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Archive for April, 2014

They didn’t think of it first. So it can’t be any good,eh?

Union welcomes sale of paper mills to Japan

English: Kinleith Mill, a paper and pulp mill ...

English: Kinleith Mill, a paper and pulp mill in the Waikato Region of New Zealand. The building at the right is a cogeneration power plant burning wood waste to provide electric power. This is in turn mainly used in the paper-making process. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Zealand’s biggest private sector union is welcoming the sale agreed by Carter Holt Harvey and Japanese interests.

Kinleith pulp & paper mill, Tasman pulp mill in Kawerau and Penrose paper mill are being sold to Japan’s Oji Holdings Corporation, and the state-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan.

The sale is worth $1.037 billion.

The Kinleith pulp and paper mill.

The Kinleith pulp and paper mill.

Photo: PhotoNZ (file)

Oji plans to continue production and retain workers on existing pay and conditions.

Engineering Printing & Manufacturing Union organiser Ron Angel said he welcomed a sale to a dedicated pulp and paper company that knows its business.

“They’re not a private equity company so we’re not expecting them to asset strip, but actually they’re more likely to probably invest within the group.”

But Mr Angel adds he thinks the sale will guarantee employment as much as can be expected.

The plants are owned by Carter Holt Harvey and ultimately by Graeme Hart, New Zealand’s richest person.

Oji is a substantial international paper and packaging business listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It has previously invested in New Zealand, including the PanPac forest product business in Hawke’s Bay.

INCJ is a corporation sponsored by the Japanese government and Japanese private enterprises.

CHH chief executive Bryce Murray said he had no doubt that they will make excellent long term owners.

An official at Mr Hart’s Rank Group said the three plants no longer fit its investment strategy. Mr Hart’s investments are increasingly international.

The plants at Kawerau and Kinleith date back to the 1950s. Mr Hart’s Rank group bought them for $3.3 billion in 2006, but many parts of the company including land, building products and forests, have subsequently been shed.




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Mongrel mob framed – gangs polarise NZ society like nothing else…


US-based photographer admits there are few subjects as polarising in New Zealand as gangs
Jono Rotman's eight portraits are being exhibited at the Gow Langsford Gallery.

Jono Rotman’s eight portraits are being exhibited at the Gow Langsford Gallery.

A month-long exhibition of portraits of Mongrel Mob members will start at an upmarket art gallery next week – and the photographer is expecting some negative reaction.

Jono Rotman’s eight shots will be on show at the Gow Langsford Gallery in central Auckland and include members of the Notorious, Rogue and Mighty Mongrel Mob New Zealand chapters.

Mr Rotman, who lives in the US but grew up near Wellington, told the Herald the work took seven years.

“These men are part of the story of this country.

“I wanted to see what happened when they are separated from the way in which they are usually depicted.

“Each time I return [to New Zealand], I spend time with various Mob hapu, going on the road, staying at their houses.

“This work has always been about portraiture, not expose.

“This is what I pitched and I have been welcomed with great hospitality and trust.

“Because I keep returning, I think they recognise that I’m not in it for a quick media bite. This is a serious body of work and it is part of their story.”

When asked if he expected to face criticism, he said: “Undoubtedly people will have negative reactions. There are few subjects as polarising in New Zealand as gangs.

“Does the work glamorise gangs? I went to their place and set up a camera and a backdrop, they sat down, I took maybe four photos using available light.

“These are images of the men as I found them and I am a good photographer, so they are good images. I don’t believe that people thought of as bad or an underclass must be depicted by gritty black and white, or documentary photographs, or police mug shots.”

The exhibition has been labelled “disgraceful” by the Sensible Sentencing Trust. Spokeswoman Ruth Money said she worked with the victims of gang members and struggled to understand the justification or thinking behind the photographs.

“I think it is glorifying gang culture and completely offensive to their victims, and the members of the public and society who live a socially acceptable and tolerated life.”

Peter Sykes, head of the Mangere East Family Service Centre, acknowledged that the work could be upsetting to some people. But for the many families that he worked with, gang affiliation was a reality.

“Families that I work with may have gang members, so we have to take everyone by face value. We don’t have the luxury of judging people,” he said.

