This is the latest from the Action for Christchurch East blog! Circulate far and wide!
Let them eat cake

Let them eat cake

On Monday 5th September the National Party are descending on mass to hold a cabinet meeting at the Copthorne Hotel – 449 Memorial Avenue (near Christchurch Airport). This will be the first time in 16 years that a cabinet has met outside the confines of the Beehive. Key and Brownlee are expected to have a press conference at 2.30pm to claim a victorious National Government response to the challenges we have faced. So we thought it would be nice to give them a warm welcome to our city and to ‘thank them’ for their efforts!

Date: Mon Sept 5th
Time: 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Copthorne Hotel, 449 Memorial Avenue

One year on since September. One year on since the 7.1 magnitude quake when we were awoken to the fact that Canterbury isn’t the flat, stable plains that we had previously thought. One year on and we can now reflect on what we have seen and what we have learned.

The experiences of the tens of thousands directly and indirectly affected by the past twelve months can not be summed up in a single article or blog. What this blog’s intentions were from the beginning was to highlight some of the chief issues that the people of Christchurch are experiencing, what the sources of these problems are and what alternatives can be found.

As such this latest post won’t spend much time listing the issues of the day – they’re very much the same as they were since the early stages – post September (check the earlier blog posts, you’ll see what we mean). Instead we’ll take the chance to tell you more about the demonstration on the 5th and explore the question; ‘where-to-from-here?’
Where are we at?
With a general election year we are being shown glimpses into what National want to do if they are re-elected. Youth rates, young beneficiary ‘food stamps’, cuts in education, more expansion of roads, the annihilation of organised workers, privatised state owned assets and further taxes that hurt the poor…the list goes on…
The glimpses that National are feeding the media are what Canterbury has experienced first hand. The emergency response can only be described as a privatised event where the lowest bidder scores the biggest contracts. What drives business? Profit. Even during a national disaster the mighty dollar has held presidence in office.
If you take this line of argument it goes to explain an awful lot;
  • David William’s reported in The Press, 22nd August 2011 that not one single Visa Application has been approved for over sea’s builders. Why? Because no one has applied. No wander when you look at the wage disparity between NZ and everywhere else. Even Ireland, that was cherry picked by National as an ideal candidate due to high unemployment has failed to produce a single builder since September 2010! Canterbury Employment and Skills Board Chairman Carl Davidson believe’s 30,000 more workers will be needed for reconstruction during the next 5-10 years.
  • Billion dollar bail outs for insurance firms, millions given to Warner Brother’s and most recently the company ‘next windows’ – who just recieved 5.9 million New Zealand tax payers dollars for a group that produce nothing in New Zealand!?
  • Deregulation of everything to do with health and safety. A nation of leaky homes and poor building standards, buildings that should never have collapsed and deaths that could have been avoided. Families who lost loved ones at the Pyne Gould and CTV are even now having to battle to make sure the deceased get a fair hearing.
  • The West Coast are still battling to ensure the 29 men who died in The Pike River Mine are brought home. Death’s that were avoidable only if the previous 20 years of Government’s had done their job of protecting the people they are supposed to represent.
Instead there has been a legacy of streamlining, under resourced experts and politicians of every party lobbying for our vote and doing their very best to keep the truth out of the debate.
30 years of privatisation, state asset sales, lay off’s, attacks on workers and free market capitalism have left all but the far right and far left silent. Why? Because the middle ground have all had their part to play and have all profited in this scam. The wealthiest 150 New Zealanders – John Key included – increased their wealth by $7 billion last year! The gap between rich and poor is ever expanding and we are now baring the brunt of what it entails.
Times of crises afford us brief glimpses of what’s really in front of our eyes –
In our communities people rise to the challenge and reach out to their neighbours, students dig inn, knitting circles band together to keep us warm, farmers supply urgent needed food and cups of tea are offered wherever you look.
Our leaders have had their photo opportunity’s, held back information to get all of their ducks in a row and allowed the elderly and sick to survive the coldest winter for decades in condemned housing with no heating.
Experience into real action
Our community is where the real power rests, the experience, knowledge and skill necessary to pick ourselves up are with our neighbors, workmates and you. Constantly the official message has been directly in the face of this basic human instinct. We’ve been forced to deal with our issues seperately, been left on-hold for hours and our messages left unanswered.
Text book theory right?
At the demonstration on Monday 5th an invite to a public screening of 2 short movie clips and open discussion will be made.
Here’s a chance to see the clips here first:
Seattle Solidarity Network (SeaSol) –
Black flags and windmills –
Both short movies illustrate that when people begin to talk and organise the potential is enormous. From settling land lord disputes to arranging and delivering food parcels and aid, it is the people on the street who are best equipped at getting the job done.
Protest! Celebrate! Get Involved!
On Monday 5th September between 1.30pm and 3.30pm we will here from real people. Speeches and poems from young casualised workers, from long term beneficiaries, from teachers facing pay freezes and mandatory grading, families left in the dark by the EQC and live music from local artists.
We warmly invite anyone who wants a say to make themselves heard on the day – politicians, local councillers – you’re welcome to join us but stay away from the microphone – respect the people’s voice.
This will be a festive event and an opportunity to meet folk from across the city. We hope this will help to promote resistance that has been so desperately lacking for so long.
Yours in Solidarity, the Action for Christchurch team.
Key Supporters:
Unite Union
Beyond Resistance
Workers Rights Campaign