Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32. No. 25. October 9, 1969

Last Exit To Bellamy's

page 8

Last Exit To Bellamy's

1 Socialist — George Fyson

George Fyson, the editor of Red Spark, the magazine of the VUW Socialist Club, is standing as a candidate in the General Elections. He will contest the Wellington Central electorate for the Socialist Action League. George is twenty years old, and in his third year at Victoria.

The Socialist Action League was formed a few weeks ago, and most of the group are students and members of the Socialist Club. It will already be known to a few students through a bulletin which has recently appeared, Socialist Action.

"The reason why we are putting up a candidate," said George, "is that we regard the Vietnam issue as a critical one for the future of the whole world, and it is essential that it should be made into a key issue in the elections. The Labour Party Conference (and the Fol Conference) called for the withdrawal of NZ forces, but the National Executive and the Caucus, in order to maximise Labour's chances at the elections regardless of the cost, do not intend to implement the decision. We are standing a candidate only because of the Labour "leadership's" deliberate equivocation on this fundamental question of Vietnam. We have offered our active support to the Labour Candidate for Wellington Central on the condition that Mr Kirk will commit himself as leader of the Party to unconditional and immediate withdrawal. But he won't. We wrote two letters to him, but he did not deign to reply."

Asked if the S.A.L. was trying to "blackmail" the Party, as Kirk is reported to have said, George replied. "Certainly not; there can be no such construction placed on our actions. We have deliberately chosen a scat that is safe for National in order not to harm Labour's chance of becoming the Government. The Labour Party is definitely preferable to a Tory government; although bureaucratically deformed in the extreme, it does still retain the affiliation of the bulk of the working people. Our campaign is to raise ideas and issues; vote-catching is incidental In fact, we are going to go to the polls with the call that in all other electorates except Wellington Central people vote Labour."

George told Salient that although Vietnam would be the primary plank in the S.A.L.'s programme, many other issues would also be brought forward. "Essentially it is a programme for a socialist transformation of New Zealand, he said, "and our election demands will highlight a number of issues which we think will be the most effective in raising the consciousness of people, in showing them—mainly workers and students—that socialism is necessary page 9if we are to progress, and that it can be achieved, through class struggle, through the mass movement of the working class and its allies.

When asked whether such a prospective, which was essentially a revolutionary one, was compatible with standing for Parliament, which some "revolutionaries" considered to be a "sellout" tactic. George answered. "There is nothing at all hypocritical in standing for Parliament, provided that you have a genuine socialist programme, and put it before everything else. At a certain stage the Bolsheviks under Lenin put up candidates for the Tsarist Duma, and even had them elected. Lenin recognised that elections provide revolutionaries with great opportunities to publicise their ideas. And it goes without saying that he was under no illusion as to the efficiency of parliament in the long term.

"One of our first actions in the campaign will be to demand radio and television time for ourselves and for all political groups that are at present excluded, such as the Communist Party and the Socialist Unity Party. This situation is typical of our whole distorted electoral system, which sometimes seems like nothing more than a deal between the leaderships of the main parties to preserve their own parliamentary positions. We will not only attack this blatant and arbitrary censorship, but will also point up the self-censorship of the Press. which functions in the interest of privileged minorities.

The Programme

The Socialist Action League's programme is not yet finalised in the details, but its main points will go like this:

(1) Foreign Policy. Withdrawal from Vietnam, of all NZ personnel; withdrawal from Malaysia. Seato, Anzus; no Omega stations here Trade embargoes on Rhodesia and South Africa; no sports tours to countries practicing apartheid. Recognition of The People's Republic of China.

(2) Education. Greatly increased state expenditure on education. No state aid to private schools, which exist only to maintain either privilege or sectarianism. (But school holidays etc. will be available to all cultural and political groups to hold classes and meetings after school hours.) Abolition of all examinations, Universities to be administered by councils representative of all groups—staff, students—in proportion to their numbers. University grants to be controlled by a council 1/3 students. 1/3 stair. 1/3 government. All students over the age of 16 to receive the national minimum wage (see below). Secondary school students to have full trade union rights, schools to be run by councils similar to universities Abolition of corporal punishment.

(3) Income, Rents, Taxes. A National Minimum Wage, payable to all people over 16, whether sick, unemployed, studying. Taxation to be much more steeply graduated. Rents to be no more than 10% of wage. Retraining for persons displaced by automation etc. at full pay. Social Security to be completely over-hauled; all medical and related services to be entirely free.

(4) Nationalisation of all large industrial enterprises, and of all financial institutions. All nationalised industries—including those already nationalised—to be placed under the country of democratically elected workers' councils. In general, no compensation to former owners, but with exceptions in the case of farmer owned freezing works and in the case of holders of small parcels of shares.

(5) Equality For Women. Equal pay for women immediately. Legalised abortion. Free day nurseries, and vastly increased facilities for pre-school children.

(6) Maoris And Islanders. Recognise the Polynesian peoples' rights to self-determination, even to the point of their forming a separate state, if they so wish. Special and substantial state funds for Maori and Islanders' education. Polynesian studies to be a compulsory subject in all schools. Schools of Polynesian studies to be developed in the universities, with substantial government grants. Outlawing of all discrimination—in jobs, accommodation, etc.—on the basis of race.

