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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bolshevik Blair, the Bludger's Buddy


Paul Blair, a Rotorua based beneficiary's advocate, is a man to watch. A long time activist, Blair works a bit below the radar, but is a very busy comrade.

In 1981, Blair was secretary of the Auckland Combined Beneficaries Union. An article on him in the Socialist Unity Party's "Tribune" of 2.11.81 stated "Today Paul considers himself a Socialist".

In June 1986 Blair wrote an article on Chernobyl for "Tribune". In June 1988 he was featured in "Tribune" and named as the secretary of the Auckland Unemployed Workers' Union, a well known SUP front.

In 1989, Blair was the AUWU representative at meeting of the Union, Greenpeace, Auckland CTU and "Guardians of the Planet" to clean up Manakau Harbour. In 1990 he was charged with willful damage to Laingholm sewage pumping station, with SUP member and "Guardians of the Planet" activist, Pat Shepherd.

In 1989, I was told by Christchurch SUP member, Peter Hall-Jones that Blair was not a party member. However I have seen an SUP Auckland regional committee report dated 27.1.89 stating that "Paul Blair will be reapplying"

In 1990 Blair took part with Sue Bradford, in an "invasion" of the Auckland Treasury offices.

The same year, Auckland Trades Council leader, Bill Andersen left the SUP to form a new party, the even more radical, Socialist Party of Aotearoa. Virtually the entire upper North Island SUP membership either dropped out of politics or joined the SPA.

By 1991, Blair was an executive member of Andersen's new party.

By the mid '90s, Blair was based in Rotorua, working out of the offices of the SPA controlled, National Distribution Union.

In 1998, he was on the founding executive of a new union for the unemployed and low paid, UNITE.

In June 2,000, Radio New Zealand reported that Blair, representing the Rotorua Peoples Advocacy Centre, had been meeting, since the 1999 election, with Minister of Social Welfare, Steve Maharey and the Minister of Social Development.

In January 2002, advocates from around New Zealand carried out a benefit "impact" in Rotorua organised by Paul Blair. The primary purpose of the impact was to encourage and assist people to apply for special benefits.

In 2002/03 Blair served as Rotorua co-ordinator for the anti Iraq War movement.

In 2002, Blair was a leader of the local Electoral Reform Coalition, agitating for the adoption of the Single Transferable Vote system by the local council.

In 2003 he was an organiser for the Rotorua branch of UNITE.

In December 2004 Three Rotorua beneficiaries forced a law change for single parents with split custody of their children, in an out-of-court settlement with the Ministry of Social Development.

The law stated that two parents living apart but who had split-custody of their children could not both receive the Domestic Purposes Benefit. One was eligible for the sole-parent benefit and all the benefits that went with it, while the other was limited to the unemployment benefit.

Paul Blair and two other solo fathers, Leon Broughton and Richard Amoroa initiated legal proceedings in the High Court at Rotorua against the CEO of the MSD.

The MSD CEO agreed, in the settlement that the second parent in split-custody cases would receive the emergency maintenance allowance, with similar advantages as the DPB.

In 2004, Blair was identified on the Green Party website as a "Green Party agent".
There are several possibilities here. Firstly, he has left the SPA and is now a Green, secondly he is still a secret SPA member inside the Greens, thirdly he is an open SPA member inside the Greens.

The fact that he was still working out of the local National Distribution Union HQ at the time would tend to indicate an ongoing relationship with the SPA.

In September, 2005, Blair was one of several SPA linked people listed as endorsing Socialist Worker's, "Workers Charter".

According to Stuff July 11th, 2006 The Rotorua People's Advocacy Centre claims the Government is adopting a position of demonising social security beneficiaries in a knee jerk reaction to the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the Kahui twins.

Spokesman Paul Blair describes as outrageous the inference that more than one social beneficiary in a house somehow indicated illegal activity or that the system' was being ripped off.

"Our message to Rotorua beneficiaries is to resist any attempt on the part of the Government or its agencies to violate their perfectly lawful living arrangements."

Mr Blair said that according to law social security claimants have all the rights of citizenship that every New Zealander has.

"If you are singled out for investigation because you are part of a "cluster" (of beneficiaries) tell them where to go - stand up for your rights and hold your head up high.

"Resist this latest attempt by central Government to smash into a sector of the population for its own misguided and misconceived political grasp for votes from the beneficiary-hating, "red-neck" sectors of the population."


I hope Paul Blair isn't talking about people like me.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is off topic Trev, but I would like to see a profile on John Minto and the happy comrades of HART.

Any chance of it?, it's benn 25yrs after the tour and all...


EXOCET

3:16 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Ex check out my post on Minto here

http://newzeal.blogspot.com/2006/01/john-minto-new-communi-columnist-for.html

Keep watching in the next few days for the rest.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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»

12:21 PM  
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6:05 PM  

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