becoming understood about the link between a falling labour share of wealth and inequality and poverty. Stronger collective bargaining laws for workers is probably what’s needed rather than a relliance on any polly of the day stepping in to steer a dispute one way or other.

  11. Is it the union part of Labour that runs the “it’s always someone else’s fault” lines?

    That neither Len Brown nor David Shearer have backup the union actions (as well as just about everyone else outside some of the unions) could suggest something? Just possibly?

    Workers should stand up for their rights and if they choose should lobby their cases in unison. But as Bill suggests, it might just be union leaders shitting in their member’s nest.

  12. Pete 12

    I’m sure Len will be very worried that some 1% -ers no longer feel the love.

  13. As could have been expected, like almost every other politician, Len Brown is making excuses – afraid that if he took action and did what is right he will encounter blow back. No pollie wants blow back and they will work against what they know is right in order preserve their career.
     
    They kid themselves with excuses like “You have to pick your battles” or “The law doesn’t allow me to do anything”.
     
    Meanwhile, workers and their families are callously jettisoned to keep afloat a career, (one that may sink after all).
     
    Len Brown is not a conscience-driven leader but a big cry baby.
     

  14. HappyGoLucky 14

    My understanding is that Len doesn’t operate in isolation. He’s got around 20 advisors of various capabilities in his office to help drive his vision. Such advisors include the so-called whiz kid Conor Roberts, who helped Len get elected. Others include PR experts like Glyn Jones and policy wonks like James Bews-Hair.

    It’s simply atrocious – where are the Labour advisors in Len’s office, and what the hell are they thinking?

  15. From Len Brown’s Facebook page;

    As you will have heard, our port company has announced it intends to introduce competitive stevedoring. I am disappointed the two parties down at the port have so far failed to settle their dispute and achieve a new collective agreement. I continue to be in contact with both sides and they are very aware of my concerns about the consequences both for Auckland as a whole and for the families directly involved. My powers to intervene are severely limited.

    My response to him, left on his Page,

    Mr Brown, you say your “powers to intervene are severely limited”. Yet, Auckland City Council is the shareholder.

    Can you then explain how the Shareholding Ministers of SOEs are able to instruct the Boards of SOEs to prepare their Enterprises for sale?

    How can some shareholders have “severely limited powers” whilst others have the power to sell bits of New Zealand willy-nilly? This is what folk cannot understand because it simply makes no sense.

    If your powers are so “severely limited” – what the heck is the difference between electing you, or that muppet John Banks??? We might as well put Fozzi Bear in the mayor’s seat and be done with it.

    http://www.facebook.com/lenbrownformayor

    • Gosman 15.1

      I didn’t realise YOU elected Len Brown Frank.

      How amazing that you seem to live in Wellington but vote in Auckland local body elections.

  16. james 111 16

    [deleted]

    [lprent: still banned.]

  17. Jenny 17

    How history will remember Len Brown…..

    THE SPROUT

    Primarily, I think that history will remember Len Brown as a liar.

    “The issue is, there is a huge temptation for me to throw myself into the middle of this, and I could.
    As the mayor of this city I’ve got a mandate and we certainly have the power
    because the company is 100% owned by our council on behalf of you all, and so I could get in amongst that.”

    Len Brown, From the Council Transcript PDF

    http://static.stuff.co.nz/files/Counciltranscript.pdf

    “The real challenge if I step into this, we have six other companies that we own that manage Auckland assets, like Watercare and Auckland Transport.
    Every time they have a problem, do I step myself into that?”

    Len Brown, From Council Transcript PDF

    http://static.stuff.co.nz/files/Counciltranscript.pdf

    After originally claiming that he had “a mandate” to, “on behalf of you all…. get in amongst that” Len Brown has changed tack and is now claiming that as the Mayor of Auckland City “My powers to intervene are severely limited.”
    No mention of “I’ve got a mandate” or “Certainly hav(ing) the power” here.

    http://www.facebook.com/lenbrownformayor/posts/345615525479663

    Len Brown choses to be a liar, because he knows being open in his support for this brutal attack on the ports workers, would dismay those mostly working people who supported and voted for him in the Mayoral elections.

    http://static.stuff.co.nz/files/Counciltranscript.pdf
    static.stuff.co.nz

  18. lefty 18

    Len Brown is a social democrat. Selling out the workers who support them is what social democrats always have to do when the going gets tough because they are capitalists and the needs of capital will always come first.

    Capitalists need to wage class war to maintain their priviliged position within the unfair society their system creates.

    Those who pretend there can be a fair capitalism are either liars or deluded.

    You cannot serve two masters. You are either for or against the capitalist system. If you are for it you have no right criticising Len because you would ineveitably end up selling out workers if you were in a position of power.

    If you are not a capitalist you should not be surprised at Len’s actions.

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    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    3 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    4 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    4 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    4 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    4 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    4 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    4 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    4 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    5 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    5 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    5 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    6 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    6 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    1 week ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    1 week ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    1 week ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

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