Maxine Gay

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Maxine Gay

Maxine Gay formerly (Goldsack) is a New Zealand activist. Partner of Robert Reid.


Born into a working-class family” in Timaru, Maxine Gay (formerly Duggan, formerly Goldsack) started her working life as clerical worker in a textile factory in Napier.

She was first attracted to unionism when she heard Sonya Davies, then with the Clerical Workers Union. Gay worked for YWCA as a programme director and protested against the Vietnam War and the ’81 Springbok Tour. She was also active active in the feminist movement, Women’s Refuge, the Battered Women’s “movement” and “anti-racism“.

However, according to the Christchurch Press of 18/12/97 “It became increasingly apparent to me that I was ever picking up the bits at the bottom of the cliff. So I made a conscious decision to get into class issues rather than just gender or race.”

During the ’80s, Maxine Goldsack was reputedly a member of the Workers Communist League, while working as Manawatu Organiser of the Clerical Workers Union.

Goldsack’s partner was (and is, Robert Reid, long time international secretary of the WCL and one of NZ’s leading Maoist radicals). In 1990, Reid and Goldsack’s Palmerston North phone number was a contact for the Philippines Solidarity Network and Left Currents, the shortlived revamp of the WCL, which had dissolved that year.

Maxine Gay was for several years secretary of the Wellington Clothing and Laundry Workers Union.

FIRST Union comrades meet Adern

Dennis Maga September 19, 2017 ·


Jacinda Ardern with the leadership of FIRST Union...#LetsDoThis #ChangeTheGovernment — with Maxine Gay, Louisa Rains Jones and Robert Reid.



Jennifer Francis, Maxine Gay, Sheryl Cadman.


Early 2000s Seafarers, Socialist Party of Aotearoa, at Willowhaven Holiday Park in Rotorua (owned by the Wood Industires Union of Aotearoa).


Glen Andersen, Jim Jones, Odette Shaw, Gerry Hill, Maxine Gay, Brendan Tuohy, Dave Morgan, Jennifer Francis, Bill Andersen, Pat Brown, Trevor Noel, Warren Brewer.


Since 2001 Maxine Gay has also been a trustee of Christchurch based anti-globalisation organisation ARENA, with Robert Reid, Peter Cranney, Joe Davies, Jane Kelsey, Gillian Southey, Nick McBride and Prue Hyman.

2001 - Initial Sponsors of ARENA, Dr Jane Kelsey, Professor of Law, Auckland University; Moana Jackson, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Porou; Maxine Gay, President, NZ Trade Union Federation; Cherryl Waerea-i te-rangi Smith, Ngati Apa, Ngati Kahungunu, Te Aitanga A Hauiti; Robert Reid, Campaign Coordinator, Jubilee 2000 Aotearoa; Radha D’Souza, APEC Monitoring Group; Aziz Choudry, Coordinator, GATT Watchdog; Annette Sykes, Ngati Pikiao; Bill Rosenberg, CAFCA; Leigh Cookson, GATT Watchdog; David Small, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Canterbury; Gillian Southey; Joe Davies, Coordinator, East Timor Independence Centre Otautahi; Murray Horton, CAFCA; Trish Murray; GATT Watchdog; Aotearoa/New Zealand APEC Monitoring Group; NZ Trade Union Federation; PSNA; Christian World Service; CAFCA.

People's Network

Individuals contributing to the People's Network's Common Ground included Azziz Choudry , Don Borrie , Don Ross (leader of the Organisation for Marxist Unity), Paul Maunder, Jim Delahunty, Ben Nathan , Moana Cole, Murray Horton leader of CAFCA), Madeleine Burdon (formerly in the Maoist controlled, Working Womens Alliance) Oliver Hoffman (Green Party), Alistair Shaw, David Fleming, Cybele Locke, Lisa Beech, Steven Collett, Joss Debreceny and Kyle Matthews -all Aotearoa Youth Network, David Small (ex Canterbury University Progressives Club), Tauni Sinclair (planned to visit Cuba in January 1997), Noeleen Landrigan, Kevin McBride, Jim Consedine, Jeff Drane, Josie Lander, Peter Healey (all Catholic activists, priests or nuns), Sue Bradford, Bill Bradford, Robert Reid and Maxine Gay (all former members of the Workers Communist League).

New Zealand Cuba Friendship Society

Cuba Solidarity - New Zealand Cuba Friendship Society public Facebook group. February 16 2020.

Members included Maxine Gay.

NZ Committee to Free the Cuban Five

Circa 2009, the list of Initiating Members and Supporters of the New Zealand Committee to Free the Cuban Five, included Maxine Gay, Retail Secretary, National Distribution Union, Wellington.[1]

US Embassy letter/Cuban 5

On 6 April 2009 US Embassy in Wellington refused to accept a hand delivered letter from MPs, City Councillors, trade unionists, church leaders,academics and other New Zealanders calling on the US Government not to oppose the petition to the US Supreme Court for the release of the Cuban 5.

An attempt to deliver the letter was made by Wellington City Councillor, Ray Ahipene-Mercer and Secretary of the Weliington Cuba Friendship Society Gillian Magee but US Embassy Guards said they would not accept a hand delivered letter.[2]

Dear Attorney General Holder
We, the undersigned New Zealanders are writing this letter to you on the eve of the US Government submitting a brief in response to the 30 January 09 petition to the Supreme Court and the twelve separate amicus curiae briefs that were filed in the US Supreme Court on 6 March 2009 regarding the unjust incarceration of five Cuban citizens - Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, René González Sehweret, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort - known as the Cuban 5.
We urge the United States Government to acknowledge that a complete miscarriage of justice has taken place regarding the Cuban 5 and to support, rather than oppose, a review of the conviction by the Supreme Court. We urge you to immediately release the Cuban 5.

Signatories included Maxine Gay, National Distribution Union .


In late 1989, Maxine Goldsack travelled with Robert Reid to Tokyo and Osaka, as part of a 9 person NZ delegation to attend a “workers conference“.

The conference was actually highly significant. It was the launch of the “People’s Plan for the 21st Century.”

Launched as the Soviet Bloc teetered, PP21 coordinated dozens of NGO’s and “peoples organisations” across South Asia and the Pacific. The grouping was unusual because it united Maoist leaning organisations with organisations known to be influenced by the Soviets-even the KGB.

In October 1989 Goldsack co-wrote with Robert Reid and George Talbot a double page article on PP21 “Pacific Century or Japanese Century?”, in the pro-Soviet, Socialist Unity Party’s “Tribune” newspaper.

PP21 was active in NZ, through the Peoples Assembly/Peoples Network and the Building Our Own Futures project, a network of former WCL Maoists and Marxist “Christians“.

On November 19, Maxine Gay spoke, with former WCL member and Peoples Network activist, Sue Bradford at a “Building for Real Political Change“, run by the Campaign for People’s Sovereignty at the WEA Centre in Cristhurch.

Gay spoke as a member of “People's Plan for the 21st Century” (an Asia-Pacific organisation she described as similar to the “Campaign for People’s Sovereignty“.

Local PP21 activists worked to unite the formerly Maoist and radical Christian left into a series of organisations powerful enough to challenge Labour and its tame union allies.

By 1993, Gay was secretary of the Trade Union Federation, a leftist breakaway from the Council of Trade Unions. She was also on the National organising group of the Peoples Assembly/Buililding Our Own Futures movement, the leadership body of NZ’s PP21 aligned organisations.

Another offshoot of the PP21 project was the Next Step Democracy Movement. Active in 1993/94, the NSDM wrote up six leftist petitions and tried to gather enough signatures to try and force binding referenda on the government. Gay served on the leadership body of the NSDM, but the required number of signatures was not reached and the movement failed.


Like her partner Robert Reid, Gay became very active in the anti Globalisation movement in the mid ’90s. She was heavily involved in the anti APEC movement and in July 96 helped organise the NZ tour of Mexican Anti Free Trade activist Dr A. V. Calderon.

In June 1999, Maxine Gay served on the organising committee of the Women’s Conference Against APEC in Wellington. Other committee members included;

Leigh Cookson (CORSO, GATT Watchdog) Bronwyn Cross (PPTA), Caroline Hatt (Peoples Network, UNITE union), Prue Hyman (feminist “economist”), Tanja Shutz (NZUSA co- president), Luci Highfield (Service Workers Union legal officer, Wellington Working Womens Resource Centre), Jane Kelsey (Auckland law lecturer), Annie Newman Service Workers Union-supporter of Filipino communist front unions), Christina Rizos (Radical Society, ex NZUSA), Gillian Southey (GATT Watchdog, CAFCA), Tali Williams (UNITE, Engineers Union).

In 2001, Gay’s anti globalisation commitments took her to Switzerland.

From Peace Movement Aotearoa.

Maxine Gay, President of the New Zealand Trade Union Federation has her arm in plaster after breaking her wrist during the anti-World Economic Forum activities in Davos Switzerland. She and other anti-WEF activists were forced by police to take a treacherous route back to their guest house in the icy sub-zero conditions rather than the well lit and ice free main road. Maxine slipped and broke her wrist in the fall.

Philippines solidarity

The Philippines revolution has also been a major focus for Gay, through her longstanding membership of the Philippines Solidarity Network Aotearoa.

The Kilusang Mayo Uno is the Philippines’ largest trade union federation and is widely regarded as a front for the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Gay has helped to organise two NZ tours by KMU leaders-Crispin Beltran in 1999 and KMU vice chair Emilia Dapulang in 2002.

Mental health

Maxine Gay also has had a an influence on NZ’s mental health services in recent years. She has served on several mental health advisory bodies, most recently with the

“Improving Mental Health 2005-2015: The Second New Zealand Mental Health and Addiction Plan”