web analytics
The Standard

It’s past time for fair employment laws

Written By: - Date published: 1:53 pm, February 8th, 2014 - 35 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, Economy, employment, labour, Politics, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

CUNLIFFE_SOTN_460x230After David Cunliffe’s state of the nation speech at the end of January, the spotlight was, appropriately, on the big policy announcement he made: the Best Start package for Kiwi kids.  (It wasn’t the friendliest spotlight, unfortunately.)

But there was a sentence at the end which hasn’t had a lot of pickup, and which could – I hope – point at a truly revolutionary policy on the horizon.

David said:

There will be opportunities in all our regions and decent work based on fair employment laws.

Fair employment laws.  We haven’t had a lot of that lately.  The ability of workers to organise and to bargain collectively – the best way in the world to raise wages and conditions – was shattered by the Employment Contracts Act, and while Labour’s Employment Relations Act repaired some of the damage, you can still see the effects today.

We’ve got a society where you have to be hush-hush about what you get paid because your co-workers are competition, not colleagues.

We’ve got a society where there’s a myth around individual agreements – they give you the chance to negotiate the best contract for you!  Maybe that works for the senior managers, or for people with really specialised skills, but for your average clerical worker or shop hand?  Here’s the agreement, take it or leave it – and oh yes, you’re on a 90-day trial.

And we’ve got a society where people don’t know their rights at work – or don’t have the power to stand up for those rights – and certainly don’t have the resources to hold bad employers to account.

National have introduced 90-day trials, youth rates, and now they have a bill going through the House which will take away the right to rest breaks, protection for vulnerable workers,  and weaken your ability to challenge unfair dismissals.

And let’s not forget Jami-Lee Ross’ private members bill – which was supported by National and Act at the first reading, but fortunately failed – which would have allowed employers to lock out workers and bring in temporary labour.  Effectively, starving the workers out until they accept whatever deal the employer deigned to offer.

National’s unfair employment laws benefit a few at the top – the bosses who are happy to turn a profit by grinding their workers down.  But that’s no basis for a happy, healthy society, and a strong, growing economy.

I think the argument’s simple enough: when people are earning enough to meet their needs, when they feel respected, when they’re getting ahead under their own steam, we all benefit.  Individuals benefit from less stressful lives.  Employers benefit from having a more productive team at work.  Our families and communities benefit.

A Labour-Green coalition in 2014 can build a completely new framework for industrial relations in New Zealand.  A framework where everyone gets treated with real fairness and dignity, and which recognises that there’s a basic power imbalance between workers and employers, especially in the hard financial times when unemployment is high.

And I can’t wait to hear more about how they’re going to make that happen.

Stephanie Rodgers is a communicator who lives in Wellington with her partner and two guinea pigs.  One of them was once the Dominion Post’s Pet of the Day (the guinea pigs, not her partner).  She is a communications officer at the EPMU and member of the Labour Party, but blogs in a personal capacity in her own time.  Opinions are her own.

35 comments on “It’s past time for fair employment laws”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Greetings Steph.

    Well said. It seems so long ago that the ECA was enacted and New Zealand started that long gradual decline in the quality of wages and conditions. It will be interesting to see what Labour propose and to see National’s response. Because they do not seem to understand when things have gone far enough in their supporter’s favour …

  2. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2

    Ah great article, thanks Stephanie Rodgers.

    Cunliffe’s speech and the spotlight being on the Best Start policy without taking into account the other aims and intentions he mentioned in the speech did tend to take the Best Start policy out of context; the more people who have good jobs that actually cover their living costs the less welfare people will need.

    This simple fact, that jobs need to cover living costs, appears to be very difficult for people to grasp – perhaps it needs to be highlighted by repeating ad infinitum?

    – Perhaps then people will understand why it is good for all that jobs provide a sufficient amount of money for peoples’ lives.

    – Perhaps then people will stop listening to those spouting forth disingenuous reasons for keeping wages and low?

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    It’s a no-brainer – do we want a high-waged economy or not?

