A short history of The Standard – Maoriland Worker

Written By: - Date published: 3:22 pm, June 21st, 2015 - 43 comments
Categories: history, The Standard - Tags: , , , ,

There were some ridiculous statements by Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog Bombast earlier this month continuing his snide comments about this site. His claims that the Labour activists founded the original Standard back in 1936 are bullshit. He gets there by ignoring the history of parent publications and where they formed from.

Clearly the bombastic author of that post was written by someone who spent his education in obtaining a master of  ill-informed juvenile ranting rather than learning much of history of the local labour movement (or much of anything else). So I dug around to see what I could find on the net about The Standard 1.0 and it’s parent publications to give that Mr Bombastic some remedial education in the local history that he is so clearly lacking.

The first in the chain of publications that led to this site was started 5-6 years before the Labour party even formed. It was likely that it’s publication helped to form coalescence that became the NZ Labour party.

The Maoriland Worker was launched by the Shearers Union from Christchurch as a monthly publication. The first publication was published on 15th September 1910, stored at Papers Past as a sample copy.

Maoriland worker

Click for an interactive version at Papers Past

The formation copy was evocative of how the labour movement ran its best publications then and now. Voluntary, largely donation based, and based around cooperation between people widely separated by location and beliefs.

In typical style and very like the formation of the current Standard, the launch was a shot in the dark based on the idea that the best way to find out if something worked was to simply start the damn thing running and see what happened afterwards. So they funded it for four costly editions to see how it went.

Towards the cost of these four issues, the N.Z Shearers’ Union will gladly receive contributions from Unions and Workers in sympathy with the movement to establish a Dominion Labour Paper.

10,000 copies of this Sample Issue have been printed, or which 5,000 have been distributed free through the post to wage-earners all over the country districts of New Zealand, and 5,000 will be distributed through the various trade unions and other bodies of organised labour.

There was a call for volunteers to contribute to the publication in a tradition that we continue to this day.

Workers all over New Zealand are requested to send in signed articles for publication. Union Secretaries are particularly requested to send along reports of important meetings, etc. The Editor will be very grateful for the receipt of marked papers, news, or notes on any kind which readers may be good enough to send.

On comments letters to the editor, there is a familiar note – a plainly stated blunt statement of how why trolls and dumbarse comments weren’t welcome.

The object of this paper is to promote the solidarity of labour, and the Editor therefore reserves the right to exclude such letters as mitigate against this. No objection will be taken to strenuous fighting for a principle, provided the “fighting” is done on the lines laid down by the Marquis of Queensbury, and NOT on the lines of public-house brawling.

Our current equivalent is in the about

We come from a variety of backgrounds and our political views don’t always match up but it’d be fair to say that all of us share a commitment to the values and principles that underpin the broad labour movement and we hope that perspective will come through strongly as you read the blog.

And the policy statement that starts as

We encourage robust debate and we’re tolerant of dissenting views. But this site run for reasonably rational debate between dissenting viewpoints and we intend to keep it operating that way.

Most of that first issue bears an uncanny resonance with the reasons why the authors of the present day descendent publication continue to toil on the publication of this site and how they do so.

Obviously the appeal worked because in 1910, the “Red” Federation of Labour (not to be confused with the later Federation of Labour started in the 1930s) asked Robert Samuel Ross, a well known Australian socialist journalist, to become editor. He started in 1911 in Wellington, a post that he held until April 1913. That with the enthusiastic volunteers pushing the publication gave it a good solid start.

The position of this chain of publications is well stated by Papers Past

The Maoriland Worker is widely considered the most important publication of the New Zealand labour movement. Early in the 20th century the labour movement had two main strands – those wanting revolution and those working for reform and both had publications reflecting their views. Militant trade unionists did not fit easily into either camp. The Shearers’ Union in Christchurch felt the full weight of press condemnation after a 1910 wage dispute and decided to begin their own paper, The Maoriland Worker, as a monthly. The newspaper was produced in Christchurch for a short period, with Ettie Rout and Alexander Wildey prominent. When the shearers’ and miners’ unions combined forces, the paper now represented the ‘Red’ Federation of Labour and, early in 1911, moved its publishing office to Wellington.

