Friday 28 January 2011

Financial Transactions Tax to stop asset sales

Tax Justice media release
28 January 2011

The Tax Justice Campaign says changes to the tax system could be the key to stopping privatization of New Zealand’s public assets.

Tax Justice Campaign spokesperson Kay Murray says the solution to the so-called debt crisis is not to sell the few remaining public assets but to change the tax system.

She says the Prime Minister’s claim that New Zealand has to sell assets because we are in debt is nonsense when the National Government has just handed out tax cuts that benefited the very wealthy – making debt worse.

“The National Government has contributed to this so-called debt problem by its tax changes which were both unaffordable and unfair.”

The very wealthy had received large tax cuts whereas low to middle income earners had been hit by GST increases, inflation and low or no wage increases.

A Financial Transactions Tax could provide income to roll back unfair taxes like GST, pay for social spending, or pay off debt.

The Tax Justice Campaign is running a successful petition to remove GST off food and introduce a Financial Transactions Tax.

The goal is to take the tax burden off the hard working majority of low to middle income New Zealanders and tax the unproductive profiteering of financial speculation instead.

The Financial Transactions Tax is gaining support around the world.

A “Robin Hood Tax” campaign in the UK has gained massive support for a Financial Transactions Tax, and even the conservative French President Sarkozy has recently proposed a modest version of the Financial Transactions Tax.

For more information go to

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Revolt in Egypt undermines Israel's seige of Gaza

by Grant Morgan
Co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza
26 January 2011

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators took to the streets in many cities across their land. In vast numbers they faced down legions of riot police and, in some places, forced the cops into retreat.

Their calls were simple: Down with president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s strongman for 30 years. Bring an end to his reign of torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment.

No protests on this scale have been seen in Egypt for three decades. Now the inspiration of Tunisia’s popular uprising is intersecting with the frustrated anger that has long been simmering among the grassroots.

One Cairo-based reporter, Kristen Chick of the Christian Science Monitor, likened this historic mass outpouring to a dam breaking. The word “revolution” is suddenly on the lips of people who were previously too frightened to speak out.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

On the options facing Hone Harawira

by Gordon Campbell
25 January 2011

In the immediate aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s, US Secretary of State Dean Rusk issued the famous (and famously scary) verdict : “We’re eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked.” For some months, Hone Harawira and the Maori Party leadership have been locked in a similar eyeball-to-eyeball blinking contest, one with equal risks of mutual destruction.

Until mid 2010, the Te Tai Tokerau MP and his party leaders had managed a relatively sustainable level of marital bickering. Sure, there were disputes over policy and territory, but the conflict seemed manageable because there were clear advantages for both sides in not letting matters get out of hand. The Maori Party could use Harawira as a badge of integrity to constituents troubled by its co-operation with the Key government – if Hone could still wear it, the gains must be substantial, right? – while Harawira clearly enjoyed the perks of being a Maori Party MP, and owed his party a debt of gratitude on that score. It has been very reminiscent of the situation Sue Bradford faced in the Greens as the credible representative of the social justice planks of the party – at the same time as the Greens leadership were quietly dialling back those issues during the 2008 election campaign, for electoral gain.

Speculation in food prices is a crime against humanity

Tax Justice media release
25 January 2011

“Financial speculation is causing the big spike in food prices,” says Vaughan Gunson, Tax Justice campaign coordinator.

“The world price of some basic foods have almost doubled over the past year,” says Gunson. “This extreme price volatility is the result of banks and giant investment funds pumping $200 billion into food markets in search of windfall profits.” (see Deborah Doane, The threat of rising food prices, 11 Jan)

The Food Price Index produced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation shows that basic food prices are currently higher than in 2008 when food riots broke out around the world and Kiwis tasted the skyrocketing cost of food.

Mr Gunson says it’s the same people who caused the global financial crisis who are now breaking the budgets of ordinary New Zealanders.

“A super-rich minority is causing untold hurt to people around the world,” says Gunson. “Their manipulation of food markets for profit is a crime against humanity.”

