This perspectives document is a Marxist analysis of New Zealand. Such an analysis provides Marxists with a guide to the developing situation of the country. This perspective document is not intended to be a blueprint of future events which is beyond the scope of scientific socialism and nor is it our intention to present it as such.
The Household Labour Force Survey, which is the official measurement of unemployment in New Zealand, reveals that the unemployment rate is 7.3% of the work force (or approximately 299,000 people). Yet, the numbers of people on the unemployment benefit are around the 50,000 mark according to the Ministry of Social Development.
In the wake of the Pike River mining disaster coal miners at Huntly East mine have voted unanimously to demand Solid Energy improves mine safety by immediately instituting a system of worker-elected check inspectors and dropping its opposition to such a scheme being made a legal requirement nationwide.
The National-led government has passed the legislation by one vote in parliament to part-privatise 4 state owned energy companies. This is a highly unpopular policy with the public with all polls showing 70% or more members of the public opposing the sales. Such opposition is not surprising as New Zealanders have learned through the bitter experience of the consequences of privatisations in the 80s and 90s.