The paper, now a weekly, grew rapidly in circulation and influence under the editorship of Australian Bob Ross. It had a circulation of 8,500 by 1912 and 10,000 by the beginning of the next year. It was at the centre of the Federation’s push for socialism. Unionists were enthusiastic ‘paper boys’ and there was a network of voluntary correspondents around the country. The Maoriland Worker’s editorial policy was firmly behind industrial unionism, international co-operation among unionists and pacifism.

The Maoriland Worker was produced to a high professional standard and included some of the most penetrating political cartoons of the period. Ross had left by 1913, and his replacement, Harry Holland, was later leader of the Labour Party. Holland was charged with sedition for his coverage of a waterfront dispute that snowballed into a general strike late in 1913. He was sentenced to a year in prison, and served a little over three months. When war broke out shortly afterwards, the Maoriland Worker took an uncompromising international socialist position and Holland editorialised that world revolution was at hand. He left the paper in 1918 when elected to Parliament at a by-election.

The weekly continued to express its radical views through the war years and until the early 1920s. During the First World War it struggled with libel costs, censorship and police harassment. In October 1921 The Maoriland Worker carried two poems by the noted British war poet Siegfried Sassoon. Three lines of ‘Stand to: Good Friday Morning’ attracted the attention of the authorities and the paper’s publisher was charged with ‘blasphemous libel’. John Glover was tried in the Supreme Court in 1922, still the only such case in NZ legal history. The trial was held at a time when any dissent was suppressed wherever possible and politicians were preoccupied with maintaining ‘social order’, religion an important component of this. Glover was cleared of the charge, but the jury added a rider to its acquittal noting that the publication of such material should be discouraged.

In 1924, the publication’s name was changed to the New Zealand Worker. The paper’s sub-title also changed. It went from ‘A journal of industrial unionism, socialism and politics’ to ‘A New Zealand paper for New Zealand people’. Although trade unions still funded its publication, control now rested with the Labour Party. The radicalism softened rapidly and substantially as the Labour Party sought electoral respectability.

As I will cover in later posts, successor to the NZ Worker was The Standard 1.0. It remained in the hands of the unions until its demise despite what the history deprived bombast thinks. However it became less about the heart and soul of the labour movement and more the publication engine of the parliamentary Labour Party. In my opinion, that eventual increasing proximity and control of the publication by the parliamentary Labour Party was part of the eventual problem of why The Standard 1.0 eventually died in 1960.

The volunteer effort of the early years fell away with the emphasis of the New Zealand Worker on getting a parliamentary wing for the labour movement. Trying to get and keep the parliamentary wing of the labour movement in parliament eventually shifted the focus in child publications away from  the many issues of the labour movement and caused it to focus too much on the politicians.

The other part of the problem was implicit in the the very first publication of the Maoriland Worker. Talking about subscriptions and those first 4 issues, the editor said

It will be understood, of course, that the cost of bringing out these four issues by contract with a job printing firm is much greater than it would be if the workers had their own printing plant and establishment.

As another contributor T. E. Taylor M.P. to the first issue said in “The Need of a Labour Paper

The final policy of all newspapers, except such as are established distinctly in the interests of a growing reform, is: Which pays best? In a haphazard way desirable reforms receive some encouragement at the hands of the commercial daily newspaper. Political reforms are given more or less commendation until the interests behind the Press feel themselves threatened, and then no degree of cunning or misrepresentation is too great for the editorial columns.

Apart from looking like the description of the current Mediaworks editorial policies, it also displays the issue about capital and funding. Ultimately the funders determine the course of a publication.