The Tax Justice campaign is advocating that New Zealand join the global crusade against financial speculation. Mr Gunson says the introduction of a tax on speculative money flows would go along way towards discouraging this dangerous economic activity.

“A Financial Transaction Tax of 1% would allow the government to remove GST from food and direct money towards funding public services properly, lifting benefit levels, and creating real jobs,” says Gunson.

There’s currently a splurge of speculation in the Kiwi dollar (see NZ dollar climbs on rising world food prices, 18 Jan), yet the speculators aren’t paying any tax to the New Zealand government. The introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax would net these wealthy overseas speculators for the first time.

“Taxing financial speculation would discourage an activity that destabilises the New Zealand economy,” says Gunson, “and combined with taking GST off food, would shift the tax burden off ordinary people and onto the super-rich. It just makes sense.”

See also today’s earlier media release: New Zealanders want GST taken off food (25 Jan).

For more information on the Tax Justice campaign visit our website

Thursday 20 January 2011

Hone Harawira: Crunch time for Maori grumbles

By Hone Harawira
Sunday Star Times

A FEW MONTHS ago my daughter said to me, “Dad, you know I’ll always vote for you, but I just can’t bring myself to vote for the Maori Party any longer. I don’t like what I see your mates doing, so I’m gonna vote for the Greens.”

That was a bit of a kick in the bum for me, having led the hikoi that gave birth to the Maori Party, but actually it wasn’t that unexpected. The rumblings of discontent have been growing for some time, and it’s election year now so we either deal with that discontent soon or we just might lose some votes come crunch time.

And we’ve been lucky really. We’re only six years old so everything about the Maori Party is still new – first Maori party in parliament, first Maori party in government, first ministers appointed to cabinet from a party voted in by Maori. And still the only independent Maori voice in parliament, although that independence is being increasingly questioned these days.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

The threat of rising food prices

by Deborah Doane 
from NewStatesman
11 January 2011

While inertia continues to define the coalition government's approach to banking regulation, the bankers are happily enjoying yet another free-for-all spending splurge – and fears are emerging of a new bubble. This time, it's a commodity bubble, similar to the one that led to food riots around the world in 2007 and 2008.

In case you hadn't noticed, food prices are at an all-time high: the latest figures show food price inflation at 5.5 per cent, outpacing the overall inflation figure of 3.3 per cent. You'll be paying as much as 25 per cent more for your regular cuppa as tea prices rise; and we already saw the cost of our Christmas turkey go up by more than £3 before Christmas, due to the doubling in feed costs in 2010.

Monday 17 January 2011

The currency king is (almost) dead, long live who?

by Grant Morgan

On the eve of a trip to Washington, China's president Hu Jintao has openly spelt out the demise of the US dollar as the world reserve currency.

Yet he also admits that it would be "a fairly long process" to make China's renminbi an international currency, not to mention replacing the weakening greenback as the unrivaled currency of global commerce.

In other words, the currency king is (almost) dead, long live who? (not Hu).

All this is an indicator of two system-changing trends. First, it points to a hegemonic vacuum in the world system as no one imperial power looks likely to gain the relative dominance that America enjoyed after the Second World War.

Second, it highlights the deathly financial instability of global capitalism as its high-stakes gamble on building ever higher mountains of debt looks certain to be a sure loser.

The important task facing the world's majority is to make sure that financial chaos and capitalist collapse doesn't take them down too.

That will require a grassroots revolution to separate the worthwhile world of work from the parasitical world of high finance where capitalist crooks and state swindlers luxuriate in a fool's paradise at the expense of people and planet.

This Financial Times article below gives more background on president Hu's comments: Hu questions future role of US dollar

Tunisian revolt - everything is possible, nothing is certain

by Omar Hamed
16 January 2011
from Socialist Aotearoa

At this stage the only certainty about the future of the Tunisian revolt is uncertainty. With the departure of President Ben Ali the longtime dictator, a massive power vaccuum has opened up in the north African country.

