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Robson-on–Politics 23 August 2006

Robson-on –Politics 23 August 2006

Progressive candidate's 8.5% of the vote

Congratulations to Tala for a fun campaign in the Tamaki Community Board by-election. Unlike Christchurch where Progressive is represented at the community level, this was the first time that we have tried our hand at the local level in Auckland.

Progressive members are happy with how the campaign went. We learned practical lessons on running low-budget, fully Party-Funded, campaigns on behalf of the Independent Left. In terms of the overall Centre-Left, we won around 43% of the vote, up from last September's general election result where the same broad Left won around 37% of the vote in the Tamaki electorate.

'I can smell the stinginess on your breath'

I am participating in an Oxford Union-style debate, at 6 p.m. tomorrow Thursday, on the subject: Do our aid levels make New Zealand a good neighbour - or an international miser?
Where: Rutherford House (Bunny St entrance), Pipitea Campus, Victoria University; Admission free.

Higher productivity via healthier workers

A Monash University study has found that healthy employees work about three times more effectively than less healthy workers. The findings are being interpreted as a financially-rational reason for companies to deepen their interest in their employees' health and well-being.

The centre-left coalition government boasts how the past seven years have coincided with a period of economic growth unprecedented in any seven-year period in the country's history.

As we all know, New Zealanders' average standard of living fell well behind Australia's in the 1990s and there are a number of ways in which we must close the gap.

One way is for businesses to invest more in the good health of their workers (a corporate tax cut would assist this as it is only given where the capital is retained for reinvestment). A second way, is for the progressive government to extend the annual holiday and paid parental leave entitlements of workers.

And a third way is higher wages (a company tax cut, as promoted by Progressive last year, would also assist here as the tax is granted for wage rises). The structural problem of low pay is not only bad news for workers and their families, it is also holding back our economy in a number of critical ways.


Rally against the 90-day no rights Bill

A reminder, rally against the 90-days no workers' rights Bill (also known as the Mapp Bill) today.

What: March and Rally to protest National’s No-Rights Bill
Where/When: March starts at 12 midday at Victoria Street (outside NZ Post). Rally starts at 12:30 Aotea Square


Meanwhile, the War On Terror goes on

The U.S. taxpayer-funded, and U.K. cheer-led, Israel Defence Force on Sunday surrounded the home of Dr Mahmoud al-Rahami - secretary-general of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and then kidnapped him in broad daylight. Al-Ramahi, a medical doctor, is the fourth highest-ranking member of the Palestinian parliament and is responsible for administrative and procedural affairs.

That followed Saturday's kidnapping, by the same IDF, of Nasser Shaer, the Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister. More than 25 democratically elected Palestinian Members of Parliament are now being held captive in Israeli prisons.

The U.S. taxpayer-funded IDF destruction of the Palestinians and their Authority began in the early 1990s after the PLO recognized Israel, and the U.S. and Israel in return promised an independent Palestinian State within five years. Instead, the 1990s witnessed a massive increase in illegal Israeli settlement-building in the very lands where a Palestinian state might have emerged - the 1967-occupied West Bank and Old Jerusalem - and that destructive process, which has Middle Eastern-wide implications, is now essentially complete.


But that doesn't mean that Palestinian civil and human rights have been extinguished.

It merely internalises the campaign for civil and human rights within "Greater Israel." The campaign for human rights is now a campaign against apartheid - the apartheid which grants some people within Israel citizenship rights while subjecting other people to brutal military oppression and daily State-sponsored intimidation and terror.


NZ interests increasingly north - in Asia

The U.S. and European Union's decision to knee-cap multilateral efforts to lower unfair barriers to trade (via the aborted Doha Development Round), and the ongoing punitive barriers against our key exports to North America and the E.U., means that New Zealand must increasingly look north - to China, India, ASEAN and the Far East - for new markets for our produce and for new opportunities in investment, trade and cultural exchange.

The Asian region is set to increase its relative economic, cultural and political power over the course of this century, a process that is being assisted by the draining of the resources of both the Muslim Middle East and the U.S. and its key European allies, in the apparently never-ending U.S. vs Muslim conflict.



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