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National makes work rights the defining issue

Written By: - Date published: 1:41 pm, April 21st, 2008 - 31 comments
Categories: election 2008, labour, national, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

workrightsrally.jpgNational’s strategy, the strategy of a weak party, is to present a ‘small target’ by promising to change virtually nothing if they were in government. Problem is, their small target has a great big bull’s-eye on it called work rights.

With flip-flops on health, education, welfare, annual leave, parental leave, assets, Working for Families, Kiwisaver, nuclear ships, student loans, climate change, civil unions, etc, etc already undertaken or to be undertaken before the election, not much remains for National to campaign on as a point of difference with Labour. Tax will be defused as an issue by the cuts in the May Budget coming into effect from October, National will have to accept them and add a pretty meager sweetener of its own.

The one policy area where National has not (and ultimately cannot) follow Labour is work rights and wages. National is the party of employers; lower wages and weaker employment protections are the party’s core reason for existing. Key has already said he ‘would love to see wages drop‘. The only Bill National has ready to pass if it gets into Government is the 90-day no-rights Bill. National has said it would weaken unions and equivocated over whether it would lift the minimum wage if it were government. That’s a stark contrast to Labour, which has brought New Zealanders more annual leave, higher pay, increased minimum wage, better working conditions, more power in the workplace, and record low unemployment. So, in the one area in which National remains strongly differentiated from Labour, its policy is deeply unpopular and Labour has a very strong record.

Work rights is the one issue National absolutely cannot afford to have this election campaign decided on; and it’s the one issue they’ve left open for the campaign to be all about. All that’s needed is for Labour to take the initiative with a visionary work rights policy.

31 comments on “National makes work rights the defining issue”

  1. Stephen 1

    On minimum wage…

    “In a move to distance himself from the views of Dr Brash and shift National’s policy away from the hard right, Mr Key said: “I’m not one of the hardcore, hard right wingers who says ‘get rid of the minimum wage; you don’t need it.’ Some people take that view, I personally think it has a place and I don’t have problems with it rising.””

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0609/S00307.htm

  2. Monty 2

    National will not go and repeal entirely the current employment legislation, and they have no good reason to (unlike in 1990 when the economy was well in recession thanks to the outgoing Labour Government) but certainly some tinkering around the edges will help make NZmore competitive and take away the trap that employers find themselves in when employing the wrong person for a variety of reasons.

    It is well accepted by the elecrotate that labour will introduce very employee friendly labour law, and national will re-balance that when they get the reigns of power.

    Always remember that no one is forced to work for a bad employer – they can always go and get works elsewhere if the employee does not like it.

    The electorate does understand this, and yet most people are not threatened by it. That is because in most cases employee and employer get on well and each is economically rewarded for their input.

  3. Tane 3

    Stephen:

    National Party labour and industrial relations spokeswoman Kate Wilkinson said National did not oppose the minimum wage but preferred tax cuts.

    “Our policy will be on a broader scale and looking at the bigger picture rather than just relying on this artificial solution of having an arbitrary level of what some people think is a fair wage and some people think is not.’

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4329930a10.html

    Sounds to me like National plans to use tax cuts as a substitute for higher wages – effectively using public money to subsidise employers who pay low wages.

    See their record on raising the minimum wage here: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=906

  4. Stephen 4

    On “working for a bad employer”, is that so easy to do in ‘bad times’?

  5. Yep – that’s why he voted against youth rates being abolished. Just like he’s voted against every other piece of pro-worker legislation. He’s just lucky minimum wage rises are not voted on otherwise there would be another clear example of him saying one thing and doing another.

  6. Tane 6

    It is well accepted by the elecrotate that labour will introduce very employee friendly labour law, and national will re-balance that when they get the reigns of power.

    Rebalance? Ha! New Zealand has some of the most right-wing labour law in the industrialised world.

  7. Steve Pierson 7

    Key did question whether the minimum wage be as high as $12 an hour. doesn’t seem like he’ll be gung ho about raising it if he is PM.