The situation in the country is changing rapidly with a state of emergency declared, prisons emptying, rioting gripping the capital Tunis and reports of fighting between the army and militas loyal to Ben Ali.

News media outlets, bloggers and politicians are offering up a variety of different analysis of the political situation and offering up competing predictions for what will come next.

This is What Victory Looks Like

by Robin Yassin-Kassab
Written on the night of 14 January 2011

The dictator, thief and Western client Zein al-Abdine Ben Ali, beloved until a few hours ago in Paris and Washington, has been driven from Tunisia. His reign was ended not by a military or palace coup but by an extraordinarily broad-based popular movement which has brought together trades unions and professional associations, students and schoolchildren, the unemployed and farmers, leftists, liberals and intelligent Islamists, men and women. One of the people’s most prominent slogans will resonate throughout the Arab world and beyond: la khowf ba’ad al-yowm, or No Fear From Now On.

It is to be hoped that Tunisia will now develop a participatory system based on respect for citizens’ rights, that it will reclaim and develop its economy, implement social justice, and move out of the Western-Israeli embrace. The revolution, however, is beset by dangers. Although the head of the snake has been sacrificed, the conglomerate of interests behind the Ben Ali regime is largely still in place, and will be working furiously to restrict and roll back popular participation. For this reason it is of crucial importance that Tunisians are tonight raising the slogan ‘al-intifada mustamura,’ or ‘the intifada continues.’

The Great Food Crisis of 2011

by Lester R. Brown
from Earth Policy Institute
14 January 2011

As the new year begins, the price of wheat is setting an all-time high in the United Kingdom. Food riots are spreading across Algeria. Russia is importing grain to sustain its cattle herds until spring grazing begins. India is wrestling with an 18-percent annual food inflation rate, sparking protests. China is looking abroad for potentially massive quantities of wheat and corn. The Mexican government is buying corn futures to avoid unmanageable tortilla price rises. And on January 5, the U.N. Food and Agricultural organization announced that its food price index for December hit an all-time high.

But whereas in years past, it's been weather that has caused a spike in commodities prices, now it's trends on both sides of the food supply/demand equation that are driving up prices. On the demand side, the culprits are population growth, rising affluence, and the use of grain to fuel cars. On the supply side: soil erosion, aquifer depletion, the loss of cropland to nonfarm uses, the diversion of irrigation water to cities, the plateauing of crop yields in agriculturally advanced countries, and—due to climate change —crop-withering heat waves and melting mountain glaciers and ice sheets. These climate-related trends seem destined to take a far greater toll in the future.

Friday 14 January 2011

Wikileaks, Karl Marx and You

By Alistair DavidsonLiberty and Solidarity

Despite blanket media coverage of Wikileaks and Julian Assange, there has been little discussion of the fact that Assange is merely one leader within a large and complicated social movement. The better analyses have found it interesting that the Swedish Pirate Party are aiding Wikileaks; some note links to the German Chaos Computer Club. But only “geeks” and “hackers” (technology workers) are aware that all of these organisations are members of the same movement.

This social movement, which has been termed the “free culture movement”, has a thirty year history. It incorporates elements reminiscent of earlier workers’ movements: elements of class struggle, political agitation, and radical economics. The movement’s cadre, mainly technology workers, have been locked in conflict with the ruling class over the political and economic nature of information itself.

Friday 7 January 2011

BP benefits from 'get untough on corporate crims' policy

by Grant Morgan

Let us be clear: the real criminals are those who steal or wreck assets worth $50 or $500 or $5,000 or even $50,000 or, very occasionally, $500,000.

Those who steal or wreck assets worth $5 million or $50 million are treated far more leniently, usually escaping most of not all criminal charges.

Those who steal or wreck assets worth $500 million or more are almost never treated as criminals at all, but as victims of circumstance, and are often bailed out by governments of all colours and their central banks.

So it is with BP, gross polluter of the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps the world's single biggest corporate environmental disaster to date.

