1960s >> 1966 >> no-740-april-1966

Letter From New Zealand

In New Zealand we are accustomed to having pettifogging reforms, or irksome regulations of State operated enterprises, condemned as Socialism by people who are ignorant of what the term implies. On the other hand, we have individuals equally ignorant, who commend these things as examples of Socialist achievement.

 

In spite of abundant evidence to the contrary, it is also claimed that a classless society exists in New Zealand.

 

Our attention has been drawn to a letter published in The Guardian of 24.1.66, under the heading “Churchill and the New Zealanders”, written by Martin Baronian, of Manurewa, New Zealand. In this Mr. Baronian attempts to explain the reasons for the failure of the Churchill Memorial Fund to reach the target of £500,000.

 

The reasons for this failure do not concern us; the implications contained in the reasons advanced by Mr. Baronian do! We are informed that.

 

  “Churchill’s wealth, autocratic and aristocratic leanings were another difficulty. A classless society is naturally not attracted by social distinctions, high handedness and money self-centredly spent—the very things its own existence is meant to deny. And what possibly militated most against Churchill’s popularity was his blind side—his lack of social conscience. He is said, for instance, not to have fathered one measure which contributed to the betterment of his less fortunate fellows.
“In a country noted for its social reforms and advancement, and where poverty, squalor and slum life are looked upon with an almost pathological horror, this amounts to the unpardonable sin”.

 

There is little doubt that people in New Zealand do look upon poverty, squalor and slum life with “almost pathological horror”. This does not prove however that these inseparable features of capitalism do not exist in this country.

 

The reports of organisations and individuals who work so hard in their efforts to ameliorate the suffering caused by these effects of capitalist society contain ample evidence that there is poverty, squalor and slum life in New Zealand.

 

Poverty is perhaps not so obvious in New Zealand as it is in other parts of the world and “Commonwealth”. Here, it is well organised under the New Zealand Social Security scheme, which provides Pensioners without other accommodation with sufficient money to hire a room of varying degrees of dinginess. Therein the discarded producer of surplus value may suffer in obscurity.

 

New Zealand may be “noted for its social reforms”, but a close examination of it will provide more proof that attempts at social reform cannot solve the problems of the working class—poverty amid plenty; slums and bad housing conditions. The only solution is the establishment of that classless society which the ill-informed erroneously claim for New Zealand—Socialism.

 

Ron Everson, 
Socialist Party of New Zealand