Unions using interns

The Labour Party got most of the limited attention given by the media to the intern issue. This is because it was clearly a Labour Party scheme – Andrew Kirton eventually acknowledged it was an ‘Auckland Labour Party’ scheme, but that isn’t a separate party.

But unions were intertwined.

Andrew Little has a union background but claims to have had no knowledge of the scheme, apart from hearing about the idea at the start of the year, and finding out an unauthorised scheme was  up and running in May, and then finding out in mid-June it had got out of control so he stepped in as soon as he knew. Or something.

Matt McCarten has been what someone described as a ‘voluntary scapegoat’. He certainly seems to have been a major player in the scheme, while working for Andrew Little in Auckland, while Little knew nothing about it apart from what he knew.

Before being recruited by David Cunliffe as the Labour leader’s chief of staff in 2014 McCarten was secretary of the Unite union since 2005.

Despite working for Labour for three years McCarten still seems to have kept his @unite.co.nz email address. He registered the movementforchange.org.nz domain using it on 15 May, when he was still working for Little. And he registered it under a Unite Union office address.

McCarten registered campaignforchange.org.nz five days later using Little’s Auckland office address (postal and physical).

Unions were a major part of the plans for financing the intern scheme. A document obtained by Newshub had details (this is claimed to be an unfulfilled plan):

LabourInternDocumentFinance

This refers to contracts with the Unite and First unions.

The project was said to be managed by “the project manager in paertnership with the Labour Party, CTU (Council of Trade Unions) and AUSA (Auckland University Students’ Association).

The document detailed three parts to the campaign:

LabourInternsManagement

So an aim was to recruit and support volunteers for union GOTV (get out the vote) campaigns. Unions were involved in trying to get votes for Labour last election too. I’m not sure that all their union members would be happy with that.

More on money:

LabourInternsMoney

But when this document was published unions distanced themselves. Newshub:  Labour’s botched intern scheme planned on union funding

Council of Trade Unions (CTU):

CTU national secretary Sam Huggard says the plan was never shared with them, and the CTU actually turned down a request to manage the interns.

“We’ve never seen this document and the CTU was not involved as described. I presume this was an early proposal document of some sort,” he told Newshub.

“Matt [McCarten] asked CTU to run the worker aspect of Campaign for Change on the 12th of May this year, but we declined.”

Note “the CTU was not involved as described”. That doesn’t rule out being involved, it leaves many possibilities.

The document describes “member recruitment contracts” with the Unite and First unions.

First Union:

Robert Reid, General Secretary of First Union, said it had not provided any funding: “There’d been discussions but no formal request.”

Unite Union:

Gerard Hehir, Secretary of Unite, said: “We had some discussions with Matt but there was no funding and no promises.”

Neither ruled out a contract or agreement for them to pay on recruitment results.

Despite Hehir’s statement there (that Newshub article was dated 23 June 2017) on the same day NZ Herald reported in Mystery funder behind Labour intern programme – and party doesn’t know who quotes Unite’s National Director Mike:

“Matt is ambitious, and where there is a will there is a way is often his attitude. He may have tried to reach too far in this case. We thought there were positives and are a little bit sorry to see it’s all fallen on its face.”

Treen said the union had taken part in the programme and planned to use the interns for a programme to enrol Unite members, but had not provided any direct funding.

So Unite and First both say there was no direct (up front) funding but Treen says Unite planned to use foreign students to recruit union members with the proceeds to be channelled into funding a Labour party election campaign.

Reid and Hehir may have been technically correct if they hadn’t yet handed over any money to Labour’s campaign.

This suggests a plan for unions to use foreign workers to recruit for them, with the bounty going to Labour, rather than using New Zealand workers earning wages for themselves.

Unite Union’s Mike Treen said unpaid interns were common around the world. “It’s stupid to call it ’employment.’ I know the difference between people being taken advantage of and volunteers and being looking to be political agents in the long term. It was probably a very useful experience for many.”

It may be common use to use unpaid interns to campaign for political parties, but is it common to use unpaid interns to work on union recruitment at the same time?

The document refers to Unite/First contracts to “recruit 800 additional members – $40,000”.  That’s $50 per recruited member.

