GPJA #493 (1 of 2): Forum with Afghan reporter March 10 / Farewell for Matt Wed 4pm



Special GPJA Forum: Monday 10 March, 7.30pm at Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road Grey Lynn.

Guest Speaker Bilal Sarwary – “without doubt one of the best and bravest reporters in Afghanistan” according to New Zealand journalist Jon Stephenson.

Jon Stephenson will introduce Bilal at the forum and will pose a series of questions for Bilal to answer. Questions from attendees will also be included.

This is a great opportunity to hear about New Zealand participation in what has become the longest overseas deployment in the history of this country.

A brief bio of Bilal:

Bilal Sarwary started working for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and covered the US bombing campaign and invasion of Afghanistan.

After the fall of Kabul to the Northern Alliance and the US, Sarwary worked briefly for the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 2002. Since 2002 he has worked for the BBC – initially as a producer and later as a reporter.

In 2006, Sarwary attended Middlebury College in the US, where he studied linkages between warfare, drugs and terrorism, comparing the FARC in Columbia with the Taliban in Afghanistan. After completing his university studies he returned to Afghanistan in 2010, where he works as a full time reporter for BBC News in Kabul.

Sarwary reports for BBC World TV, BBC World Service Radio, and for the BBC News website. He has also reported for many other international news outlets including Radio New Zealand, TV3 (New Zealand), the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

New Zealand journalist Jon Stephenson has described Sarwary as “without doubt one of the best and bravest reporters in Afghanistan.”

Wednesday 4pm: Farewell for Matt McCarten – hosted by Unite Union

Unite is hosting a farewell for Matt McCarten this Wednesday at 4pm at the Auckland Unite offices at 6a western Springs Rd, Morningside, Auckland. It will be following a Unions Auckland meeting from 2-4pm at the same place on the union movement’s election strategy for 2014.

Matt was the founder of the organisng drive a decade ago that took Unite from a few hundred members to 7,000 members today. Along the way Unite reunionised sectors that had been considered too hard to organise by many – including fast foods, call centres, hotels, security, and language schools.

Matt has accepted a new role as chief of staff for the Labour Party leader David Cunliffe.

This is your chance to tell Matt this is the smartest or dumbest thing you think he (or David Cunliffe) has ever done. There is usually not much in between in discussions on this matter.

My own views on the matter are contained in this blog reprinted fom The Daily Blog.

GPJA Special Forum: Monday 5th May 7.30pm at Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road Grey Lynn.

Guest Speaker Murray Horton from the Christchurch-based CAFCA (Campaign against Foreign Control of Aotearoa) and the ABC (Anti Bases Campaign) Murray will be speaking on

“Who’s running the show and in whose interests?” and focusing on –

· People’s Rights before Corporate Profit

· Public service, not private profit

· An independent foreign policy

· No unjust secret treaties

Murray’s GPJA forum is part of a nationwide tour. We don’t see him often in Auckland so we welcome everyone to what will be an entertaining, amusing and politically important presentation.

Friday, May 9, 4-6pm, Room WG808 (Level 8), Sir Paul Reeves Building, AUT University

WHAT THE MEDIA DON’T TELL YOU: WHO’S RUNNING THE SHOW? AND IN WHOSE INTEREST? "We want an independent Aotearoa, based on policies of economic, military and political self-reliance, using Aotearoa’s resources for the benefit of the people of Aotearoa.

"This country needs people power to let the world know that Aotearoa is not for sale."

– Murray Horton, spokesperson for the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) and the Anti-Bases Campaign (ABC)

Murray will speak on:

  • People’s rights before corporate profit
  • Public service not private profit
  • An independent foreign policy
  • No unjust secret treaties

Saturday, May 10, 7.30pm, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington.

DREAMS LIE DEEPER – A CONCERT COMMEMORATING MINERS EVERYWHERE. The Orpheus Choir of Wellington, the city’s much-acclaimed symphonic choir, has programmed a major concert entitled Dreams Lie Deeper, as a tribute to miners the world over. It brings together three premières of choral music dedicated to miners, inspired by historical events that recall the tragedies, the struggles and also the rejoicing when rescue from a mining disaster was achieved. The theme of the evening will be dedicated to mining communities and a commemoration of events that have irrevocably changed the course of their lives.

The major work in the programme is the New Zealand première of 17 Days, by young UK composer James McCarthy. He was commissioned to compose a piece by Crouch End Festival Chorus, dedicated to the dramatic rescue of the Chilean miners in 2010. The work was premiered in the Barbican Theatre London in 2011 and received a standing ovation; a second performance last year was received with the same acclamation. It is a very moving expression of the tremendous emotion the whole world felt during those 17 days when the miners were underground and no word had yet been heard from them.

At our concert, the award-winning Wellington Brass Band and Wellington Young Voices, a recently established children’s choir in the city, join us in this very powerful presentation.

