Thursday 11 November 2010

Matt for Mana: against homelessness & empty housing

Matt McCarten’s Mana by-election campaign has taken up the issue of housing, identifying many empty state houses in the electorate, while families are homeless.
The following video outlines the problem:

 The report from TV3 gives there take on what happened when some of Matt’s supporters took action:

Four arrested in Mana by-election stunt
By Liz Puranam
3 News

Four supporters of a political candidate in the Mana by-election have been arrested tonight after they took over an empty state house.
The men were protesting against what they say is the uncaring nature of big government but is it little more than a political stunt?

Mana candidate Matt McCarten and his supporters arrived at the Porirua police station this evening after they had been told four campaigners were arrested and charged with being on a property without permission.

“People are saying they can't get any response, that they can't get houses but then what we have is one protest and suddenly the housing corporation swings into action within minutes and people cleaned off and stuck in jail,” Mr McCarten says.

The prominent unionist and his supporters took over the Porirua state house today, saying they wanted to fix it up so a couple who have been living in a garage can have a home.

“These places are empty. There are people who are living in garages; it's real,” he says.

Carolyn Harvey was to be the new unpaying tenant. She and her partner have been living in a nearby garage.

“I sit in here and I think, ‘when's it going to end, you know, when's it going to end’,” she says.

Mr McCarten's supporters say they have counted 27 vacant state houses in Porirua so they had no problems simply opening this one up to install Ms Harvey and her husband.

But another candidate in the Mana by-election says this is a political stunt; Carolyn Harvey and her husband are with their daughter this evening while the four men arrested are still at the Porirua police station.

Housing New Zealand issued a statement this afternoon saying Mr McCarten's action was illegal and unfair on others waiting for a house and anyone on the property would be served with a trespass notice.

They told 3 News tonight that police have taken their own action; going one step further and arresting them, which they say is entirely appropriate under the circumstances.


socialist said...

Substitutionism 101

David said...

For those readers who have no idea what “substitutionism” is, it’s socialist (particularly Trotskyist) jargon meaning that a small bunch of revolutionaries (or even a decent sized revolutionary party) substituting themselves for the masses. For example by taking a militant action in the name of “the workers” that workers don’t support.

Of course many protests are unpopular, and their aim is to shift opinion on the issue. But the term substitutionalism suggests (to me anyway) some sort of delusion that the action represents is part of a popular mass movement.

Personally I’m not convinced that this action falls into that category. Although this doesn’t mean there weren’t some downsides to the action, like maybe taking time and energy away from other campaign work.

Here’s a link to an article by the late Tony Cliff from the British SWP, the second section “The problem of substitutionism” is probably the relevant bit.

Anonymous said...

Long time Labour Party supporter Chris Trotter calls on Labour Party supporters to vote for Matt McCarten over the Phil Goff anointed Labour candidate, who according to Trotter, only got the nod because of his personal relationship with Goff as his press secretary.

Chris Trotter:

Time for electors to 'vote as if they were free'