(Article reprinted from Socialist Appeal newspaper Autumn 2019. To buy a copy send us an email for further details)
With the Labour Party riding high in the polls at approximately 45%, and the National Party leadership in meltdown and beginning to fall in the polls, Labour voters have (quite rightly) high expectations of the Labour Party to deliver. Jacinda Ardern has said that the second year of the Labour-led coalition government will be about delivery and made vague platitudes about this in the media.
The barbaric attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand by a far-right fascist terrorist – indiscriminately shooting men, women and children, killing 50 and injuring many more, live streaming his bloody actions as he carried them out – comes at a time of deepening economic crisis and heightened social and political tensions around the world. All decent human beings are rightly condemning the attack, but we have to ask ourselves: why are such acts of terrorism taking place, and what can be done to end this barbarism?
Both Australia and New Zealand escaped lightly from the 2008 global financial crisis and recession. Australia avoided a recession from 2008 onwards, on the one hand due to the minerals and aggregates boom (exported mainly to China) and on the other hand as a consequence of Keynesian policies pursued both in Australia and China. Additionally, due to Australian financial laws the domestic banks were not overly exposed as overseas bank (especially European and North American banks) were.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden called it one of New Zealand's darkest days. As Muslim worshippers gathered at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, for their Friday afternoon prayers on March 15th, 2019, an Australian white supramacist walked in and gunned down 50 worshippers as he live-streamed it on Facebook. Prior to this heinous terrorist attack the terrorist posted a ranting manifesto on various hate sites and sent a copy to the Prime Minister. This atrocity was the worst terrorist attack in New Zealand history and it has left New Zealand in a state of shock. How could this happen in a country like New Zealand?
On May 11th, 2018, the Employment Relations Court dropped a major bombshell on the bosses by ordering Smiths City, a major New Zealand furniture and appliance store, to pay workers for their attendance of daily meetings held before the stores opened. According to Chief Judge Christina Inglis: "The expectation to attend, and pressure placed on staff to do so, was direct and forceful. The practical reality for sales staff was that to satisfy this expectation, and so as not to be seen as poor performers, they had to attend."