This sounds like an odd campaign – targeting people trying to get them to vote for Labour and join a union at the same time.  It’s either just a crazy mixed up scheme, or it could be a way of trying disguise campaign donations to Labour as commission for services rendered – by foreign volunteers.

Andrew Little said “Somebody had an idea earlier this year that we could get some people down here from other parts of the world. It looks to me like it’s gotten wildly out of control and people have found they can’t manage it” – Intern scheme got ‘wildly out of control’ – Little.

McCarten’s plans as “fantasy world stuff” and an “embarrassment” – see McCarten may have left Labour in debt after intern scheme (27 June)

In this I think Little’s comments are credible. I can imagine he might have turned a blind eye to McCarten bringing in foreign interns to campaign for Labour, but I can’t imagine him or Labour’s head office agreeing to including union recruitment in the same scheme.

But the Labour Party in Auckland seems to have been very much involved in the scheme, possibly with some Little/Head Office plausible deniability distancing from  the machinations of the scheme.

Auckland Labour’s NZ Council representative Paul Chalmers (also with a union background) has “stood down” from his party responsibilities so the inference is that he was involved with McCarten and at least Treen on this.

A bad look for some Auckland unions and the Labour in Auckland at least.

There are plenty of questions still unanswered by Little and Kirton.

Irony on coup claim

I think there’s a real possibility that there is a coup attempt unfolding inside and against National, blue on blue. The gradual drip feeding and attempted entrapment of Bill English looks like someone or some people have a serious political agenda. I suggested this last week.

Someone else is also suggesting a possible coup: Are we witnessing a very Kiwi Coup?

I think we are witnessing a slow motion coup.

Middle NZ rewards convincing political liars & punishes incompetent ones.

Bill English is being destabilised in front of our eyes because someone has reaped a heavy political price from deep personal pain. Todd has been sacrificed and Bill destabilised right when a totally fabricated Labour student slave story suddenly erupts via a right wing political news blog.

Who has fed this information to the NewsRoom?

Watch how nasty this now turns. Blood is in the water.

Someone is drip feeding this.

I think there could be some validity to these suggestions. More specifics with names were already mentioned but I think that may be guesswork perhaps with utu in mind.

But these claims are highly ironic given who wrote it – Martyn Bradbury.

I’ve also already written about how it looks like Bradbury may have had some involvement, at least on the periphery, of a type of coup attempt in Labour.

Matt McCarten was certainly involved, as was Mike Treen, and Bradbury may have revealed more than he should have (as usual). Ex unionist and ex campaign manager for Jacinda Ardern, Paul Chalmers, has also been involved and has now stepped down as Auckland representative on Labour’s NZ Council.

Bradbury posted about ten far left policies designed to Corbynise their campaign that Labour’s head office refused to adopt.

It appears Auckland’s Labour left tried to drive the Labour bus in their own direction, and crashed.

So while Bradbury may have a valid point or two about National’s mess it is very ironic for him to talk about party coups.

Minimum wage increase

The Government has announced that the minimum wage will increase from $15.25 per hour to $15.75 per hour from 1 April.

A release from Michael Woodhouse:

The minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $15.25 an hour on 1 April 2016, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse announced today.

The starting-out and training hourly minimum wages rates will increase from $11.80 to $12.20 per hour, remaining at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

“The Government has once again taken care to ensure the right balance has been struck between protecting our lowest paid workers, and ensuring jobs are not lost,” says Mr Woodhouse.

“An increase to $15.25 per hour will directly benefit approximately 152,700 workers and will increase wages throughout the economy by $75 million per year.

“With annual inflation currently at 0.1 per cent, an increase to the minimum wage by 3.4 per cent gives our lowest paid workers more money in their pocket, without imposing undue pressure on businesses or hindering job growth.

“The Government has increased the minimum wage every year since coming to office, from $12 to $15.25. This is an overall increase of 27% compared to inflation of around 11%.

“Our steady increases to the minimum wage reflect the Government’s commitment to growing the economy, boosting incomes and supporting jobs.”

So it is a little bit more than inflation.

