More than 100 years ago, New Zealand workers helped form a new political party, called the NZ Labour Party. It was formed on 8 July 1916 by unions of the early 20th century as a political arm of workers. It came after earlier attempts to organise industrially, particularly by the miners at Waihi and the murder of unionist Frederick George Evans. What's changed?
A lot has changed, but now we are seeing the ugly face of capital rise again. They bombard Meat Workers Union members saying Labour's policies will ruin the country because we demand fairness for our workers, our communities and our environment.
Over 100 years ago, miner George Evans was kicked by battening and a mob and killed. It was ugly. The Federation of Labour, writing at the time said :
“We know the unrelenting combine arrayed against us; we know the grinning farce of public justice as it sits aloft on the class controlled Bench and beside the witness-box; and we look forward to nothing in the shape of fair dealing from the ruling class in New Zealand today. We know they shout for law and order; but our cry is for liberty and justice and we are going to get it. The cell, the dock, the scaffold cannot make men less than men..."
More than 100 years on, we have laws that supposedly protect workers. But the greed carries on. Just ask any meat worker. Our cry is still for liberty and justice.
We have to change the government. That's why the MWU is out there, promoting change, getting you to enroll and vote as if our lives depend on it.