Economist Brian Easton has pointed out in his essay reviewing the 30 year history of neo-liberalism in NZ that the left have to create an alternative economic argument that goes beyond the rights failed free market systems.
He argues that we have to come up with unique NZ solutions to our economic malaise and the new relationship forged yesterday between the union movement and Maoridom at the historic CTU/Iwi Relationship Hui is, I think, a very unique NZ solution that has the potential to reinvigorate unionism and empower Maori at the same time.
The speed with which Tallys/Affco folded the second Iwi became involved and threatened them with starting up their own meat works was one of the victories for workers this year. That Tallys/Affco would use hunger against the 5000 children impacted by that lockout/strike reminded Iwi that their whanau were the ones on the front line.
The challenge for Maoridom is to redefine capitalism. If Maori Capitalism is just as venal as Pakeha Capitalism, then nothing has been gained, but if they redefine it so that the people are the value, then NZ will be a far better nation for the effort.
People's hero and CTU Vice President Syd Keepa is a great man with the mana and intellect to make this new relationship dynamic enough to make an impact. The 200 Iwi and Unionists who filled the hui in Tauranga yesterday was testament that this has the potential to redefine unionism for the economic challenges confronting the country.