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Crash National’s party update

Written By: - Date published: 11:51 am, July 18th, 2010 - 98 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

Word is numbers at the protest are up to 500. Not bad for a protest organised in a couple of days.

According to the Herald an EPMU flag-waving Sue Bradford and forty protesters broke through security.

The changes have been officially announced. As well as the 90 day fire at will extension and cutting workers’ access to union representation they’re changing the rules around leave. The result will be a reduction of leave entitlements for many workers.

The provision to sell the fourth week’s leave has also been announced. This is supposed to be by agreement but I can’t see how anyone employed under fire at will would be able to say no.

UPDATE: Some photos of the protest courtesy of John Darroch.

And some more from the herald:

98 comments on “Crash National’s party update ”

  1. gingercrush 1

    Can someone please explain to me what there is to celebrate in protesting something? I’ve never much understood the point of protest for it very rarely ever changes things. And is disrupting the National Party conference really the best look?

    Seems to me the left celebrates these protests and think how clever they are and what great momentum this will give to the left. It doesn’t achieve that. This certainly is no springbok tour protest or nuclear free New Zealand or even a GE free protest.

    To be honest I call bullshit. Because these protests simply temporarily disguise how useless the left are collectively making the right arguments to actually change New Zealand opinion in this country.If you have to protest most of the time its because you lost the argument.

    In this case protesting against something you knew the National government would make available to all employers is a huge waste of time when you already anticipated such a move but never had a real strategy to combat it. In this extent. Where is the sound argument you can make to New Zealanders that will have those New Zealanders say bullshit to such changes in employment law? You don’t appear to have it because for most of you were sleeping at the wheel.

    • IrishBill 1.1

      I’m not surprised to see you coming out against freedom of speech.

      • gingercrush 1.1.1

        How am I coming out against freedom of speech. The left have a right to protest at the National Party Conference just as they have the right of freedom of speech at all protests. I just question the worthiness of such protests and the way the left celebrate these protests.

        When most of the time you’re protesting when the damage has already been done. In this case the left knew National would make the 90-day-trial available to all employers hence the need of the left to have had a proper and reasoned argument against such a thing in the first place. But the left doesn’t have that. Hence, why for most of you its all dependent on celebrating a protest when its frankly too late.

        • IrishBill

          In this case the left knew National would make the 90-day-trial available to all employers hence the need of the left to have had a proper and reasoned argument against such a thing in the first place.

          Are you for real?

          • gingercrush

            Yes. From what I’m hearing, the unions are struggling to make straight-forward arguments against such a move.

            • IrishBill

              That’s because you hear what you want to hear.

            • Joel Walsham

              Try due process, only one of the most basic principles to freedom GC, but you probably have never heard of it?

              • Tigger

                Why even bother arguing with this sort of piffle? Protest in history regularly alters things. It’s a fact. Even a cursory wikipedia stroll would prove that to you. Now stop spinning, gc, you’re going to make yourself ill.

    • Bill 1.2

      For what it’s worth, I reckon you got a bit of a point there GC.

      You’re right. These one off protests do not translate into any sort of momentum. And the reason for that in my book, is down to the organisational structures employed around these events. What tends to happen is a particular group will put its stamp on proceedings. That does two things. It legitimises a particular voice while muting others and narrows the focus right on down to a single event/issue. In other words, it stymies momentum or the building of any wider movement with a focus beyond the immediate focus of the elevated group/party

      Which is pointless bullshit. You’re right.

      I disagree with you on the rest of your comment though. The left has the arguments, but arguments are difficult to put across in a world filtered by the apparent necessity to reduce matters to sound bites which are then ridiculously inadequate against wall to wall corporate spin.

      So well organised protests that contribute to a momentum which sees more and more issues, people and voices becoming a part of a broad movement are the only way forward. And that means certain gate keepers on the left stepping down and aside. Right now.

      The other option is for every issue to be organised around from scratch which is a massive and unnecessary drain on energy. And the danger of organising issue by issue is that some grouping with the necessary financial resources will eventually hi-jack issue after issue and attempt (perhaps with all the best intentions in the world) to set some type of ‘legitimate’ agenda for the entire left.

      And that is a sure way to wind up with even less democracy than we have at present. Sadly, I’m not sure enough of the left comprehend that fact or when they do, can be bothered investing the thought and energy to see it avoided.

      Anyway, diminishing democracy is not something I want to be a part of or a contributory factor to.

    • Santi 1.3

      Don’t worry ginger, Labour will repeal it in 2020 when they regain power. Hahaha,
      On a serious note, I couldn’t agree more with your opinion.

  2. AngryTory 2

    Only two things wrong with the new 90 laws –

    it only applies for the first 90 days;
    and it doesn’t apply to anyone who’s already employed

    It’s past time NZ moved to a real employment law that recognised it’s the employers money the lazy useless bludgers are wasting. Employers need to be able to fire at will. No notice, No cause, just get rid of ’em. Bad behaviour, anti-corporate, belonging to unions etc by ’employees’ needs to be a criminal offence.

