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An event to celebrate the solidarity of songs and singers.

The Fabian Society, Living Wage CampaignThe Auckland Labour History Group and the Working Women’s Resource Centre invite you to an evening of talent, inspiration and unity.

The musicians – please welcome and support

And the amazing local Union Made Choir

Proceeds to Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand

$25 waged $20 unwaged + Supper and bar sales, street parking.

Please note this will be held at a different venue than our usual events.

It would be helpful if you registered.

Auckland, 27th November 7.00pm

Auckland Polish Society

1 Macdonald St

The message from the two presentations was clear: first, urgent action on climate warming is required now. Avoidance of disastrous impacts is unlikely. Mitigation has past by as an option and only adaptation remains. Second Cheap energy will not be available in the future.  This will lead to recessions and transition to an economy that requires much less energy. 

The New Zealand  economy and our ways of living will require transformation as we respond to both these eventualities. New Zealand is going to be hit by a double shot of reality and we will need to show some real leadership to develop the correct public policy and the political leadership to support it. 

Nicky Hager said that "Dirty Politics" is in effect a sequel to "The Hollow Men," about a new phenomenon that didn't exist at that time, namely the use of blogs - an idea derived from Republican politics whereby you could have negative publicity without accountability - with no backlash. You could also run things which the media wouldn't run.

He has had a very strong reaction around country because people had been feeling uneasy but not understanding what was going on - a series of constant attacks on people and attacks on parties. Other things the book is about - the same attacks were being used by corporate sources for corporate issues, with Cameron Slater taking money to attack people personally especially public health people. Also the machine that was being used to attack the National Party's opponents was also being used within the National Party, and people within the National party should be feeling the most angry about what is in the book.

Another idea out of US politics the two-track system. Parties know about negative campaigning, that it is very effective, not only for attacking opponents but also for stopping people voting. But it is dangerous, so the leader stays above it while the other people do the dirty work.

Re the effect of the book - the polls haven't shifted but he never expected quick result. But there has been a huge reaction - people feel that things have gone wrong and something has to be done about it.

So what should be done about it? Our system of government is far too secretive - our Official Information Act is now seriously out of date. We need to change the transparency laws. Improving the news media is the best defence a society can have - we should be building up the public broadcasting service in a huge way. The third thing that need to be fixed is the deligitimising of politics for people such as academics, scientists, all those who know about what is going on. If we don't have the maximum freedom of speech for such people then we are leaving politics to the Cameron Slater's of this world. Countries need intelligent motivated people and the great reservoir of those people is in the public service. What we have at the moment is that we don't have a public servant who doesn't think that they are doing something wrong if they get themselves involved in what is going on as a citizen.

Nicky said he feels he has written a book about ethics - a manual of all the things that we don't want, and all the things we can do to change things for the better.

You can listen to a podcast of Nicky's speech and the questions here; also Teresa Cowie's report on RadioNZ here, and the State Service Commissioner's response to issues raised in the meeting here.

The Unleashing Auckland session on 16 July entailed three lively presentations followed by an even more lively discussion with the audience of well over a 100. A recording of the session is available here.

Eaqub'We have stolen from our children, we have stolen from our grandchildren, it is time to put it right' was a core message of Shamubeel Eaqub.

Among the other key factors he identified were the constraints of excessive housing prices and inadequate transport systems as limiting opportunities for Auckland to become an attractive city living up to its potential. The competition is not with other NZ cities, but overseas cities. With an average cost of $800,000 for a house, and an average income of $80,000, too many Aucklanders are forced to rent poor quality houses. House ownership peaked in 1991 and NZ has gone backwards ever since.  Successive Governments have failed to address the issue of overseas ownership of residential land.  We have no adequate public debate about the underlying issues of immigration, banks, or taxes. In the 1990’s 10% of bank loans went to mortgages – now it is 50%. A tax regime that favours negative gearing is welfare for the rich at the expense of the poor. We have a broken system with poor infrastructure as a result. We need leadership that disrupts the bipartisan inactivity of the status quo. Generation Rent, Shamubeel's recently published book is a available here.

DeBoniDita De Boni noted that even her relatively well-off family struggles to cope with the cost of living in Auckland, and she sees many families are having great difficulty. Auckland is becoming unaffordable and unliveable for a diverse range of people.  The NZ Herald and its readership have focussed on house prices as a recurring issue, but the multiple unaddressed aspects of the problem point to Government policy neglect and leadership alignment with corporate interests and the rich. Not politically aligned herself, Dita is dismayed at the lack of collective initiatives. There are many examples overseas, such as California taking a hard stance against abuse of water for personal benefit. NZ's hands-off philosopy resists such ntervention. Auckland Council is handicapped by Government’s failure to act in the public good. Government has no vision for Auckland, but reacts to crises in a short term manner.

She also noted that, while there are many public facilities and services for families and kids in central Auckland, in the outer suburbs this is not the case. The trains to Pukekohe, for example, are OK, but public transport after that is inadequate. We need services, green spaces, for kids and the elderly right across Auckland. What is needed is a new form of urban infrastructure. Politicians need to look after everyone. To achieve this we also need to deal with tax loop holes and lack of transparency around political donations.

UdaleMartin Udale has lived in Auckland for 12 years and is a great supporter of city living. But it is important that cities have a vision that is strong and enduring. It needs to be stated often leading to clear strategies, and parties should be held accountable to those commitments, with deadlines on key matters. The time now is to stop talking and start doing. Quality is the key, but this includes quality leadership and quality institutions.  

He says the standard of the public debate is awful. We need to encourage the “it” factor that gives good vibes. Local Government has an important role and legitimate interest in the whole picture of what makes a good city – it should not just be concerned about drains. We need innovation to attract capital and talent. Martin is optimistic that things are getting better, but we need to involve the people who will be affected for the next 25 years in the debate and decision making.


ARD FairburnIn 1944 Rex Fairburn gave a lecture to the Fabian Society entitled 'THE LAND, OUR LIFE'. We have recently obtained a copy of this lecture and will return to the images and ideas Fairburn depicted then and their relevance to our narratives for today.

Denys Trussell and Christine Rose will set Fairburn's lecture in a modern context.

It is with deep appreciation for our literary heritage, the history of ideas and the stature of ARD Fairburn that we invite you to this event.


  • Date: Tuesday 6th May, 7.30pm
  • Venue: Lecture Theatre 3
  • Owen Glen Building
  • University of Auckland.

It will help our planning if you register here.

Parking available under the OGB building.

Updated with title correction, 'Our' -> 'The'