David Farrar promotes and defends this at Kiwiblog in The minimum wage under National

So I thought I would point out how the minimum wage has moved from 1 April 2008 to 1 April 2017.

  • Hourly rate – from $12.00 to $15.75 – a 31.3% increase
  • Gross Annual FT minimum wage – from $25,029 to $32,850 – an increase of $7,821 or 31.3%
  • Net (after tax/ACC) Annual FT minimum wage – from $19,798 to 27,684 – an increase of $7,886 or 39.8%
  • CPI (inflation) gone from 1044 to 1218 (estimate) – an increase of just 16.7% (includes GST increase)
  • Real Net Annual FT minimum wage – from $23,097 to $27,684 – an increase of $4,587 or 19.9%

So a FT worker on the minimum wage has 20% higher spending power than nine years ago. That awful oppressive poor hating National Government.

An alternative view from Anthony Robins at The Standard in Minimum wage increase doesn’t meet real costs (the CPI is broken)

Any increase in the minimum wage is better than nothing, but National’s increases have not kept pace with the real cost increases (notably housing) faced by low income earners. That is why we are seeing the rise of the working poor, and increases in homelessness and poverty.

The skyrocketing cost of buying an existing house is not included in the CPI (“Inflation is 0.4 percent, and Mr Eaqub calculates that if house price growth was included, inflation would have been 2.5 percent, or more, in each of the last three years”).

The cost of rent is factored into the CPI with a weighting of 10%, in fact for low income earners rent can be 40% to 50% of their income or more (“The report said the lowest 20 percent of earners spent 54 percent of their income on housing in 2015, compared with just 29 percent in the late 1980s”). So the CPI already massively underestimates the real inflation that low income earners face – and rents are rising fast in Auckland and elsewhere.

There are similar issues with other basics like electricity, which is how power prices have risen more quickly than the CPI.

In short, the CPI is broken, especially with respect to housing. (Over the last three years we have developed a better measure, why aren’t we using it?). Under National minimum wage increase have failed to keep up with the real cost increases experienced by low income earners. That is why we are seeing the rise of the working poor, and increases in homelessness and poverty. Shame.

He also took a swipe at Farrar:

* National’s pet blogger tried to spin the snakeoil on Twitter too – an interesting discussion followed.

From one of Labour’s pet blogger? Throwing around pet names leaves one open to boomeranging.

Another view from further left, Mike Treen at The Daily Blog: $20 an hour now! Make the minimum wage a living wage!

There are widespread and unacceptable levels of poverty in this country and inequality is getting out of control. One way to address those issues in a meaningful way is to progressively increase the minimum wage in real terms.

Should every 16 year old or 18 year old in their first job be paid $20 per hour?

Housing costs are a real and large issue, but bumping up all wage rates to compensate seems to be silly. Far better to sort out housing supply and costs.

Waatea 5th Estate wrap up

I’ve had a chance to liksten to the final Waatea 5th estate of the year, possibly the final show altogether unless they receive NZ On Air funding for next year’s election campaigning.

In Martyn Bradbury’s introduction he said “where we wrap the most important news events with the best political panel on television. Joining us tonight to wrap the political year for our final show of 2016…”

He named a heap of people on the social media panel, saying “follow them tonight for the last time using the hashtag #waatea5thestate”. That sounds more final.

On the panel were deputy mayor of Auckland, Penny Hulse, union secretary Mike Treen, Marama Fox (Maori Party) and Grant Robertson (Labour).

The first issue discussed was housing and associated with that, welfare. The Government deserves a fair bit of criticism on housing but this was just about as over the top as you could get. It was a bashing.

The most notable comment was from Penny Hulse, saying that the Auckland council had given the Government the tools they needed via the Unitary Plan so the Government should just build houses now. The Unitary Plan took 6 years (although the building consents and land availability go back much longer) – has it even taken effect yet? To join in the Government bashing without a glimmer of taking any responsibility was a bit rich from Hulse.

Bradbury: “The second issue of the year was spin. Never before has information been so manipulated.” Pot (albeit a small one) calling a large kettle black.