    • lprent 2.1

      Yeah and being a crap employer needs a wall and a firing squad for them.. It is pretty pathetic substituting jerking off in public for any kind of rational disagreement.

      • AngryTory 2.1.1

        [Comments inciting violence are not welcome here. — r0b]

        • AngryTory

          [Comments inciting violence are not welcome here. — r0b]

          Yeah Right. That’s why you deleted my comment but not when “lprent” above said I should be stuck against the wall and shot by a firing squad

          Well we all know that’s how Labour thinks – big surprise.

          Shoot the employers actually risking their own money to give jobs to people. Excellent recipe for economic progress.

          • r0b

            lprent’s comment is a figure of speech. Yours was a specific call for violent action against the protesters. Not even close to the same thing.

            Plus, in case you’re new here, lprent is the sysadmin of this blog which means he can say anything he damn well chooses. You’re a guest here, but not for long would be my guess.

            • lprent

              Exactly. I thought that AT’s statement was patently ridiculous, so I put in the exact opposite one that happens when the type of industrial philosophy he expoused is used. The intent was to show how idiotic either idea is. It just leads to the other.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      If you don’t the rules here you can always move to some place where there isn’t any such rules. Good luck on having a long and healthy life – you’ll need it.

      PS, it’s not the “employers” money at all – it’s the workers money. They’re the ones who created the wealth after all.

      • nilats 2.2.1

        Homer – it is not the workers money. Remember employers put money into the business and put their cock on the block to make sure it succeeded. Employees worked for a given return (wages). The profit/loss otherwise is the employers from this transaction. Maybe if employers lost money they should take from the workers?

        • AngryTory

          They money is in my damn bank account until I’m forced to transfer 30% of it to the tax department and the other 70% to the heroic “workers”.

          Of course it’s my damn money.

          • IrishBill

            No. It’s my damn money until I decide to spend it on your goods and services. Frankly I doubt you’d see a cent if anyone knew what you wrote here.

            • AngryTory

              Oh dear, your friends in the provos joined the “peace process” so you’ve come to NZ to stir up trouble. Big Surprise.

              • Bill

                Weren’t the provos Catholic AngryTory?

                ‘Cause like, you know how there are Protestant names and Catholic names and that hero of the Protestants called William of Orange or King Billy?


              • michaeljsavage

                go get a life paddy malone – flog your log about the irish peace process in someone elses country boyo. My family were catholic on one side and protestant on the other … so go fuck yourself you useless prick.

                Guess your ancestry dates to the black and tans …

                Beasts and murderers of the working class all…. guess johnny key and his murthering bastards have read the rulebook of the imperial british crown now havent they m’cushlah

        • loota

          “Put their cock on the block to make sure it succeeded”? What does that even mean LOL

          And what does it mean for their cocks when so many businesses fail and sometimes fail spectacularly?

          So these employers/owners take 100% responsibility for the high rate of business failures which occur in the first 3 years of startup, right? I mean, why should workers have to suffer for the low level of judgement, operational competence, management expertise and leadership skills which lie behind these statistics?

          If you really want to take money back from your workers in the months that your business makes no money I think it means you want to make those workers your partners in the business.

          And in that case, don’t employ them, have them buy in and become your business partners, yeah? But then when the business strikes pay dirt, everybody gets an ownership share of it, yeah?

      • Inventory2 2.2.2

        Is that right Draco? As our business has grown, sure, the staff have added value to it. But take a step back. Without the investment that Mrs Inventory and I made and continue to make (financial, human capital and emotional investment), there wouldn’t BE a business, and the 25+ staff we employ wouldn’t have jobs. WE carry the risk; not our staff. WE have the sleepless nights when cashflow isn’t what it ought to be, not our staff.

        One day we might sell the business, and get some of the thousands of our OWN dollars that we’ve invested in it back. But don’t tell me that we’re getting fat off the backs of our staff, because for us (and for most business owners), that’s so far removed from reality as to be funny.

        • IrishBill

          So what you’re saying is you are an entrepreneur? Which means you take risks to get returns. But now you want your workers to take the risks for your returns? That doesn’t sound like personal responsibility to me.

          • Inventory2

            Of course we are entrepreneurs. What was a one-person business when it started more than five years ago now employs nearly 30 staff. We do what we do very well, and better than our competitors. To do that, we employ qualfied staff, and we pay them well.

            Anyone applying for a job takes a risk, just as the employer takes a risk in employing them. We don’t want to ever have to use the 90-day provision; we’d far rather that we employed the right people every time. The reality is, of course, that we won’t.

            • loota


            • michaeljsavage

              whoop de friggin do … what do you want a – friggin medal …

              get on with it then and stop making a big deal of how great you are …

              Or do you blog in lieu of a bigger car …. you know … penis envy … politically

              Try convincing some other people of how caring you are noddy

            • AngryTory

              The reality is, of course, that we won’t.

