The Aotearoa Is Not For Sale hikoi drew an estimated 3000 people as it passed through Auckland on April 29 on its two-week journey from Cape Reinga to Wellington. Protesters are opposed to the planned sale of up to 49 per cent shares in the state owned energy companies: Mighty River, Genesis Power, Meridian Energy and Solid Energy. A statement from organisers said today's hikoi would also highlight plans to mine sand on the West Coast.
On April 28, up to 8000 people marched in Auckland against the threatened sell-off of public assets by New Zealand National Party Prime Minister John Key. A few days earlier, a Hikoi (walk) began from Cape Reinga in the far north of New Zealand's north island, headed for the capital, Wellington. Arriving in Auckland in time to coincide with the event, participants in the Hikoi marched from Victoria Park to Britomart, where they met up with the assembling protest. The crowd then made its way up Queen Street to Aotearoa Square.
Activists have been campaigning to prevent the removal of public housing in the Auckland suburb of Glenn Innes since April 2. Many Tenants who have lived in the homes for decades have been evicted. Contractors are preparing to remove the homes for a new housing development. The development will reduce public housing, and evicted tenants have not gotten any guarantees of a right to return. Tenants, local community members and activists in the Mana Party organised to try to stop the removals,. They have peacefully blockaded and occupied the empty houses in protest.
A series of protests, or Hikoi, will take place across New Zealand from April 24 to May 10, under the banner “Aotearoa Not For Sale”. The demonstrations are being organised against the pro-privatisation, pro-mining and anti-social agenda of the National Party government, led by Prime Minister John Key. The Hikoi will kick off at the top of New Zealand's north island at Cape Reinga on April 24.
In what has been described as New Zealand's most high-profile and bitter industrial dispute since the early 1990s, waterside workers went back to work, after a four-week strike. Auckland's port company agreed to end its lockout of 235 workers on March 30, and pay workers a week's wages for being illegally locked out. The New Zealand Herald reported that Maritime Union president Garry Parsloe told a huge workers' meeting: “You'll all go back to your jobs and until you go back you'll all get paid. “Everything we have done has fallen into place, thanks to your solidarity.”
A number of high-profile industrial struggles are unfolding in New Zealand. About 1500 aged care workers, members of the Service and Food Workers Union, are taking part in rolling strikes against a 1% pay rise offer. About 750 meat workers have been locked out by their employer AFFCO and about 1250 workers are involved in rolling stoppages in solidarity. Striking Auckland waterside workers are also into their fourth week on the picket line. What links all these struggles are pay and conditions ― especially the fight against casualisation.
The Occupy Auckland general assembly released this “Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Australia” on October 24. * * * From the General Assembly of Occupy Auckland, New Zealand In session, the 24th day of October, 2011 Madam Prime Minister, Respectfully, we the assembled citizens, residents and supporters of the Auckland Occupation wish to convey to you our deepest disappointment in the recent repression by Australian police of the peaceful demonstrators in Melbourne’s City Square and Sydney's Martin Place.
Hone Harawira, an elected member of New Zealand parliament for the newly formed Mana Party, caused a stir on July 14 when he refused to swear allegiance to the English queen in order to take his seat. Instead, Harawiri swore allegiance, in Maori, to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the 1840 treaty between Maori tribes and Britain that recognised Maori ownership of their lands.) Stuff.co.nz said that day that parliamentary speaker Lockwood Smith refused to swear Harawira in as an MP on the grounds his affirmation was not legal.
The path for Maori liberation, debates on left perspectives and the 30th anniversary since the 1981 Springbok tour were some of the discussions at “Workers Power”, the national conference of the Workers Party held in Hamilton over June 3 to 5. The recent formation of the Mana Party was a focus of the discussions. Prominent Maori leader and MP Hone Harawira initiated Mana after leaving the Maori Party, frustrated over its deals while in coalition with the right-wing National Party. Harawira resigned his seat to force a by-election and stand again as a Mana candidate.
The formation of the Mana Party in April marked a “major step forward for a genuine working-class political voice” in New Zealand, the national director of the Unite Union and Mana party member Mike Treen told Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. The Mana Party was formed at a 500-strong conference on April 30. It was called by Hone Harawira, MP for the Maori electorate of Te Tai Tokerau. At the conference, Harawira announced his resignation from the Maori Party and his re-election campaign as a member of the Mana Party in a by-election.