He reeled of a number of justified and stupid gripes, one of the worst manipulation of information being “forty one thousand homeless people aren’t really homeless” – that was a dig at a supposed  claim from the Government but it depends on how ‘homeless’ is defined. University of Otago researcher suggests the actual number of what most people would view as homeless is about 10% of that:

If the homeless population were a hundred people, 70 are staying with extended family or friends in severely crowded houses, 20 are in a motel, boarding house or camping ground, and 10 are living on the street, in cars, or in other improvised dwellings.

http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago613529.html

Also “and the three hundred thousand kids in poverty aren’t really in poverty” is an ongoing spin, depending on what ‘poverty’ is defined as.

It was another Government bashing and Grant Robertson joined in but got a return serve from Marama Fox.

Bradbury: Marama what was your favourite political spin of the year?

Marama: Look ah actually Bomber you know what I’ve found as a newbie to politics is that these guys, Grant I love you, you know I do, but you guys are just as good at spin as the blue ones are as good at spin.

You guys spin this stuff out of control all the time to get some political leverage over each other. I am absolutely sick of the spin. Can we just tell the truth.

You know everybody moans about “oh you’re at the table blah blah blah, what has that got for you. Well I’ll tell you what it got for us because we’re at the table. Paula Bennett now spends $41 million on emergency housing….because we’re at the table. She is now implementing the Utah model that I gave her.

Bradbury spluttered a bit over that, then said “um, imagine all of the things you’re going to be able to do ah Marama if you’re at a Labour Party government next year, you’ll be able to do a hell of a lot more”.

Andrew Little has attacked the Maori Party recently and Labour want to obliterate them from Parliament.

Then, ironically, the third issue of the year was “the appalling state of journalism and the rise of click bait bullshittery”.

Bradbury then said “how can you get progressive visions out to the public when most of our media sound like Fox News?” Slater thinks the ‘media party’ bats for the other side. Perhaps it’s mostly somewhere in between these two extremists.

Bradbury: “I mean if you look at the coverage of the Unitary Plan it was literally the end of Western civilisation as we understood it, cats and dogs would start living together, planes would fall from the sky. None of that has occurred”.  None of that was hinted at or implied let alone claimed literally.

Hulse: “The Unitary Plan was landed despite the New Zealand Herald. The exciting thing for me is the rise of things like The Spinoff, then work that Gen Zero’s doing, the intelligent commentators who are now taking over that vacuum that’s been left by vacuous reporting”. She didn’t rate Bradbury or The Daily Blog as either intelligent or vacuous.

Bradbury: “Marama do you sometimes just want to slap Paddy Gower?”

Predictions for next year.

Grant Robertson:

I think we will see a change of government. The Labour Greens MoU is one of the big political developments in this year that we’ve just had and that will get it’s chance to come to fruition to lead that government. It’s going to get ugly next year as it always does when the right field…are on the back foot. It’s going to be difficult but we will come to the election and we will get result and then Marama will be able to join in with a change of government.

Penny Hulse:

If the Government don’t get Auckland right they are in for a very rough ride.

Marama Fox:

The Maori Party is going to take out four or five seats at least. [Exclamations from Robertson and Bradbury]

That’s probably no less realistic than Robertson.

We will be the king makers. Nobody wants to go to Winston. They want to see stable government. They believe in an independent Maori voice. And whether or not the Labour Party and the Greens’ MoU have said that they want us or don’t want us, when the time comes they’ll come knocking on the door and we’ll be ready with the things we  ‘re gonna negotiate to push our policies further.

Bradbury: Would the Maori Party be able to work with the Labour Party next year in government Marama?

Marama Fox: We’ve always said we will work with anybody, whoever is the government. Geez if we can work with blue undies we can sure as heck work with red undies.

Mike Treen:

I’m very hopeful that it’s going to be a change of government ah this year. I’m less confident that the change of government is going to produce the changes that we need, and I think that Labour needs to, ah  Labour and the Greens as sort of the joint parties of Opposition that are proposing themselves as an alternative government  at the moment need to come up with some things that will capture people’s imagination in terms of the type of change that is going to move the country forward.

At the moment I think it’s just a little too itsy bitsy and incremental, and it’s not telling people that it’s going to be a genuine alternative to the government that we have.

