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‘It’s war,’ union tells National

‘It’s war,’ union tells National

The country’s largest union today put Don Brash’s National Party on notice of a fight.

In his opening address to the EPMU’s conference in Rotorua this morning, national secretary Andrew Little said that the union would throw its weight into a campaign to stop National gaining power at next year’s general election.

“We say to the National Party that your policies will wreck the lives of thousands of working people and are a recipe for social catastrophe,” he said.

“As the country’s largest union, we are out to stop you.”

Mr Little described next year’s election as the last throw of the dice for the New Right.

“We must join with others of a like mind to see them off once and for all,” he said. “They’ve done too much damage.”

Dr Brash had repeatedly called for employees’ rights to be taken away, he said. His policies for working people involved stripping away the modest protections they had, making it easier for employers to sack workers and abolishing redundancy compensation.

Mr Little told his members that it was up to them to expose Dr Brash and the National Party as “electoral frauds”.

“They don’t have a vision of a New Zealand future that shares the benefits and the wealth with those who contribute to it.

“There is no vision for the working person in an ever-changing economy that requires on-going training and skills’ acquisition and support for good, high-skilled, well-paid jobs.

“It is clear that the National Party is following the well-trodden path of the Liberal Party in Australia and the Republicans in the US - create the conditions to concentrate wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people at the expense of those doing the work – and creating a climate of fear and anxiety in order to achieve it.”

The EPMU played an important role in the 1999 Labour-Alliance election victory over National. Its campaign that year included broadcasting television advertisements about the plight of working people, donating money to the Labour and the Alliance campaigns and using its extensive national organising networks to keep voters informed and to get them out to vote.

In the 2002 election, one of its organisers, Lynne Pillay, won the Waitakere seat.

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