New Zealand

Photo: Unite.org.nz New Zealand's Unite Union, which organises fast food, hospitality and retail workers, announced a big win on May 1 with McDonald's finally agreeing to join Burger King and Restaurant Brands and cease using controversial “zero hour” contracts.


Photo: Unite.org.nz.

Striking McDonald’s workers took part in marches and pickets in Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin on April 15, with many speaking to the crowds and media about the hardship of living with insecure work and income.

Near the heartland of New Zealand’s renowned wine country, there is a place where visitors are not allowed to go. The peculiar large white domes that protrude from the earth in the Waihopai Valley are surrounded by razor wire and shrouded in secrecy.

Staring down scandals related to revelations in a recently published book, Dirty Politics, and revelations of mass government surveillance, incumbent Prime Minister John Key led his right-wing National Party to become the first party with an outright majority in parliament since the current electoral system was set up in 1996.

The Labour opposition, however, slumped to about 24% of the vote ― its worst result ever.

Laila Harre, the leader of the newly formed Internet Party, told a September 16 stop-work meeting in west Auckland organised by the FIRST and Unite unions, that state spying was not due to concerns about terrorism, but to target people who “organise for change”.

John Minto is a veteran New Zealand activist who became known as a leader of a powerful anti-apartheid campaign in the 1970s. More recently, he was part of organising some of the largest pro-Palestine demonstrations ever in New Zealand.

Immediately after the September 15 “Moment of Truth” public meeting — in which NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed John Key’s National Party government complicity in the wholesale, and illegal, surveillance of New Zealanders — Internet MANA candidate in the September 20 elections, Joe Carolan, spoke to Green Left on the meeting’s significance.

It is a story that will be familiar to many residents of the Sydney suburb Millers Point: a suburb with long-standing public housing that provides affordable accommodation to low-income residents is at the centre government attempts, at the behest of property developers, to remove public housing tenants and free up land that just happens to feature prime water-side views.

Auckland Town Hall was packed to overflowing on September 15, with almost 2000 people. They heard US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden present new evidence that the New Zealand government has been collaborating with US authorities to carry out wholesale surveillance and data collection on NZ citizens.

New Zealand goes to the polls on September 20. Amid a big scandal of government “dirty tricks”, the Mana Movement is pushing the interests of the working-class and Maori communities.

Mana was formed when firebrand Maori Party MP Hone Harawira split over the Maori Party's support for a right-wing National Party government in 2011. It brings together militant Maori activists with other working-class and left forces.

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