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McCarten not going down without a fight

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, September 5th, 2010 - 33 comments
Categories: Left, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: ,

Almost as an aside, Matt McCarten has publicly announced that he has the “killing kind of cancer” in his column today.

Matt is one of the lions of the Left. His union, Unite, has defied the skeptics to become a real success story, bringing a militant brand of unionism to temporary and low-wage workers who had no union before. Unite has shown them that through collective action they can win; that they are not just the bosses’ paid slaves.

For me, one of the greatest moments on Eye-to-Eye was McCarten demolishing a prejudiced and uninformed Deborah Hill-Cone over the Progressive dispute. The way her arrogance wilted in the face of his anger at the class system she blindly defended and his passion for the workers’ struggle was a sight to behold.

Without a hint of self-pity (cf. Paul Holmes whining that no-one will buy his olive oil), Matt makes it clear he’ll never flinch from fighting for the workers.

Good on ya, mate, we’re with you.

33 comments on “McCarten not going down without a fight ”

  1. john 1

    I hope and pray Matt recovers from the cancer afflicting him, We certainly need him. His comment in the Herald about us heading for 3rd World status having given away our manufacturing in the 80s is coming true for a much larger country the US which has done the same thing:They call it off-shoring, the Corporations made huge profits from dirt cheap sweat labour and are still partying while over 40,000,000 Americans are existing on food stamps serfs in their own land. The New Right Neo-Liberal ideology is now shown up as economic nuclear warfare on any idiots who choose to practise it.Are you listening Rodney you little blinkered ………?

  2. nilats 2

    yeah, like communism was the answer.
    We are a socialist nation, that is what is killing off NZ. Too much what does the country owe me mentality.

    [I’m going to leave this one up as an example. Nilats (which is obviously a childish reverse spelling of Stalin) has been repeatedly moderated but has learnt nothing and contributed nothing to any debate except annoy and anger people. This particular bit of troll-shite is both disrespectful and unacceptable. From here on in you are in moderation…RL]

    • Shona 2.1

      Fuck off nilats you brain dead moron! You have nothing of value to contribute. The puerile drivel you spout reflects your profound ignorance and gross lack of respect for McCarten.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      The whole recession was a direct result of capitalism. Jonkey and NACT are in the process of making it worse by rewarding the people who caused it, the capitalists, with our money.

    • Loota 2.3

      You don’t like NZ having a social conscience? Even though John Key your leader benefitted from State Housing, and a social welfare hand up?

      Perhaps next time you put together a random string of words you try to communicate something useful?

    • just saying 2.4

      Fuck off and troll some other thread Nilats.

      This is really sad, both for Matt and his loved ones and for the left.

      We can’t afford to lose activists of his calibre.

  3. Alistair 3

    Nilats.. and of course your own comrades are all now eagerly waiting to collect the 8% icing that we the taxpayer have to shell out for their sure-thing cake investments in South Canterbury Finance after the govt guaranee socialised their profits for them all. You free market assholes are such paragons aren’t you all.

    “Obviously it’s socialism for favoured capitalists when their greed gets the better of them.”
    Matt McCarten, you’re the man.

  4. Jenny 4

    Matt, Sorry to hear about your illness.

    Great victory for you and your team against Burger fuel and the 90 day law. In my opinion you have really struck a blow here.

    The rest of the trade union movement could all take a leaf out of your book on how to do it.

    Get well soon

  5. Cameron 5

    I hope Matt is able to beat the cancer the same way he and Unite have been able to beat so many scum bag bosses.

    I also remember the time he was on TV debating Deborah Hill Cone and Roger Kerr about the Progressives lockout. He absolutely demolished Deborah Hill Cone when she said something along the lines of “OMG you union people must really be loving this lockout because it gets you in the public eye again”.

    Awesome bloke.

  6. r0b 6

    I’ve been picking up after the earthquake. But I will surface long enough to say this. Good on you Matt, and good luck.

  7. Rex Widerstrom 7

    Fuck!! Matt McCarten has far too much to offer NZ yet. There’s too few people of consistent principle and guts in public life today and he epitomises such qualities.

    I don’t care if (like the charming nilats above) you disagree with every word Matt’s ever said; courage, principle, determination and drive are things we desperately need, on all sides of the debate, as NZ sinks into a quagmire of focus group-driven blancmange.

    I’d hoped he’d somehow lead (or at least have a hand in) the resurgence of a genuine social democratic party, perhaps once Anderton had exhausted every public trough into which he could sink his snout. But whatever Matt has planned for the future, NZ will be a better place if he gets to achieve it.

    Kia kaha.

