Joe Hendren
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New Zealand

2 Nov 04

Northerner Rail Service Axed: More Cuts Likely to Take Their Toll

This week saw yet another cutback to passenger rail services with the announcement that the Northerner, the night service between Auckland and Wellington, would cease operation on the 12th of November. When one considers this annoucement alongside specific clauses in the agreement the Government signed with Toll in July 2004 it becomes obvious that the Northerner will be first of many closures within the first three years of this 'public private partnership'.

27 July 04

Toll Rail:  Secret Deals Close to Witching Hour Revealed 

After months of protracted negotiations, Toll Holdings and the Government completed their agreement to transfer the track network to public ownership. The deal concluded just before the deadline of June 30th, 2004. At two minutes to midnight. If an agreement had not been reached by the deadline, Toll was in for making a lot of money. By selling the track for the symbolic sum of $1, Toll could claim a considerable book loss. If the deal had been concluded a mere two minutes later Toll could have gained a significant tax advantage, with estimates ranging from a benefit of $10m to $70m dollars, depending on how long they dilly dallied. While Toll Holdings’ Managing Director, Paul Little, claimed that Toll did not intend to take advantage of this opportunity, it certainly did not stop Toll from using it as a threat to bully the Government into a position friendly to the Australian owned transnational corporation (TNC).

27 July 04

From Toll to the Dole

"Take it or leave it" was the choice given to the cooks and stewards of the Cook Strait ferry Arahura. The new transnational owners of the ferries, Toll Holdings, told the crew to accept a big cut to pay and conditions or be made redundant. The live-on-board positions were to be disestablished, with those made redundant forced into reapplying for their jobs in competition with other Toll employees and external recruits.
13 Jan 05

The Fog of Iraq

In mid-November the US Department of Defence confirmed the existence of a report highly critical of the administration's efforts in the war on terror and in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority [of Muslims] voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”  The report ‘Strategic Communication’ comes from none other than a branch of the Pentagon itself, the Defence Science Advisory Board (DSB).

27 May 04

Are We Seeing a Popular Revolution in Iraq? 

Iraq is under military occupation by a foreign power.  Sunni and Shia Muslims put aside their differences and turn memorial services into political rallies, while religious leaders call on the people to throw off the bonds of imperialism.  The arrest of several independence leaders leads to strikes and violent demonstrations.  Administrative posts are largely held by foreigners, creating a lot of Iraqi dissent.  Nationalist political activity continues to rise, and insurgents are active in Najaf and Karbala.  Iraq is in a state of anarchy.  

27 Apr 04

Hijacking of a Nation  

The claims by the United States that it is bringing democracy to Iraq simply do not measure up to the facts. Paul Bremer, the US viceroy in Iraq, has imposed a free market economy, ordered mass privatisation of Iraqi State assets and signed contracts with American corporate interests, all before the Iraqi people could have their say in an election. As such privatisation and foreign ownership is outlawed under the Constitution and the laws of Iraq, this is a breach of the Hague Regulations of 1907 that state that an occupying Power must respect "unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country".


War on is Terror.