Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, December 6th, 2012 - 53 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, community democracy, democracy under attack, labour, local government, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: andrew little, david bennett, rino
Daily life gets tougher for ordinary Kiwis, and the Key government has no answers but to keep on with their failed and bankrupt ideology. Of course, it works for them in their comfortable life-style, but not for the majority of kiwis, young and old. The workings of this failed ideology can be seen in two Bills that were before the House this week. It’s an ideology that pretends to be about freedom and democracy, while the Key government becomes more autocratic and controlling.
Micky savage posted a very good report on the Key government’s Local Government Amendment Bill 2012. It’s a poorly worded bill, rushed through on a NAct created crisis: one that falsely portrayed out-of-control local council spending. The result is to give the NZ government more control of local councils by cutting back on the “four well beings”, which are essential to local democracy.
The offending provision was one that changed the purpose of local government. Previously the purpose was to enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities and to promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and for the future. The provision was based on the conclusions from the United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development which essentially state that to have a meaningful effect on the environment and on quality of life local community action was required. The best way to improve things was to act locally. The concepts of social, economic, environmental and cultural became to be known as the four well beings.
So, the Key government that claims it’s all for freedom and democracy, cuts back on the freedom and democracy of local councils. The bankruptcy of this failed and sham ideology could clearly be seen last night in the House in Nat MP, Adam Bennett’s speech against a private members bill: Employment Relations (Protection of Young Workers) Amendment Bill , which failed after its First Reading.
In the introduction, Labour MP Rino Tirikatene (Te Tai Tonga) stated the purpose of the bill was to declare that people under 16 years, doing paid work outside the home (not including personal, domestic or household work), will be regarded as employees.
Tirikatene presented the following evidence:
Tirikatene said that many employers that depend on child workers, employ children as self-employed contractors (such as leaflet delivery businesses), meaning they are not covered by any health and safety regulations. Furthermore, younger children are more likely to be working unsupervised (for instance as delivery workers) than older children who are more likely to be supervised in a work place (such as at fast food premises). Many are well-looked after at work, but some aren’t. Many parents feel they are powerless to change their children’s working conditions. Some of these children are working to contribute necessary money to their households.
Nat MP David Bennett’s response was so outrageous as to be like a parody of NAct values. He argued that Labour wanted to take away people’s democratic rights and freedom of choice – the right of young people (under 16 years old) to choose to be self-employed contractors.
One of the last speakers for the bill was Labour MP Andrew Little. He summarised the Dickensian Nat contributions to the debate as follows:
David Bennett as Silas Marner (Seth Pecksniff?): for the freedom of employers to exploit. (NB: Andrew, Marner’s a George Elliot character. I suggest Pecksniff the hypocrite)
Chris Auchinvole as Scrooge: Talked about his government’s achievements, but didn’t talk about the its achievement of record levels of unemployment
Scott Simpson as Fagin: exploiting his young workers.
Jami-Lee Ross as Little Dorrit
These two bills expose the NAct government as having Dickensian values while claiming to be for freedom and democracy for all. They are gradually taking away people’s democratic rights and becoming increasingly dictatorial. The only freedom they really want, is freedom for rich and powerful to exploit the poor, and the powerless (including children).