Teacher to face suspension under Electoral Act
First teacher to face suspension without pay for challenging the Electoral Act
Workers Party Christchurch East candidate Paul Hopkinson is the first school teacher to face penalties for challenging the undemocratic provisions of the 1993 Electoral Act.
Under the current law most public servants (including teachers) must take unpaid leave between for the three weeks between nomination and polling days.
Hopkinson has refused to take unpaid leave and as a result has been told by his employer that he will be suspended without pay.
“I think that it’s outrageous that just because I’m employed by the state I am not allowed to participate in the democratic process and stand for parliament without being subjected to severe financial penalties,” says the sole breadwinner for a family of three.
“Like most workers I live from pay day to pay day,” says Hopkinson. “Effectively what this law means is that unless you are standing for one of the corporate-backed parties like Labour or National – or are independently wealthy – you are either excluded or made to suffer economic hardship.”
“Tens of thousands of public sector workers have their democratic rights curtailed as a result of this law,” Hopkinson added.
“My party – the Workers Party – stands for the repeal of all laws which place restrictions on workers’ freedom of speech and activity. This includes Labour’s ban on the right to strike as well as the bureaucratic provisions of the Electoral Finance Act.”