The Auckland based student movement Blockade the Budget have said they will join the picket of the National Party Conference this weekend organised by social justice group Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP).
The picket, being held outside the Skycity Convention Centre on Sunday the 22nd of July, is a response to changes in the structure of welfare, and the implementation of harsher conditions for beneficiaries. The changes include drug testing for recipients of the unemployment benefit and the suggestion of contraception for women on the Domestic Purposes Benefit, which AAAP condemn as “state intervention in women’s reproductive rights.” Blockade the Budget have said they oppose “a war on the poor, being carried out in this country by the National Party and an elite few who take everything and contribute nothing”. Blockade Organisers go on to say ‘this refers not only to welfare changes but the sale of state owned assets such as Mighty River Power, and cuts to the education sector, all of which are sentencing the poor to a life of debt and ensuring that a wealthy minority retain their privilege”
Blockade the Budget have planned their own event for Saturday 21st July, which they describe as a family friendly march where people from across the education sector will “Show their discontent and Tell the truth about attacks on education”. The march has been endorsed by the Tertiary Education Union (TEU), The New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI), Post Primary Teachers’ Association, Auckland Region (PPTA), Auckland University Students Association (AUSA), Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP), Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC), Council of Trade Unions (CTU), Aotearoa’s Not For Sale (ANFS), We are the University (WATU).