Labour withdraws support for Point England Development bill…

Critics are off themark.
Kelvin Davis.© Getty Images Kelvin Davis.Labour is reiterating it will not back a development project at Point England reserve in Auckland because it’ll be a precedent for other parks to be carved up for housing.On Friday Labour’s housing spokesman Phil Twyford and Maungakiekie candidate Priyanca Radhakrishnan announced Labour’s decision to withdraw support for the Point England Development Enabling Bill which is before parliament.

The bill revokes the reserve status of 11a which the government intends to sell to Ngati Paoa for a housing development as part of its Treat of Waitangi settlement.

Labour is being accused of stopping a treaty settlement for a Maori tribe.

On Sunday Labour’s Maori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis said the party was resolute.

“Labour will not back a plan, which would set a precedent for other public reserves such as Cornwall Park, Potters Park, Albert Park, and the local playground to get carved up to fix the National and Maori parties’ housing crisis.”

He said because the developers are local tribe Ngati Paoa, the Maori Party expects Labour to agree to carving up parks, reserves and playgrounds.

Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says it’s a choice between housing and cows and Labour has contradictory positions on both.

“Eighteen hectares of this site have been grazed by cattle for 30 years. Twelve hectares are to be used for housing. The area of open space accessible for public recreation will be expanded with this development,” he says.

The development will provide 300 families with a warm, dry home, enhance the recreational facilities and space for the surrounding community, as well as help settle Ngati Paoa’s treaty claim and provide a site for a marae, Dr Smith says.

Labour demands more homes be built but then opposes one housing development after another, he says.

“They want fewer cows because of concern about water quality and greenhouse gas emissions, except in central Auckland on prime land like at Point England.”

It is hypocritical of Labour to oppose this bill when they have supported reserve lands being used in other treaty settlements, Dr Smith says.

Maungakiekie is a marginal seat in this year’s election.

Is this the CLUB our SAS belongs to now?

english smiling
PM Bill English  and Finance Minister Steven Joyce think the situation is amusing?
Penny Bright 



“….On Feb. 12, NATO emailed a statement to reporters with the subject line, “Joint force operating in Gardez makes gruesome discovery.”

“Several insurgents engaged the joint force in a fire fight and were killed,” the statement read. “When the joint force entered the compound they conducted a thorough search of the area, and found the bodies of three women who had been tied up, gagged and killed. The bodies had been hidden in an adjacent room.”

Is THIS ‘the Club’ to which ‘OUR’ SAS now belongs?

What the hell were ‘OUR’ SAS doing in Afghanistan?

What did the people of Afghanistan ever do to the people of New Zealand?

How were ‘OUR’ SAS defending New Zealanders’ democratic rights and freedoms on the other side of the world, by attacking unarmed civilians, and killing a three year old little girl?

Does this make YOU proud to be a New Zealander?


West Papua – genocide claims and economic marginalisation…

Michael Roddan


Roddan gives a chilling depiction of economic manoeuvres, both past and present, undertaken by the Indonesian government in a bid to marginalise the indigenous Papuans. From the transmigration program, to the rural-urban divide and the permitted acts of multinational corporations in the region, Australia’s passive stance in the face of multiple human rights violations is questioned.

Just some 300km north of our borders human rights violations are being committed on a vast scale. Torture, rape, extrajudicial killings, false imprisonment, and violent suppression of peaceful demonstrations are happening en masse, and it’s all being carried out in West Papua – one of Australia’s closest neighbours.There has been a movement for West Papuan independence from Indonesia for half a century and this article, amongst other things, will hopefully show how economics is exacerbating the problem faced by the West Papuan people.

A Dutch colony until 1962, Indonesia garnered the right to act as the temporary authority over the western half of the island of New Guinea until the time came when the Papuan people decided to vote for independence or Indonesian annexation.

The ‘Act of Free Choice’ was held in 1969. Just over a thousand village elders were handpicked to represent over a million Papuans and were instructed to vote at gunpoint for annexation under threat of death for them and their families. The result was unsurprisingly unanimous and West Papua would remain in the hands of the Indonesians. Locals know the referendum as the ‘Act of No Choice’.

So how valuable is this land? Yale and Sydney University reports suggest that it is valuable enough to warrant the deaths of 500,000 Papuans. Taking place over the last 50 years, it’s known as ‘slow-motion genocide’ .

Two years before the 1969 referendum, dictator President Suharto signed a contract with Freeport, a US mining company, giving them full rights to the Ertsberg mine in West Papua. When the Freeport-Indonesia company (of which 9.36% is owned by the State) exhausted all of the material from the Ertsberg mountain in the 1980s, they set up a new mine a few miles away at Grasberg mountain.

