The Herald reports:
Despite the considerable union influence within his party and calls for him to offer support to Maritime Union members, new Labour leader David Shearer has kept quiet on the matter.
Yesterday Labour industrial relations spokeswoman Darien Fenton, who has been spotted on the picket line at the port, said her party was not taking sides in the dispute.
“We’ve been hoping that the parties will settle this, that they’ll find a way through this.”
You’ve been on the picket line, and now you’re saying you’re not taking sides? I think someone has squashed Darien.
Ms Fenton said Mr Shearer had been in regular touch with both sides, “and he’s in contact with me and we’re all discussing it regularly”.
“Our strong view at this point is it’s not helpful for politicians to get involved.”
Apart from being on the picket line?
I suspect that strong view is Mr Shearer’s.
Chris Trotter did an open letter to Shearer yesterday urging him to wade in:
Ultimately, isn’t it about answering the question: “Who is strong enough to stop the stone-throwers?” The men and women who formed the Labour Party in 1916 decided that the answer to that question was the State. If the State could be made to stop working for those who already exercised power, and began instead to work for those who were powerless, then a political party seeking to put an end to poverty, war and injustice would have a fighting chance.Labour was formed to create a State that wasn’t neutral; a state that never stood on the side-lines when working people were being threatened and abused. Labour was about intervention: constant, massive, intelligent and creative intervention on behalf of the weak and against the strong.It’s time to bid farewell to the white sands and the Pohutukawa blossoms, Mr Shearer, and come on down to the Auckland wharves. It’s time to cast aside the gathered cloaks of a spurious and culpable “neutrality” and place yourself and your party between the stone-throwers and their victims. It’s time to end the silence.