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The Standard

NZ dis-empower

Written By: - Date published: 8:39 am, April 27th, 2013 - 41 comments
Categories: class war, Economy - Tags:

A year ago the nats announced massive changes to employment law. And then they went quiet. Now with a new Minister of Labour they’ve decided it’s time to move.

There’s a lot of nasty stuff in the package Simon Bridges tried to sneak in yesterday, but the worst is the change that allows employers to refuse to bargain with workers’ chosen representatives. As I pointed out when this assault on working Kiwis first reared its ugly head:

Make no mistake, that’s a rule that will allow employers to simply walk away from negotiations. No need to surface bargain. No need to draw things out. Just say “we’re not having a collective agreement here” and that’s it.

John Key is claiming it won’t affect “the vast bulk” of New Zealanders. And, aside from the 360,000 New Zealanders in unions, it won’t. Directly.

But the thing is, union deals drag everyone’s wages up. It’s not just the hundreds of thousands of non-union members on union sites that get to enjoy union-cut deals either – the reason people get paid what they do at (non-union) TV3 is because they’re have to stay competitive with (unionised) TVNZ in the wage market. The reason people get paid what they do at non-union mills and factories is because they need to keep their wages close to the wages paid at union mills and factories. And middle-class people with degrees get paid what they do because public sector unions make sure those qualifications maintain their value. Unionised Kiwi workers are constantly pulling other Kiwi workers up with them.

National understands this. They realise if you keep unions down you keep down the wages of everyone else too.

That’s why they’re undermining the laws that require employers to act in good faith and thus reducing the bargaining power of union members.

The choice couldn’t be starker. Two weeks ago we saw Labour and the Greens introduced NZ Power, a policy that puts Kiwis ahead corporate interests, and now National has announced far right changes to employment law that takes power from working Kiwis and puts it squarely in the hands of big business. And make no mistake – where the power goes, the money follows.

We’ve seen NZ Power. The Nats have answered with NZ Dis-empower.

41 comments on “NZ dis-empower”

  1. Morrissey 1

    Bridges is New Zealand’s version of Marco Rubio. Dim, not nice, but very good-looking.

    That’s all he has to offer.

    • David H 1.1

      It’s the minister for Funny Talks, All show and no substance. Now to see if the Nats have to do a Hekia on him and spin him around.

    • johnm 1.2

      Hi Morrissey
      I don’t know how you see Simon Bridges as being “very good-looking” sick, sick, sick,
      I think he’s an ugly up-himself little toerag in black! :-( vomit!

      • Morrissey 1.2.1

        I don’t know how you see Simon Bridges as being “very good-looking” sick, sick, sick,
        I think he’s an ugly up-himself little toerag in black! vomit!

        I’m on your side, my friend. I’m more of a Nikki Kaye man, myself.

      • Tim 1.2.2

        Lol …. I was just thinking the same. I noted the ‘creepy’ perception from one lady on here (somehere). Morissey – IF we have the good/bad fortune to come back here in say 3-5 years -my pick is that you’ll see a Soimun Brudjizz that’s very very aesthetically ugly – with all due respect to Monty Python and an exploding belly – the result of greed/sloth/laziness/entoitlmunt and all that goes with it.
        Already the goy is struggling.

        • Morrissey 1.2.2.1

          You’re assuming that this twerp’s moral and spiritual failure will be reflected in his body shape and appearance, like Dorian Gray. While I would love that to be the case, I have a suspicion that Bridges is vain enough and self-involved enough to actually work out in a gym regularly. He doesn’t smoke or drink, as far as I know, so I expect him to evolve into this guy….

          http://www.voxy.co.nz/files/imagecache/news_item_image/files/featured_item_image_147809.jpg

          • Tim 1.2.2.1.1

            Well I was thinking that the guy is just greedy in EVERY WAY with that holier-than-thou, lecturing attitude that seems to afflict many in NAct. I’m hoping that if he doesn’t trip himself up, Bellamy’s will

      • Roy 1.2.3

        My SO tells me Simon Bridges is better looking than most of the male politicians but adds that that is not saying much at all, and she rates him only a 6.

    • tc 1.3

      Bridges is a sock puppet who can present whatever he’s given without question with that aura of conviction, it’s that style over substance PR approach that’s worked a treat so far.

      He will go far.

    • Dr Terry 1.4

      I’m sure you mean “physically very good-looking (I had not noticed). In psche and soul he is indeed very ugly.

  2. quartz 2

    My girlfriend described him as “creepy”.

