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Mass breakout of asylum-seekers in Australia



It has been reported that 60-70 Afghani men have escaped from the refugee and asylum- seekers' detention centre in Darwin today, Wed 1st September. The men, the majority of whom are asylum-seekers whose request for refugee status has been declined, are holding a 'sit in' alongside the Stuart Highway, with banners that read "Please help us", "Show us mercy", and "We are homeless, defenseless and we seek protection".

Some of the men have informed the media that if they return to Afghanistan they will be killed. "If I go back, they will cut off my head," said Kazemi Syed Zulfiger.

The peaceful protest comes just days after 100 accused people smugglers rioted in the centre, lighting fires and smashing windows. Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, explains that the rioters are impoverished fishermen who have been manipulated by criminal gangs and should simply be sent home.

Links |  Refugee Action Coalition Website  |  Asylum Seeker Resource Centre  | Australian Indymedia.

“The dream is over”- Paula Bennett



If tax cuts that favour the wealthy, an increase in GST, employment law changes, education reform, possible moves on public housing weren't enough for you, the National/ACT coalition has set its sights on fundamental changes to the welfare system.

This process has started with the creation of the Welfare Working Group, in its own words designed to;

  • "The Welfare Working Group was established to undertake an expansive and fundamental review of New Zealand’s welfare system. The Group’s primary task is to identify how to reduce long-term welfare dependency."

It has been widely speculated that the purpose of the working group is to make recommendations in line with National/Act desires for welfare reform. Evidence of this can be seen in the members chosen for the working group, hand picked by Paula Bennet incidentally.

Alternative Welfare Working Group  |  Jobless, Homeless, Clueless 

Police evict occupations on Rapa Nui


DescriptionTension continues in Rapa Nui (Easter Island) following last week's operation by Chilean government forces to remove indigenous activists from several buildings they were occupying. Six buildings and sites were occupied by activists concerned that traditionally-owned land, currently used by the Chilean government, could be sold, and by increasing immigration to the island that threatens to make Rapa Nui a minority in their own land.

Activists occupied the governor's office, a property of the Ministry of Public Works, an interior ministry compound, a site belonging to the archaeological museum, access to a hotel under construction and pedestrian access to the state bank. Details are sketchy, with reports that around 40 carabineros (para-military police) were sent to the island, and that they, along with an unknown number of marines, cleared the occupiers from the sites at gunpoint. There have been repeated accusations that police had previously tried to indimidate and provoke locals.

Report: Auckland ‘Fairness at Work’ rally against employment law changes


Billed by the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) as a celebration of ‘Fairness at Work’, the Auckland rally on Saturday August 21st attracted over 1000 workers, though most weren’t there to celebrate. There was the inevitable brown nosing of the Labour Party as CTU President Helen Kelly gave a shout out to those MPs scattered throughout the crowd, but a speech from the National Distribution Union rep Syd Keepa and the music of Tigi Ness countered the CTU message and made it clear that worker’s power, not parliamentary power, was needed to win this fight.

Keepa made the connection between beneficiary bashing and attacks on workers rights, noting that John Key, a representative of the rich, was leading an attack on the poor. It was clear Rapana felt a show of worker’s strength was the only means to counter this attack, stating that in his opinion we should be having a general strike. His suggestion was meet by a hearty cheer from many in the crowd who shared his frustration and anger.

Parihaka peace maker passes away


Ko te po te kaihari i te ra

Ko te mate te kaihari i te oranga

Te Miringa HohaiaKua mate a Te Miringa Hohaia i te ata nei kei tana kainga. No Parihaka a Te Miringa, te papakainga o nga manu e rua - Te Whiti o Rongomai raua ko Tohu Kakahi. E te rangatira, kua wheturangitia koe, haere ki Hawaiki-nui, Hawaiki-roa, ki Hawaiki-pamamao.

Nau mai, haere mai, ki te tangihanga, kei Te Paepae o te Raukura, kei Parihaka.

