Minister of Housing, Minister for ACC, Associate Minister for Economic Development Associate Minister for Tertiary Education-Maryan Street is one of Prime Minister Helen Clark’s inner circle.
Win or lose the coming election, the highly capable Maryan Street will almost certainly wield considerable power in any future Labour government.
Unfortunately, like many of her Labour Cabinet colleagues Street comes with socialist baggage.
While teaching in the 1970s and ’80s Maryan Street was involved in several leftist groups including Auckland Feminist Teachers and the Working Women’s Resource Centre.
The pro-Soviet Socialist Unity Party had several supporters in the Womens Resource Centre around that time including Marilyn Kohlase, Jo Quatermass, Denise Yates and Glenda Hinchey.
In 1980 Auckland Feminist Teachers formed the anti-corporal punishment lobby group Campaign Against Violence in Education. This brought together a motley array of leftists including Felix Donnelly, Ian Mitchell, long time Trotskyist Matt Robson, Waikato University psychologists Jane and James Richie, Jill Amos, Green Bay High School head Des Mann etc.
When corporal punishment was finally abolished in 1990 the Socialist Unity Party gloated
Tuesday, July 8th was a great day for NZ. On that day the physical abuse of children in NZ schools was made illegal…
People who believed that respect could be hammered into the hide of a child found out how much things had changed in the 60s and 70s with the mass defection of young adults from society’s punitive and self righteous values.
These people make up the hundreds of thousands of NZers who choose more peaceful and reasonable methods of rearing their own children, who opposed ties with the apartheid regime and who insisted on a nuclear free domestic and international policy and a healthy environment.
At last our official treatment of children has caught up with the values of the 80% of the people.
What took us so long?
Now perhaps we can start working to make hitting children in the home illegal.
Maryan Street was active in the Post Primary Teachers Association and the Labour Party. Street was a member of the Labour Women’s Council 1985-1995, Senior Vice-President 1991-1993 and Party President 1993-1995.
At the time the Socialist Unity Party and the Labour Party maintained a semi-secret alliance. In return for Labour adopting SUP/Soviet inspired anti-nuclear policies, the SUP agreed to maintain union support for Labour despite the party’s controversial free market economic policies.
To cement this alliance the SUP used its control of union block voting rights at Labour Party conferences to stack the executive and policy council with SUP sympathisers and secret members.
When Maryan Street joined the Labour Party Policy Council in 1985, with alleged SUP member Rob Campbell, Jim Anderton, Rex Jones and Helen Clark, she was described in the 2nd September issue of the SUP’s Tribune, as one of the “strong anti-nuclear campaigners” elected.
In November 1984 Street chaired the Auckland Women’s Forum. She told the SUP’s Tribune of 26th November;
“Left-wing women, who were many and varied, forgot a lot of their differences. We suddenly realised that it was a case of ‘link arms’ and that, in a sense, the luxury of bickering among ourselves and having lesbian/heterosexual splits, Labour Party/SUP splits, Broadsheet/Snapdragon splits could no longer be afforded. . . it was encouraging to see the way left-wing women rallied to support each other at the Forum.”
In the same interview with Tribune editor Jan Farr, Street identified herself as a left wing feminist;
“Maryan’s involvement in the womens movement grew out of her trade union work, through her own union, the PPTA, of which she is regional chairperson, and because of groups like Feminist Teachers set up to support women in education. She identifies the womens movement as the kind of feminism that grew out of the women’s liberation movement in the ’60s and ’70s.” She said: “There are very clear areas of unity among feminist women – one is the UN Convention, another is pornography, another sexual harassment; and I think it is possible for feminist women to work, particularly through their unions, on each of these issues. Trade union education is an area where women workers can begin to claim some of their rights. Trade union education courses should be set up solely for women in order to redress some of the imbalances and equip women to be more effective trade union members.”
Street soon got the chance to be involved in trade union education. As part of the payoff for SUP support in the 1984 and 1987 elections, Labour set up a taxpayer funded Trade Union Education Authority.
Street was involved from the start as part of a four person task force which included Waikato University Labour Studies academic and longtime Maoist Mike Law and Jackson Smith, a senior Socialist Unity Party member and Wellington Drivers Union official
Until it was abolished by the 1990 Bolger National government, TUEA served as a taxpayer funded propaganda vehicle for the SUP. Known Party supporters who were paid or subsidised by TUEA included Graeme Whimp, Hazel Armstrong, Ros Goldsbrough, Brendan Tuohy, Joe Te Pania, Gary Reading, Sam Murray and Marilyn Kohlhase.
In November 28th 1988, Street wrote an article for Tribune on the American elections, which she had attended.
In 1989 Maryan Street became a Health Effectiveness Studies Unit Co-ordinator, with SUP central committee member Simon Wallace.
Commenting on the appointment, the Communist Party’s Peoples Voice of 16th October published this photo of Street mixing with SUP members outside the Auckland Trade Union Centre.
The SUP/Labour alliance endured even after Labour lost power in 1990. Eventually the SUP dissolved, many of its cadre (including leader Ken Douglas) moving into the Labour Party.
While you can take the Socialist out of the Party, can you take the Party out of the Socialist?
Labour Party profile 2 here