  3. Janice 3

    This is well timed to cause trouble for the next election. It is all about staying in power. Pick a fight with the unions, suppress workers until they are forced to strike, then point out that it is Labour and the Greens that support the unions so the mindless won’t vote for them believing that only lovely caring National stands between them and anarchy.

    • Paul 3.1

      Or it’s about getting as much draconian policy through as possible in the knowledge that they are likely to lose the next election and that the Labour Party is too scared to take on the all powerful markets and will therefore only tinker with these changes.
      Then wait till Labour falls next time and continue the neo-lib revolution.
      Career Labour politicians go on to cushy jobs in international fields and the cycle continues.
      Until the grassroots recaptures the left wing parties, this will be the predictable cycle of events.

      • IrishBill 3.1.1

        I have no doubt Labour will do more than “tinker” with these changes. I think there’s a general acceptance that the contractual approach to employment has failed Kiwis.

        • Lanthanide 3.1.1.1

          They floated and awards-style system at the last election, didn’t they?

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            Yep and Darien Fenton mentioned it again yesterday.

            • Alanz 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Let’s hope Labour stays afloat on this one and if Darien Fenton is steering, she should encourage Grant Robertson to keep his mouth shut and not take a bite of the waka.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.2

          Labour has found some steel? Looking forwards to that.

          How many news cycles before Labour is all over the NAT’s announcement with news-worthy one liners, framing it as extreme and reactive, and backing themselves up by solid policy positioning?

        • Lefty 3.1.1.3

          I have no doubt Labour will do more than “tinker” with these changes. I think there’s a general acceptance that the contractual approach to employment has failed Kiwis.

          Thats what Labour conned us into believing last time – and the time before.

          What makes it different this time?

        • Tim 3.1.1.4

          @Irish: Did you happen to hear Bolger this morning with Chris Laidlaw – and if so, what are your thoughts?
          He was obviously too generous towards Ruth Richardson Limited for a start, but his comment on the neo-lib plan and financialisation over the past couple of decades might suggest he thinks all is not well with current Nat

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.4.1

            Bolger put the parking brakes on Ruthanasia. For that reason alone he doesn’t have any cred amongst right wing neolibs.

      • McFlock 3.1.2

        I reckon you might be right about draconian policy.
        The thing about these changes is that they will clearly and explicitly fuck a large chunk of the country. Polls are indicating that a nact govt next year is doubtful, or 50/50. If they spin through the laws this year, hundreds of thousands will feel it by the next election. With the clear perpetrator being national, not a gfc.

        So they want to burn as many of the social gains built for people in the last hundred years as possible.

      • Murray Olsen 3.1.3

        Pretty much how I see it, Paul. Labour serves to normalise many of the extremist changes made by the Tories, at least when they aren’t making them themselves.

  4. johnm 4

    Another step towards a Boss Corporate dictatorship. The meanness is incredible, no tea breaks if your boss slave driver says so!? A further assault on the social contract: workers are but production cost units, not persons in a society, therefore they can’t have collective representation and employers can walk off and say take it or stick it. This Government copying the U$ led by Yankey john want to destroy unions in this country, they’re aiming at the Teachers’ union by wanting Charter schools. And of course a further assault on the social contract: bennies are to be harassed and punitively sanctioned though there are no jobs to remove 100,000 in ten years, this is copycat stuff imported from the U$K welcome to the N$Z if this shower get another term after this one.:-(

  5. ghostrider888 5

    heard a spokeswoman for the TEU say on RNZ that these employment amendments will have on-going deleterious effects for teaching standards within their sector.

  6. tc 6

    This is all part of the master plan.

    Having aided Trev and the old guard see off DC so they can get DS as Labour leader they will expect to have only some of these measures removed as DS if they make it that far.

    As an added bonus they get unions up in arms, align that behaviour to Lab/Greens/Mana and play the ‘see look what anarchists they all are’ card.

    They also need more distractions to take what little focus there has been on the corrupt actions of NACT.

  7. Peter 7

    When I have worked in organisations offering individual contracts the pay increases were linked to the union negotiated rates. Without the union benchmark there was no increase. Anyone who thinks they are better off under a divide and rule system where their is no collective bargaining is deluded.

  8. Foreign Waka 8

    It looks to me that there is an element of an almost militant move to diminish employment conditions. This seems to be aimed at the “level playing field” with Asian Nations. Wonder where the younger Generation is on this one. Most likely not interested until it hits them 20 years later. We are giving away what generations have fought for so easily.

    • fatty 8.1

      Wonder where the younger Generation is on this one. Most likely not interested until it hits them 20 years later.