Yet BP has been a consistent violator of even America's ridiculously lax environmental laws, inveterate briber of environmental officials and state and federal politicians, and uncaring employer of oil rig workers continually put in harm's way to save a few miserable dollars for company bosses.

It is now clear that the scene is being set for BP to get off with a verbal tongue-lasging coupled with the proverbial slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket (or should that be oil-soaked handkerchief?).

Justice is certainly blind when you are a "too big to fail" corporate.

The Guardian article, Gulf oil spill: BP set to avoid gross negligence charge, gives the petty details of how this "get untough on corporate crims" policy is being applied to BP.

Monday 3 January 2011

Kia Ora Gaza: A new year, a new convoy

Why apartheid Israel is getting more brutal, 
and how Gaza aid convoys bring real hope

By Grant Morgan
Co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza
1 January 2011

Israel’s ‘genocidal act’ two years ago

A ground invasion by massed regiments from the Middle East’s strongest military power. Plus aircraft and helicopter missile strikes. And tank and artillery barrages. Even the widespread use of white phosphorus, an internationally banned terror weapon, in high-density suburbs.

Such was the hellfire that, two years ago, Israel rained down on Gaza’s 1.5 million people, many of them refugees from lands ethnically cleansed by Zionist terrorists in decades past.

Breaking a longstanding ceasefire deal with the Hamas government, politicians in Tel Aviv unleashed total war against Gaza two days after Christmas 2008. Codenamed Operation Cast Lead, this one-sided slaughter lasted for 22 terrible days, and was only then called off due to public outrage around the world.

Among the Palestinians killed were 352 children. They included infants like Farah Ammar al-Helu, one year old, of al-Zaytoun. And school kids like Islam Khalil Abu Amsha, 12, of Shajaiyeh, and Mahmoud Khaled al-Mashharawi, 13, of al-Daraj.

Among Gaza’s 1,065 adults killed were elders like Kamla Ali al-Attar, 82, of Beit Lahiya, and Madallah Ahmed Abu Rukba, 81, of Jabaliya.

In total, 1,417 Palestinians died in what they call a “genocidal act”, compared to just 13 Israelis, four of them lost to their own “friendly fire”. Untold thousands more Gazans were maimed.

Destroyed were most of Gaza’s factories, along with water treatment, power generation and sewage plants, roads and bridges, water wells and farm greenhouses, teaching and health institutions, mosques and churches, and block after block of residential dwellings.

As if this “genocidal act” wasn’t bad enough, Gaza’s people and their economic means of survival have been savaged by a relentless siege both before and since Israel’s 2008 war. Over recent weeks, Israel appears to be revving up aircraft strikes and tank incursions inside the battered enclave, fueling fears of another invasion.

With the possible exception of trusted allies in the United States, Israel’s main diplomatic, military and financial backer, nobody outside Tel Aviv’s political and state elites are being informed about what future cruelties they are planning to inflict on Gaza.

Long reign of terror by Zionist state

Sadly, the horrors inflicted on Gaza over the past decade are nothing new.

Since arising in 1948, the Zionist state of Israel has inflicted a reign of terror on Palestinians everywhere which includes:

Wars of conquest.

Enforced mass exile.

Seizures of land and property.

Laws embedding racial discrimination.

Abductions, jailings and torture.

Ethnic separation.

Housing demolitions and evictions.

Economic blockades.

Daily harassment by police and army.

Denial of national statehood.

This blood-stained history is “the logical outcome of the racism that forms the inseparable core of Zionist ideology and practice”, notes Palestinian analyst Ali Abunimah.

Apartheid in Israel and South Africa
The racist record of Israel bears a close resemblance to the apartheid state of South Africa. Here blacks and Asians were “legally” denied the economic, political and social rights of the ruling white minority. Suffering under a reign of racist terror, “non-whites” were forcibly separated into impoverished Bantustans and slums.