    “It is well accepted by the elecrotate that labour will introduce very employee friendly labour law, and national will re-balance that when they get the reigns of power.” – why is ‘re-balancing’ needed? Why would any working new zealander vote for a ‘rebalancing’ of power away from themselves to the bosses?

  8. Scribe 8

    Tane,

    Sounds to me like National plans to use tax cuts as a substitute for higher wages – effectively using public money subsidise employers who pay low wages.

    See, that’s where the Left and the Right differ on taxation. Cutting tax is not using public money to subsidise employers who pay low wages; it’s allowing New Zealanders to keep their OWN money that they’ve worked hard for.

    The Left see wages as something that they can take a (growing) cut from; the Right see wages as something that people should get to keep the vast majority of, with the Government only taking what’s needed to run a country.

  9. Steve Pierson 9

    Scribe. How is a tax cut that lifts after tax wages by 5% (eg a $25 a week cut on an $500 a week net pay packet) going to close the wage gap with Australia? It’s not, but we can’t afford tax cuts larger than than both fiscally and because of inflationary impact. Only rising wages can close the gap.

    And remember, tax cuts aren’t free. any substantial cut has to come out of spending.

  10. Tane 10

    Scribe, you’re misrepresenting my statement and making a rather simplistic conclusion.

    I’m simply interpreting Wilkinson’s words – that instead of requiring employers to pay their workers decently by lifting the minimum wage, National would allow employers to keep paying poverty wages and cut taxes to relieve that wage pressure.

    The removal of regular minimum wage increases and its substitution with tax cuts would have the effect of the taxpayer subsidising employers who pay poverty wages. It’s also unsustainable – once you’ve got low income workers paying 0% tax how do you go about raising their incomes?

    Of course, I’m not against cutting taxes for low income workers, but the minimum wage should rise too – the two things are not the same. One is the amount of money a worker gets for his or her labour; the other is the amount the worker contributes to society for public services.

  11. mike 11

    Bad timing for Labour to start strenthening Empolyment conditions. With the economy tanking Employers will need all the help they can get just to hold on to their staff.
    I think Labour will leave the unions to do their dirty work here.

  12. “Only rising wages can close the gap.”

    Yes, but forcing them up isn’t the way to do it.

  13. Tane 13

    Ideally you’d raise them through intervening in the labour market – that’s what unions are about – and use industry agreements to stop firms competing on wage levels and get them investing in productivity.

    At the lower end though you do need minimum wage legislation to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation.

  14. So if Labour is doing such a good job of keeping workers happy, why have the numbers heading off to Australia consistently increased during the term of the Labour led government ?

    http://www.interest.co.nz/ratesblog/index.php/2008/04/21/video-net-migration-to-australia-accelerating/

    [interest.co.nz is a joke. the guy was attributing the drop in unemployment in NZ to emigration to Australia the other day, as if there wasn’t emigration to Australia in the past and as if we don’t take in more workers through immgration every year than we lose through emigration. SP]

  15. Tane 15

    Because migration to Australia is cyclical.
    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=1255

  16. Scribe 16

    Steve,

    And remember, tax cuts aren’t free. any substantial cut has to come out of spending.

    That’s true IF the country doesn’t have multi-billion dollar surpluses, which we’ve had over the past several years. In that case, a government can do both.

    IMHO, there should be a tax-free window at the bottom end so that all workers benefit and then work done to avoid bracket creep.

    Tane,

    Kate Wilkinson said “Our policy will be on a broader scale and looking at the bigger picture rather than just relying on this artificial solution of having an arbitrary level of what some people think is a fair wage and some people think is not.”(emphasis mine)

    Sounds to me like a “both/and” solution rather than an “either/or” one.

  17. Tane 17

    There’s also the issue of wages – in many industries you can cross the ditch and get a 30-50% pay rise. I’d like to see a plan from both parties showing how they’d close that wage gap – all we’ve seen from National is promises to cut taxes.

  18. Tane 18

    Sounds to me like a “both/and’ solution rather than an “either/or’ one.

    Scribe, that may be the case – it’s hard to get any concrete policy out of National. What we do know is that for low income workers wages will rise slower under National than they did under Labour.