“If it’s showing in a gallery, then it’s art. The fact is, lots of families from South Auckland won’t be going to see an exhibition in central Auckland.”

University of Canterbury sociologist Dr Jarrod Gilbert, author of Patched: The History of Gangs in New Zealand, said those who joined the Mongrel Mob only came from certain communities.

“If you are influenced to go that way [join the gang], then you will see them [members] in your communities.

“I can’t imagine there’s going to be a kid from the North Shore that pops into an art gallery and suddenly wants to put ‘mobster’ across his forehead.”

The Gow Langsford Gallery did not respond to a request for comment.

Acknowledgements :  NZ Herald

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Anzac Day and Waitangi Day – Which means more to you?

Anzac Day at Manly, Brisbane, Australia, 1922.

Anzac Day at Manly, Brisbane, Australia, 1922. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Traditional maori Waitangi Day celebrations at...

Traditional maori Waitangi Day celebrations at Waitangi, Paihia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day – which means more to you?

You could argue that New Zealand has two ‘national’ days.  Waitangi Day is when we (supposedly) acknowledge the founding of our nation and the agreement between Maori and the Crown.  ANZAC Day, while ostensibly being about remembering people who have served and fallen in past years, also seems to be becoming about remembering an event which is often seen as a key moment when our nation came of age.  Although ANZAC Day is supposed to be about remembering New Zealanders have served in all wars, often the primary focus seems to be on the Gallipoli campaign.  Many people talk about Gallipoli as the moment when New Zealanders started to think of themselves as New Zealanders rather than as citizens of the British Empire, and indeed as the point in time when we started to question the ability of British generals (and by extension British rulers) to make decisions on behalf of New Zealand troops (and by extension people).

I’d suggest that this ‘founding of a nation’ message of ANZAC Day is not as strong here as it is in Australia, but it’s definitely present.

In that context, I thought it would be interesting to ask New Zealanders which of those two days meant more to them – ANZAC Day or Waitangi Day.  The question was asked in a SAYit online survey of n=1000 New Zealanders, conducted in late March / early April 2013.  The question was simply ‘which means more to you personally – ANZAC Day or Waitangi Day?’:

  • 60% said that ANZAC Day meant more to them personally than Waitangi Day
  • Just 8% reported that Waitangi Day meant more to them than ANZAC Day
  • 29% said that both were equally important
  • 2% were unsure.

Read more here:  ttp://

Anzac, the landing 1915 by George Lambert, 192...

Anzac, the landing 1915 by George Lambert, 1922 shows the landing at Anzac Cove, 25 April 1915 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




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Ordinary people seeking a new direction with a new party – only if Labour and the Greens lose this election in 2014…

Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand

Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

lpicket in nz

 by Jared Philips


An alternative direction: Why ordinary people need a new party

By Jared Phillips

Governments and big business interests all over the world have sought to make ordinary people pay the price for economic crisis. In Aotearoa / New Zealand the National Party has carried out cuts and counter-reforms in almost every area. Labour and the Greens sometimes differ with National on social issues, but neither stands for an alternative economic direction or program.

The workers’ and social movements need to develop such a political alternative in order to shift the ever-increasing burdens of the system off ordinary people.

We need a new workers party because there is an ongoing crisis of political representation. This crisis is not specific to Aotearoa / New Zealand. It is an international crisis that has resulted from the collapse, and shifts to the right, of the traditional social democratic and communist parties.

The political vacuum in New Zealand is substantial. Labour traditionally represented a sizeable section of the working class. Today that relationship has diminished and now it is really just a relationship between some heads of the Labour Party and some heads of the union movement.

The Communist Party of New Zealand, and later the Socialist Unity Party, led and had some influence amongst militant sections of the workers movement for a substantial period. The collapse of Stalinism however opened the way for the collapse of those parties and for the social democratic parties to shift to the right. Subsequently a ruthless capitalist agenda was implemented. The working class desperately needs to create its own political representation so it can push back.

Prospects for a new workers party

A powerful party could be built in Aotearoa if the organisations that stand for the rights of workers and the poor were to unite as a political force. This could include organisations such as trade unions, beneficiary groups, socialist organisations, environmental groups, migrant organisations and local community and residents groups.