Several days ago, on the 2nd anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, 37 civil society organisations in Gaza wrote an Open Letter asking the world to help them resist what they called “Apartheid Israel”. Signatories include trade unions, women’s groups, student movements, cultural associations, business federations, medical societies and children’s charities.

Kia Ora Gaza’s leadership agrees with Gaza’s civil society organisations that Israel is an apartheid state.

Roger Fowler, who captained Kia Ora Gaza’s team on the biggest international aid convoy to enter Gaza during 2010, was active in huge protests against the 1981 tour of New Zealand by a racially selected Springbok rugby team.

“Because South Africa was then practicing legalised discrimination against non-whites in the name of white privilege, it was fairly called an apartheid state,” says Roger. “Since legalised discrimination is today practiced by Israel against Palestinians in the name of Jewish privilege, the Zionist state is fairly called apartheid.”

At the very time that Roger and hundreds of thousands of other Kiwis were protesting against the 1981 tour, racist governments in South Africa and Israel were collaborating on the covert construction of nuclear weapons. Like attracts like.

Ismail Waja, co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza, spent much of his life in apartheid South Africa, allowing him to make realistic comparisons with the state of Israel. “While both are apartheid regimes, Israel is much worse than South Africa ever was,” Ismail reports.

‘Security’ justifications ignore racist crimes

The six decades of Zionist apartheid led into Operation Cast Lead in 2008. This devastating war was the end product of a racist state punishing Palestinians for refusing to be crushed into silent slavery and written out of history.

Politicians in Tel Aviv, however, try to justify such brutality as “security measures” against “terrorist attacks”. Any act of Palestinian resistance, whether violent or peaceful, is condemned as “terrorist” by Israeli leaders, and is met by hugely disproportionate state force.

At the same time, Israeli leaders cover up their racist state’s crimes against humanity which inevitably spark acts of resistance by the victims of apartheid.

Only by ending the injustices of Zionist apartheid can there be security for everyone in the region, Jews and Palestinians alike. The central issue is justice for all.

Anyone who talks of Israeli “security” while ignoring justice for Palestinians is part of the problem, not the solution.

Sea change in world public opinion

Some days ago, a detailed report by Human Rights Watch titled “Separate and Unequal” denounced Israeli policies as “apartheid”.

Yesterday the Israeli-based Jewish human rights group B’Tselem warned that the continuing siege of Gaza, West Bank settler colonisation and restrictions on peaceful demonstrations “prevent any real human rights improvement” across the region.

And many other widely respected agencies, such as the United Nations, International Red Cross, Save the Children, Amnesty International and Christian Aid, have issued reports condemning the injustices inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli state.

These reports are part of a sea change in world public opinion. The Zionist state is feeling besieged by growing international opposition to its apartheid policies on three levels:

Fraying of traditional state-to-state alliances. For instance, Turkey is turning from friend to foe, European powers are openly critical of Tel Aviv, Egypt is admitting Gaza aid convoys across its territory and South American governments are recognising the state of Palestine. Even the United States is showing some shakiness as an ally.

Civil society protests against Israeli policies. A recent decision by the Methodist Church in Britain to divest from companies operating in the occupied West Bank illustrates how an international grassroots campaign to isolate Israel has picked up steam over the past year. Meanwhile, Gaza aid convoys are riding a wave of public opposition to Israel’s collective punishment of an entire people.

Jewish protests against Zionist extremism. While a sizeable portion of Jews inside Israel and around the globe have traditionally opposed Zionist extremism, their numbers and profile are clearly rising. At last November’s General Assembly of North American Jews, for instance, a group stood in front of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with banners reading “The siege of Gaza delegitimizes Israel” and “Silencing dissent delegitimizes Israel”.

Existential threat of ‘de-legitimization’

This weakening of Israel’s state-to-state alliances, international goodwill and Jewish support base stems from a loss of legitimacy.

Israel now faces the existential threat of “de-legitimization”. That is the stark warning contained in two reports published in December 2010 by a couple of Zionist think tanks, the Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute and the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs.

