New Zealand

Trade unions, environmental and Maori groups have united to oppose passage of new laws threatening collective bargaining and basic rights in the workplace. The Employment Relations Amendment Bill, introduced by the government in April, seeks to remove existing requirements for employers to negotiate collective agreements, and rest and meal break provisions.
A law has been passed giving New Zealand’s intelligence agencies greater powers — despite widespread opposition from human rights groups, private companies and the public. The newly enacted Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) Bill authorises the gathering of private communications of citizens, including text messages, emails and bank account details without the need for a search warrant.
More than 50 people gathered in the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre in Wellington on May 31 and June 1 for the annual conference of the socialist organisation Fightback. The sessions were filled with lively and respectful debate across a number of different perspectives within the left on national and international issues. Fightback 2013 featured speakers from Fightback, the International Socialist Organisation (Aotearoa), the Socialist Party of Australia, and the Australian Socialist Alliance.
After a relatively quiet couple of years, the Unite union, which organises fast food and other previously unorganised sectors, has burst into action with a vigorous industrial campaign against McDonald's. The key demands are focused around winning a NZ$15 starting wage, an end to casualised hours, a fair and transparent roster system and a number of union-only benefits, most of which have already been won by KFC Unite members. See also: New Zealand: McDonald's hit by first ever strike in Wellington
As the packed galleries burst into an impassioned version of “Pokarekare Ana” (a well-known traditional Maori love song) in response to the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill by 77-44 votes on April 17, a crowd of more than 1000 celebrated outside parliament in Wellington. The vote made New Zealand the 13th nation to legalise same-sex marriage. France has since become the 14th.
With a vote of 71-21, the Uruguayan House of Representatives approved same-sex marriage on April 10. With the Senate’s approval and the president’s promise to sign it, Uruguay became the 12th country to legalise same-sex marriage. Seven days later, on April 17, New Zealand became the 13th when its parliament voted 77-44 to legalise same-sex marriage.
The Refugee Action Coalition has condemned the deal with New Zealand to take 150 refugees processed in Australia each year. “This deal does nothing to provide security for a greater number of asylum seekers or refugees. Australia can easily resettle 150 a year itself.
Operation 8: Deep in the Forest Directed by Errol Wright & Abi King-Jones CutCutCut Films www.cutcutcut.com Operation 8 is an emotive, shocking, disturbing, informative and captivating documentary on the 2007 “anti-terror” raids that took place across in New Zealand targetting Maori activists. The film is essential viewing for indigenous peoples fighting for sovereignty, their supporters and activists in general.
Burger King is trying to intimidate and silence its workers and the Unite union from criticising the company. The company has applied to the Employment Relations Authority seeking an injunction to stop Unite from organising teach-ins at its stores about how the company is treating its workers. It also wants to shut down the union's blog from reporting on Burger King and its activities. Burger King has told its staff that if any of them speak up at teach-ins outside its stores they face “serious consequences”.
Green Left Weekly’s Ben Peterson spoke to Wellington-based student activist Joel Cosgrove about socialist organising in New Zealand. Cosgrove is a member of the Workers Party and the Mana Party. He will speak about radical politics in New Zealand at Resistance’s Time Of Revolution conference in Adelaide, July 20-22. * * * What is ‘We are the University’?

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