    • Polish Pride 3.1

      Nope – I’d rather live in a system that has the goal of freeing people from having to work in order to survive.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        What exactly do you think higher wages mean to people?

        Let me see if I can put this in simple enough terms.

        Jack needs $300 per week to “survive”. He can take job (a), which pays $15 per hour, or job (b), which pays $50 per hour.

        Jack wants to do as little work as possible to survive. Which job should he pick, (a), or (b)?

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 3.1.1.1

          ….Polish Pride appears to be struggling with this one, so I will assist in driving the point home

          It is option b – Jack would pick option b if he wanted to have a chance of working less hours in order to survive.

          It is a no-brainer that a high-waged economy is a better option for a greater number of people.

          :)

  4. Ad 4

    Into it Steph!

    I am perplexed by how easy it is for tourists to get work visas, set up bank accounts, ird numbers, get into Kiwisaver, then when they leave get their income tax handed back to them.

    I’m sure it’s entrepreneurially great, but surely a little resistance (say a month before they get one) would enable a preference for Resident or NZ citizen workers? This seems to bother a lot of people I talk to in fruit or grape provinces.

  5. Flip 5

    Thanks Stephanie. I’m also waiting with interest on Labours employment policies. I’d be happy to see legislation to ensure that companies distribute income more fairly to workers. Not sure though that collective bargaining is the answer to achieve that though. I’d like to see a link between top income and bottom incomes to ensure that all employees incomes are raised when a company does well sustainably.

    There are numerous controls that should be placed on boards as they are only acting in the interests of owners not other stakeholders like employees and society or the environment. That imbalance needs to be addressed.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Legislation to ensure that companies distribute income more fairly to workers would certainly take a lot of the venom out of industrial relations disputes.

      I suggest you have a look at Bruce Sheppard’s criticisms of diversified portfolio theory before assuming that boards work in company owners’ interests.

      PS: briefly, in my limited understanding, because majority shareholders are usually pension funds and the like, there is too little attention paid by the owners, and boards get away with murder, or at least, larceny.

    • Stephanie Rodgers 5.2

      There are a lot of things which could be done, and your suggestions are good. But I think it’s important that the right to bargain collectively is firmly entrenched. It’s historically the best, most proven way of ensuring workers are paid better and treated more equally.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1

        This is my default position. However, reflecting on Flip’s comment, it occurred to me that collective bargaining is a market “solution” that generates a lot of conflict between workers and employers, when the real issue might be the policy and/or business model.

      • Chooky 5.2.2

        +100 Stephanie Rogers and good interesting post

        Labour must come up with more real Labour worker grassroots policies..(.the baby one, as good as it is for New Zealand families and addressing child poverty , is not enough to really swing it for Labour the opinion of my 80 something year old Mother)

        Cunliffe really has to look like a real Labour leader…not just a good leader of the Labour Party

  6. Will@Welly 6

    Having watched and waited under Labour for them to reverse National’s draconian legislation of the 90’s, I do not have high expectations.
    Unlike Flip, I know that it is impossible to legislate that companies distribute their income more evenly – that is what we have a tax system for.
    We have to put a stop to the bu**sh*t that is this absurdist notion that collective bargaining is wrong.
    For 30 years we have followed the drum of the neo-liberal philosophy, and the hole that we’ve dug for ourselves just gets deeper and deeper.
    Are our children better off? Why do so many suffer depression? Why are so many living in poverty? Why are so many kiwis – hard working ones at that too – forced to go off-shore looking for employment? Should a life-time be spent paying a land-lord the rent, just because you can’t get a job that recognises your skills? And whose fault is that? Not everyone can be an accountant, a lawyer or a university professor. Society would soon ground to a halt if our streets weren’t cleaned, our rubbish removed, or the dead buried. Some things, it’s very hard to put a price on, but to not value someone’s contribution to society, is to be entirely disingenuous.
    It’s easy to mock someone if they don’t come from the right part of society, or don’t quite speak as we do, but life would be very boring if we were all the same.
    I’d like to see the left coalition take action in their first 100 days in power, suspend the traditional holiday period for themselves and those immediately involved in getting this sort of legislation passed into law.
    What we need is genuine leaders.

