On October 15th, 2007 an estimated 300 police raided houses all over Aotearoa New Zealand and arrested people based on warrants issued under the Terrorism Suppression Act. Lives were turned upside down as the police searched for evidence of ‘terrorism.’ This book is a collection of oral history interviews of people affected by those raids and the aftermath: defendants, friends, family, supporters and other people subject to the state’s coercive powers on that day.
The case is the first ever attempted use of the Terrorism Suppression Act, a piece of legislation enacted in response to the 9/11 events in New York and Washington DC. The terrorism charges were not brought, but the people arrested continue to face a long journey to freedom as the state seeks to punish political activists and to reinforce the status quo.
Industrial Unionism is a pamphlet with two local articles on the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) in New Zealand, from Rebel Press.
The History of the the I.W.W. in New Zealand, written by Peter Steiner, details the activities of the I.W.W. around the turn of the 20th Century, the prominence of the union during the famous 1912 Waihi miners strike, and their decline as a result of the ensuing repression during the Great Strike of 1913. The article also includes information about recent attempts to set up the I.W.W.
Pike River Mine on the West Coast of New Zealand is said to be one of the most advanced mines in the country, yet workers still bear the brunt of the drive for profit. On Friday 19th November the mine suffered an explosion due to methane gas. 29 workers are still unaccounted for.
Friday's explosion at the Pike River Mine, and the unknown fate of the 29 miners still below ground, has been the catalyst for a number of emotions. Compassion and love, between members of the effected community; hope, for the families and friends of the workers; and anxiety, of that which is unknown.
After protests in Auckland and Wellington, and further planned protests outside Burger Fuel fast food stores across the North Island and in Sydney, Burger Fuel has recently backed down and agreed not to use the 90 day hire and fire legislation in its franchises.
The protests were against the sacking of Joanne Bartlett from her job in an Auckland Burger Fuel store on the 89th day of her 90 day trial period. She was fired just after asking for more than one 10 minute break during her eight hour shift. No reason was given for her dismissal.
On September 15th over 1,000 teachers and supporters from Wellington, Hutt Valley and Kapiti Coast marched from Wellington High School to Parliament as part of a national one day strike action. The strike was called in support of teachers’ claims for a 4% wage increase an improvement in working conditions and opposition to such measures as the 90 Day Act.
The marchers were in good spirits, with a sense of purpose for their action. There was some chanting and attempts to interact with lunchtime passersby in the CBD, who were either subdued or supportive in attitude. One amusing example came when some teenagers on the pavement called out “Good one, but make sure its a Friday next time!”.
If you believe the media, there seems to be heaps of unruly workers going out on strike at the moment. And yes, it appears so – the recent teachers’ strike of up to 16,000 surpasses the total number of workers going out nationwide in 2008 and 2009 put together! (8,950 in 2009 and 4993 in 2008).
As well, about a thousand radiographers and hundreds of medical lab and Ministry of Education workers have been on strike, and hundreds of Housing NZ and ACC workers continue with low key industrial action, such as work-to-rules. And there is more ahead – over 4000 junior doctors appear to be set to strike, and if you count the big nationwide stopworks against the new employment laws on Oct.
The 13th issue of Solidarity, free newssheet of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement. Download the .pdf below (1.37MB), or visit the AWSM website to read the contents online.
Note: This will be the last issue for 2010, Solidarity will resume publication in early 2011. News and analysis will continue to be posted on the AWSM website until then.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss an issue of Solidarity, you can subscribe to either the print or electronic version.
One of the most popular products exported from New Zealand has been the atmospheric Lord of the Rings films. They invoke images of a far off land called Middle Earth complete with massive mountains, panoramic landscapes, and furry wee Hobbits fighting the evil Dark Lord. The next film based in the same fantasy world, The Hobbit, is to be shot in NZ next year.
NZ Actors Equity, the union for actors in NZ, has called upon international actors unions to black the film production. Blacking is a refusal by workers to work on a particular project, in this case a film.
While the dust settles and Christchurch recovers from the 7.1 earthquake, people have begun to pick up the pieces and get on with their lives. But for many working class people this is not so easy.
Those most affected by ‘natural disasters’ — whether by the tsunami in the Pacific, earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and now Christchurch, NZ — are those already on the margins of despair.
Saturday August 21st saw thousands of workers rally in the main centres across New Zealand against the National Government's proposed changes to employment laws. The Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement has previously produced a backgrounder to the attacks - Workers Set To Face More Attacks - and some ideas for resistance - Let’s Kill The Bill!