    • prism 7.1

      Go for it Matt to try and get on top of the big C. NZ needs good blokes like you. You sometimes seem like a candle in the dark. Couldn’t say it better than what Rex W has written.

  8. James 8


  9. James 9

    [No…you don’t even get the satisfaction of whining about it]

  10. aj 10

    As much as an atheist can, I’m praying for him

  11. I may be polls apart from Matt McCarten in terms of my beliefs, but I wish him the very best in his battle with cancer. He’ll take a lot of toppling!

    Matt; kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui; arohanui

    [Thanks inv2. Matt’s the caliber of man who has earned the respect of ally and opponent alike. For all the heat and emotion of the political debate, it’s a fine thing not to loose sight of our shared humanity….RL]

    • Inventory2 11.1

      It’s worthy of note too that several right-wing bloggers including DPF and WhaleOil have blogged similar sentiments to mine; WhaleOil opines

      Matt and I have always been on oppos­ing sides of just about every­thing, but he, like Chris Trot­ter, deserve respect for their prin­ci­ples and integrity. I hope and will pray he recov­ers from his can­cer to give us all many more years of opin­ion. Even if I will con­tinue to dis­agree with him.

  12. Carol 12

    I do always appreciate McCarten’s work for the unions and in the media. Always a fighter, strong and worthy principles. NZ is a better place having him around.

  13. Nick K 13

    I’ve never met McCarten, but friends of mine on the Right who have speak very highly of him. They say he is affable and a decent guy. Rex was 100% correct, this country needs more Matt McCartens, regardless of whether you prescribe to his politics.

    I hope he recovers.

  14. M 15

    Matt McCarten’s humanity and concern for others than himself just drips off him and I’m sorry he’s been selected for the big C – shame this wasn’t visited on [please let’s not wish cancer on anyone — r0b] who is nothing more than a five dollar whore to the business roundtable and a massive vacant lot at that.

    Any time that Matt is on the TV I damn near injure myself to see what he has to say because he speaks the truth, that little five letter word that people are afraid to employ these days especially critters on the right about how their policies force workers to bend over and grab their ankles without the benefit of lube.

    Key, Hide and Dunne – yeah, the faces that evil puts on when it comes to town.

  15. This isn’t a time to be political. Matt stands for everything I don’t -but he is a human being and deserves the respect that every human deserves. It’s a nasty disease and nobody deserves to be cursed by it.

    Take note that the outpouring of support to Matt from all sides is quite the contrast to the absolutely appalling comments made by many when Ron Trotter died. I don’t know if it happened here but really, if we are going to be mature about things like this there must be some limits.

    • Rex Widerstrom 16.1

      Well said Clint. Ironic that the comment above you says:

      I’m sorry he’s been selected for the big C – shame this wasn’t visited on [please let’s not wish cancer on anyone — r0b]

      My initial, visceral reaction on reading that was to ask why the moderators hadn’t banned the author. But then I figured it’s better to leave it. That way I (and I hope anyone else with a shred of decency) will simply scroll by anything else ever written by someone so undeserving of breathing the same air, let alone of a moment more of my time.

      [Yup it slipped through way after I knocked off last night… I see rob has gotten there first….RL]

    • mcflock 16.2

      not passive-aggressive at all, are we?

  16. Mac1 17

    Thanks for that comment, Clint. Our common humanity should bind us more than our differences split us away. Earthquakes are one instance of this. On a trip three years ago to Turkey and Greece, communities riven by ancient grievances, I learned that the cause of their recent rapprochement was the sending of Earthquake teams one to the other to help out in their emergencies.

    So, too, with cancer. There are many more sufferers than Matt McCarten from this curse of common humanity. I wish him the very best and as one of the other sufferers I thank those who see the greater humanity and speak from goodness of heart and human respect.

  17. Fabregas4 18

    Of all the political commentators it is Matt McCarten that makes me stop what I am doing and listen. A man in the true sense of the word, and one who typifies a New Zealand when we did lead the world in so many ways – including, importantly, common decency.

  18. fot 19

    Who cares if McCarten is sick, he never showed any sympathy or respect to the late Sir Ron Trotter.

    McCarten’s demise will be no loss at all.

    IrishBill: I’m leaving your comment up so people can see why you’re banned for a month.

  19. tea 20

    Loved it when McCarten turned up to the Auckland Uni after they’d egged Banks, with his own eggs and offered them to the crowd. When he was running for mayor…

  20. My sincere best wishes Matt. just remember that cancer is not the killer it used to be. Im sure that you will overcome it . Fight Mate fight.! You are a winner many young people will tell you that and I bet every one of them is wishing you well. best wishes, the young workers need you. Im an old man but still hope and want the best for our young people /.They are in good hands with M.McCarten,

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