              Right – and sometimes we know after 9 days. sometimes after 90, sometimes after 900, or 9 years or 30 years. It really doesn’t matter how long someone works for – they may start as productive and end up a union member, or a labour voting leftist loser.

              Which is why this should be for ever – rather than for just 90 days; and why this should apply to all works, not just new hires.

              And also why we don’t just want to ban unions from our premises without our permission – we just need to ban unions.

        • loota

          You mean your staff don’t have sleepless nights when they don’t see orders coming in the door? When they notice that people are sitting idle or just doing busy-work? Do you really think your staff aren’t aware that if your business goes under, they won’t all be out out on the street wondering how they are going to meet their next mortgage payment? Don’t you think workers are aware that owners more often than not structure business failures so that the owners get to walk away with whatever remaining value of the company for another start, and that creditors and employees get nothing?

          As an aside Inventory, if you are not building a business which you can sell for a huge capital gain ten or fifteen years down the track, it indicates that whatever you are doing is not building lasting value. Its turning the wheels yes, moving money around today yes, but not developing a brand or an operation which creates wealth and the tangible economic value of good will.

          I’d get out sooner rather than later if you can’t change this dynamic.

          • Inventory2

            See my response to IB above Loota. We have built a terrific brand within our particular sphere. We have no plans to sell the business any time soon; we’ve still barely scratched the surface. It may sound like a romantic notion, but we want to employ people who will grow old alongside us.

            • loota

              I was only responding to this line you wrote:

              One day we might sell the business, and get some of the thousands of our OWN dollars that we’ve invested in it back.

              where you made it sound like you weren’t creating a large amount of wealth for yourself utilising the labour, motivation and initiative of your workers as well as your own entrepreneurial vision, drive and resources, of course.

              But I stand corrected, you do sound confident that that is exactly what you are successfully doing.

        • michaeljsavage

          and frankly mate .. who gives a shit about “mrs inventory” sounds to me like you are doing the classic male darwinian knuckle dragging show and tell of genitalia metaphorically speaking.

          No one cares how fucking great you and the missus think you are.

          You and the missus wouldnt be so defensive if it werent for the fact that you know this legislation is corrupt to its core.

          Now go away and rethink your thoughts …

          • AngryTory

            You and your lot would be so smug if we got real value for our damn business taxes.

            As far as I’m concerned – anything to rid us from having to deal with you is well worth it.

            • michaeljsavage

              Sell to china Asshole Tory …. sell to the new imperialists and you may even get support from some people who actually have citizenship here.

              Sell to China little wee minded angry tory and get your big payout. And while you and your progeny are celebrating your win … try sleeping at night over your capitulation to corruption.

              Or – unless you arent quite such a dynamo as you paint yourself to be.

              Probably a corner dairy owner called najeeb for all we know. Have fun with the use by dates big noter …

          • Inventory2

            I think it’s safe to say that our robust recruitment practices would eliminate michaeljsavage quick-smart were he/she ever to apply to join our little enterprise 🙂

            • michaeljsavage

              mate – i wouldnt recommend a demented ferret to seek employment with you and your little as yet unspecified enterprise.

              You can spell … so i guess you arent a dairy farmer… but you do sound a little like a sort of jet boating, burping and farting overdraft pushing type that has given most kiwis a bad name with the trading banks. Bet your hero is George Wbya Bush … the president you have when you arent thinking clearly …

              Reign the wife in mate .. thats the answer …

              in arcadia et ego …

        • Draco T Bastard

          Without the investment that Mrs Inventory and I made and continue to make (financial, human capital and emotional investment),

          You’re entitled to your money back (I’m actually thinking that this should be inflation adjusted due to the high inflation of today – couple of centuries ago inflation was close to non-existent), being paid for the work that you do and no more. You’re not entitled to any more than that. The amount that you’re paid should be determined by everyone who works there – they’re taking the same risk and putting in the same emotional investment as you are after all (“Anyone applying for a job takes a risk, just as the employer takes a risk in employing them.”).

          We don’t want to ever have to use the 90-day provision;

          Then don’t use it – you don’t have to after all. Probation periods have been around for awhile, the 90 day fire @ will bill didn’t change that – it just added the part where the workers rights were removed.

          Capitalism is backwards – the administration, which is a cost on the workers, uses secrecy and the theft of responsibility from the workers, to pay itself far more than it’s worth. Every business should be a cooperative with both responsibility and rewards shared equally. Done this way I wouldn’t be surprised if the business got more “buy in” from the workers than what businesses get now which would most likely result in more effort, no theft, and better relations between everyone.

    • Pete 2.3

      And these National supporters have the cheek to call labour supporters, the communists.Yet these new laws seem about as dominant party rule or as near to tyranny as can be..Angy Tory no doubt will be happier when his/her workers only have a type jail cell for a home and learn to live on bread and water. Maybe some striped prison clothes to boot !

      How do these Wallys think the money is earned ? .Does their inbred close minded deluded thinking, tell them bosses always do all the work, and then only employ people as a type of charity ?.