On the basis of a program that challenged cuts, privatisations and job losses, such a force would be able to make serious advances and confront the attacks on our living conditions and the environment.

Unions would add a huge amount of social weight and could play a key role in establishing this kind of formation. With their combined membership unions are the largest membership organisations in society. They are the organisational vehicles which are best placed to directly challenge the offensive on living standards that is being waged by the government and big employers.

Unions which are not affiliated to the Labour Party, such as FIRST Union and Unite Union, could conceivably provide a strong starting point for such a party. The problem is that most other unions are to varying degrees wedded to the Labour Party. Labour is not committed to a programme of rolling back cuts, rolling back privatisation or implementing employment legislation that will promote union struggle.

We argue that members in these unions should campaign for them to break with Labour. Currently member’s money is being wasted propping up a party that when in power carries out an agenda which has no fundamental difference to National’s agenda.

Other organisations that could play a key role

Since its inception in 2011 the MANA movement has led the way on issues which affect ordinary people and the poor including housing, asset sales, child poverty and some industrial disputes. Most people view the MANA movement as a progressive force that seeks to address working class issues particularly amongst Maori. In our view MANA must maintain that stance and avoid alliances with any pro-business and pro-wealthy forces.

MANA could potentially play a substantial role in helping to gather the forces necessary for a broader formation that brings together working class people from all backgrounds.

Other layers of oppressed people including the unemployed and anti poverty organisations could also play a crucial role. A new workers party would also seek to include genuine environmental groups and argue for sustainable economic planning. This would help cut across big business attempts to drive a wedge between workers and environmentalists.

What type of political program?

To establish a new workers party there would need to be agreement on a basic program that is genuinely against cuts and privatisations. The program would need to be pro-worker and defend welfare rights, the public sector, the environment, and so forth.

Initially the program of a new party would not necessarily be socialist but a general program in the interests of ordinary people and the environment could be a starting point to gather broad forces around. In our view questions would very quickly come up in relation to how to pay for reforms, how to plan effectively and how to lock in gains for the long term. The truth is that people would only be able to address these issues by moving in a socialist direction.

The way out of the perpetual injustices of the profit driven system is through establishing a socialist system of collective ownership with democratic control and planning. Ultimately to win this change we need a mass revolutionary party. But the path to building such an organisation will take many twists and turns. We need to understand the general outlook of the mass of people now and proceed from there.

On the one hand we need to build a clear socialist trend in the movement but at the same time we can not ignore the fact that our basic organisations have seen a general decline and need to be rebuilt.

The existing left

Some leftists often put forward the idea that the different socialist groupings should just put aside their differences and come together. This they argue could be the starting point for a new formation. However the main problem for socialist organisations in Aotearoa is not that they are divided from each other; it is that they are divided from the mass of the working class.

Uniting the far left in the abstract is no solution. We need to find ways to connect with people and sections of the working class which are outside of any organisation at the moment but can be drawn into struggle. A new workers party would be attractive to those types of people and create a forum for all the different trends in the workers movement to debate and discuss.

A giant step forward

Establishing a new workers party would be a giant step forward for working class interests and would be a step forward on the road to achieving long lasting social change. While not immediately on the agenda now in Aotearoa it is an idea that will inevitably become more popular especially as the major parties continue to carry out attacks on our living conditions.

The idea of a new workers party will make more sense as class struggle develops and people see the pressing need for political representation. However it is crucial that we begin the debate now and put forward the idea of a new workers party so that we are able to make a start when opportunities arise.

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Muslim disrespect for Remembrance Day: Poppy Burning…

The High Commissioners of Australia (Justin Br...

The High Commissioners of Australia (Justin Brown) and New Zealand (Kate Lackey) lay wreaths at an ANZAC Day ceremony at the Canadian War Museum in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anzac Day March. Wagga Wagga, New South Wales

Anzac Day March. Wagga Wagga, New South Wales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A bit disconcerting. Hope this sort of behaviour doen’t spread. Remembrance Days and the Australasian Anzac Day remember the fallen in all wars. These memorials do not glorify war, but question how and why these wars started.

English: A remembrance poppy from Canada, worn...

