Category Archives: Christchurch Earthquake

Sol Fed Victory, Independent Media, Mass Protest & EQC’s final straw…

Developments are coming in thick and fast –  our friends in the UK secure a massive victory, Aotearoa Independent Media produce a wonderful perspective on the latest beneficiary bashing and we may now be witnessing the next wave of opposition to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Association  and Earthquake Commission – it’s all go and we wanted to spend a moment to summarise the latest:

The Solidarity Federation in the UK is a long standing revolutionary union affiliated with the International Workers Association. The organisation practices many of the same tactics and ideas as O.S.N and have secured numerous victories over the years. Check their site and make sure you read the latest issue of Direct Action – a long established paper that has offered a fresh perspective on this mad World of ours.

The Solidarity Federation’s latest victory is against the British Government’s recent austerity measures. Known as “Workfare”, the scheme is essentially forcing beneficiaries to work for free. Workfare is what we would have once described as slavery and it appears to be alive and well on British shores. Sol Fed and their supporters took to the streets and picketed ‘Holland and Barrett’ a large retail chain that was taking full advantage of the scheme. The chain fell to mounting pressure and have now pulled out of the scheme! Check out the full story here: www.solfed.org.uk

     “You know I can’t have your ghost chips jobs”. Aotearoa Independent Media have just put out their latest release. Entitled “No jobs, just harassment” the authors have looked at the official numbers and shone light on the dirty games played by Government’s past and present. Beneficiaries have always been a favourite for the right to justify their nastiest policies, Key and Bennett are no different. Their latest scheme is to introduce the Job Seeker Support scheme –

Penalise the poor

There has been a concerted campaign by the right to demonise beneficiaries. Since the days of Ruth Richardson, the environment of Work and Income (formerly Social Welfare) has been very punitive. It is likely to become increasingly so with the introduction of these new benefits. People will be forced into long stand-down periods before they can receive a benefit, attendance at pointless courses, required to report in, and subjected to birth control advice from case managers.

The mass media has contributed significantly to constructing a paradigm in which beneficiaries are depicted as lazy and deceitful. The stereotype of the DPB mum is even more viciously constructed: it is a racist, woman-hating portrait that bears little resemblance to the average DPB recipient’s life. It is in this environment that punishing the poor for being poor becomes widely acceptable.

Full article can be found here: www.indymedia.org.nz

March Against Asset Sales- Across the country huge protests have been taking place. Video footage from Auckland shows 1000’s taking to the streets yet mainstream media have remained dormant. For anyone following the Occupy Movement this should come as no great surprise – millions globally have taken a stand against what has been daubed the age of austerity and the silence from so-called ‘journalists’ has been deafening. In Christchurch a march has been planned for Saturday July 14th from 2pm. Meet at intersection of Deans Ave and Riccarton Road, to rally and march up Riccarton Road – ending at Shand Crescent park. Otautahi Solidarity Network will be there in support of the nationwide day of protest. There facebook event page can be found here: Stop the Theft

The Goal Posts Change Yet Again?! Home owners could have to pay as much as $115,000 up front for earthquake repairs because the Earthquake Commission has changed its payment rules. If you refuse to accept the EQR/Fletcher’s deal (putting you into the black hole of unreturned calls, endless red tape and uncertainty) you now have to put your money where your mouth is. The system before this latest announcement allowed home owners to get a quote from a builder, have it verified by EQC and the money would be put to the builder. Now the home owner is left to fend for themselves with no idea when the money may be reimbursed. Who has spare cash like that?!

“My mum is 80; she’s never going to get a mortgage for $50,000. Elderly people and most families can’t afford the repayments, and if they could, who’s going to pay the interest?”

Main said she had heard of poor workmanship from Fletchers and had a good repairer lined up to do the work.

“With Mum, I though it would be nice to get it sorted out in her lifetime. I don’t want to go to Fletchers and I’ve been mucked around by them before. I plan to battle the Government on this one.” Full story here.

Yet again it is the most vulnerable that have been thrown to the lions. Reaction to this latest development have been steeped in anger and disgust. Fresh protest and pickets are on the cards and O.S.N will be at the forefront of supporting individuals and communities prepared to take a stand. Our contact details can be found at the top of the blog page.