      With so much utter ignorance like this running business in New Zealand ,its no wonder we need a shifty eyed Key to gift stupid employers ways to throw ALL the risk back on the workers shoulders.

  3. Principessa 3

    Just a quick point of clarification- Sue Bradford was carrying an NDU flag not an EPMU one.

  4. It was announced indeed. One election and a National get together and decennia of hard fought working man’s rights wiped of the table.

    How’s that change going for ya, NZ?

    • comedy 4.1

      There has been no real change at all – the turds in Labour just moved to the other side of the house and gave their seats to the turds in National.

    • The Baron 4.2

      You post the most random comments in the world.

      90 day fire at will is a “decennia of hard fought working man’s rights wiped of the table” huh.

      Hows that spell check and general “not being nuts” working out for you Travellerev?

      • The Voice of Reason 4.2.1

        I’ll think that’s dutch for decades, Baron. I like getting an international travellers perspective on things here in nieuw zeeland, even if I don’t always share the same political viewpoint. You, on the other, can fokken off.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2


        And, yes, removing the rights that workers fought and died for decades ago would be exactly what the 90 day fire @ will bill is doing.

  5. comedy 5

    Just a small point but your 4th paragraph doesn’t make much sense.

  6. Puddleglum 6

    Yesterday I noted how the proposed changes were another step in the progressive fragmenting of families, communities and individuals by creating further instability and insecurity in the work environment.

    Today, another measure gets added to the list – the ‘option’ of cashing up the fourth week’s annual leave.

    Are those on the right still blind to how these proposals add to the pressure on families? Is this some deliberate policy process of unnatural selection in the offing to see which families sink and which ones swim as conditions get harder and harder for them? How are families meant to function properly when every ‘incentive’ aims at them sacrificing time and energy that should be devoted to each other, instead, to the employer and his/her ‘ambition’?

    The inhumanity (and anti-humanity tenor) of this step-by-step favouring of business over families and communities is becoming plainer by the day.

    And what is the ONLY justification given? Business gives you jobs! Jobs that now increasingly take you away from your family, your neighbourhood, your community. Jobs that you are supposed to offer more and more of your life to (and neglect the rest by arithmetic necessity) but which do little to advance your own flourishing as an autonomous human being. Jobs where you have less and less power, fewer and fewer rights, more and more socioeconomic coercion.

    Maybe we need to find another way to meet our material needs if this way can only operate by undermining our selves, families and communities. This is not a price any social species should ever pay – unless it hankers after self-destruction. (Exhibit A: Mental health stats in every western capitalist country over the past 60 years.)

  7. tsmithfield 7

    Is having Sue Bradford or John Minto in charge of the rent-a-crowd protest the most endearing way to get the point across to the mainstream?

    • IrishBill 7.1

      So after you fail to make an rational economic argument you break out the “rent-a-crowd” line?

      • comedy 7.1.1

        He/She does have a point they are two of the more reviled persons in NZ amongst a reasonably large section of the voting public.

      • tsmithfield 7.1.2

        I am not so sure I failed in the first respect, Irish. There were some points I have made that you haven’t responded to yet.

        I might not be too far amiss with the rent-a-crowd comment. Probably a bit disparaging. But it seemed to me that most of those at the Nat conference were, lets say, quite experienced in the art of protesting. It looked to me as if they were more interested in having a bit of shouting, jostling, and placard-waving rather than the particular point they were protesting about.

    • Bill 7.2

      Whatever else was going on, it was inevitable that the msm would focus on one or two recognisable individuals and spin them negatively against a back drop of aggressive protest.

      Will that put people off getting involved in future actions? Yes.

      Are the msm wholly to blame? No.

      Were the people there for genuine reasons? Yes.

      Is it necessary to offer a wide range of different involvements to pull people in? Yes.

      Do I think it will happen? No.

      There will be egos and banners and ‘one voice’ and the media will spin it away as scary people doing shit. So people who might have gotten involved, but who don’t like aggression or violence will stay away.

      Said it before. Saying it again. Good protest introduces breadth, depth and an increasing number of ways to access the movement it is a part of, or to the movement it is seeking to build.

      Bad protest does the opposite. And the NZ left is really, really good at bad protest.

      • IrishBill 7.2.1

        I disagree. If there hadn’t been forceful protest the MSM would probably have covered it as nobody caring. From what I saw most of the protesters at the front of the stoush were Unite members – the very workers who have the most to lose from this law – so I’m not surprised emotions were running high.

        • Bill

          I’ve nothing against forceful protest. But there is no point to that being the only game in town because it shrinks the constituency through alienating potential fellow travellers.

          When someone like McCarten uses his couple of minutes on the TV news the night before to lay down an ultimatum to JK, that either he comes out or ‘we’ go in, I start to ask questions like; Who the fuck is this ‘we’ that Matt is assuming to speak for? Had he been at some planning meeting involving the ‘we’ of his statement where ‘we’ had agreed to enter sky city if JK didn’t come out? And if not, then who the fuck does he think he is? And when I asked myself those questions I concluded that he was grandstanding and stupidly ensuring that only people who wanted to enter the building turned up and anyone with a different agenda didn’t. ( The fact that people fought their way through the wrong entrance….oh fuck, never mind.)