The second première is If Blood Be the Price, a work by New Zealand composer Ross Harris, inspired by the 1912 Waihi Miners’ Strike, and is set to a poem by NZ Poet Laureate Vincent O’Sullivan. The significance of the tragic consequence of the industrial action by those Waihi workers is indelibly written into mining history in this country, and the performance will be an evocative reminder of the working life of those who work under the ground.

The final focus of "Dreams Lie Deeper" will be on the tragedy that threw a whole community into turmoil and brought their plight into every New Zealand household overnight – the Pike River Mine disaster. The concert will showcase a new work by high profile and well-loved singer/songwriter, Dave Dobbyn, who has been commissioned to write both the lyrics and music for a tribute to the miners who lost their lives in the tragedy of 2011.



David Robie: Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face: Media, Mayhem and Human Rights in the Pacific. Foreword by Kalafi Moala. Forthcoming title from Little Island Press Release date 25 April 2014. Available for pre-order now

A comprehensive "hidden stories of the Pacific" media and communication book about many of the region?s major issues of the past two decades such as the Fiji coups, Papua New Guinea?s Bougainville war and resource development crises, human rights in Timor-Leste and West Papua, nuclear testing and health challenges, environmental degradation and climate change. The author, Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie, writes with insight and personal experience of all the events covered.

It is the tenth book by the author and the first since his Mekim Nius: South Pacific Media, Politics and Education (published at the University of the South Pacific, 2004).


Withdraw US Bases_Okinawa


Echelon – Sunday ’99

Anti-Bases Campaign, Box 2258, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand.


“What is our Labour Party, why was it formed?” asks 1930s Labour leader Michael Savage in Once We Built A Tower, opening at Bats on March 11.

In a stroke of brilliant timing the play opens a week or so after the sensational appointment of Matt McCarten, left-wing union organiser, as chief-of-staff to David Cunliffe.

Savage, our first Labour Prime Minister, was himself a union organiser, organising the brewery workers in Auckland.

Many have stood on Matt’s brilliantly organised low-pay pickets outside brothels and burger bars. Good luck to him. If he can weld together an effective coalition of forces to defeat National and then implement some change for good, excellent. Some may have doubts on both scores.

Once We Built A Tower shows us Labour of old, a party formed by union organisers, supported by the poor and the unemployed and with an important layer of concerned Christians. Its goal was the ending of poverty in New Zealand. Which is not today’s Labour Party. No one speaks for the poor anymore and the poor have given up voting.

There’s been a change in Labour’s character, and it’s an irrevocable change. You really couldn’t invent a more fitting metaphor for the modern Labour Party than that its leader represents New Lynn, a working class constituency, while himself living in Herne Bay, one of the most expensive areas of Auckland.

In the 1930s ordinary people organised to introduce the most comprehensive welfare legislation in the world. Here was a decade when a political leader could declare, “Malnutrition in a primary producing country? That is nothing short of a national scandal!” and people responded.

That really is the guts of the play, but it’s a play just as inspired by the title of the Irving Berlin song from the 1930s, “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” as it is by any Labour maifesto.

This is a show that faces the music—and dances. Like one of Matt’s pickets.

Once We Built a Tower

The construction of the Waitaki dam and the Welfare State, 1928-39

The Bacchanals

Bats Theatre, March 11-15

Once We Built a Tower, Bats theatre, Wellington, March 11-15.


We want an independent Aotearoa, based on policies of economic, military and political self-reliance, using Aotearoa’s resources for the benefit of the people of Aotearoa.

This country needs people power to let the world know that Aotearoa is not for sale.

Murray Horton, spokesperson for the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) and the Anti-Bases Campaign (ABC), will speak on:

  • People’s Rights Before Corporate Profit
  • Public Service Not Private Profit
  • An Independent Foreign Policy
  • No Unjust Secret Treaties

See below for the national itinerary (as of January 2014). Full details will be publicised when all the details have been finalised. You can check out details of this speaking tour (such as venues, speaking times and local contact people) at


Monday March 31 – Dunedin

Tuesday April 1 – Timaru

Wednesday April 2 – Ashburton

Monday April 14 – Takaka

Tuesday April 15 – Nelson (2013 Roger Award event)

Wednesday April 16 – Blenheim

Monday May 5 – Auckland

Tuesday May 6 – Whangarei

Wednesday May 7 – Kaitaia

Monday May 12 – Hamilton

Tuesday May 13 – Te Awamutu

Wednesday May 14 – Thames

Thursday May 15 – Waihi

Monday May 19 – Ohope & Opotiki

Tuesday May 20 – Gisborne

Wednesday May 21 – Clive

Thursday May 22- Palmerston North

Monday May 26 – Whanganui

Tuesday May 27 – Paekakariki

Wednesday May 28 – Wellington

CAFCA & ABC, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, Foreign Control Watchdog, Anti-Bases Campaign

Box 2258, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand



Facebook (CAFCA)



Facebook (ABC)


Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. Registrations are now open for the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s 2014 solidarity tour to revolutionary Venezuela.

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