This can be seen quite clearly in the distortions that are the history of the Whaleoil blog. Because of its obsessive need by a broke (after his insurance disappeared) Cameron Slater’s need to please his larger funders of money and influence, the site would wind up getting into trouble doing the types of stories that please those funders. This is why Cameron Slater spends too much time in court. They’re still doing it today as far as I can tell.

The Standard 2.0, was deliberately designed by authors and myself who run it to be more like the early Maoriland Worker than Whaleoil or The Daily Bombast.

Having a small cost footprint from the start of The Standard 2.0 allowed us to run either on small donations or the minimal advertising we used for 4 years. We haven’t taken money from any organisation including the PR industry, political parties or even from unions like the Daily Bombast does.

The Maoriland Worker capital downfall

The announcement of the formation of the Maoriland Print and Publishing Company. 23rd September 1914.

In my view (as a fervent capitalist), there are some things that capital is useful for, but open political and social debate is not one of them. Having to get the funding for capital and operating costs to print the paper eventually forced the Maoriland Worker’s and its successor publications to compromise their voice to the detriment of our society.

The history of the tone of those publication’s voice walks side by side with that of their capital intensive printing plants. The formation of  The Maoriland Work Printing and Publishing Company, started in 1914 (see excerpt right) shows the need to fund the large expenditures in capital and shortfalls in operating costs. Funding that is what caused them and their successor publications caused them to get closer to writing what their funders wanted to hear over many decades.  But more on that whenever I get around to writing on those  successor publications.

Today because of the lowered costs of production in a digital age, we don’t need the fortune required for the printing company that was required for the Maoriland Worker. The £16,000 for the capital of the Maoriland Worker printing arm was a lot of capital in 1914. This was the era when the best tradesmen had annual incomes of less than £200. This calculator reckons that in the British coinage we were using at the time £16,000 == £1,648,815 today. That would be some about $3.7 million in current NZ currency.

But the current annual operating cost of the Standard is way less than $3,000 per year for server and bandwidth costs. The hardware capital cost is probably less than $2,000.

We can and do run a volunteer run and written ‘newspaper’ with far better circulations than the Maoriland Worker ever achieved because of those low production costs and the low distribution overhead. But also because we get content written by people who don’t want to be journalists or editors – we already have occupations. We write because we want to express our opinions. It means that the site is free unless someone like you reading this post feels like donating.

We can do it with no tolerated external interference apart from obeying the current law (something Cameron Slater apparently has issues with) and the odd polite request from organisations we respect like unions or leftish parties.

We do so with added advantage that commenters can add their views as well in near real time. Many of them are even more interesting than the posts that spawned their comments.

We’re very careful about how much money we accept from anyone and the influence that they proffer.We don’t take money from large sponsors, political parties, or even the unions.

We allow citizens to post their opinions under pseudonyms or their own names as they prefer. People from unions like Helen Kelly, Stephanie and other can write here, as can ex-politicians like Bryan Gould. They write under their own names. Currently paid politicians and their staffers are restricted to writing guest posts under their own name. Commenters can write what they like provide dthey stay within the bounds of our very liberal behavioural policies. No-one gets paid for anything. Politeness is strictly optional. Being legal is mandatory.

Having learnt the lessons of the past (and those of other blogs in the present), that is what we intend to continue to do. That is what having sense of the history does for you. You don’t fall into the same operational organisational traps that the Bombast (set up and still supported by union funding) and Whaleoil (apparently mainly arsehole funding) appear to have tripped into.

You can spend time looking through some of the publications of the Worker here.

43 comments on “A short history of The Standard – Maoriland Worker”

  1. Hateatea 1

    What a huge capital cost it took in the beginning. I am full of admiration for the commitment and courage it took to start that original paper. The paper free way is certainly cheaper and more tree friendly!

    Long live the current Standard and especially the ability to post comments irrespective of the party one votes for on election day.