    • Flip 6.1

      “Unlike Flip, I know that it is impossible to legislate that companies distribute their income more evenly – that is what we have a tax system for.”

      How do you know?

      It is not what the tax system is for. Tax is for the operation of government which is for the security of its people in the broadest sense.

      The redistribution of income reason for tax is an admission of failure in government to provide security for its people and to govern justly. That is not a reason to give up on good governance. Tax for the redistribution of income is one means of providing security and justice. (But I do not think it is the only or even the best way)

      Collective bargaining promotes competition and conflict between workers and employers. Competition is not a morally good thing despite arguments and assumptions in society especially from the right in certain circumstance that advantage them.

      What I’m proposing is that the rewards of business are distributed more fairly by means of legislation as to how the distribution between capital and labour was allowed as it would remove the competition between capital and labour for the rewards. It isn’t going to (though it could) happen from the goodness of the owners heart inspite of what they might claim.

      Note: I have not describe what that legislation looks like but it would not be the ECA as that is completely one-sided and unbalanced. PS. It is what you get when you lose the competition.

      • karol 6.1.1

        Actually, collective bargaining with a reasonably balanced lot of regulations/laws, results in a cooperation between employers and employees. Weakening employment law results in dissatisfied workers.

        • Flip 6.1.1.1

          Cannot say I’ve seen the collective bargaining thing work to result in cooperation between workers and employers. May be it does or has as that is just my observations.

          What is the percentage of people are part of collective bargaining arrangement? My gut feel is it is pretty low nowadays….

          • Macro 6.1.1.1.1

            Cannot say I’ve seen the collective bargaining thing work to result in cooperation between workers and employers. May be it does or has as that is just my observations.

            Well I have. Many times. My dad was president of a large union for 20+ years. The management knew him as well as the workers and both workers and management respected each other. Take for example one instance when a tyre builder was turning out tyres at a fantastic rate – there was a very good bonus to be had. The trouble was he was taking shortcuts and turning out a dangerous product. The management thought he was wonderful because of his productivity, but the workers requested his tyres be examined for faults. They were found to be defective and the management then want to fire him on the spot! The union stepped in and said do that and we stop work. Give him a chance to prove himself. They also said to him – take that sort of shortcut again and we won’t stand in the way of your dismissal. He was able to control himself for a while, but eventually greed got the better of him and he returned to leaving out a vital piece of in the building of the tyre. His tyres were quality tested again and found to be defective and that was that.
            That was of course well before the idiocy of the mid 1980’s…
            My dad who had fought for worker’s rights all his life, died a saddened man – he could see the damage the the so-called Labour Gov’t was doing to workers, and refused to vote for them after 1987. Our employment laws are now almost as punitive towards workers as they were in 1890’s. It’s time workers woke up to the fact that their only power is in collective action.

            • Chooky 6.1.1.1.1.1

              +100 Macro …agreed….collective bargaining is the only real strength workers have…..and good employers will respect it and negotiate with good faith…as for the bad employers well….they have to suffer the consequences…..stop work meetings/delays etc ..at least the workers have collective strength and can not be bullied, isolated and picked off one by one when trying to negotiate fair conditions and rates of pay……. collective bargaining does wonders for workers’ morale….and imo it is also good for the employer to have good respectful, cooperative relations with his/her employees….a happy appreciated fairly treated worker is more likely to work harder and go the extra mile

      • Will@Welly 6.1.2

        Collective bargaining – almost completely “gutted” by the Employment Contracts Act. What wasn’t, is now under attack by this regime.