Let us know your thoughts…

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‘A Tale of Two Cities’ Comes Home To Roost

Anyone living in Christchurch couldn’t have missed the build up to the ‘Save the Cathedral’ rally that took place on Saturday 26th May. It had been advertised on the air waves, in the local papers, flyers dropped in our letter box’s and posted on the roadside, the resources behind this project were massive. We were led to believe it would be the mother of all demonstrations since September 4th 2010, that the Minister for the Earthquake Recovery and leaders of the Anglican Church would not be able to ignore the people this time.

An estimated 2000 attended – Gerry Brownlee’s response? Within a matter of hours he simply dismissed any argument the organisers may have had and sided with the Church to demolish the Cathedral. 3 News article here: Cathedral-protests-unrealistic

At the same time as the Cathedral Rally Occupy Christchurch, Social Housing activists and numerous community organisers came together outside of Gerry Brownlee’s National Party Office to remind him that not everyone was wrapped up in the Cathedral frenzy. Around 70 people planted their placards and banners into the front lawn of the property. With messages such as “Freeze the rent”, “Rent is too damn high” and “Homes now business later” people from all walks of life, ages and backgrounds spoke of their disbelief in the Cathedral Rally and the official response to the Earthquakes.

     “We can not ignore the fact that 1000’s of people are prepared to take to the streets demanding a greater involvement in the rebuild and planning of private buildings when at the same time we have thousands of people living in red zoned houses, families renting space in garages and individuals calling the car their home? Has it become so hopeless than we are left to vent our frustrations at the Church?” Anonymous protestor

The protest organisers suggested all participants have a korero to air people’s ideas and see what we hoped to achieve. Initially talk took the direction of big picture issues such as how the city was being redesigned and organised but we were reminded that the big scale issues quickly leave us as individuals feeling overwhelmed and powerless. Supporters of Otautahi Solidarity Network put forward the idea that  we needed to focus on the issues in our neighbourhoods. If we focused our energies on bad landlords and greedy bosses a group of 70 people armed with banners, flags and passion could really start to make a difference. The idea was received warmly, contact details were shared and links between the various groups were established.

  O.S.N has the potential of being a vehicle of change in our broken city – starting off with small-scale victories it may not be long before we start seeing some real change and force CERA and Brownlee to change their course of direction.

In recent days Mike Peters, organiser for Addington Action made a call on social media “We need a real fight over housing in Christchurch.” Mike has achieved incredible feats restoring houses that otherwise would still be ice boxes and potential death traps. When people on the ground getting their hands dirty start making calls like this you now things are getting serious.

Now is the time to start putting the word out – if you or someone you know is facing horrendous rent hikes, being forced out of their home, had their hours cut or being made redundant get in touch. O.S.N doesn’t pretend to have a magic wand but what we do have is experience, ideas and a will to help others help themselves. O.S.N can be contacted here:

email: otautahisolidaritynetwork@gmail.com

facebook: otautahi soldiarity network

twitter: otautahi sol net

We will get back in touch and ask for more information, the O.S.N team will then discuss the issues raised among ourselves and get back in touch once we have an idea of what could be done.

O.S.N is always looking for individuals and groups that want to get involved. If you would like to know more flick us a message.

Coming up:

A Housing Summit follow-up meeting will be held on Friday June 1st at the Knox Church Hall.

“The purpose of the meeting will be to mark progress from the May 9 Housing Summit in the provision of rental accommodation in Christchurch”, says summit organiser, Cr. Glenn Livingstone. “June the 1st is the first day of Winter. It will be critical that we ask ourselves, ‘what are we doing about providing further rental accommodation in Christchurch?’. We are all stakeholders in this and by joining up our ideas and actions, we can make progress”.

Cr. Livingstone says that the main housing providers such as Housing New Zealand and the City Council will be asked to give an update on what they have done since the May 9 meeting to provide further accommodation. A steering group that has met since then will put several proposed action points to the meeting, asking for a mandate to act on them.

This is a public meeting, beginning at 10 am at the Knox Church Hall, corner of Bealey Avenue and Victoria Streets, Christchurch.

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