Labour in particular have nowhere near revealed their policies yet.

But what’s good at the moment is that this government is losing it’s image of infallibility, and the midas touch of John Key seems to have disappeared, and the housing issue has done that in the first instance. And so I think the chances of a change in government are much more realistic and I look forward to it.

Notably no mention of the mana Movement in any of the predictions.

Martyn Bradbury:

My final word. This is our final show. After seven glorious months a massive thank you to Andy at Face TV, the face TV crew, Will our director who’s a multi tasking technical superstar (I didn’t write that), Aaron and his team of metrosexual be-speckled uber nerds from Slipstream (I didn’t write that either), our amazing political multi functional Maori lesbian socialist friendly centre right producer and host Claudette (she totally wrote that).

Willie Jackson who shuts the bloody elevator door (I didn’t write any of this), to all our guest commentators, guest tweeters, amazing. Thanks also to our sponsors the Aotearoa Credit Union and Voyager Internet. Willie and I came up with this project because we couldn’t believe the diabolical level of debate from Seven Sharp and Story.

 In our seven months we have done more public interest broadcasting than Story and Seven Sharp combined.

Bradbury is not using comparable examples. Story and Seven Sharp are only partly political and I don’t think debate is a normal part of their formats.

Q & A and The Nation are better comparisons that are not mentioned.

We believe that democracy is only as strong as it’s media and if you are only hearing one side of the story then you have a one eyed electorate.

I hear many sides of many stories where I look.

We have a funding application in with New Zealand On Air, so we hope to see you next year as the election campaign heats up. We hope to see you next year.

So they are shutting down due to funding – I think Bradbury asked for donations recently.

Should NZ on Air fund a hard left political activist show? I wonder what Bradbury would say if the funded Whale Oil.

 

Screaming taxes

There’s a lot of screaming about taxes on the union left. Here’s an example from Mike Treen in Too Little, too late? at The Daily Blog:

I remember watching a televised debate in despair between John Key and David Cunliffe in the 2014 election where Key baited Cunliffe over wanting to increase taxes and the then Labour Party leader David Cunliffe had no answer. I wanted to scream at the TV screen.

“Just tell the people you will reduce taxes on ordinary kiwis and hit the rich who pay little or no tax today. Tell the people that John Key is a liar because he increased taxes and charges on most people when he had run on a promise to reduce taxes for everyone. The only people to actually get a tax cut were his rich mates.”

That in depth understanding of tax comes from National Director of Unite Union and spokesperson for Global Peace and Justice Auckland.

And his take on the current political situation:

The only thing going for Labour at the moment is the high likelihood that we will have a deep recession before the next election. National’s self-cultivated image of being competent economic managers will be dealt a significant blow. Whether it is enough to see them defeated is another question.

For that to happen Labour needs to significantly lift its game. We need less of Andrew Little the shifty lawyer and more of the Andrew Little I remember when he was a union leader speaking to mass rallies of workers with force, directness, clarity and vision. I assume he is still there somewhere.

He wants Labour and the country run like a union.

 

 

Public Meeting on GCSB in Auckland tonight

7 pm, Thursday 25th July

Mt Albert War Memorial Hall, Auckland

Key speakers:

  • Dame Anne Salmond
  • Dr Rodney Harrison QC
  • Kim Dotcom
  • Thomas Beagle
  • Chaired by Sir Edmund Thomas

Live Stream for this event: https://new.livestream.com/i-filmservices/StopTheGCSBbill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NotoGCSBBill

NZ Herald reports:

Anti-GCSB group garners support on social media

The Stop The GCSB Bill group has the support for 13,500 people on Facebook and is now being followed by another 400 on Twitter.

The group opposes the Government Communications and Security Bureau And Related Legislation Bill and the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill.

The group will hold a public meeting to protest the bill in Auckland tomorrow night, chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge Sir Edmund Thomas.

Group spokesman Mike Treen said that because of the high level of public interest, the meeting would be streamed live on the internet.

New Zealander of the year Dame Anne Salmond, Dr Rodney Harrison QC, internet tycoon Kim Dotcom and civil liberties expert Thomas Beagle will speak at the meeting.

