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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Who Is Ian Powell?

Ian Powell is the Executive Director of the Hospital doctors union, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists.

Like most medical unionists, Mr Powell appears hostile to improving our health system through greater private sector involvement.

Why would he be so opposed to freedom, when Labour's socialist "spend, spin ans spit out" approach has been such an obvious failure?

Ian Powell has been a socialist since at least the early '70s.

In 1971 he was the unsuccessful Socialist Action Club candidate for VUWSA secretary. He was also co-ordinator of the Wellington Young Socialists, the youth wing of the newly formed Trotskyist organisation, the Socialist Action League.

By 1973, Ian Powell was active in the Canterbury University Young Socialists and the anti Vietnam War, Canterbury Mobilisation Committee. Like most SAL/YS aligned young Trotskyists he was also active in the Labour Party and served on the University Branch executive that year.

It was probably through Labour that Ian Powell met young Peter Dunne. Powell succeeded in gaining the 1975 editorship of student paper Canta-nominated by the ever helpful Mr Dunne.

In 1976 Powell was UCSA Education officer and in 1977 he was active in the Canterbury University Bastion Point Supporter's Group.

By 1979, though still active in the Trotskyist movement, Powell became a research officer for the Maoist dominated NZ University Student's Association.

The Maoist/Trot wars of the early '70s had subsided by this time, but it was still pretty unusual for the Maoists to allow a Trot into their patch.

After a few years with NZUSA, Powell joined the primary teacher's union, NZEI as an advisory officer.

By 1991 he was in the position he still holds today with the hospital doctor's union.

Still a socialist, in 1992 Powell was listed as an international correspondent for Australian Marxist paper, Green Left Weekly.

In November 1992, Powell wrote a note to Green Left Weekly number 80, expressing sympathy at the death of Australian Trotskyist leader Jim Percy.

Fellow Trots, Keith Locke, Matt Robson, Lew Stribling, Paul Piesse and Petronella Townsend, plus Alliance Party leaders Matt McCarten and Jim Anderton sent similar messages.

Has Ian Powell abandoned his socialist views?

I suspect not.


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