        Let’s take your proposition – re legislation, at face value. Is it sharing the wealth around based on gross or net profit ?
        So we legislate. A company has a couple of lean years – it happens – are the workers prepared to live on less because the company is not doing so well?
        The company wants to expand/invest in plant – there is no “profit” – what happens – the workers take a pay cut for a year or so?
        My cousin set up a business – he took the risks – but when he set it up, he offered all his new employees a share in the business, with voting rights, and returns on their shareholding. He had no takers. He paid well above award wages, because he wanted motivated employees. He recently put the business up for sale. He offered it first to his employees. They wanted it at a discounted price. He had had it valued, he only wanted a fair price for it, not an exorbitant price. What would you do?
        You see Flip, there are some honest sods out there running businesses, just as there are some absolute bastards. The same with unions, there are very good unionists, just as there are some right plonkers.
        You seem to want to legislate away any rights away from those who are thrifty and save their money. Some of my Scottish forebears would take umbrage with you, they weren’t rich, but ask anyone of Scottish heritage, and they knew how to “salt” the odd penny away.

        • gem 6.1.2.1

          A very good comment, Will@Welly. Also, unionists range from left to right wing (on both economics and identity).

  7. Disraeli Gladstone 7

    “We’ve got a society where there’s a myth around individual agreements – they give you the chance to negotiate the best contract for you! Maybe that works for the senior managers, or for people with really specialised skills, but for your average clerical worker or shop hand? Here’s the agreement, take it or leave it – and oh yes, you’re on a 90-day trial.”

    My old man (in the UK) wasn’t a senior manager. He was very good at his job, but didn’t have any specialised skills. He always negotiated individual agreements, never joined the union, always came out with a better deal.

    I’m not saying that happens to everyone. I’m not saying that happens to even the majority. But actually, individual contracts do allow some freedom for a sect of workers (not just senior managers) to negotiate their own deals.

    I’d love to see fairer employment laws. I’d hate to see the return of compulsory unionism.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 7.1

      The question that needs to be asked is:

      Is the number of people benefitting by individual contracts – such as your father was – greater than the number of people benefitted by collective bargaining, or not?

      Our societies arrangements should be such that it supplies the greatest benefit to the greatest number of us as possible.

      Anecdotal evidence of a few people is insufficient evidence to answer this question

      • Disraeli Gladstone 7.1.1

        Can’t we just have both?

        I don’t think you’re undermining the foundation of a system if you have a set-up that -strongly- encourages collective bargaining while allowing people to opt-out and negotiate their own contract.

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 7.1.1.1

          It sounds plausible to allow people to choose (collective or individual bargaining), yet I really don’t think I have enough knowledge on the matter to work out the ramifications of this – Hopefully someone else will respond intelligently to your suggestion.

          • Chooky 7.1.1.1.1

            i dont think the teachers’ unions are compulsory….but when a non union teacher wants help they join the union smartly….a wee bit of freeloading imo…..but I dont think once they are joined up union help is denied

    • Stephanie Rodgers 7.2

      I’m glad your father had that experience. But I’d infer from your comment that that he never faced redundancy without compensation, or unfair dismissal, or exploitation. He had the good fortune to always work for organisations which valued his labour. Some do, some don’t.

      For the great majority of workers, collective agreements result in higher wages and better protections. Historically, unions have been the drivers for a huge number of rights and protections which we now take for granted, like holiday pay, equal pay for women and the eight-hour working day (though for many workers that’s not a reality.)

    • Lanthanide 7.3

      Pretty easy to imagine that the company he was working for was playing a long-game in trying to weaken the union by enticing people out of the collective and onto individual contracts.

      Also in general I could imagine you may be able to get paid more on an individual contract if you gave up some of the other provisions and conditions that were present in the collective contract.

  8. karol 8

    The trouble with everyone negotiating their own deals – workers that is – is that it all depends on how good a negotiator a person is. And then you can end up with lack of fairness in what some people are paid. And particularly women, Maori, Pacific people, as well as many already low income people, getting the raw end of the deals.

    Unions also support workers with respect to working conditions, safety, breaks, etc.

    An individual with limited power, is likely to get a better from individual negotiations if there is also a union providing some power and oversight in the work area.

  9. RedBaronCV 9

    I think it’s an area that needs a multi pronged approach, not just wages but training schemes too.

    I’d have the employer paying the union fee for a year then maybe opt out.
    Another alternative I have had suggested was for all new hires to be unionised no if’s, no buts. Then everytime you sack someone the size of the union grows.