Revised Search and Surveillance Bill still fundamentally flawed



“There will be an urgent public meeting on Monday 30 August at 7pm at St Joseph's Church (Basin Reserve) in Wellington to address the just returned Search and Surveillance Bill. An interim report on the Search and Surveillance Bill was issued by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee last week. The report is an admission that the bill will confer enormous new powers onto approximately 70 government agencies,” said Campaign Spokesperson Batch Hales.

“The report confirms that police will get a load of new powers: video surveillance where police trespass onto private property will be made legal; the circumstances in which audio bugging will be legal will be dramatically increased from what it is at present. The threshold for warrantless searches is being lowered, as are the circumstances for setting up roadblocks.”

Links   Select Committee Backs Police Spycams  |  Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill

Six New Zealanders on humanitarian mission to Gaza


Kia Ora Gaza has selected a six-person Kiwi Team to join the land convoy leaving London on 18 September and joining two other convoys from Casablanca and Doha in a 500-vehicle column to Gaza. This land and sea convoys is a coordinated campaign to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza and break the Israeli siege which continues to this day.

Roger Fowler, a 61-year-old Aucklander who holds the Queen’s Service Medal for community service, is the Team Captain. His 25-year-old son Hone, of Ngapuhi, Ngati Porou and Pakeha heritage, has also been selected for the humanitarian mission to Gaza. Also on the team are Chris van Ryn, a photo-journalist and campaigner for human rights with Amnesty International; Julie Webb-Pullman, who delivered aid to poor children in the Pacific and served as a human rights observer in Latin America; Pat O’Dea, a longtime trade union and social justice campaigner affectionately nicknamed “Protest Pat” by his workmates and Mousa Taher, who has a Palestinian father and converted to Islam in 2006.

Links: Kia Ora Gaza Song | DONATE | Biographies | Father & son with Kiwi Team to Gaza

Fallujah – a poisoned city


Fallujah street sceneUnreported in the New Zealand media and virtually unreported in the United States was the release of a report by public health academics who studied the cancer rate, infant mortality and the birth to sex ratio of children in Fallujah, Iraq. The authors concluded that the findings, “show increases in cancer, leukaemia and infant mortality and perturbations of the normal human population birth sex ratio significantly greater than those reported for the survivors of the A-Bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.”

The following article was first published at Socialist Aotearoa and brings together some commentary and international opinion on depleted uranium and the siege of Fallujah.

NZ Troops out NOW



‘New Zealand’s first combat death in Afghanistan should be a wake up call for all of the parliamentarians – New Zealand troops need to get out of Afghanistan now’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse

‘This war has been going on for nearly 9 years. It has caused immeasurable horror and damage for the people of Afghanistan. Estimates are of 30,000 Afghanis dead. The country is in far worse shape now than it was when the bombing began on 8 October 2001. This war is a thinly veiled campaign of imperial conquest being waged by the US and its ISAF allies.’

‘We don’t buy the State propaganda about the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamiyan. These people are armed soldiers first and foremost.  They have never and were never invited by the people of Afghanistan to occupy their country.’

Peace Action Wellington  |  Global Peace and Justice Auckland Press Release  | 

More Thompson & Clark style spying likely under new bill


'Today's revelations that Thompson and Clark Private Investigators are installing tracking devices on private vehicles - in this particular case on one belonging to an animal rights activist - demonstrates exactly why the Search and Surveillance Bill must be stopped. Thompson and Clark act as proxy police for State agencies and State Owned Enterprises - in this case the Pork Industry Board - and that will only increase with the proposed Search and Surveillance Bill. This law would extend the powers of police to over 70 agencies including the Pork Industry Board - the very agency believed to be behind this tracking device. What the police can't or won't do, these private companies will, including arguably illegal and certainly unethical invasions of privacy' said Campaign to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill member Lee Warren.

More: GPS Tracking Device Found on AFA Members Car | Solidarity with Auckland Animal Rights Activists | Photos of the tracking device

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