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s far right foreign minister, is so worried about the Zionist state’s loss of legitimacy that he has engineered a global media campaign to improve his country’s shattered image.

Lieberman, however, is doomed to fail. Why? Because his government refuses to scrap the agenda of apartheid which delegitimizes the Israeli state.

Therefore, the foreign minister’s media spin cannot go much beyond the character assassination of anyone who opposes Israeli policies. Widening circles of people get tagged with false labels, such as “terrorist supporter”, “Islamic extremist” and “anti-Semite”. Such verbal brutality against Israel’s critics merely alienates growing numbers of citizens.

To compensate for its erosion of legitimacy, Israel must now employ state force against even mild forms of dissent. For instance, peaceful protests against the Separation Wall on the West Bank are being broken up with shock grenades, teargas, beatings, shootings and intimidatory arrests, usually followed by torture, even of children, and long prison terms.

Israel’s increasing reliance on force rather than legitimacy is the same road to ruin trodden by South African apartheid in the dying days of white rule.

Challenging the siege of Gaza

Gaza has emerged as a centre piece of the international campaign against Zionist apartheid.

In a 2006 poll certified as free and fair by international observers, Hamas was elected as the government of Gaza. After Hamas survived an armed coup sponsored by Israel and the United States, politicians in Tel Aviv announced a blockade of Gaza to isolate its “terrorist” government.

Israel’s announcement was part propaganda, since Gaza had actually been under siege from the Zionist state for many years before the election of Hamas. The announcement was also part fact, since Israel tightened the blockade of Gaza to halt all exports, ban most imports and imprison the entire population.

But two years of tightened blockade failed to topple the Hamas government and reimpose Tel Aviv’s rule on Gaza. So, just after Christmas 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead.

The global response to Israel’s total war on Gaza was electric. The Free Gaza Movement organised several sailings of Gaza aid vessels, which were blocked by the Israeli Navy. Meanwhile, UK charity Viva Palestina led the first land convoy which successfully drove aid into Gaza through Egypt’s back door.

Since then, a series of land and sea convoys involving a diversity of movements in many countries have challenged the siege of Gaza.

Global response to aid ship killings

Sensing the seriousness of this challenge, the Zionist state decided to sink last May’s Freedom Flotilla.

On the open seas, under cover of darkness, the Gaza aid ship Mavi Marmara was stormed by Israeli commandos in a barrage of gunfire. Killed were nine civilian volunteers, some executed by close range shots to the head. Dozens more were wounded by commando bullets.

Again, the global response was electric. Viva Palestina led the way with an international convoy of 150 vehicles staffed by 500 volunteers from 30 countries. They overcame great odds to enter Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah Gate in October 2010.

Taking part in this convoy was a six-person aid team from Kia Ora Gaza who were funded from a successful public appeal for NZ$100,000.

Our grateful thanks go to all the good people who donated money and helped in other ways towards a Kiwi contribution to this Gaza convoy. Kia Ora Gaza helped to deliver NZ$7 million worth of medical supplies and other humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

Even more important, said the people of Gaza, was how the convoy broke through the siege to reconnect them to the rest of the world.

By busting the siege, the convoy delivered hope as well as aid. That hope helps to sustain the intergenerational bravery of Palestinians in Gaza, and elsewhere, whose struggle for justice in turn fuels global opposition to Zionist apartheid.

The siege has not been ‘eased’
Following international outrage at Israel’s murder of civilian volunteers on the Mavi Marmara, politicians in Tel Aviv claimed that their siege of the Palestinian enclave has been “eased”.

Their claim is rubbished in the recent Open Letter from 37 civil society organisations in Gaza, which notes: “The Palestinians of Gaza under Israeli siege continue to live in the same devastating conditions.”

And that’s confirmed by a reputable independent observer, John Ging, who heads the United Nations Relief & Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East.

“There’s been no material change for the people on the ground here,” Ging reported in November 2010. The so-called “easing”, he declared, “has been nothing more than a political easing of the pressure on Israel and Egypt”, Tel Aviv’s longtime ally in the blockade.