    And if the 1990s is anything to go by, those on or close to the minimum wage may even see their pay cut in real terms.

  19. Tane looking at the post & chart you linked to I notice you only have one (1) complete so-called “cycle” shown. How does that prove that migration is cyclical ?

  20. Scribe 20

    Tane,

    You’re right that it’s hard to get any concrete policy out of National, but history suggests that such a situation is not unusual six or seven months out from an election. Not saying that’s the right thing to do, just saying it’s not something National is the sole offender on (and not saying you’re suggesting that).

    You’re right (again — this is getting boring) that some industries lag way behind Aussie in terms of wages. To use your 2.57pm comment as a model, we can say that “what we do know” is that things have got worse in the last 8.5 years under Labour, so any policy it unveils now would beg the question: “If that’s going to fix the problem, why has it taken eight-and-a-half years to propose it?”

    In fact, that’s a problem Labour (and any third-term government) has on just about any issue of substance.

  21. Steve Pierson 21

    Scribe. it is unusual to have no idea where a party and its leader stand ideologically – specific polices, yes, you can wait for those – but the objection is that National will not even give hints of where it stands on some issues,a nd considering it’s lurched from right to centre to right in the past decade New Zealanders can’t even get a general fix on what the party stands for anymore.

  22. So very boring maw – you’re not here to do anything but offer increasingly desperate challenges are you. How about you get off you fat lazy arse and get your own stats. Then you can make your own graph and if it doesn’t show cyclical migration you can have a well won gloat.

    In the meantime your habit of expecting other people to do the heavy lifting while you snipe at the sidelines is making you look like an intellectual bludger. Have you sense of personal responsibility. Have you no shame?

    If this was my blog I’d’ve kicked you off days ago for being nothing but trolling deadweight…

  23. Tane 23

    mawgxxxxiv: Sorry to be a bit vague on you, but I heard an interview on Radio NZ’s focus on politics a month or so back where a professor basically said the same thing – apparently it’s cyclical going back decades. Feel free to do your own research.

    Scribe: I’ll agree Labour could have done more – they’re a timid bunch if nothing else. That’s why I think we need some concrete policy out of both parties – Labour can’t rest on its laurels, and National shouldn’t be able to get away with soundbites and spin.

    The wage gap has stopped growing though, so I can’t agree that things have got worse, even if they could be done better.

  24. Scribe 24

    The wage gap has stopped growing though, so I can’t agree that things have got worse, even if they could be done better.

    I don’t have evidence to the contrary, but people keep leaving for Australia at a higher rate than ever before.

    Please don’t employ the Dr Cullen “join ’em” retort, Tane 😉

  25. Tane 25

    These stats show a levelling off of the wage gap over the last decade:
    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=1522

    National has put out an alternative one using after-tax wages, but that opens up a whole new can of worms.

    Agreed though, like many of Cullen’s retorts the “join em” one was poorly judged.

  26. Steve Pierson 26

    scribe. it’s not higher than ever before, therein lies the error.

  27. Scribe 27

    SP,

    Stats from today show that emigration to Oz was 29,900; the highest (recently at least) was 30,000. So you’re correct that it’s not higher than ever before.

    However, the last comparative numbers from Stats NZ say this: “The net outflow to Australia was 29,600 in 2008, compared with 22,200 in the previous year.”

    That’s quite a jump.

  28. K Douglas 28

    Monty

    “Always remember that no one is forced to work for a bad employer – they can always go and get works elsewhere if the employee does not like it.”

    What about the employee already working for that employer-can he/she just up sticks and go? What happens if that is the only employer in the town that, that employee has the skills to work for? Do you think that employers only turn bad when employment legislation changes?

    Why should employment terms and conditions be reduced when a government changes? As we have seen most of the productivity increases during the 90’s was off the back of workers. Is this fair? I don’t think so. Productivity should come from changes in work processes and technology introduced into workplaces. What is the Nats and even Labours policy on Productivity?

