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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 25. 6 October 1972

Housing Horseshit

page 6

Housing Horseshit


Some of the information in Neil Wright's article entitled 'How the housing shortage helps the protest movement' is far from the truth.

The 'solid working class group' remaining at the end of the Kent Flats squat he refers to, decamped with several hundred dollars worth of saleable commodities stripped from the flats interior after the predominantly student squatters who won the house from the Mow had moved out because the squat had succeeded. Subsequently the Wellington CC raised the rent from 16 to 21 dollars and gave the cost of replacing these fittings as an excuse. The solid working class group' were a bunch of lumpen proletarians who served the interests of the ruling class by giving it an excuse to charge higher rents.

His statement that the occupation of the inter island ferry Maori was the 'high water mark of the housing protest' is rubbish. The Maori was an ill timed, badly organised, irresponsible stunt and the so called 'working class activists' who boarded it were picked off like ripe plums by the cops. The boarding of the Maori marked the dead end of activism on the part of Niel's 'working class group'. After this they settled firmly in Kelvin Grove, allowing the cops to pick off, both themselves, and the alcoholics they befriended. The cops had been scared to attack squatters so long as they were occupying new houses with the attention of the media focussed on them but once the squatters gave up fighting the very moment Niel started praising them - the police decided they could get away with anything.

The Maori incident, an attack on an 'imperialist' shipping company, would if successful have supplied a few hundred people with high cost substandard colonial accommodation. All the militant action was then left as a monopoly to the group Niel most despises - the left wing of the TPA because the Maori incident demoralised the workers participating. Niel with his usual dishonesty reporting attacks the left wing of the TPA for allegedly sharing the politics of the right wing it has had to fight to get anything done, but if Niels working class group had been as revolutionary as he claims the TPA left wing would have had nothing to do....

We think it is time Niel joined in some of the activities he writes about, as he gets a lot of his information fourth hand, and his sources do not seem to be very reliable. He also has a very lively imagination.

Amanda Russell and George Rosenberg