English: A remembrance poppy from Canada, worn on the lapel of a men’s suit. In many Commonwealth countries, poppies are worn to commemorate soldiers who have died in war, with usage most common in the week leading up to Remembrance Day (and Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand). The use of the poppy was inspired by the World War I poem In Flanders Fields, written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Gay bar changes name after Auckland public complains…

Poof to Pop in future…
  • Poof on Ponsonby is changing its name to Pop after complaints (Source: Fairfax)
    Poof on Ponsonby is changing its name to Pop after complaints – Source: Fairfax

Faggot, queer, poof: words which evoke emotions, negative memories and often result in personal reactions.

The process of reclaiming words can create power and a way out of the struggle from which they are born, but it is no easy task as Auckland gay bar Poof has found out.

The boutique bar is changing its name to Pop next week following complaints from the public.

Three months ago it opened on Ponsonby Road to mixed opinion, with décor based on pop-comic books of the 1950s and 60s and designed to reflect the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Wayne Clark, the long-time owner of Family bar, created Poof as a cheeky wordplay in regards to the “Batman and Robin theme” of the bar.

“‘Poof’ to me is a word that means fun and vibrant and sums up pop art perfectly.”

However, after many negative comments, the bar decided to change its name. Most comments came from older gay people who found the term to be offensive as it reminded them of being insulted growing up, Clark sa

Reclaiming words previously used as insults is growing in popularity as people who were once abused have the opportunity to take control of negative language and give it a more positive meaning.

For Codee MacDonald, however, certain words cannot be reclaimed and the 23-year-old says he was “disgusted” by the name of the bar.

Growing up in rural Otago, MacDonald heard taunts like “poof” and “queer” used with such disrespect, it pushed him further into the closet.

He said the bar’s name was a “kick in the face to those who had fought so long for people stop using such terms as ‘poof’.”

“Too often people subconsciously define things as being ‘gay’ or call someone a ‘poof’ and although they don’t mean it to be derogatory towards gay people, it is easy for young people growing up to make the association to homosexuality and it being bad.”

Miriam Meyerhoff, professor of linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington, said “reclaimed” words were usually done “in-group” and it involved rejecting of negative meaning “and instead focusing on the positive connotations”.

“Reclaiming words has been tried and done before, that was sort of what happened with “nigga” – that’s the classic example – but it’s still not the case that everybody can use the word ‘nigga’. It’s still mainly an in-group word, so you can reclaim it like that.

“I’m not 100 percent sure whether ‘queer’ started out as being an in-group word and then spread out to the mainstream community . . . but you could certainly use it as a precedent and presumably whoever was naming the Poof bar had that in mind.”

History showed that if you’re going to try to deliberately reclaim a word it is most likely to fail as language change “happens kind of incrementally . . . it’s gradual because it’s about changing the meaning of a word.

“It not that language has to follow society, sometimes language can lead society and go very far but it’s a feedback loop and everybody has to be ready to go there at the same time. Sometimes it’s just too early.”

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Is Billy Slater on the move – perhaps to Salford in England…

Melbourne Storm Media Opportunity



BILLY Slater’s love for horse racing may sway him to finish his glittering career with cashed-up English outfit Salford, according to their ambitious owner.

Outspoken chairman Dr Marwan Koukash is a racehorse owner and claims to have talked with Slater about their mutual passion.

Willing to spend big dollars to turn the minnows into an English heavyweights, he has earmarked the Storm No.1 as a target and is “hopeful” of winning his signature.

“I hope he will be one of our future players,” Koukash says. “He shares a passion with me for racing; he loves his racing. I’ve met him on a couple of occasions and I’m quite hopeful and optimistic we will see Billy in a Red Devils shirt in the future.”

Koukash also claims Sonny Bill Williams would have stayed in league had the English competition adapted his plan for a marquee system, allowing one player’s wages to be exempt from the salary cap. He was willing to pay the rugby-bound star more than £900,000 ($1.62m) a year.

“If we had an allowance, Sonny would have been on board,” he told Sky Sports UK. “There is a cap of £1.8m — in order to bring in a star like Sonny, you need to talk about paying them more than half of that cap.”

Acknowledgements:  PHIL WILKINSON

The spymaster and the whistleblower…

Pavement art…

3D drawing