  29. Steve Pierson 29

    I refer you to my new post. As you can see the numbers do jump around

  30. leftie 30

    Any Party can promise to keep putting the minimum wage up, but by how much?
    It can be argued that National put it up in the 90’s, but it’s a fact they put it up a very small amount over a long time.
    Us workers are just starting to get some balance after National’s last “rebalancing” act which saw people lose penal rates and other conditions at work from 1990. What good was National’s tax cut to us then?
    Is this history repeating itself?

  31. Tane thanks for the clarification, excuse my pendantry 🙂

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    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    frogblogBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Just because it’s been done before doesn’t make it right
    Back in March I wrote this post in which I expressed scepticism about Auckland Transport's rationale for having a by-law that prohibits the display of election advertising anywhere that is visible from a road, except for the 9 weeks before an ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • National Poetry Day
    I discussed this celebration with friends at lunch and somehow none of them had heard of 19th Century Scottish poet William Topaz McGongall, widely celebrated as the worst poet of all time: he seems roughly cognate to Tommy Wiseau. Here ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    4 days ago
  • National Poetry Day
    I discussed this celebration with friends at lunch and somehow none of them had heard of 19th Century Scottish poet William Topaz McGongall, widely celebrated as the worst poet of all time: he seems roughly cognate to Tommy Wiseau. Here ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    4 days ago
  • Sailing to the Arctic with the people who call it home
    The courageous Inuit community of Clyde River is standing up to protect their Arctic home from devastating seismic blasting.The circumpolar Arctic is home to four million people representing a diversity of cultures. As northerners, they share many connections, but in ...
    4 days ago
  • Why fixing your phone is one of the most empowering things you can do
    Like most people, I don’t go anywhere without my phone. In the morning, its shrill alarm rouses me from sleep. During the day it bobs between my ear, my hand, and my pocket. At night, I hunt for Pokémon before ...
    4 days ago
  • Microbeads: How did companies respond?
    Remember THIS video?Back in July, Greenpeace East Asia ranked 30 global companies to see how they measured in terms of their commitment to phasing out microbeads – the tiny terrors that are often found in shower gels and facial scrubs, ...
    4 days ago
  • Does your cafeteria serve ocean destruction?
    Every time you eat in a restaurant, hospital, airport, a university cafeteria, or at even at a rock concert, it is likely that you are eating food provided by a large foodservice company. Sea of Distress, a brand new Greenpeace ...
    4 days ago
  • My Arctic Home
    I live in Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River) in the Canadian Arctic. Most people have never heard of my town. It's 450km north of the Arctic Circle with a population of roughly 1,000. We are isolated from much of the world, but ...
    4 days ago
  • Up Front: I Swear, It’s True
    There is a persistent myth among the kind of people I desperately try to avoid that swearing is a sign of low intelligence. Frequent swearing shows a lack of imagination and vocabulary.Fuck that noise.Research shows what people I would choose ...
    4 days ago
  • Up Front: I Swear, It’s True
    There is a persistent myth among the kind of people I desperately try to avoid that swearing is a sign of low intelligence. Frequent swearing shows a lack of imagination and vocabulary.Fuck that noise.Research shows what people I would choose ...
    4 days ago
  • One less objection to Skypath
    Some great news yesterday that the main objector to Skypath, the Northcote Residents Association (NRA), has withdrawn their appeal against the project. That leaves just the Northcote Point Historic Preservation Society (NPHPS) – made up of many of the same people ...
    4 days ago
  • A Political King.
    Birds Of A Feather: If Edward VIII had been a less enamoured sex-slave to Wallis Simpson and a more convinced fascist, it is entirely possible that he could have completely upended the British constitution. Royal words, and deeds, still matter ...
    4 days ago
  • Polity: Key peddles cynical “interest rate avenger” fantasy
    This week in Parliament, John Key repeated one of the lines that looks to be central to its election campaign in 2017. As we’ll see, that word “lines” probably has one too many n’s in it. Anyway, here it is:Rt ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: The Gaffer Departs
    My friend Simon Grigg this week announced something I've known for a while – that he's stepping down from his role as creative director at Audioculture. It is, literally, to spend more time with his family: Simon and his wife ...
    4 days ago
  • Places to go, people to be
    Nothing from me today - I'm off to Christchurch for Phoenix, their annual larp convention. Normal bloggage will resume Monday, once I've caught up. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Is There Something Wrong With Aussie Sport?
    Is There Something Wrong with Aussie Sport? The news that Australian Olympians returning from Rio have been given a hard time by the Australian media and public for the alleged paucity of their medal haul will, sadly, have come as ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • The Pencilsword: I can’t draw horses
    ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand – we’re in the sh*t
    . . “…We should always measure a Government’s environmental rhetoric against its environmental record.” – John Key, 7 September 2008 . . ref . In September 2008, one month before the general election, National’s leader addressed the party’s “Bluegreen* Forum“, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago

  • Disability sector is in a ‘slow burning crisis’
    Disability advocates say the sector is in crisis and broken, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “A roundtable at Parliament organised by the Labour Party, heard today how National has left disability services chronically underfunded. ...
    18 hours ago
  • NZ fisheries depend on the environment – they should protect it
    The attitude of the fishing industry and the National Government to our oceans, and the life within it, still amazes me. Like many New Zealanders, I find it perplexing that an industry which depends entirely on the long-term health of ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    19 hours ago
  • Bigger is not always better with local government reform
    I have written previously about the overwhelming opposition expressed by local councils and community members to the latest Local Government reforms.  The Select Committee heard more submissions this week, specifically about some of the unintended consequences that may arise from ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    19 hours ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    2 days ago
  • Government must review state sector retirement investment
    The State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme has no business investing in companies which manufacture cluster bombs, anti-personnel mines and nuclear weapons, Labour MP and Parliamentarians for Global Action executive member Su’a William Sio says. “I endorse the call made by the ...
    3 days ago
  • Councils shouldn’t rush into Easter Trading
    City and district councils must ensure they don’t rush into trading on Easter Sunday ahead of local body elections next month, Labour’s Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “This decision must be taken seriously and only after extensive ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister can’t wash hands of illegal KiwiSaver investments
    The Minister responsible for appointing default KiwiSaver providers should take responsibility for ensuring they act legally, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The National Government has now had confirmed what they were told more than a week ago – that ...
    3 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Government railroading Maori Land Bill through
    Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell seems determined to railroad his Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill through despite the large number of submitters in opposition to the bill, says MP Meka Whaitiri, whose Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate contains nearly 30 per cent ...
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Government turns a blind eye to struggling sole parents
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s claims that her Government’s work with sole parents is her biggest success are in tatters after a major increase in homelessness amongst that group, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Anne Tolley is seriously ...
    4 days ago
  • Time has come for state apology on abuse
    Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions. Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson ...
    4 days ago
  • It’s OK to have a few slaves, just not too many? Minimum wage loophole hasn’t gone away
    New Zealand still needs legislation to ensure adult New Zealanders are not exploited by being taken on as contractors for less than the equivalent of the minimum wage, says Labour list MP David Parker.  “My Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment ...
    4 days ago
  • Lessons from the Future of Work Commission: Building Wealth from the Ground Up
    Good morning, and thank you for attending today’s Future of Work Seminar here in Wellington. I want to particularly acknowledge Beth Houston who has spent many hours pulling together the programme for today’s event, and to Olivier and the staff ...
    4 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Backbencher Matt’s Bill is a Doocey
    The latest National Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot is yet another waste of Parliament’s time and shows the Government’s contempt for the House and the public with much more important issues needing debate, says Labour’s Shadow Leader of the ...
    5 days ago
  • Gun laws creaking under the strain
     Questions have to be asked  after surprising revelations at the Law and Order Select Committee about the police and their ability to manage the gun problem in New Zealand, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The lack of resources is ...
    5 days ago
  • Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
    The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Social service agencies report many ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori seats entrenched by Tirikatene Bill
    National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says. “Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates ...
    5 days ago
  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    6 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    6 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    6 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    6 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    7 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    7 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    1 week ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    2 weeks ago

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