          I’ll put it this way Irish. You reckoned that 500 people turning up was a pretty good show given time constraints. Yet barely a month ago 50 000 conscientious people marched against S4 mining. So where was the networking that builds bridges of understanding/solidarity and commitment that makes for a movement that will respond with 5000 given 24 hours notice? Didn’t happen. Again.

          So everything had to be brought up to speed from scratch. Which inevitably leads to one or two actors becoming dominant and calling the shots, which leads to short lived parochial protests rather than persistent universal movements.

          I think it’s valid criticism to point out that various constituencies and the people comprising them who went into the making of a 50 000 person protest are as much strangers to one another today as they were then. And it is the inability to recognise that as a problem and tackle it by utilising novel and expansive organising tactics that lies at the very heart of the lefts’ problems.

          • loota

            And it is the inability to recognise that as a problem and tackle it by utilising novel and expansive organising tactics that lies at the very heart of the lefts’ problems.

            Now we’re talking Bill. This is not about just fighting harder nor rallying the hard core veterans to the battle lines once more. Its about fighting smarter and bringing new blood in. Lots of new blood.

        • AngryTory

          Yeah well, IrishBill, pity your mates didn’t have a few drouge mortars or a couple of kilos of semtex. That would have showed the Tories, now, wouldn’t it.

          • michaeljsavage

            Funny little man descended from the black and tans.

            Were your forebears originally corrupt british landowners during the potato famine … is this a symptom of collective guilt on your part perchance.

            Or are you just another upper class (ersatz) twit who thinks he can foot it with the left?

      • Carol 7.2.2

        The report I saw on TV3 was slightly ambivalent about who was on the demo today. On the one hand that said it was just veteran protestors like Bradford & Minto. OTOH they showed interviews with union leaders, and talked about a war between Key and the unions. They showi\ed it wasn’t just the “usual” radical protestors, but also union leaders who usually try to work more with employers.

        Thanks to all the people who went on the demo today. I wish I could have been there, but I work at weekends.

        I think this cluster of attacks on unions and workers rights and well-being requires a big united protest movement. If such a alliance organises a protest on a future weekend, with reasonable advance notice, I will take leave from work to go on it. That’s if my union doesn’t call me out on strike for the day of that demo – not very likely though, I think. Strikes are usually called on weekdays.

        • AngryTory

          A war between us and the unions??

          mate – we haven’t really started.

          Better get back to your Ulster friends, IrishBill, if you really want a war.

          IrishBill: My friend’s come from further south than ulster. I’ve banned you for life here already when you posted as Prophet. Take a hike you creepy little man.

      • michaeljsavage 7.2.3

        the NZ left is adjusting and fast – and it will NEVER NEVER forget or discard the valid and powerful voices of the past.

        the problem is too many wishy washy people like bill – who wont put their balls on the line because they are too busy playing the ersatz socialist left wing beauty contest and therefore taking it hard up the arse by proxy from the right wing. In other words .. your’re Keys and Rodders bitches …. spose they have more money and looks (yeah right) than bubba from cell #8

        • Bill


          On second thoughts, your brain fart for thought comment isn’t worth the original response.

          • michaeljsavage

            Billy boy – you arent getting sensitive in your autumn years are you ….

            If you are in fact playing the “i like everyone” game … say so.

            If you are in fact taking it up the ass from the rightwing to look good … either refute it or say otherwise…

            • Bill

              You’re a right fuckwit.

              Does that make matters clear enough?

              • michaeljsavage

                Nope Billy … now get your hand off your todger and learn to laugh at lifes little quirks.

                Are you taking it up the ass from the right wing??

                My readers are very interested in that …

        • Zorr

          Or their cocks (see above)


      • just saying 7.2.4

        FFS Bill,

        If we all held off protesting until we’d got it right by your standards, there would be no public dissent in NZ. The left would never be heard period.

        Bradford, Minto, McCarten, all have walked the walk for many years now, and if they are unpopular, maybe that’s got something to do with the fact that they’ve continued to have the courage of their convictions in the face of the overwhelming resources of the right.

        What exactly do you think we should do? You’ve been very clear and precise in your critiques. I’d like to hear the same sort of concrete precision in what you believe the left should do.

        Btw, did it occur to you that the anti-mining issue was much more popular with the general populace, and that everyday New Zealanders have become alarmingly right wing and unsympathetic to causes like this one.

        We can’t change anything if we don’t do anything.

        • Bill

          I didn’t say or mean to imply that anybody should ‘hold off’ protesting.