      Not sure what you expect the younger generations to do. Even Gen X have spent their whole lives under neoliberal working conditions, and its worse for Gen Y & Z. They have life crippling student debt, low wages and few future wage rises to look forward to.
      Forget about 20 years later, they are already suffering. And if they had the audacity to have children, then they are also seen as a burden on NZ.
      Maybe if Labour included them in their policies, then they might might put down their bongs and speak up.

      • Foreign Waka 8.1.1

        Unfortunately, you seem to be misunderstanding my comment, but I will respond to your reply as you understand it. 1/ I don’t care what alphabet letter one uses for any generation, its a con to pit one against the other 2/ Most young NZlaenders are completely politically ignorant and may I add, because it has to be seen in context, illiterate in terms of world history (like we learn from it etc…. ok, this has some fallacies) 3/ The younger generation has grown up with the mantra to take and not to ask and what is worse to disrespect their parents generation (yes, and crime reports do confirm that). 4/ Worst of all some justification is being found for that too, you got this and I am not – I am entitled etc..
        So as to your question what I expect the younger generation to do? Educate yourself about the FACTS, get passionate about JUSTICE (as to opposite of law) and change what can be changed for the better. Yes, this is hard, it takes a lot of courage and many have done this before. Its now your turn.

        Back to my comment: What I am saying is that we are going down the path of the cheap labor and sometimes sweat shop style conditions of the Asian market states – ref this article http://www.adbi.org/event/4086.postcrisis.employment.social.policies.dev.asia/
        Here is one of the excerpts:
        Social cohesion and employment issues were the subject of the second session. It was argued that world leaders have failed to address the root cause of the crisis, namely, the global and regional race to the bottom, which has sacrificed labor rights in the name of global competition. Indeed, the pre-crisis period was one of growth without fairness, as the gap widened between rich and poor in many countries.

    • Lloyd 8.2

      Surely we must compare lowest wages in NZ with what is being paid in the mining sector in Australia as those wages are what draws Kiwis to Oz. There is a market, anything which reduces wages in NZ must be distorting that market. Why don’t we see neo-libs getting upset when Government actions are causing distortions in the market that are reducing Kiwis salaries by millions?

      The higher foreign salaries being paid to CEO’s in Australia and the US is what is used to justify the huge increase to the suits in the boardrooms of NZ. What’s good for the gander must be good for the goose.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        Except the Gander is the one with the power and the influence to set the rules.

        Why don’t we see neo-libs getting upset when Government actions are causing distortions in the market that are reducing Kiwis salaries by millions?

        Because the free market is a convenient fiction; this is all about shifting national income from workers to owners and to corporates.

        In this context, why would the neo-libs be upset at the reduction of Kiwi salaries? Every dollar less they have to pay in wages is another dollar they keep for their own profits. Nothing to be upset about there.

  9. DH 9

    It’s worth adding that this bill disempowers good employers, it’s not just workers who will suffer here.

    Look at the area of employment that involves contracts and labour. An employer who pays their workers a reasonable wage & offers good working conditions is now placed at a serious commercial disadvantage come tender or contract renewal time. Competitors can now pay lower wages which enables them to undercut the good employer on tenders for cleaning, catering, construction & other labour-based contracts.

    Helen is absolutely right. This favours bad employers. The assholes of the business world are being given a competitive advantage over everyone else. It doesn’t bode well.

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    And they wonder why people go to Australia

  11. Tiger Mountain 11

    The dirty filthy torys are going for it in term two alright. High unemployment and low union density allows them to get away with so far. For instance under the bill new employees will no longer get the conditions and pay rates of an existing Collective Employment Agreement for their first 30 days which is the window for them to join the union and the CEA rather than be a freeloader. But obviously the intent is to pay as little as possible regardless.

    Younger people that may be used to unpaid internships etc are going to have to wake up or be condemmed to service work and unemployment.

  12. Tim 12

    The Standard: Could you PLEASE get that bleached tooth – ch,ch.ch.Wah Wah image off the link. It’s offensive. I might be Oh so very sorry for the recent Mearnt Mong-Nui fludng, and Oim Genwinly sorry that puppy dog moit hev got its feet wet -but oim sure Soimun will savoiv – not so much others.

