Groups picketing National Party conference this weekend

Press Release – Aotearoa Is Not For Sale
The weekend of July 20-22 is the National Party’s Annual Conference in Auckland. Actions are being held by the student movement on Saturday (1pm, Britomart) and Auckland Action Against Poverty on Sunday (11:30am, Sky City). Aotearoa Is Not For Sale (ANFS) will be joining both in solidarity.

The ANFS Millionaires for Privatisation will host their own event tonight outside 1885 in Britomart, where they will mix and mingle with the Young Nats and some of NZ’s political, business and diplomatic leaders from 7:30pm. We probably won’t get inside, but we can have our own party outside! We will first assemble at the odious Lenin bar at 6:30pm, to raise our champagne glasses to the death of public ownership!

“It is important to protest against serious issues in a variety of ways, and the Millionaires for Privatisation demonstrate some of the outlandish ideas that the National Government has promoted, in a fun and entertaining way,” says ANFS Spokesperson Miriam Pierard. “If the Government won’t acknowledge the fact that 16 towns and cities around New Zealand mobilised in protest last Saturday against their planned asset sales, then perhaps we can connect with National’s younger members in a different way tonight.”

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Press Release – Blockade The budget
The Auckland based student movement Blockade the Budget have said they will join the picket of the National Party Conference this weekend organised by social justice group Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP).

The picket, being held outside the Skycity Convention Centre on Sunday the 22nd of July, is a response to changes in the structure of welfare, and the implementation of harsher conditions for beneficiaries. The changes include drug testing for recipients of the unemployment benefit and the suggestion of contraception for women on the Domestic Purposes Benefit, which AAAP condemn as “state intervention in women’s reproductive rights.”

Blockade the Budget have said they oppose “a war on the poor, being carried out in this country by the National Party and an elite few who take everything and contribute nothing”. Blockade Organisers go on to say ‘this refers not only to welfare changes but the sale of state owned assets such as Mighty River Power, and cuts to the education sector, all of which are sentencing the poor to a life of debt and ensuring that a wealthy minority retain their privilege”

Blockade the Budget have planned their own event for Saturday 21st July, which they describe as a family friendly march where people from across the education sector will “Show their discontent and Tell the truth about attacks on education”.

The march has been endorsed by the Tertiary Education Union (TEU), The New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI), Post Primary Teachers’ Association, Auckland Region (PPTA), Auckland University Students Association (AUSA), Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP), Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC), Council of Trade Unions (CTU), Aotearoa’s Not For Sale (ANFS), We are the University (WATU).

Show and Tell – march for education begins Saturday 21st at 1pm, Britomart.

AAAP Picket –Stop the War on the Poor Sunday 22nd 11.30am, Skycity Convention Centre, Federal St.

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National’s latest vindictive attack on young people and beneficiaries passed into law last night and must be resisted at all costs says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson Sue Bradford.
‘We are deeply saddened by National’s determination to push through measures which will only make life harder for beneficiaries and unemployed people who are already struggling to survive.

‘Instead of doing something serious about creating decent jobs for those who need them, Bennett, Key and co are hellbent on reforms which are all about state – and in some cases contracted NGO – control of every last detail of peoples’ lives.

‘Affected young people will lose all control of their income. At a time in their lives when they should be learning independence and budgeting, they will be treated like children.

‘All women of childbearing age – and their daughters – who are in the welfare system are to be encouraged to take longlasting contraception. They will also be worktested from the time their babies are one year old.

‘Worst of all, these reforms are just the first step. We know the Government has much more in store, including the drug testing of beneficiaries, sweeping changes to benefit categories and further moves towards an increasingly corporatised, insurance model welfare system.

‘We believe National and its allies in Parliament are literally waging war on the unemployed workers, beneficiaries, low wage workers and students of this country.’

AAAP calls on all who support us to join us in a picket at the time of John Key’s speech to the National Party conference in Auckland this weekend.

11.30am Sunday 22 July
Sky City, Auckland

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