          And I thought I’d been reasonably clear on what the left could, not should, do if we seek to build a movement. ( There are definitely things the left should not do if the creation of a movement is sought)

          Anyway, as an attempt to answer your question…

          First up I think the left has to avoid operating through coalitions as they disempower individuals and encourage infighting between the groups that comprise the coalition as one or the other seeks dominance with regards message or tactics. ( The curse of leftist splits)

          The flip side is that the same people come together as would come together under a coalition arrangement, but they meet as individuals rather than as representatives or of or voices for any particular group that they may belong to.

          And then individuals who do not belong to a group don’t become excluded because of any disempowering group to group dynamics. With a more level playing field, more people can involve themselves in the planning of things. And as more diverse people involve themselves, the general environment where protest is planned and executed becomes more diverse/ creative and many possibilities for action become apparent and are limited only by a couple of factors.

          One is whether enough people are attracted to a particular idea of action to make it feasible.

          A second is whether the action would have an overall detrimental impact on wider aspects of the movement.

          So, I want to be clear on what I mean there. If I and however many others propose action a) and you don’t want to participate in it, then that is okay. All else being equal, a) happens and you don’t participate.

          But if you point out that an unintended consequence of that action will be an overall negative impact within the wider scheme of things..within the protest body/movement, then the wider group has the right to expect…and demand if need be…that the action be dropped.

          And with many actions going on, some big, some small, some embodying confrontation and DA, others avoid DA and confrontation and whatever, what you get (to steal a wee bit of terminology) is a rolling maul of initiatives with no definable centre that the ‘hooked on heirarchy’ corporate opposition can’t ever quite ‘capture’ and spin.

          And if today the focus was ‘fire at will’, you can rest assured that there will be another issue coming up tomorrow. And the fact that conscientious people come together and work together and break down some of the stereotypes they hold of one another leads to a sense of solidarity. And that means that although there will be a flow and ebb of people at the ‘coal face’ depending on whether the issue is water rights or work rights or mining rights or anti-war or whatever, the interconnected webs or networks will be there and people will tend to step out from what might be termed their ‘protest ghetto’. So we wind up with animal rights people standing shoulder to shoulder with Christians who in turn are right there with the unionists and the anarchists and so on right all the way to Mrs Jones who was just a wee bit hacked off at what that nice man Mr Key did and felt that she wanted to come along and lend her voice.

          And everybody learns from everybody else. And no one body calls the shots or determines what is right or permissible or politically pure or impure or any other of that nonsense.

          And nobody gets to brand any of it.

          Partly to safeguard the integrity of the groups that people might belong to. eg an illegal action is undertaken and the authorities know it came from somewhere within the emerging social movement. If org or group x has thrown its brand everywhere, then the authorities will focus on org or group x and its leadership…possibly lay charges, sequestrate funds and so on.

          Also. Branding is back to that old coalition idea and the boring battle of wills and egos that wastes energies and leads to schisms. Besides which, these diverse people? I have no more right to have them appear to march under a syndicalist banner than any Christians would have to make them appear to march beneath Christ. When that shit begins to happen or is allowed to happen, you start to lose people at a fast rate of knots for fairly obvious reasons.

          • just saying

            That does sound ideal Bill, and therein lies the problem.
            How would we organise our imperfect selves to achieve this egalitarain and harmonious ebbing and flowing movement of the left?

            Dissent is always going to include protest actions and factions which are wildly unpopular with the majority. They are an essential component IMHO – they communicate passion and get people’s attention.

            Fear of being unpopular is a dangerous weakness – just look at the Laour Party………………..

            • Bill

              It’s not an ideal js.

              Everything I outlined above, with the exception of Mrs Jones, has happened and has worked just fine.

              Where is the problem with ‘unpopular’ protest actions? If there are not enough people attracted to said action to make it viable, then it wont happen. If there is, it will. That you, I or whoever doesn’t personally approve is neither here nor there. I thought I’d explained all that in the above comment.

              As for unpopular factions..or any factionalism for that matter. There is no such thing or possibility of such thing in a movement where planning and organising is carried out by people coming together as opposed to groups or organisations coming together in a coalition type arrangement.

              The ebb and the flow occurs naturally as people engage to different extents on different issues or actions. Where are you perceiving the difficulty lies? Simple example. Five different ‘fire at will’ actions are being organised. I will involve myself more in the one or two I am naturally attracted to and less or not at all in the others.

              And since everyone else is doing the same what you get is a fluidity in group dynamics where groups form for the sake of organising some action or other and then the personnel (for want of a better term) dissolve back into the larger body when the action is done. And so an ongoing process of different mixes of people coming together over common and always changing goals…and organising and learning free from ideological constraints…endlessly unfolds.

              The accompanying crucial component of all this which I didn’t mention above, is a process of decolonisation or deconditioning of our minds. And by that I mean quite simply that there is no point at all in protesting this that or he other if we carry our sexism and our racism and the general attitudes we have been endowed with thanks to patriarchy into and through our protest movements; not if we are looking to form anything other than a sick fucked up parody of the present. If you don’t quite get what I mean by this, then go and talk to women, the likes of Sue Bradford, who were involved in organising efforts in the 80s or 90s and they will tell you that the sexism they were subjected to in protest movements was no different to that which they were subjected to by society in general…that the protest movements embodied and expressed patriarchal imperatives.