The meeting will be followed by rallies around the country on Saturday.

It will be interesting to see how the sensible and serious commentators compete with the overblown scaremongering.

There are some radical elements involved with the meeting and protests. Martyn Bradbury is doing his usual over the top promotion at The Daily Blog and abused me when I asked him who was involved in the coalition and said I was banned from commenting there.

But there is also some more balanced comment there Frank Macskasy – 2013 – The Year We Became a Policed Surveillance State – albeit perhaps premature with his doom predictions.

The Mana Party and NZ socialists seem to be heavily involved in Auckland, with Bradbury leading the charge online, Mike Treen quoted as group spokesperson in the Herald article, and John Minto was just interviewed as spokesperson on Firstline.

I thought Minto came across very well and made reasonable points, he is voicing valid concerns. I hope they stick to the issue without politicising it.

Mana Party and Socialists

Mana is well known as the Hone Harawira party and as a party promoting Maori interests. Not so well known is the strong socialist connections with Mana.

Socialist Mana is not obvious from their website. There are signs of socialist inclinations, but nothing obvious or open.

From the Home page

MANA | Movement of the People | Nau mai haere mai and a Warm Welcome to all.

And a home page slide gives a hint:Mana revolution

From Kaupapa | Vision

Mana, the Movement of the People

MANA, movement of the people, is Aotearoa’s newest political force, led by Hone Harawira, Independent MP for Tai Tokerau.

MANA also speaks to the pride and dignity of workers who built this country into the special place that we all call home.MANA is born from a need/ or desire to be a truly independent Maori voice in parliament.”

MANA is also seen as the natural home to a growing number of ordinary Kiwis cast adrift by this National government, and despairing of Labour’s inability to provide a viable alternative.”

“Government is giving tax breaks to the rich, bailing out failed finance companies, selling off our natural resources, turning prisons into private profit ventures, and spending $36 million on a yacht race on the other side of the world, while ordinary New Zealanders are starving, workers are being forced into slavery by the 90-day bill, and Maori rights are being drowned in the Raukumara Basin.

“In the land of milk and honey, those massive inequalities are unacceptable.

MANA will promote policies that allow all New Zealanders to lead a good life.

MANA will guarantee a measure of people power and accountability from its MPs, that has never been seen before in this country.

MANA is a principle we bring out of our history, to serve us in the present, and to provide us with the platform to transform this nation.

Some general anti rich, anti profit, pro poor, and claiming to represent “the people” and promoting “people power”. But nothing specifically socialist.

Founding Principles:

MANA Founding Principles

The mission of the MANA Movement is to bring rangatiratanga to the poor, the powerless and the dispossessed.  It is they who carry the brunt of government by the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful.  We will lead the fight against welfare that punishes children, against greed that is rewarded by corporate payouts, against the damage to Papatūānku by pollution and oil drilling and against governments who fill the pockets of foreign companies at our expense.

The MANA Movement will support Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the basis of the New Zealand Constitution and will uphold Te Reo Māori as a taonga and ensure its protection.

We stand for the right to fulfilling work with a decent living wage.

We stand for full employment so that everyone can give back to their communities in a meaningful way and with dignity.

We stand for a tax system that abolishes GST and levies financial transactions, taking away the heavy tax burden that falls on the poor and middle income earners.

We stand for every family’s right to secure, healthy housing.

We stand for every child’s right to a free, high quality education that prepares them for their world.

We will support students’ right to enter the workforce free of the burden of student debt.

In short, we will fight to bring the voice of the poor, the powerless and the dispossessed into Parliament.  And we will fight to give Te Tiriti o Waitangi the mana and life that was envisaged by those tūpuna who signed it in 1840.

A mix of Maori/Treaty and general socialist orientated principles without being specific.

A site search on “socialism” has one hit, a news item by Harawira, and this makes some socialist connections clear.

Posted on April 9, 2013 by admin in Ae MarikaNews

On Saturday night I was privileged to host my first ever citizenship ceremony as a Member of Parliament. The ceremony was for a good friend of mine, Mike Kyriazopoulos and his wife Joanne. Mike is a mix of Greek and Jewish ancestry, and used to live and work in England where he met his wife Joanne.