    • lprent 1.1

      I am full of admiration for the commitment and courage it took to start that original paper.

      I couldn’t believe it when I calculated it myself. I figured that thousands of pounds would be a lot in that deflationary era before the first first world war. But millions?

      I did a hunt around for things like incomes and the cost of buying houses, and concluded that the calculator was within the right orders of magnitude.

      The reality was at that time that most of the hardware was horrendous because they hadn’t fully gotten into what we’d consider to be mass production today. The full-blown assembly lines that really dropped the cost of production only really came into vogue when the conveyor systems were perfected as a system, and that process only started about 1913 at Ford. That was why the capital cost was so high.

      But they also didn’t have the automated tools that we use here. Trying to write on a typewriter was for me a testament to how much frustration a tool could cause. Basic word processers simplified writing immensely, but also cost enormous numbers of jobs worldwide for printers and even editorial staff.

      Tradeoffs….

      • Hateatea 1.1.1

        There are always tradeoffs, not all of them benefitting workers!

        I was a bit bewildered when a girl to learn that my grand mother and great aunt had been ‘in service’ before they migrated here but once I researched the wages and conditions that families like theirs experienced as miners etc, it became more understandable. A home, food, regular income as a trade off for long hours of work in someone else’s home must have seemed a better choice than the alternatives.

        As we have become increasingly affluent, relatively speaking, we have ceased to look at ‘service’ as being a positive thing for both employer and employee and see it as ‘conspicuous displays of wealth’ or ‘the woman of the house being lazy’.

        I am not sure what the answer is but we need to be more creative at how employment is seen, trained for and paid for so more people in this wealthy country have employment that meets their physical, emotional, intellectual and financial needs. I expect that that was one of the goals of each of the iterations that proceeded the present Standard.

        • lprent 1.1.1.1

          It was.

          There was enormous social change happening at the end of the 19th and early 20th in both work and society. Maybe even more than now?

          One of my great grand mothers spent several decades around the start of last century in service. From the tales she used to tell about it before her death, it didn’t sound that flash as a living or lifestyle.

  2. Michael 2

    Very interesting, nicely done.

  3. Colonial Rawshark 3

    The volunteer effort of the early years fell away with the emphasis of the New Zealand Worker on getting a parliamentary wing for the labour movement. Trying to get and keep the parliamentary wing of the labour movement in parliament eventually shifted the focus in child publications away from the many issues of the labour movement and caused it to focus too much on the politicians.

    Exactly.

    The focus must be on debating and transforming the politics of the people. Not on electing this person or that person to power.

  4. Descendant Of Sssmith 4

    The refusal to accept Quackery ads was great and such quackery is a good reason for supporting a strong public health system.

    Much changes but the enormous inefficiency of the free market in producing bullshit for profit still remains.

    “yet the advertisements say they remove the conditions causing Blest, Scurvy, Piles, Boils, King’s Evil, Swollen Glands, Inflammation of the Eyes and Lids, Pains in the Sides, Back and Kidneys, Cough, Bronchitis, Pleurisy, Rheumatism, Wounds in the Legs and different parts of the body, Cancer, Pimples, Eruptions, Chilliness Headaches, Indigestion, Dyspepsia, Vomiting, Consumption, Toothache, Fits, St Vitus’ Dance, Liver Complaints, Yellow Jaundice, Depression , Stitch, Fever, Plague, Gout, Nerve Diseases, Lumbago, etc., etc. Dr “Williams’s Pink Pills contain sulphate of iron, carbonate of potash, liquorice, sugar, starch and colouring matter. Beecham’s Pills contain aloes, ginger and soap. Holloway’s Pills contain aloes, rhubarb, saffron, sulphate of soda and capsicum, and so on with various other
    “popular pills,” compounded for the most part of aloes and soap, and if articles , can be sold for several shillings which cost only a few pence, it is no wonder that patent medicine proprietors are able to publish advertisements in every newspaper in the world – a good thing for the newspapers, but a bad thing for the people.