              That’s all still there. Sadly. 20 odd years later.

              Men or male attitudes still dominating meetings. Organising through hierarchy, ie non-democratic (or at very best, nominally democratic) top – down/ centre – periphery structures still mindlessly employed. White perspectives still dominating and subsuming Maori or PI perspectives.

              And so on.

              Which all adds up to the left not having progressed one iota during the past two, three or four decades and probably very, very little (if at all) over the past century and more.

    • michaeljsavage 7.3

      Fact TS – i admired Bradford for what she did.

      Fact also … minto has done more for democracy than your little arse licking lickspittle right wing jingoistic fucks have ever done. When South African Freedom was unpopular – minto stood for freedom.

      Now we get neanderthals like you coming out of the cupboard with your oh so superior pronouncements.

      Crawl back under your right wing rock fuckface

      God that felt good…

  8. Tiger Mountain 8

    John Minto does organising work for UNITE and Sues husband is a media officer at the NDU. Hello, both are unions. My partner and son were at the rally, it is quite in order for family members to support each other in such public actions it they want to.

    So in short, all you right wing blowhards addressing the participants rather than the substantive issues of this attack on work rights should consider pulling your heads in.

  9. michaeljsavage 9

    I never used to think much of sue bradford before .. but i do now. She has the courage few of us have and god bless her for it.

    John Key and his neo nazis and Act and its geheimestatt polizei politburo hybrid need to be stopped.

    Phil Goff – deal to this horrible, disgusting parody of a government – a wolf in sheeps clothing.

    Deal the death blow to these blowhards now.

    • kriswgtn 9.1

      I remember Sue fighting for workers rights from the 80’s.Even though I have disagreed on a few things,she is a fighter and good on her for doing so.

      She has more balls than most of the Labour Caucus put together

      Go hard I say

  10. tsmithfield 10

    I don’t doubt her courage or determination. However, she turns a large majority of NZers off.

    What they should do is find some respected NZ personality who believes in the cause to front the protests and be the spokesperson. It would be best if this person was not at all related to the extreme left wing or union movement. This would give more credibility and be more persuasive in the minds of mainstream NZers IMO.

    • felix 10.1

      Yeah, then you and your workmates could denounce them as a ring-in with no real credibility in the union movement.

  11. Jenny 11

    An estimated 500 were outside the National Party conference held in the Sky City convention centre.

    Banners and flags from the EPMU and the Unite Union plus the Tino Rangitiratanga flag were to the fore.

    Apart from union signs, no banners, or flags from any political party were present and no MPs of any political shade spoke.

    (A missed opportunity in my opinion.)

    Despite a heavy police presence, protesters were able to reach the doors of the conference centre and a group of about 40 managed to push through two picket lines, the first of police and the second of Sky City security guards, to enter the lobby of the conference building.

    The Nats had locked themselves in the conference room, and on not being able to gain entry to the conference floor, after some loud chanting in the lobby, the 40 protesters then left the building peacefully.

    No arrests were made.

    Helen Kelly addressed the protest and commented on the large size of the crowd considering the short notice.

    Kelly announced that there would be an emergency meeting of all trade union leaders on Thursday to discuss a campaign against these laws.

    The head of the Dairy Workers Union speaking to the crowd, made a statement that the DWU have decided that if any new worker in the Dairy industry is dismissed under the 90 day law that the union would immediately call a stopwork meeting, “Where we will then decide what we would do.”

    “If you remove due process you can expect that we will take direct action.” he said.

    This militant declaration was met with loud cheers and applause.

    (All such actions being illegal under restrictions on direct industrial action in the ERA.)

    All in all this protest was a tremendous success and a great first step to building a successful industrial and political campaign to defeat this law.

    When workers are moved to fight left they become politicised and then they look around for political allies and begin to vote left.

    The Nats should beware; In my opinion, the trade union movement in this country is a sleeping bear, and National seem to be poking it with a sharp stick.

    • Jenny 11.1

      My sincerest apology to the Greens. On viewing the photos of the protest, I noticed two Green Party flags being carried.

      I am sorry I didn’t notice them on the day. This may be because I was so zeroed in on hoping to spot a Labour Party banner or flag or sign. Unfortunately even close viewing of the photos revealed none.

      • The Voice of Reason 11.1.1

        I guess the Labour party flags must have been hidden behind the Maori party flags, Jenny.

        • Jenny

          Absolutely correct VOR, both the Maori Party and the Labour Party had no noticeable presence.

          Which is a shame.

          I am sure that both, could do much better.

          But as Lynne has pointed out it is still early days.

          This Thursday the unions will be making plans to mobilise their members and supporters against these attacks on flax roots working people in the interests of the Key’s people, the idle millionaires, speculators, financiers and banksters, and profit mad employers.

          Union officials speaking at the rally on Sunday have said this campaign will be both industrial and political.

