Archive for the ‘New Zealand politics’ Category

by Daphna Whitmore

A law to allow anyone to change the sex on their birth certificate, no questions asked, is before parliament. This demand arose under the banner of transgender rights. Measures to make life easier for transgender people should be supported, however this law change will have potentially negative unintended consequences for women and girls and this deserves discussion.

Abortionrally

Trans ideologues want to strip the word ‘woman’ of its meaning. Wellington abortion rights march, December 2018. Photo by Deidra Sullivan.

Currently trans-identifying people can change their birth certificate with an application through the Family Court with medical evidence of living as the nominated sex and with some safe guards against predatory males who may want to manipulate the process.

Trans ideology has sprung up rapidly and taken hold in surprising quarters. It is problematic because it actually has little focus on the rights of transexuals. Transgender is now a catch-all term of which a significant number are cross-dressing heterosexual males, some of whom identify as lesbians with penises. (more…)

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by Don Franks

protest

Concessions by Labour to its coalition partner New Zealand First have further reduced workers’ rights on the job. Legislation will be in the form of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, now a formality to become law. 

The two recent concessions to the bosses, via NZ First, concerned union access to the workplace and the multi-employer collective agreement, or Meca.

Employers have a responsibility to enter into Meca bargaining but will not be compelled to settle an agreement. (more…)

Material on Redline about the First Great Imperialist Slaughterhouse War, aka World War I, includes over 50 items.  Below are some of the main ones.

Stevan Eldred-Grigg’s The Great Wrong War: New Zealand society and World War I

Gallipoli Invasion: a dirty and bloody business

ANZAC Day, Gallipoli and NZ Imperialism

The absurdity and obscenity of Gallipoli: three NZ writers’ accounts

Field Punishment #1 Reviewed

Samoa: what New Zealand did

Opposing imperialist war abroad, fighting the class war at home: radical workers in New Zealand, 1905-1925

Empty Garden: Wellington’s National War Memorial Park

Reds and Wobblies: working class radicalism and the state, 1915-1925

After World War I: the horrors of peace at home (Australia)

Lenin on Imperialism and the split in Socialism

The relevance of Lenin’s Imperialism and the Split in Socialism today

Marxist Classics: An Appreciation of Zinoviev’s The War and the Crisis of Socialism

Militant (and illegal) strikes by teachers and other school employees in the US won major gains earlier this year; it’s an example worth emulating. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

by Don Franks

“In 2018, we’ll be making the message loud and clear – It’s Time. Time to lead, teach and learn. This means freeing teachers to teach so every child receives the personal attention they need to learn and thrive. It means freeing principals to focus on leading and it means ensuring we have enough teachers by attracting more people to teaching, by respecting them as professionals and paying them properly.

“We currently have a growing teacher shortage crisis already showing itself in our schools, which looks set to worsen with growing student numbers and less (sic) people training to become teachers.

“Our students come to school to learn all the skills and abilities that they’ll need to grow up healthy, happy and productive in the 21st century. Our nation can afford to ensure every child receives the education they need to succeed in life, and for every educator to be trusted and resourced to make that a reality. It’s simply a matter of priorities.

“As we go through negotiations for the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement this year, we’ll be standing together for our students and for an education system that values, attracts and retains the amazing teachers who are entrusted with the education of our children.”

So says the New Zealand Educational Institute, the union for primary school teachers.  It’s the NZEI union office lead piece on the teachers’ impending pay struggle. 

The  campaign title page carries no target figure, no specific claims argued, no bottom line. Payment is barely mentioned in passing.  NZEI’s “loud clear message” is an abstract empty slogan “Time to lead, teach and learn”.

The original claim of 16% over two years appears further down, inside the document, beside the government counter offer of 3% over three years .

The union office does not make any defence of the original offer. It says in relation to the counter offer:

“Do you think the increase offered is sufficient to address the recruitment and retention issues?”

“Do you think there is enough benefit in the current offer to accept a 3 year term?”

Reasonable negotiation or the thin end of a sell-out?

Does it matter if the NZEI choose to waffle like this? (more…)

by Don Franks 

jail_5“New Zealand has one of the highest imprisonment rates in the world, second only to the United States, with over 5000 people currently in our 17 prisons. We could be excused for thinking the problem is huge, too big too handle …”

Social reformer Celia Lashlie wrote that in 2002. Today, 10,645 inmates are crammed inside 18 overflowing jails.

Successive government policies paved the way for this massive increase. (more…)

Dave Hansford, Protecting Paradise: 1080 and the fight to save New Zealand’s wildlife, Potton & Burton, 2016, 250pp, $34.99; reviewed by Don Franks

Along New Zealand roadsides, especially on the South Island’s west coast, are hammered hand painted signs. “1080 poisons our water”, “Kea killed in 1080 drop”, “1080 kills everything”.

The  accused 1080 is an organic salt, sodium monofluoraetate. First developed as a rodent killer during World War II by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1080 has since been in wide use for vertebrate pest control. The substance is spread in New Zealand today by the Department of Conservation (DOC), aimed at killing rodents preying on native plants and animals.

Some opponents claim 1080 does  (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

Maori language week has just concluded and it felt like there was a lot more buzz around it this year. From media commentators, to friends, family and workmates more people are talking about learning Maori and plenty are brushing up on pronunciation. There are still debates in the media about whether to have Maori as a compulsory subject in schools or to keep it optional; either way a lot more teachers and resources are needed.

The Maori Language Commission called on people to support the revitalisation of the language: “Strength for an endangered language comes from its status, people being aware of and actively supporting its revitalisation, and through people learning and using the language. The language also grows by developing new words so that people have the right words and terms to use, for today and for future generations.”

What I haven’t seen is discussion of what the prognosis is when a language is no longer the mother tongue. No amount of funding and resource can transform the fact that Maori is the first language of a shrinking elderly population. The new generation of Maori speakers have English as their first language. Statistics NZ in 2013 estimates there were approximately 50,000 (11 %) Māori adults who could speak Māori well or very well. Many of the very fluent speakers were over 65 years old.   (more…)