    Soothing Syrups, as everybody knows, contain comparatively large quantities of opium, morphia, etc., whereby innocent little babies are ” drugged” in a rest as unreal as it is unwholesome. “

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.1

      Buying tens of millions of dollars of useless shit like Tamiflu then dumping it is the true “Quackery” of the modern day big pharma money go round.

      And don’t kid yourself with this kind of uppity superiority – “modern medicine” was still handing out arsenic and sugar pills those days. No wonder people were looking for alternatives back then.

      As well as right now.

      In the modern day, a corrupted, unethical medical research and medical research publication process is an endemic problem.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 4.1.1

        Don’t know where the uppity superiority comes from.

        The point I made was quite clear – quackery will flourish without a strong public health system. Our forbears knew quackery is a problem. and it continues today.

        That doesn’t mean the public system can’t be mislead either – Tamiflu is an example where studies showing it wasn’t as effective as it was supposed to be were suppressed and of course there’s a large amount of skepticism about it’s promotion due to Rumsfeld’s directorship of the company and his and other Republican’s million dollar shareholdings in that company.

        There’s also plenty of medical support to say that it’s not effective. I’d also argue that much of the rationalising of the purchase of it ($28 million worth I believe) was political rather than medical.

        The fact that Tamiflu’s active ingredient is largely star anise is also interesting. Having raised it as quackery one would think that you would support it’s also quackery when taken as a herbal tea etc. as well.

        http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/12/the-truth-about-tamiflu/307801/

        Look forward to the day when the multi-billion dollar supplement industry actually tests it products to any sort of decent scientific level. They make enough money to do so so why don’t they?

        • Colonial Rawshark 4.1.1.1

          The multi-billion dollar supplements industry is equivalent to about one quarter’s sales from GSK. And don’t forget that big pharma puts out its fair share of non-patented, non-researched supplements as well.

          • Descendant Of Sssmith 4.1.1.1.1

            You seem to confuse my support for a public health system where profit isn’t the motive with blind support for big pharma.

  5. bomber 5

    Your magnificent pettiness Lynn helps explain why the Labour Party had such a pitiful election last year. You have the social skills of a cancerous tumour.

    When I say ‘The Standard is a Labour Party Blog’, I don’t mean that MPs feed Standard Bloggers information for black ops purposes. They are in no way shape or form similar to how the Nats use Slater. I’m sure there is pressure and terse words at the way the Standard conducts itself at times, but nothing more than that. When I call The Standard a Labour Party blog, I mean in the sense that…
    -the original Standard in the 1930s was set up by Labour activists
    -the latest incarnation in 2007 was seeded by the Labour Party
    -And like the Labour Party, the Standard can be an alienating, tantrum throwing, bitter pus pit who can’t play well with others.

    Grow up

    • Talk about “magnificent pettiness”. Bomber (assuming this is really Bomber commenting), everyone knows full well what you’re implying when you call this “a Labour Party blog”. Faffing around with semantics like “it was seeded by” is weaksauce. The point is to make The Standard sound beholden to party interests in order to position TDB as more independent and objective.

      And seriously, what is with your constant need to use “cancer” as code for “bad”? It’s kind of juvenile and definitely unnecessarily triggering for some people.

      • mac1 5.1.1

        Absolutely, Stephanie. I have had two separate cancerous tumours of different types and whilst I am glad they have gone through the skills of modern medicine, they have afforded me many positive experiences as well.

        Especially, these tumours afforded me the chance to evaluate what is truly important, to treasure what I have for as long as I have it and to feel the love and the affection of so many people from family, friends, community and medical staff, Cancer Society and co-religionists.

        I am lucky to be a survivor as I have found a lot of good through these experiences. Earlier, it well might have triggered some huge negative feelings, but having two tumours gave others a chance to offer and exercise their social skills. They still do. I continue to support and be supported by a little group of fellow cancer survivors, friends and family five years after first diagnosis.

