Wellington Regional Councillor, Green Party official and friend of Cuba, Paul Bruce is one of New Zealand’s most dedicated socialist activists.
In 1975 he joined the eco-socialist Values Party in Wellington.
Bruce was also Wellington chairman of Guy Salmon’s then militant, Beech Forest Action Committee and the involved in the then Maoist dominated “aid agency” CORSO.
Bruce’s radicalism was deepened by several years working in Latin America.
According to Bruce’s bio for the Wellington Human Rights Festival;
While working in La Paz as a climatologist in 1976 and 77 for the Bolivian Government, Paul lived in Los Barrios and teamed up with community groups and a team of Doctors and agricultural advisors. Paul returned for a further 6 months at intervals over the following 10 years living with miners in Siglo XX and visiting new miner settlements in the lowlands.
He researched the impact of the neo-liberal reforms of 1981 and human rights abuses, and interviewed officials connected with the US Drug Enforcement Agency interventions in Bolivia and connections to the contragate scandals involving the carriage of cocaine to the USA, publishing articles in the Listener and several daily newspapers.
In March 1980 Bruce was elected founding Chairman of the Wellington Nicaragua Solidarity Committee-later replaced by Nicky Hager of “Hollow Men” fame.
In the early ’80s Bruce was a volunteer aid worker in Peru.
In 1982 he worked on documentation of pirate whaling operations in Chile for Greenpeace and the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Department.
By 1987 Bruce was on his third visit to Sandinista controlled Nicaragua.
In July 1987 Bruce spoke at the South Pacific Conference for Peace & Justice in Central America in Wellington on the Bolivian situation.
The conference was sponsored by the Socialist Unity Party, the Socialist Action League and the Workers Communist League.
In the early ’90s Bruce was an official in the Island Bay branch of Jim Anderton’s Alliance Party.
In 2001 Bruce was an NGO representative to the Marxist run World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
In 2003 Bruce was on the co-ordinating Group for the equally radical, anarchist/socialist Social Forum Aotearoa held in Porirua.
Bruce is a founding board member of radical “aid” group DEV ZONE. He has also been active in Oxfam, the United Nations Association and Peace Movement Aotearoa.
On the environmental front, Bruce has been involved in ECO (Environment and Conservation Organisations), Soil and Health, Appropriate Technology for Living Association (vice president), Cycle Aware Wellington, Brooklyn Community Association, Transport 2000, Action for Environment, Pacific institute for Resource Management and the Sustainable Energy Forum
In recent year’s Bruce’s environmental work has focused on “climate change” (he is lead forecaster at Meteorological Service of New Zealand)
and “peak oil“.
From the “Peak Oil” website ASPO NZ;
Paul believes that the fundamental cause of the big global problems threatening us are, continued growth and over-consumption. The rate at which we in rich countries are using up resources is grossly unsustainable, and that the reductions required are so big, that huge and extremely radical change in systems and culture are necessary.
I wonder what kind of “radical change in systems and culture” Paul Bruce has in mind?