The Israeli commandos who raided the Mavi Marmara have received public praise and state medals from their prime minister. Benjamin Netanyahu has also refused to apologise to Turkey, homeland of the nine slain aid volunteers.

Clearly, Israel’s rulers are continuing their inhumane and illegal siege, and feel no remorse at killing anyone who brings relief to the suffering people of Gaza.

How you can help another convoy in 2011

In their Open Letter, Gaza’s civil society organisations appeal to people around the world to take actions that help in “immediately ending the siege”, such as blockade-busting aid convoys.

In line with their appeal, Kia Ora Gaza has begun working towards a substantial engagement with another international aid convoy to Gaza in 2011.

The key to success is active participation by good people across our land.

Here’s how you can help another Gaza convoy in this new year:

Volunteer to join the Kia Ora Gaza team on another convoy.

Donate towards Kia Ora Gaza’s new fundraising appeal. You can make a direct payment to our bank account: Kia Ora Gaza, 03-0211-0447718-000, Westpac Bank, Onehunga branch. Or you can send a cheque made out to “Kia Ora Gaza” to PO Box 59-007, Auckland.

Offer to promote Kia Ora Gaza among your own networks.

If you can help in any of these ways, could you email or txt/call Grant on 021 2544 515.

Thank you for reading this message. And please go to for regular updates throughout 2011.

Terror raids defendants denied jury trial

From October 15th Solidarity

The 18 defendants in the so-called Terror Raids trial are being denied a jury trial.

We are being railroaded by the crown and judiciary and there is no way that we can get a fair trial. This is an egregious miscarriage of justice, says Valerie Morse, defendant in the case.

The Auckland High Court ruled this week that the defendants are to be tried before a judge alone, despite pleas to have a trial by jury. The Crown has dragged out the case at every opportunity in order to wear down the defendants and force them into long and expensive legal battles in the hope that the public will forget about the case and ultimately to force the defendants to plead guilty to end this nightmare.

We are continually having to fight for our most basic rights in this case. The Government is doing everything in their power to deny us a trial by jury. A jury would quickly see through the police spin that has surrounded this case, which is why the crown wants a judge alone to hear the case, said Ms Morse.

The highest lawyer in this country, Solicitor-General David Collins, said in November 2007 that there was no case under the Terrorism Suppression Act, yet more than three years later the crown continues to relentlessly pursue Tame Iti and 17 other activists in an unabashed crushing of political dissent and aspirations for tino rangatiratanga.

The Terror Raids trial follows a long history of political and racial discrimination in New Zealand's court system. When the people of Parihaka pulled out survey pegs to stop the theft of their land, they were imprisoned indefinitely under the Maori Prisoners Trials Act 1879 so that the theft could continue unhindered. In 1916, following the armed invasion of the Tuhoe community at Maungapohatu, Rua Kenana was forced to sell his land and cattle in order to pay for his court

The changes to the criminal justice system are criminal. It was part 1 of the Criminal Procedures Bill, passed under the previous Labour government in 2007 that gave the Crown the right to apply for trial by judge alone. Previously only a defendant could request this. Now the government is intent on further removing the right to a jury, the right to silence, the right against self-incrimination, and has just taken away the right to vote for all prisoners. This is not a democracy, let us not delude ourselves any longer.

The October 15th Solidarity group reiterates its demand that these charges must be dropped.


1. 18 people are facing charges under the Arms Act. Five of the defendants also face a ridiculous charge for participation in an organised criminal group.

2. Of the 18 defendants, 13 are Maori. They whakapapa to several iwi: Tuhoe, Taranaki, Maniapoto, Te Ati Awa, Ngapuhi and others.

3. The raids took place on 15th October 2007 and the defendants spent up to one month in jail.

4. A book has recently been published by Rebel Press with the stories by people (including some of the defendants) affected by the raids. It can be downloaded for free as a PDF at

5. You can also email to get in touch with the October 15th Solidarity group.