        What I have lost Is nowhere near in comparison to what I have gained.

      • Karen 5.1.2

        I’d say certainly Bomber. His replies are perfect examples of why I never read anything by him any more. Delusional.

        However, I still think there are posts worth reading on the Daily Blog, as long as you avoid Bomber and Trotter.

    • lprent 5.2

      You have said that before in the post that I responded to. Is that all that you have? Parroted slogans?

      You are wrong in all of your final three assertions. As I said in my post, you could do to learn some actual history rather than making up silly myths.

      – The original Standard was setup by unionists, and run by them for 50 years from the Maoriland Worker to The Standard 1.0. Sure there was Labour party activists involved throughout (once the Labour party got formed). You’d kind of expect that to happen because they were also labour movement activists. People don’t fit neatly into the discrete labels that simple fools want to slogan them into.

      – The current Standard was similarly set up by labour movement activists. Some were Labour party members, many were unionists, some had no party or union affliations. This is also not unexpected in a site from a labour movement that was pretty damn diverse back in 1910 and has been diversifying ever since.

      – We tend to respond to your pettiness and snideness with pointing out the facts, in this case in 2000 odd words. If I creep a little terseness in because I doing it to educate a lazy fool, then you can hardly blame me. Fix your own stupid attitude and you’ll get less attitude from me. I’m getting really tired of having to respond to your stupidity.

      Where exactly is the backing for any of of your assertions. When did you invent these? Or are you just parroting someone else’s opinions – like Cameron Slater? Becaus ethat appears to be what you are becoming.

    • Hateatea 5.3

      Dear Bomber
      I am 64 and have never voted Labour. I find this blog welcomes people like me and, while some commenters and authors are active in Labour politics, I have never found them to be disrespectful because I am not.

      As for growing up, I respectfully suggest that you look in the mirror.

    • DaveG 5.4

      Bomber. Normally i find your comments not worthy of reading, but Congrats. a well thought out and factual account, especially the last three lines!

  6. bomber 6

    THIS is what is leading the Standard is it? Some belittling attack on me wrapped up as a personal history of the Standard?

    And what is leading The Daily Blog? An exclusive on Mediaworks and the killing off of Campbell Live. An excellent piece on the economy and housing, an investigation into dirty politics around Colin Craig and a brilliant review of the rainbow warrior.

    At least we know what the priorities are, not skulking navel gazing and sad tantrums. Our blog breaks stories, and while you were trying to dance on our grave post the election, I believe we managed with our exclusives to do something The standard has never done in a decade, beat Kiwiblog.

    I can’t remember the last time The New York Times or Washington Post linked to the Standard.

    We have vastly more diversity of opinions, the writing is much more interesting and we live stream monthly debates that matter.

    Slagging off the unions and progressives partners who help fund us is pretty bitter Lynn.

    The blog in question had barely referenced The Standard, 3 words I believe, and that’s what you want to trumpet?

    Are you seriously suggesting those who set up The Standard weren’t Labour Party activists?

    Are you seriously suggesting this new version wasn’t discussed in any way shape or form with the Labour Party?

    This is just pointless petty bullshit. Christ, you make it so much more difficult than it needs.

    Always a pleasure to hear from you Stephanie. Always.

    • Classic! “This is what’s leading the Standard” = talks about 1 article, “this is what’s leading TDB” = talks about 4 articles. Totally fair comparison. 🙄

      The top 4 articles on The Standard right now:
      1) A history of one of the key publications of the New Zealand labour movement – thanks for inspiring lprent to write it, by the way
      2) A No Right Turn expose on the government’s lies about the Saudi sheep scandal
      3) Coverage of the anti-austerity movement on the rise in the UK
      4) The catastrophic floods currently affecting large parts of the country.

      I guess both blogs’ writers are quite capable of thinking about more than one thing at once.