    Other things I’ve seen:
    the pension fund managers are not too happy either. Article in Stuff a while back talking about entreprenerial salaries for managerial jobs along with the great quote “the pigs are face down in the trough” and some academic work suggests that the inceased profits are going to a small manangerial class not workers, not owners where there are diverse shareholdings.

    Ease of getting IRD numbers, I’ve run across quite a few with no particular skill or connection to NZ who have come here from 2008 and on and wondered how they managed it in the face of our unemployment. One place according to local legend advertised it’s jobs at a really low rate, no local takers so brought in someone from the UK that they knew “can’t get people here” and three months later raised the wages to the industry standards.

    I’d have all industry groups run a training scheme, including farmers, and unless they are doing this and placing the trainees in jobs, and paying enough so that it works, then no more imported labour. When 2008 hit, one of the telco’s returned some people who had been here on work permits for 5 years, that’s long enough to train a young local they just hadn’t bothered.

    Lastly, I’d make all subscriptions to business roundtable and other employer bodies non tax deductible and payable personally – that’s how union fess work.

    As for these labour laws being efficient -spare me – most workplaces operate on a day to day mode no forward planning. it has built a whole generation of selfish managers who couldn’t plan ahead to save themselves.

  10. joe90 10

    We need people at the top of their game voicing their support for unions.

    “I’m also proud to say this is a union show, and I have never worked with a more professional group of people in my life. They get paid good money and they do a good job.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/jay-leno-shows-his-union-solidarity_b_4748971.html?

  11. Chooky 11

    +1000……Jay Leno ….what an example for all Americans!….what a quiet hero!….how different would the USA be today if the unions were strong!….what a tragedy for all Americans that they are not!

    …watching ‘The Wire’ at the moment…..the other side of USA today

  12. dave 12

    a lot of today’s managers would struggle with a well organised work force ,its going to be fun

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Housing crisis hurting export growth
    If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Our exporters are struggling to compete… ...
    1 day ago
  • Gallipoli’s lesson: never forget, never repeat
     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    1 day ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    2 days ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    2 days ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 days ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    2 days ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    2 days ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    3 days ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    3 days ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    3 days ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    3 days ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    3 days ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    3 days ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    4 days ago
  • Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees
    This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    4 days ago
  • PM’s housing outburst bizarre
    Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre. “John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk… ...
    5 days ago
  • Deflation: Another economic headache linked to housing crisis
    National’s housing crisis is causing even further damage with the second consecutive quarter of deflation a genuine concern the Reserve Bank can do little about, as it focusses on Auckland house prices, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This is… ...
    5 days ago
  • Pot calling the kettle black over fossil fuel subsidies.
    Over the weekend alongside nine other countries the New Zealand Government has endorsed a statement that supports eliminating inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies are a big driver of increasing emissions. Good on the Government for working internationally… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    5 days ago
  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    6 days ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    1 week ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    1 week ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    1 week ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    1 week ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    1 week ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    1 week ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Zero excuses, end zero hour contracts now
    It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We’ve reached Peak Key with ‘artificial target’
    John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “For seven years and two election campaigns, John Key has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Top 10 need to know facts on climate change
    All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to… ...
    GreensBy Frog
    2 weeks ago
  • Campbell Live a bastion of investigative journalism
    The announcement that current affairs programme Campbell Live is under review and may be axed has sparked outrage from the New Zealand public, for good reason, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Investigative journalism is a precious resource in today’s… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ground Zero for ‘disastrous’ contracts
    Yesterday the Green Party called on the Government to follow the leadership of Restaurant Brands and ditch zero-hour contracts. Currently it looks like the Government is a large part of the zero-hours problem. It allows these types of “non-jobs” to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Trust in National will disappear with deficit
    Bill English is set to break his promise to get the books back in the black this year and lose the trust of Kiwis who have had to do it too hard for too long, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Dorothy Jelicich passes away
    It is with sincere sadness that the Labour Party conveys its sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family of Dorothy Jelicich who passed away last night at the age of 87 years, says the MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio.… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere