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Imperator Fish: ACT’s new employment relations policy

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, June 13th, 2014 - 20 comments
Categories: act, Economy, employment, humour, parody, Satire - Tags: ,

actlogo1Reposted from Imperator Fish.

The ACT Party today released its employment relations policy, which focuses on providing both employees and employers with flexibility in how they arrange their workplaces.

ACT leader Dr Jamie Whyte said the policy would look to the past in helping New Zealand businesses to better plan for the future.

“It’s tough to be a business owner in the current economic environment,” said Dr Whyte.

“There are so many demands on business owners. We know they are working harder than ever, trying to get ahead and be competitive. But the Employment Relations Act provides so little flexibility. It forces businesses to operate in an environment that stifles innovation.

“Businesses continue to be tied down by workplace laws that insist on employees being paid. These laws cost businesses money.”

Dr Whyte said that the fortnightly pay cycle was crippling many small businesses, driving many of them to the wall.

“The need to fund wages and salaries makes it difficult for businesses to grow, and reduces efficiency and global competitiveness.

“It’s ironic that ACT is so often the subject of attack from unions and the left, when our policies actually help workers to get ahead. If businesses did not have to pay their workers, they could afford to employ more people.

“Today I am announcing an exciting new policy initiative to address this imbalance, and to provide more choice to both employers and workers.

“In looking to the future we should not be afraid to look back at the past. We can learn a lot from the study of history. That’s why the ACT Party will reintroduce slavery to the workplace.”

Dr Whyte insisted slavery was not in any way inconsistent with the principles of freedom and choice. “We stand behind those principles, which is why it won’t be mandatory to run a slavery workplace. We will also give employees the right to opt out of slavery workplaces.

“The option of slavery will give employers more tools to help them grow their businesses, while the opt out will give workers the choice to find work elsewhere.

“People may think they know how slavery works, but do they really? It’s an idea that has had some bad publicity over the years, but only because the right model hasn’t been tried. We believe we have developed the right model. A model that gives employees genuine choice about whether or not to become slaves.”

Under ACT’s model employers will be able to offer workers the option of becoming slaves. The model will enable employees and employers to negotiate for themselves how they want their workplaces to be run, without the interference of the state. Changes to the Crimes Act will ensure employers are able to deploy a full range of negotiation strategies without the interference of the police, lawyers, unions, and human rights advocates.

“We’re confident that most employees will happily choose slavery when they hear what their bosses have to say during those closed-doors negotiations,” said Dr Whyte.

“The benefits of slavery are so obvious. The Roman Empire was built on slavery, and Rome rose to become the most powerful nation on Earth. Another Empire, the British, prospered enormously from the efforts of tens of thousands of West Indian plantation slaves. If slavery was good enough for these great empires, why isn’t it good enough for us?

“As a proud New Zealander I want this country to be great again. We can be great again, but we must be prepared to make bold decisions about our future. Slavery offers a way forward for businesses struggling to compete in a global economy.

“Employment law must give freedom to employers and employees to come to arrangements that suit them both. The reintroduction of slavery will give both parties that freedom.”

20 comments on “Imperator Fish: ACT’s new employment relations policy”

  1. Tracey 1

    Very clever.

    Helen Kelly spoke very well yesterday following Simon Bridges disingenuous announcement about labour laws.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    I guess slavery is a logical next step after making incest okay?

  3. fdx 3

    I jokingly asked the young Indian guy at the local off license about his minimum wages and he replied that he doesn’t even get that, so I pressed him a bit and he told me that they get $200 pw and accommodation which they share with other workers. the house is owned by the employer who has quite a few of these bottle stores around town.
    I wouldn’t think this is an isolated incident. With the huge influx of migrant workers and business owners and only a fool would think that just because they are now in New Zealand that they are going to magically follow the employment rules imposed upon them. That is why they prefer to use their own kind rather than New Zealanders because the know NZ workers would not put up with it.
    So joking aside, if this is not a case of slavery being that if they do not comply with the owners wishes who then will withdraw support so the worker is left jobless, homeless and without a visa then I suppose slavery is flourishing in New Zealand but as the masters and slaves are non New Zealanders I suppose that makes it all right.

    • Molly 3.1

      I’ve read a couple of interesting books in the last few years, that has slavery numbers higher than they have ever been. Mostly, because of situations such as you describe – but including forced prostitution and promises of distant employment not being kept, and then the vulnerable people being exploited.

      There are also many cases where families incur debt at inflated rates, and whole families are indentured to work in places with very little chance of leaving. Compliance is often ensured by violence.

      We live in a topsy-turvy world… where slavery surrounds us, and we don’t see it because it is not in chains.

    • Kiwiri 3.2

      Very much doubt that is an isolated incident.

      “they get $200 pw and accommodation which they share with other workers. the house is owned by the employer who has quite a few of these … around town”

      I have heard similar kinds of accounts from workers in the hospitality sector (eg cooks in ethnic as well as general restaurants/cafes) and the dairy industry.

      They are pretty much a captive and ‘compliant’ workforce, beholden to their employers whims and demands, and they won’t want to put at risk their visas and other expenses that they have paid or for which they have borrowed funds to get them here.

      The ones I talked to were quite disillusioned about the so-called fair and honest New Zealand that they had heard about before arriving.

    • Malcolm 3.3

      If you want to help you could put him in touch with UNIMEG, First Union’s migrant network:


  4. Steve Wrathall 4

    If you all care so much about exploitation of foreign workers then remove the restrictions on overseas hiring that make them have to pay huge amounts to agents and then end up beholden to one employer. But the unions don’t want that do they? They want the competition taken out.
    And the correct ACT logo is here

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      If you all care so much about exploitation of foreign workers then remove the restrictions on overseas hiring that make them have to pay huge amounts to agents and then end up beholden to one employer.

      What restrictions would those be?

    • lprent 4.2

      Talk to Mr Yorke. I repost as they are. The image probably links back to his site.

      I have to say that it is almost as hard to keep up with their ever changing logos as it is to find out which leader that they have this week.

      On the other hand I could spend a while enhancing the new logo with chains, manacles, and whips if the current image really upsets you.

      • Scott Yorke 4.2.1

        Fixed it. It’s so hard to keep track of their various logos. They seem to change as often as their leader.

        • lprent

          I should take time to enhance the image. Great post by the way. You should have seen my aged parents faces going from distaste to chortling as they progressed through the post.

      • Steve Wrathall 4.2.2

        ACT’s had as many leaders in the last decade as Labour has

        • McFlock

          yeah, given that today is the anniversary of hide taking over ten years ago.

          A lot of caucus friction for a party so small. And of course Labour never had to replace their leader with a non-mp because their only MP turned out to be a criminal. Seriously, only ACT can have a caucus leadership unseating with only one caucus member.

  5. Macro 5

    Actually slavery costs employers more than our current system. Slave owners have to house and feed their slaves. By paying minimal wages, employers externalise their costs to the general community who pick up the costs through increased welfare, increased health costs, increased accident costs, increased child care costs, increased crime, increased prison costs, to name just a few. Oooops! forgot the most import one – the cost of increased protection for the wealthy (more policing).
    I think employers would be reluctant to re-introduce slavery simply because now there are much better ways to externalise the costs of employment, especially with such a compliant govt.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1


      Employers with any sort of nous would be very much against re-introducing slavery.

  6. thechangeling 6

    Is that article tongue-in-cheek? It’s nutty enough to be part of the National Party’s manifesto.

  7. Steve Wrathall 7

    Slavery is actually the opposite of ACT’s classical liberal principles of opposition to unchosen obligations and equality of races before the law.

    • Te Reo Putake 7.1

      And yet, slavery, either direct or wage, is the actual expression of the libertarian philosophy. It’s like the philosophy is a hypocritical fig leaf for economic evil. Weird that, eh?

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