Thursday, October 25, 2007

Has the tide turned for Labour - gaining in the polls...

Has the tide turned for Labour, gaining six points in a fortnight, with National falling three points. Is the Key honeymoon now over? Has the New Zealand public realised that the recent gaffs by National is a sign of their fragility, incompetence, lack of political nous and a lack of viable policies.

The New Zealand Morgan Poll puts Labour on 39 per cent, up six points from its last poll just over a fortnight ago.

Support for National fell three points to 45.5 per cent.

The result was Labour's highest in the poll since February and National's lowest since April.

It cements a trend in several recent polls of growing support for Labour despite National still holding a clear lead.

The poll puts the Green Party down 2 per cent to 7.5 per cent support, New Zealand First remained unchanged on 3 per cent, the Maori Party down slightly on 2 per cent, United Future steady on 1.5 per cent and ACT on 0.5 per cent.

The poll of 808 voters was conducted during the first two weeks of October and has a margin of error of around 4 per cent.

The polling period followed a fortnight in which National came under fire for several aspects of its policies.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Labour Day is a meaningless holiday in New Zealand...

Today is LABOUR DAY in New Zealand, celebrated on the fourth Monday of October every year. Once it celebrated the real value of workers to New Zealand society and the economy, now its a holiday with a very shallow meaning. To most workers its just another holiday off work. Most know their work is not really valued by their employers. In this the year of 2007 they are just another number, another commodity in the market economy.

Back in the new British colony of Wellington, New Zealand, in 1840, a carpenter by the name of Samuel Parnell( an existing suburb in Auckland was named after him)refused to work more than eight hours a day. He is famous for his statement that there is 8 hours to work, 8 for recreation and 8 hours for sleep. Parnell encouraged other tradesmen in the new colony to support him; and in October of 1840 a resolution was passed in support of his proposal.

On the 28 October,1890 the 50th Anniversary of Parnell's resolution was celebrated with a parade through the streets of the colony. In 1890 the Government of the now emerging dominion legislated for a public holiday from 1900. Because some shrewd seamen were celebrating the new holiday on different dates in diferent provinces, employers sought government help to curb the practice. As a consequence the holiday was 'Mondayised' from 1910.

It is, as I stated above,now just another holiday with no real meaning. The recognised eight hour day has long gone. The Employment Contracts Act of 1991, introduced by a New Right market- obsessed National Government, changed the face of employment law and employment practices in New Zealand, probably for ever. The fact of the matter is that in New Zealand, many workers work regularly more than an eight hours a day, and often for no extra pay or overtime, especially if they are salaried workers.

Samuel Parnell would turn in his grave today. Trade unions in New Zealand are still struggling to turn back the excesses of the 1990's and are slowly building up their membership, and continue to celebrate Labour Day and what it meant.

I know other countries celebrate a Labour Day. I wonder if their employment laws allow for an eight hour day? Some how I don't believe it! Enjoy your holiday when it comes round.

The Writers Lounge

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Were the raids carried out by armed police in recent days justified?

Were raids carried out by armed police in recent days justified? From what we have been told so far, probably yes!

You would expect the victims of such raids to maintain their innocence. Tame Iti's general behaviour has long suggested he could well be involved in anti- social activities. The others involved have been closed books as far as our society has been concerned; the books are about to be opened, so to speak.

In my opinion you have to look at the thought processes of people from his area. The Tuhoe claim they are an independent nation, which is a load of unadlterated crap. There is only one nation - the New Zealand nation, and Tuhoe are part of that nation. So therefore some Tuhoe behaviour could be construed as bordering on treason against the New Zealand state. Such treason is punishable by a life sentence in prison - the death penalty existed until recently.

Some of the attitudes of many Maori in general should be considered to be of some concern too.

These Maori need to grow up and realise they live in the 21st century and not in the times of their ancestors who may well have been treated badly by the British authorities and settlers of the times. We have the Waitangi Tribunal to take care of disputed land.

Maori need to realise that they too, are descendants of immigrants,in their case from East Polynesia - they were the first human residents in New Zealand from the mid 13th century onwards. Maori are therefore not indigenous, but New Zealand's first people.

But having said all this, I expect some "real evidence" to be produced by police prosecutors at coming court hearings.I await this evidence with bated breath.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The death penalty is not an option in New Zealand - appropriate sentencing is...

The death penalty is not an option in New Zealand despite the emotional outbursts from Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman, Garth McVicar. This is a pro-National lobby group in any case. What is needed is appropriate sentencing. In some cases a life sentence, should be just that - natural life! There are other options available: No remission for certain crimes, and no concurrent sentencing for multi - charges. Violent criminals could be given significant levels of solitary confinement.

Please read the news story below:

The government has added its voice to an international campaign to outlaw the death penalty worldwide

New Zealand is joining an international effort to have the death penalty abolished worldwide.

Helen Clark has made the announcement while speaking to Amnesty International representatives at Parliament.

A total of 83 people were executed for murder and one for treason between 1842 and 1961, before the death penalty for murder was abolished in New Zealand. The last execution in this country was in 1957, when Walter Bolton was hanged at Mount Eden prison for killing his wife Beatrice. He had slowly poisoned her by putting arsenic in her tea over a period of a year.

Capital punishment was available as a possible sentence until it was finally removed in 1989.

Helen Clark says the Government is working with other countries to put a resolution to the United Nations to abolish what she calls the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. But the Sensible Sentencing Trust believes the move shows Helen Clark does not want to be re-elected as Prime Minister next year.

Trust spokesman Garth McVicar says while there are no calls yet to re-introduce the death penalty in New Zealand, this is simply another example of putting offenders' rights before those of victims. Mr McVicar says he is shocked because the Trust deals with victims who have had loved ones murdered, and there is no worse form of treatment than that.

He observes that two countries New Zealand is working at achieving free trade deals with - the United States and China - carry out the largest number of executions each year.

Petes Life and World Events