‘New Deal’ attempts to unite climate activists and unions

May 5, 2023

‘New Deal’ attempts to unite climate activists and unions

Thousands joined marches across the country as part of the Global Climate Strike Photo: Kane Pilcher.

In the wake of record flooding, Auckland climate activist group System Change is pushing for comprehensive climate action with a set of radical demands.

System Change spokesperson Elliot Crossan says that the idea is rooted in the ‘Green New Deal’ movements, which have been a prominent talking point in American and UK politics.

Crossan explained that their strategy is not to influence upcoming electoral policy but rather to build a coalition that can unite behind a shared set of achievable demands.

The concept of a 'Green New Deal' is a reference to Roosevelt’s influential economic reforms of the 1930s that were dubbed the 'new deal'. These policies revolutionised how many governments approached welfare and intervention in the economy.  

Advocates of this concept believe a similarly bold approach is needed to properly manage modern climate and economic issues.

The proposal was announced by Crossan at a public meeting calling for action on issues ranging from tax reform, workers' rights, and increases in the refugee quota among several others.

Reporter for Jacobin magazine Branko Marcetic spoke at the meeting stressing that any proposed reforms had to keep affected workers at the forefront.

Marcetic believes climate demands need to focus on people's bread and butter needs and not get caught up in what he called a “lefty wishlist” of idealism.

Unite Union’s Mike Treen enthusiastically supported the proposal saying it's needed in this time of intersecting crises: “a crisis of the climate, a crisis of cost of living, and a crisis of our financial systems.”  

Crossan says the group is currently canvassing input from several other organisations and is hoping to have a finalised manifesto published in the coming months

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