The 2020 New Zealand general election will be held on 17 October
New Zealand may be noted for its many social reforms. Certain concessions were achieved in New Zealand at a very early date. As early as 1879 men had the vote, and by 1893 women were also entitled to vote. By 1894 New Zealand was the first country in the world to have established the system of compulsory state arbitration for fixing wages and settling industrial disputes. And achieving the eight-hour day in 1897. We were told New Zealand was the workers’ Mecca of “benevolent governments" and “wise labour laws.” These tended to give the New Zealander a false sense of security and the cause of a wide-spread atmosphere of expectancy and buoyancy among a large majority of the workers. Their problems were to be solved and there was no need for any further struggle
But a close examination of it provided proof that attempts at social reform cannot solve the problems of the working class — poverty amid plenty; slums and bad housing conditions. The only solution is the establishment of that class-free society.
The World Socialist Party (New Zealand) holds that socialism is the only cure for the effects of capitalism. While capitalism continues so the workers must suffer from its effects and their condition become worse, so we ask the workers of New Zealand to join us in the work of propagating Socialism and organising for the overthrow of capitalism. Socialism is the only solution to their problems.
On October 21, 1912, “a number of Marxian students” met at Ranfurly Hall, Sydney Street, Petone, and formed the Petone Marxian Club. Optimistically, its first resolution passed that evening was: “That this club meet every Monday night at 8.00pm up to the day of the revolution.”
At its fifth meeting, it was moved: “That this club adopt the object and principles of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.” The resolution was adopted without dissent.
Although the Petone Marxian Club, in fact, had a limited existence (it held a total of 61 meetings), it did sow the seeds for further socialist organisation in New Zealand. A few former members of the Petone Marxian Club carried on with socialist propaganda, but with the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 they encountered severe restrictions on their activity.
On December 28, 19l8, a conference of socialists was held at the Trades Hall, Christchurch, at which it was moved: “That a Socialist Party of New Zealand be formed.” An amendment was then put, and carried: “That a Marxian Association be formed.” Having formed the Association, it was agreed that it adopt the Object and Declaration of Principles of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. To obtain membership, the following pledge had to be signed: “I hereby undertake to render political support to none other than a Marxian Revolutionist, endorsed by the New Zealand Marxian Association, at all elections of candidates for public office in New Zealand.”
A number of those who helped found the NZMA were former members of the Socialist Party of Canada who, as opponents of the war, had fled that country. Others were mainly seamen and coalminers. There were soon branches in Petone, Christchurch, Millerton, Huntly, Wellington, Auckland and a number of mining centres on the South Island. A rancorous dispute over the support for the Soviet Union caused the demise of the NZMA in 1922.
In 1930, a number of former members of the Petone Marxian Club and the New Zealand Marxian Association – formed the Socialist Party of New Zealand and adopted the Object and Declaration of Principles of the SPGB. , Branches were organised in Auckland, Petone, Wellington and elsewhere. Outdoor speaking began and debates with the Communist Party and other organisations attracted good audiences. Despite tremendous difficulties, the SPNZ managed in January 1934 to produce a short-lived journal, the Socialist Review. The SPNZ later added the word “World” to its name and it still continues the task of advocating socialism.
The problems of capitalism have not been solved and only the abolition of the cause – the profit motive system – will do that. This is what the World Socialist Party of New Zealand, and socialists elsewhere, propose and for which they are organised. It is that we can see a greater than ever need for socialist organisation for the overthrow of capitalism. The childlike faith of the majority of the workers in the Labour Government is hard to understand. The New Zealand Labour Party in power has proved itself little different from capitalist Parties; in fact it has simply advanced new methods of extracting more surplus value from the workers, and is attempting to put them into operation. they have no mandate for socialism, while they do possess the mandate to administer capitalism. This can be done only in the interest of capital and the capitalist class. Prime Minister Ardern has passed palliative measures but none of it will in any way alter the fundamental position of the workers of New Zealand. They will still have to sell their labouring powers in order to live, the wages, or price of these, will be determined by the value of the necessities required to produce, develop, maintain and perpetuate the labouring power, or in the event of the inability of the employee to sell ones labour power a worker will be forced to throw oneself upon the benevolence of the State to eke out an existence on sustenance.
The World Socialist Party holds that socialism is the only cure for the effects of capitalism. While capitalism continues so the workers must suffer from its effects and their condition become worse, so we ask the workers of New Zealand to join us in the work of propagating socialism and organising for the overthrow of capitalism. Socialism is the only solution to their problems. Only then can we make rational decisions concerning production and our environment without the shackles of the market system.
Ardern’s Labour Party or Collins’ National Party in power? = No Change.