Their citizenship application was finally approved a couple of weeks ago, and the ceremony was held at the Auckland Trades Hall in Auckland as part of a special tribute evening for Mike who is a committed socialist, a union activist, and chairman of the MANA branch of Te Raki Paewhenua.

Mike gave his oath of allegiance in Maori and followed that with his own personal vow to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the principles of international socialism.

That’s  celebrating a Mana branch chairman who is a committed socialist with his own personal vow to honour the principles of international socialism.

And a search on “socialist” finds: Public meeting about the Mana Movement in Melbourne

Posted on November 13, 2012 by admin in Korero, Speeches
The following speech was given by Grant Brookes who delivered it to people who were interested in the MANA Movement in Australia.  If you want further background to the event, contact Grant Brookes –  grant_brookes@paradise.net.nz.
MANA – A movement of the people in Aotearoa/New Zealand 

Talk to Socialist Alliance public meeting, Melbourne

And in this speech:

I speak also as a socialist, and a member of the Workers Party. And I am a member of MANA.

The three main socialist groups in Aotearoa have also backed MANA and are active within it – Socialist Aotearoa, the International Socialist Organisation and my group, the Workers Party.

And if you look at those groups you find a more open connection between Mana and socialists.

Socialist Aotearoa

What is Socialist Aotearoa?

Socialist Aotearoa is an activist organisation of anti-capitalist workers and students. We are involved in the union movement as activists, delegates, and organisers. We support theAotearoa is Not for Sale coalition against privatisation. We work withGlobal Peace and Justice Auckland against imperialism and war. We are part of the MANA Movement.

International Socialist Organisation of Aotearoa/New Zealand

WHO ARE WE?

The International Socialist Organisation is a group of revolutionaries in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We are active in campaigns, protests, on campuses, and in the trade unions. We are part of the Mana movement.

Workers Party

Fightback (formerly the Workers Party) is a socialist political party active in campaigns nationwide.

We aim to build a new political movement based on the interests of workers in Aotearoa/NZ and internationally.

Our activities include organising in workplaces, campaigning against imperialism and supporting the Mana movement.

Fightback stands on the following platform:

1. Opposition to all New Zealand and Western imperialist intervention in the Third World and all Western imperialist alliances.

2. Secure jobs for all with a living wage and a shorter working week.

3. For the unrestricted right of workers to organise and take industrial action and no limits on workers’ freedom of speech and activity.

4. For working class unity and solidarity – equality for women, Maori and other ethnic minorities and people of all sexual orientations and identities; open borders and full rights for migrant workers.

5. For a working peoples’ republic.

There are some strong union connections with Mana:

Mana Kaimahi Network established

Syd Keepa (Mana Movement spokesperson on employment and industrial relations) and Mike Treen have agreed to establish a network of unionists who support the Mana Movement. This group will be called the Mana Kaimahi Network and they want to encourage active participation of working people in the Mana Movement leading up to the election on November 26.

In the first instance they would like to invite active unionists and union officials to join an email network and/or facebook group to coordinate activities. Until the election they will focus on distributing Mana election material in workplaces, communities and unions; enrolling potential Mana voters; and identifying Mana supporters within the trade union movement to join Mana.

In the near future this group will look forward to the possibility of forming workplace, union or cross-union branches of Mana members. Their aim is to have an active role in promoting policy that upholds the interests of working people.

Mike Treen has had socialist associations for a long time.

And other prominent Mana members are are also prominent socialists.

John Minto, Mana list candidate last election and Mana Auckland mayoral candidate.

Sue Bradford is known to be very left wing with a socialist past.

Matt McCarten is another unionist/socialist involved with Mana:

McCarten has an interest in New Left and socialist views, calling into question capitalism and the Establishment.

Mana was built on Hone Harawira is more Maori nationalist with socialist tendencies, similar to Annette Sykes who is also prominent in Mana. But strong socialist elements have also been prominent in the establishment of Mana.

It’s curious that the socialists are open about their Mana connections but Mana seems coy.