    • lprent 6.2

      I can’t remember the last time The New York Times or Washington Post linked to the Standard.

      It may get you excited. But it isn’t particularly interesting to me.

      We have vastly more diversity of opinions, the writing is much more interesting and we live stream monthly debates that matter.

      Some of that I agree with. But why in the hell would we want to do the things you are interested in. The objective for this site is not to sit on a pillar of profundity. It is to generate discussion around the labour movement.

      What you are arguing for sounds more like a academic exercise of ego.

      Slagging off the unions and progressives partners who help fund us is pretty bitter Lynn.

      Didn’t you read the content of the post? The point of the post, once I was through the basic history, was to point out the dangers of requiring too much funding to run a newspaper like the Maoriland Worker or Whaleoil or your site.

      Whoever funds the operation of any organisation also winds up over periods of time in emphasis of it. Alternatively it causes failures to continue publishing when the funding is withdrawn or the returns get too low..

      In the local media, probably the most extreme version of that was the shift that happened with The Truth back in the 1920s when it shifted from being populist paper of the left to being a populist paper of the right. That was directly as a response to gain income and capital.

      The Standard is organisationally designed to just survive and to allow authors and commenters to express themselves.

      This is just pointless petty bullshit. Christ, you make it so much more difficult than it needs.

      If you’d stop your petty direct or barely concealed attacks on The Standard to try and enhance your ego, then we’d stop doing the responses. That would make it less ‘difficult’ all round.

      But if you don’t, then I and probably others will just keep escalating the responses. No real skin off our noses to do so. It really is your choice if you want to keep being stupid.

    • Tracey 6.3

      Serious question. Given you break stories, are linked to by Washington Post why would you even bother with the Standard, and in particular why would you spend any time saying it is a Labour Party anything?

  7. adam 7

    If I remember my history right, and I’ve been trying to hunt down the books/journals I read this in, ever since this argument came to the fore.

    One of the reasons the paper the Maoriland Worker was created, and why it spawned from the meat workers union – was the earlier Union distrust of Maori, and Maori distrust of Unions. If I remember rightly, is was in shearing industry that most of the distrust was spawned.

    But, is it not funny when guys working in a rough and ready trade like the meat industry – eventually they start talking together and working stuff out. Much (not all) of the mistrust evaporated in hard work, a few beers, and rather frank discussion. Maori saw that these men and their families were suffering the same under colonial rule – and the workers got a real wake up call to the nature of their lords and masters to the the treatment of the indigenous population. Irish and Scotch in particular could relate to what was happening to Maori, they understood from their own history.

    I think the labour movement has been one of the few very bright spots for race relations in this country. We never had the bitter and twisted racism in the labour movement as other countries. We might have begun with some distrust – but Maori have been the backbone and lifeblood of many unions in this land. I’m not saying it has all been rosy – it has not been. But the labour movement and Maori are in this together, long may the memory of the Maoriland Worker remain!

    • lprent 7.1

      Shearers Union.

      • adam 7.1.1

        The shearer union on one side, and Maori who were shears on the other. These were the original two distrusting groups.

    • I suspect the trades and industrial orientation of most unions also played a part. That is, many unions were for tradesmen only or, where they were industry based, for more skilled workers. Both areas where maori had little presence. And industry was based in the urban centres, whereas maori were mostly still living in the rural hinterland, so mass unionisation bypassed them.

      • adam 7.2.1

        Good point te reo putake, it’s a complex issue that has only a few lines in the history books. Which is a shame, as I think there is some important historical lessons to learnt from Maori, Pakeha relations in the labour movement.

  8. Shona 8

    I read the Standard more for the comment threads than the posts these days. Been that way for a while. And I have to say as lover and teacher of the English language the posts at the Daily Blog are better quality these days. More informative , broader coverage far more diverse group of writers. Like it or lump it Bomber is widely respected and with good reason. Honestly you guys get over it and grow up! this petty sniping is boring and pointless and fodder for the trolls. Open your minds.