    [lprent: I believe that Irish may have deliberately put it there.. ]

  13. Yesisback 13

    This is a load of rubbish

    [lprent: You are a load of rubbish, I agree. However do you have anything substantive to say or should I just treat you as another numbskull troll? ]

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  • Judgment day for Planet Key (the song, that is)
    From Darren Watson's website:News@ 30 March, 2015read more ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    21 hours ago

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  • Many regions need by-election levels of support
    Northland is not the only region struggling under the National Government, but unfortunately places like Gisborne, Whanganui and Tasman do not have by-elections on the horizon, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says. “A desperate National Party has thrown money… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Real changes must come from CYF review
    A well-overdue revamp of Child, Youth and Family cannot be just another cost cutting exercise, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour has been pushing for a review for some time. It was part of our policy at the election. ...
    3 hours ago
  • Latest Air NZ plan carries on regional snub
    Christchurch Labour Members of Parliament have secured a meeting with Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon following the airline’s decision to cut its Christchurch to Tokyo summer flights.  They are also calling on the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges to… ...
    1 day ago
  • Carmel Sepuloni back in Social Development role
    Andrew Little has reinstated Carmel Sepuloni as Labour’s Social Development spokesperson following the sentencing of her mother in the New Plymouth District Court today. “It has been a tough time for Carmel, but we both agreed it was appropriate she… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government taking Kiwis for April Fools
    Many Kiwis will be wondering if the joke is on them when a raft of Government changes come into effect tomorrow, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “First is ACC and National’s unwillingness to end its rort of Kiwi businesses which… ...
    1 day ago
  • Time to show RMA housing affordability plans
    Labour is challenging the Government to reveal its plans to make housing more affordable through amending the Resource Management Act, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Labour remains willing to consider the proposals on housing affordability on their merits and… ...
    1 day ago
  • John Key now admits no broad support for RMA changes
    John Key has now been forced to admit that he never had the broad political support to gut the Resource Management Act, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “Cornerstone legislation such as the RMA should never be changed without genuine… ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s changes leave student bodies in chaos
    The chaos created by National’s scrapping of compulsory student association membership may force the 86-year old Union of Students Association to fold, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “National’s 2011 Voluntary Student Membership Act has left student associations with… ...
    2 days ago
  • Tragedy must be impetus for better training
    The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Commenting on an IPCA… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses
    The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which… ...
    5 days ago
  • Protect university staff and student voices
    The Green Party believes ensuring student and staff representation on university councils is important. National recently passed a law reducing the size of university governance councils while increasing the proportion of the members nominated by, guess who… Steven Joyce. The… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    6 days ago
  • C’mon Nick what’s the truth on the RMA
     “Nick Smith has got to fess up and tell us what is happening to his much vaunted RMA reform, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods says.  “With just a day and a half to go before the polls open in Northland,… ...
    6 days ago
  • SSC salaries sink National’s spending spin
    Massive pay rises at the State Services Commission prove National’s claims of clamping down on spending in the public sector are simply fantasy, Labour’s State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. “Salaries in this one department are almost $70,000 more than… ...
    6 days ago
  • We can fix Christchurch and keep our assets
    The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • Epidemic of serious assaults in our prisons
    Labour wants stab proof vests and pepper spray for all corrections officers to keep them safe from the epidemic of serious prison assaults that are occurring around the country’s jails, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “There have been five… ...
    6 days ago
  • Listen to the locals Hekia!
    Minister Hekia Parata needs to understand what consultation is, Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “It means you have to listen to what people say in their submissions and then be able to demonstrate you have considered their views when… ...
    1 week ago
  • Thanking our caregivers
    Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Mana Post shop the best outcome for community
    Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi has welcomed the move to place the services from the Mana Post shop to a local small business. “This is the best outcome for the community we could ask for. All the vital services… ...
    1 week ago
  • Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer
    At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • World water day: eight rivers in one day
    Our photo journey started by the Waioweka (also known as Waioeka) River which flows from Te Urewera to Opotiki, and is surrounded by beautiful forest. The water looked great! Kopeopeo Canal It contrasted greatly with the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane,… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • We all benefit when education meets everyone’s needs
    As Dyslexia week comes to a close,  Dyslexia NZ have reminded us that around 10% of our citizens are dyslexic and are entitled to better support. One of their strongest arguments is that failure to provide identification and support for… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Big change starts small
    Today marks Race Relations Day in New Zealand. Race Relations Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly chose this day as it marks the day in 1960 when 69 peaceful… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood
    The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch transport goes backwards
    The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Sounds Stakeholders Seek a Sustainable Future
    It was heartening to see a large number of people who care about the Marlborough Sounds come together at the Marlborough Marine Futures’ forum in Picton on March 8. Fellow Green MP Steffan Browning, who lives in Marlborough, and I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    3 weeks ago

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