Grasberg mine is now the largest gold mine in the world and the third largest copper mine in the world. It is also Indonesia’s sole biggest taxpayer. Pretty valuable and understandable that the government would want to hold onto it, even though the actual business deal struck under Suharto was illegal, being a 30 year lease on land that the government didn’t actually own at the time.

After the fall of Suharto, many (notably Desmond Tutu) have called for a subsequent and proper referendum on West Papuan Independence. However, as it stands, Indonesia has suppressed the Papuans to the extent where this may not be feasible.

In 1961, people of Papuan ethnicity made up 96% of the population of West Papua. Indonesians are largely Javanese Muslims, as opposed to the predominately Protestant Melanesian Papuans, and thus, the division of New Guinea is one of the more perplexing colonial administrative errors.

Economically, Jakarta has sought to socially engineer this problem away and quell any chance of successful referendum, should it ever take place. Economic incentives guide Indonesia’s transmigration program that seeks to entice Javanese to the archipelago’s fringe islands. The urban poor are given assisted passage (read: free passage) and tax incentives to relocate to West Papua, once there they are given capital to start new businesses.

The transmigration program has meant that the demographics have swung wildly since 1961. A Sydney University estimate by Jim Elmslie using the last comprehensive data from 2000 gives us a non-Papuan majority in West Papua. Of a population of 3,612,854 in 2010, only 49.55% of people on the island were indigenous Papuans. By 2030, indigenous peoples will make but 15% of the population.

Economic marginalisation of the Papuans continues unabated, too. Grasberg mine benefits the state enormously and is impossibly profitable ($4.1 billion in operating profit on revenue of $6.4 billion in 2010). But the mine pays its workers, who are overwhelmingly Papuan, just $1.50 an hour. Although it houses Indonesia’s biggest taxpayer, West Papua is the nation’s poorest province – profits are simply not going to the Papuans.

There is a huge divide between the rural and the urban in West Papua. Javanese constitute around 70% of the population in sizeable towns and urban areas of the province. Yet in regional and remote areas where the indigenous Papuans are still the overwhelming majority, the indigenous are largely excluded from the mainstream economy, let alone basic services such as education and healthcare.

Currently, Chevron and BP are carving up West Papua for oil and gas exploitation while deforestation and logging are executed at a terrifying pace. The economic exploitation of the land will spell disaster for Papuans, only deepening their poverty trap. The Grasberg mine discharges so much tailing into nearby waterways, around 230,000 tons daily, which arguably puts it in breach of national law. The World Bank no longer funds any such operations, and no developed country on earth disposes of their mining waste such a manner.

The Australian Rio Tinto has a joint venture agreement with Freeport, the owners of Grasberg mine, which allows a large share of resource production. Most Australian financial institutions invest in Rio Tinto, which means that we too are implicated. To top it off, Australia equips, funds and trains an Indonesian counter terrorism squad called Detachment 88 that regularly kills and tortures peaceful West Papuan Independence activists.

Bob Carr, most glorious Foreign Minister, said on the 20th March “It would be a reckless Australian indeed who wanted to associate himself with a small separatist group which threatens the territorial integrity of Indonesia and that would produce a reaction among Indonesians towards this country.”

While the issue of whether an independent West Papua would be a viable state is another issue entirely, can Australians really argue that territorial integrity is more meritorious than the avoidance and eradication of genocide?

Pensions under attack – Superfund not the answer

International Socialists

english smiling All smiles from Bill English as he announces plans to rob workers of their pensions.

Under Bill English the National Party has made one major policy change so far as it heads into the general election on 23 September. This is to adopt Labour’s old policy of ratcheting up the age of retirement.

Bill English is proposing that from 2037 to 2040 the retirement age will be incrementally increased to 67. This means that anyone born after 1973 will have to wait two more years until they qualify for the state pension.

Furthermore, National’s new policy is to double the residency requirement to 20 years. This change is another blatant attempt by National to compete in the race to the bottom in the anti-immigrant bidding war. Winston Peters immediately responded by announcing that New Zealand First’s policy is that immigrants would have to live here for 25 years to qualify…

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Historical precedent for ‘Hit and Run’…

Troopers of the NZ Machine Gun Squadron, NZ Mounted Rifles Brigade, Palestine, 1918.


The shocking events described by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson in Hit and Run: The New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan and the Meaning of Honour are not without precedent in the history of New Zealand’s military engagements overseas. In the tiny Palestinian village of Surafend, in the final days of 1918, New Zealand troops participated in what was indisputably a serious war crime. The parallels with the SAS “Revenge Raid” of August 2010 are striking. The Surafend Massacre was also sparked by the killing of a New Zealand soldier. It, too, was a  murderous “fiasco”, the details of which were kept from the New Zealand public for many years. This, as best as I can determine, is what happened.