There'll be no Xmas for many New Zealanders this year, thanks to the government's brutal austerity policies. But we have  also been betrayed by the do-nothing and reactionary  leadership of the Council of Trade Unions.

The corporate media, driven by the imperatives of the advertising dollar , will continue to paint a false picture of Christmas 2012 . You know the one - everyone has plenty of food and presents, its all above love and sharing and  we're dreaming of a white Xmas while Snoopy fights the Red Baron.

But  this plastic picture of sickly sentimentality and grubby consumerism never quite  rings true. In the end Santa is just the PR guy for Coca Cola.

Perhaps this year  it will be the pictures of the long queue of people lining up outside the Auckland City Mission  that we might remember. In the same week that the plump politicians gave themselves another pay rise, mass poverty was on display for everyone to see.

Missioner Diane Robertson told the NZ Herald that the mission's clients were struggling with unemployment and entitlement cuts.

"I keep saying every year it's unprecedented ... but I'm almost beyond words when I look out there. This is nothing to celebrate."

Debt, unemployment, poorly paid jobs, the lack of working hours. That's the reality of life for working people in New Zealand today, sapping away people's strength and reducing them to a  life  of anxiety and fear.

And the government's only response is to tell people to find a job at a time when unemployment is at a thirteen year high and with  nothing likely to change next year.

But the people standing in that queue on Thursday - and many more like them - have also been failed by the leadership of the Council of Trade Unions.

Time and time again they have  cravenly capitulated to the government's austerity policies. When a real fightback has been demanded, the snivelling cowards of the CTU have retreated back into their offices and closed the door. None of them will be going without this Xmas.

Instead  of giving us a massive campaign of fightback and resistance to the government's policies the CTU has given us YouTube videos, Facebook pages,  leaflets, and CTU chief Helen Kelly  waving the white flag of surrender while, at the same time, telling us that she's on 'our side'.

A programme of rolling demonstrations and strikes building up to a general strike could have reversed the cuts. But none of this has happened and so the 'race to the bottom' has gathered speed.

The austerity policies have been  made possible because our trade union leaders think they can  have some kind of 'social partnership' with employers and the government. All this has done is  give the green light to the government to step up its attacks on workers and beneficiaries and that is exactly what they have done.

So it'll be an  empty Xmas for thousands  of New Zealanders this year.  They are the casualties of not only the Government's austerity policies  but also of a trade union leadership that refuses to fight  and which shamefully thinks that the 'solution' is to get another right wing Labour-led government elected.


  1. Honest question. Exactly what do you hope to achieve by slagging the CTU?

  2. Honest question. You want me to uncritically support the CTU leadership?

  3. No - lol ; ). Would you like to answer my question now?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Because there has to be a real debate about the reactionary role of the CTU leadership.

    I think workers are prepared to fight - itis the so-called unions 'leaders' who don't. If the only 'solution' that the CTU has is get another neoliberal Labour Party re-elected then they do not deserve our support.

    Time and time the CTU has allowed jobs to be lost and working conditons to be eroded. It has to stop.

    The rank and file needs to regain control of the union movement and the do-nothing bureaucrats need to be shown the door.

    What's your solution?

  6. It is still not clear what you aim to achieve. You wish the CTU to elect new leaders or do you have some other aim in mind?

  7. I'm not going to debate with someone who doesn't declare their position. So - the ball is in your court.

  8. I did not intend to start a debate, I was aiming to understand your strategy and orientation regarding the ctu. Would it be fair to say you do not have an opinion on the continuation of the ctu one way or another as long as workers are in control of their own organisations? That is the understanding I'm walking away with anyway.

    Right wing blogs like whaleoil link to your posts in the context of an attack from the right on workers organisations and question the legitimacy of the ctu. The fact is your posts lack any hint of critical support for the CTU. You could easily make similar posts about the leadership and institution of many workers organisations.

  9. Whoever "Anonymous" is, his/her posts sure are confusing to read. Whatever it is that he/she is trying to say, I guess I'll walk away from this non-debate with the conclusion that their belief is simply that no one on the left should dare to criticise the CTU?

  10. Not at all. I agree with SC's criticism about the lack of resistance organised by the CTU. I was simply asking SC to clarify his position - which he did to some extent:

    "The rank and file needs to regain control of the union movement and the do-nothing bureaucrats need to be shown the door."

    SC did not make this position clear in the article. Until that comment it was easy to think SC's "solution" was something different and destructive of the union movement.


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