(7) Security Service. To be abolished.

(8) Management Of The Economy. All nationalised industries to be co-ordinated in a national economic plan, and the planning board to be responsible to the highest democratic body of the country. Strict price control. Automatic escalator clauses in all wage agreements including the N.M.W. No bank secrecy for any firm or organisation. State monopoly of foreign trade.

By Les Slater

2 Independent — Mike Mitchell

Salient: What prompted your decision to stand, and with which party do you associate yourself?

I consider that for too long, politics has been the province of the "older generation"— most of the present politicians are in the 40 to 80 age group. It has become generally thought, unfortunately, that youth disqualifies one from public office. Criticism of our generation has never been more strident, and shows no sign of abating. The House of Representatives is the best forum to meet criticism head-on—and to counter it with sound, informed argument, based on a youthful, vital approach. With the voting age lowered (albeit belatedly) to 20. the need for wider representation of the community is even greater.

I am standing as a candidate independent of any political party—this means of course that I will not be bound to support out-of-date policies, and will have greater freedom of speech in advancing what I feel are the views, hopes, and aspirations of our age group. It has already been shown that "toeing the party-line" has effectively crippled true freedom of speech, and lowered the standard of debate— if it was ever high.

Salient: Why choose Wellington Central?

The other candidates for Wellington Central provide the voters of this city not with a choice, but with a dilemma. Dan Riddiford apparently has a fine war record, but what has he done since then? Certainly nothing for Wellington. This must be the worst-served electorate in the country. I want to provide the electorate with an alternative—with a much-needed change, untrammeled by party dogma and divided allegiances. I feel strongly about many aspects of Wellington's development—there is much to be done by the Parliamentary representative for Wellington Salient: Could you elaborate on some of these aspects?

Geographically, Wellington is unique. Unfortunately, in the name of progress, the Harbour Board is systematically destroying the inner-harbour by reclamation. The industrial area of Wellington is Gracefield, Hutt. Container-port facilities should be located where they belong—adjacent to industry.

The inner-harbour should be preserved, with emphasis on the tourist trade. A complex of container facilities in the heard of the city can only increase traffic congestion (already a problem) and destroy the beauty of the harbour. Something must be done now to halt the hideous damage which is being perpetrated.

The fantastic potential of Wellington is self-evident. Over recent years, the sky-line of the city has changed dramatically. But is this building programme subject to any control? Certainly, the Town Plan must be adhered to, but aesthetically, no standards are set, or met. I advocate the establishment of a body of suitably qualified people to examine the plans of every proposed building in the inner city —not to see whether it complies with the spaghetti-like tangle of by-laws and building regulations; but to consider whether the structure will enhance the city and add to the natural beauty of the harbour and city. After all. these high-rise blocks will be around for a long time. Now is the time to eliminate clashes of architecture, ugliness and aesthetic thoughtlessness.

In Wellington, as we know, the cost of living is high, and getting higher. Probably 80% of the population of Wellington Central live in flats, apartments or single rooms. It is high time an effective system of rent-control was introduced. City rents are exorbitantly high and for the tenant there is no protection. I intend to campaign for a system of "fair-rent"—one possibility is tying the rental to the capital value of the property. Being the centre of Government, many civil servants are required to find accommodation in Wellington, as well as students in ever-increasing numbers. Wellington could well be classified as a "special area" in this regard. Salient: Broadly, what role do you think New Zealand should play internationally?

This is a topic that is obviously not easily dealt with in a few paragraphs. However, in view of developments in the last decade. New Zealand must now re-examine her foreign policy in all its aspects. Even the most stubborn now realise that Vietnam was a blunder —a frightening example of the use of the American war-machine based on erroneous suppositions and gross misunderstandings. We have learnt our lesson—or should have. Never was an independent foreign policy more clearly needed than it is now. The comment was made recently that in two generations. China's nuclear armament could dwarf that of Russia and America combined. This emphasises the desirability of coming to terms with our neighbour. This means recognising the Peking Government as the effective Government of the vast majority of the Chinese people. It means aid to China—mainly agricultural, experts, equipment, ideas. It means facing reality and identifying ourselves more with Asia than with Europe; more with the Pacific than with the Atlantic. With Britain's entry to the common market seemingly only a matter of time, new markets must be found. Again—let's look to China.

Photo of Mike Mitchell

Recognition must not be confused with approval.

Salient: To return to the National scene, what are your views on current controversial matters—Law and Order, for instance?

I strenuously oppose any return to capital or corporal punishment. These have been tried, they failed. Present penalties have been arrived at after much research and study by highly qualified experts in the field—to return to pre-war floggings, whippings or "birchings" would be sheer folly. The deterrent value of these punishments is minimal, the rehabilitative element completely lacking, the notion of revenge and suggestions of sadism high.

Salient: Generally, how do you see the role of the Universities?

I agree with Professor Titchener of Auckland University, who said recently that the University has a duty to maintain and encourage learning for its own sake—a degree should not be looked upon as purely and simply a meal-ticket. Muldoon (who appears to be the National Party voice on the subject) has shown all the breadth of vision that one might expect from an accountant. Education, especially in the much maligned field of the arts, is and end in itself. We must curb any influence which would produce a nation of technical experts. "Muldoonism" must be countered and eradicated.