    • lprent 8.1

      Reading for the comments is exactly the way that we want this site to be read. The intent of this site is to promote discussion, not to promote authors.

      I don’t think that writing with better quality does much to enhance the discussion. Being able to write with a clarity of position in the short times we have available does.

      But it is good to see that you think the comment focused strategy is working.

      The problem is that if Bomber keeps attacking us, then we will respond. Turning the other check is for crazy people who probably are also into self-flageration.

      Personally, I think that bomber does his site and his authors a lot of damage with his persistent lack of personal control and his habit of lying about this site.

      • CnrJoe 8.1.1

        Yep. Its all about the comments and the links they throw up.

        • David H 8.1.1.1

          And the comments section on TDB is moderated weirdly. If you are a registered user then why moderate? The reason to register is to avoid moderation. So I gave up commenting there, because by the time the comment appeared it some times didn’t make sense, due to other moderated comments appearing as well, Now I don’t even go there to read the articles because of said moderation.

          And yet I have been coming here for years.

        • lprent 8.1.1.2

          And it also doesn’t work without the posts to give some coherence, as starters, and as a lead opinion to ’embellish’. Otherwise we could only just put up OpenMike / DailyReview each day.

          But having hundreds of comments to dig through tends to drive people nuts. Having 5-8 other posts with 20-100 comments generally on a topic is a hell of lot easier to work with, especially for people new to the site.

  9. Ray 9

    Not sure what point Bomber is trying to make, a reading of this blog makes it obvious that it isn’t a Labour Blog
    Supporters yes but just as many Greens and other left flavours abound
    Poor old Bomber has rather painted himself into a corner (and not for the first time, remember the Giso, Russell Brown implosion, various anti feminist stances) and then there was the painful Election results
    His blog has it points but they are deeply buried amongst his rabid shouting

  10. ian 10

    I just love when you guys swallow. You just love the flavour of your own spawn.

  11. maui 11

    We need workers engaged in their politics like they appear to have been one hundred years ago. We need to ban celebrities, ban Hoskings and get people thinking about the society they live in again. If people were engaged we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now, with workers being treated as slaves, profits going into private and fewer and fewer hands, and the environment being treated as a toilet.

    • ian 11.1

      wow. A 1 way ticket to North Korea and you get your utopia. You will probably be dead within a few months but too bad.

      [lprent: if You want to troll then please avoid doing it on my posts – use OpenMike. Next comment in this troll vein on my post and I double your last ban. ]

      • maui 11.1.1

        It’s funny you don’t realise the country you live in now looks more like North Korea than what I’m proposing. You live in a country where a third of voters chooses our ruling Government, where corruption is king, referendums are ignored and where parliament isn’t used to vote on important issues.

        I wonder why you didn’t bring up the 1st Labour Government either, could it be you don’t want to attract attention to a winning hand.

      • Tracey 11.1.2

        Using North Korea as your yardstick, by which you suggest anything that isn’t North Korea is, ipso facto, good, is funny, just plain funny. Thanks for the chuckle.

  12. Aaron 12

    This spat between bomber and Lynn might be enough to make me turn right-wing 🙁

  13. ropata 13

    More friendly fire from Bomber. Not sure what he’s hoping to achieve as surely the commonalities between TS and TDB far outweigh the differences.

    Very interesting history Lynn, I look forward to the next installment. Good points in the comments about Maori being excluded from the union movement. I’d be interested to read more about women activists and what the churches at the time were doing for social justice.

  14. Tracey 14

    Thanks for the history Lynn, could be worth a copy and paste of parts of it into the “About”?

    • lprent 14.1

      Good point.

      I just did a long overdue update on the About and Donate page for the advertising and server location after r0b prompted me about it a few weeks ago. One bit was still talking about where the server was in 2012.

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