          No doubt they will be making demands on political parties to back them.

          I sincerely hope the Labour Party and the Maori Party, together with the Greens can agree to work together to mobilise their supporters and members to get behind this campaign.

          Just as the schedule 4 mobilisation rocked the government, a mass movement openly supported by mainstream political parties has the potential to put this government on the back ropes.

          Obviously those political parties that don’t openly back this campaign and/or fudge and hedge over supporting the union movement will be judged and rewarded accordingly by working class people come voting time.

          So far the Greens have got my vote, I am sure if they widen and deepen their support for working people they will get a hell of lot more.

          captcha – benefits

      • lprent 11.1.2

        You really do have a bit of a fetish for wanting large organizations to make up their collective minds virtually instantaneously (and thereby dictatorially dragging people with alternative viewpoints along). The NZLP isn’t interested in doing that in my experience – that would require the NZLP to be dictatorial rather than the democratic organization it is. They also don’t make decisions in a few days. MP’s are usually scheduled for weeks ahead. That is the nature of the job.

        Most members will also not presume to claim to represent the party, and therefore won’t drag along banners unless there is a clear support across the whole of the party. In the case of the schedule 4 protest, there was time to get that agreement, so there were NZLP banners and placards aplenty (and MP’s).

        The NZLP isn’t a protest organization – it is a political organization. It was capable to clearly state that it would repeal the NACTs proposed changes to industrial legislation because of previously passed party policy. Personally I found that to be extremely fast.

        For me, it is going to be interesting to see how the Maori party is going to vote on this bill. They seem to have an interesting ability to say one thing and then act differently… But then, I’m pretty cynical about the Maori parties ethical dilemmas.

        There were quite a lot of NZLP members there (including me), and some of them are pretty damn prominent in the party. Personally I think that you’re just acting foolishly in asking for the impossible in a democratic organization. I also can’t see any compelling reason to change the NZLP to conform to your ideas about how it should operate.

        • Jenny


          The NZLP isn’t a protest organization it is a political organization. It was capable to clearly state that it would repeal the NACTs proposed changes to industrial legislation because of previously passed party policy. Personally I found that to be extremely fast.

          This is terribly good news, and I am sure that if this had been announced by a Labour Party MP at the rally on Sunday they would have got a rapturous response.

          Could you post the link?

          • Jenny


            For me, it is going to be interesting to see how the Maori party is going to vote on this bill. They seem to have an interesting ability to say one thing and then act differently But then, I’m pretty cynical about the Maori parties ethical dilemmas.

            I am just as interested to see how the Maori Party will vote on this bill. As I understand it the Maori Party will not be bound by Confidence and Supply over this issue.

            Unlike Lynne rather than be “cynical” when it comes to the Maori Party, being an eternal optimist, I am picking that the Maori Party will honour their public statements opposing this legislation.

            Even better of course would be if the Maori Party would call out their members to support the union rallys and protests.

            captcha – observing

          • lprent


            Union leaders vowed to fight the changes and Labour leader Phil Goff promised to scrap the 90-day scheme altogether if Labour regained power.

            It is a bit late but I will try to find time to write a post tomorrow after I dig out the press release

  12. OleOlebiscuitBarrell 12

    You know, of course, that behaving in this way will allow opposition to the changes to be painted as of concern only to a few fringe anarchists who want society dismantled.

  13. OleOlebiscuitBarrell 13

    I must have misread the post. I thought it said “up to” 500 people demonstrated. I agree, if 400,000 felt so passionate about the issue that they stormed the National Party conference the concern must be wide-spread.

    • lprent 13.1

      There is only so much that can be organized in a few days.

      I suspect you have unreasonable expectations. If this is a systemic mental disease on your part, then it must make getting employment difficult.

      • Jenny 13.1.1

        Chris Trotter and Sue Bradford both lay down the challenge to the Labour movement and the Labour Party.

        Chris Trotter:

        Defeat Is Not An Option

        Sue Bradford:

        I hope that it won’t be just the CTU having a council of war this week.
        The Labour Party and caucus need to be taking a serious look at their response as well.

        • The Voice of Reason

          Both interesting articles. Trotter appears to have been on ecstasy, maaan, and Bradford appears to be suffering from political amnesia, completely forgetting the party she represented in Parliament. I’ve got a challenge for both of them. Don’t expect the CTU or Labour to make all the decisions and do all the heavy lifting. This is an issue that needs broad support and that means all of us have to take responsibility and all of us have to lead.

          The way both these articles read to me is that Bradford and Trotter have already written the updates, in which the CTU and Labour will be accused of selling out for not achieving the near impossible. Just like in ’91, really, when the CTU’s sensible refusal to do a suicide charge against the newly elected National government is offered up as a sign of weakness, when it was actually a mature, responsible decision.

          • Carol

            Just what the left needs, in-fighting in the ranks, rather than looking towards ways of working together against the REAL evils. Not that we can’t be critical of others on the left, but I hope eveyone keeps the important goals in mind.

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