web analytics
The Standard

You say ‘flexible labour market’, I say ‘workers’ rights’

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, January 24th, 2013 - 35 comments
Categories: Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

So John Key says Hollywood likes New Zealand because of weak unions, low fringe benefit costs and the ‘flexible labour market’.

In other words they can get their wage slaves to work longer for less with fewer complaints.

They don’t have to pay for health insurance or superannuation because we’ve got good ones of those on the public dime.  And they don’t have to pay more in wages or taxes either to make up for it.  In fact with National’s law change Hollywood studios can employ everyone on contracts and not even worry about the minimum wage, and get subsidised $260 million in grants for the pleasure.

Yes, a lot of those grants were under Labour – and Lord of the Rings established a film industry here and gave tourism a boost.

But that’s no reason for National to sell out worker’s rights.  Or trumpet the poor conditions of New Zealand workers as a positive to their foreign corporate mates.

And we know National will want to see this as a ‘success’ so they can roll out more ‘flexibility’ generally.

That’s why there’s no move to comply with the UN and introduce working hour limits for health and safety reasons.  Leaving us working longer hours for our lower wages.

Great quotes from Metiria Turei and Helen Kelly:

Ms Turei said the briefing showed what she saw as Mr Key’s lack of “hope and commitment” to workers.

“Over and over again, we have seen him sell New Zealand short.

“John Key’s modus operandi is deals but what he is selling here is New Zealand workers’ low wages and poor conditions.”

Ms Kelly said Mr Key had low-wage aspirations. “I think it leads to wealth creation for the wealthy, which is who he represents.”

She said Mr Key had a “taste for celebrity” and got a “thrill” from dealing with Hollywood. “He is personally responsible for the relationship with Warners – and he has enjoyed it.”

35 comments on “You say ‘flexible labour market’, I say ‘workers’ rights’”

  1. tracey 1

    Thanks for this posting, I had just asked a question in open mike related to this so will put it here.

    Given the “film industry” is now so attractive to overseas producers (now that they have the working conditions they want);

    How many productions does Warner Bros have underway in NZ today? And since the Hobbit filming ended about 3 years ago?

    How many are schedule to begin in NZ over the next 3 years?

    How many other major studios have films shooting and/or in production in the ast 3 years, currently and in the next 3 years?

    Someone in the industry must know the answer. I would have expected to hear it from the Government seeing as sacrificing worker conditions was of such benefit to NZ “going forward”.

    It’s beginning to look to me as if Peter Jackson is the attraction not NZ.

    • bad12 1.1

      I think you will find that Jackson’s future in New Zealand will be subsidized via NZ On-Air, Slippery at one point when gushing His support of the Director said something in the vein of He seen the future for that particular Sir’s(spit) studio to be in producing drama series for television…

      • tracey 1.1.1

        As I thought. No one know of other big studio productions being done here then????

        • McFlock 1.1.1.1

          Oh, there’ll be a few – about the same number as pre-hobbit laws.

          Maybe Tom Cruise will come back for “Last Samurai 2: the Penultimate Warrior”, which of course leads in to “Last Samurai 3: Son of Sam-urai” (a Meiji-period detective movie, where Captain Algren hunts down a sword-wielding serial killer).

        • Roflcopter 1.1.1.2

          Apart from Avatar II and III?

          • McFlock 1.1.1.2.1

            blasphemy! Dances with Wolves didn’t have any sequel, let alone two!

            edit: even adding those to the list, there doesn’t seem to be much on an increase from the “let’s hobbit-fuck our citizens” law change.

  2. rosy 2

    It’s always worth remembering Key said ages ago he would love to see wages drop. That the film industry is “competitive” is a real achievement for him.

    What really annoys me is that big business is using the taxpayer (aka employees) to take on the associated costs of employment i.e. we’re paying to be employed. They’re paying to make a movie? …not so much.

    In the U.S. Walmart, of course leads the way.

    “In state after state, the largest group of Medicaid recipients is Walmart employees. I’m sure that the same thing is true of food stamp recipients. Each Walmart ‘associate’ costs the taxpayers an average of more than $1,000 in public assistance,” [Congressman Alan] Grayson wrote in a Huffington Post column on Nov. 24, 2012.

    The movie moguls are just playing Walmart catch-up with NZ workers. Government grants were never enough. It’s our taxpayers subsiding their employee costs that’s the real drawcard.

    • quartz 2.1

      Government grants were never enough. It’s our taxpayers subsiding their employee costs that’s the real drawcard.

      Like working for families?

      • One Tāne Huna 2.1.1

        Yes, exactly like WFF, in every detail. In your “mind”.

        • TiggerViper 2.1.1.1

          Rosy, the Walmart comparison is spot on. It’s corporate welfare and we all know how the right hate welfare. Oh that’s right, they only hate welfare to the poor.

        • quartz 2.1.1.2

          Yes, exactly like WFF, in every detail. In your “mind”.

          Look friend, put your sarcasm aside and tell me exactly how WFF is not a subsidy to employers akin to the medicare Walmart employees get.

          • rosy 2.1.1.2.1

            Actually I agree. WFF is a subsidy so employers don’t have to pay a living wage and the working population doesn’t get restless.

            • Murray Olsen 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Accomodation supplements are a subsidy to landlords so that they can make money week to week while they wait for their capital gains. WFF is a subsidy for employers. Much of the roading system and car registration fees are a subsidy to the land transport industry. Both major parties have been in the business of subsidising employers as long as I can remember.

          • One Tāne Huna 2.1.1.2.2

            For one thing, WFF is paid in cash. Which means that its economic impact is spread across a range of beneficiaries, not just the employer and the private medical providers.

            As for the population not getting “restless” I wonder if we are talking about the same US.

            • rosy 2.1.1.2.2.1

              US or U.S?

              With working for families the way I remember it, was that dissatisfaction was building around young professionals – teachers, nurses etc. with families getting caught in the top tax bracket. I remember feature articles in Sunday papers and other news items with working couples with young families not being able to get through the wee. Labour was losing that vote. Instead of adjusting the tax thresholds to maintain the 39 cent rate for the top 5% or whatever it was, to reduce the dissatisfaction, Labour introduced WFF.

              My view that it’s a subsidy for employers is not based on the economic impact of WFF on the wider economy, it’s based on the impression that at time of low unemployment, when wages should rise to attract staff, according to standard economic supply & demand, employers (including the government re teachers and nurses) resisted calls for wage increases.

              Imo WFF was introduced to placate employers and the young professional workers. By association poorer families also benefited but it wasn’t aimed at them, it was aimed at the restless young professionals – the centre vote – and aimed at Labour retaining a business-friendly tag as National was moving to the centre.

  3. vto 3

    Its worth repeating that …..

    Workers are cheaper and easier than slaves for employers in this country.

    Fucking fucked fucktardedness fucking cruel national party c#@ts

    • King Kong 3.1

      What nonsense. I am a worker in this country and I earn a shit stack of money.

      It would certainly be cheaper to keep me as a slave and as a bonus I have an excellent baritone singing voice and already know quite a few negro spirituals.

      • vto 3.1.1

        Fool. Quite clearly, to keep a man and his family on the minimum wage, the government is required to top up the income by way of WFF etc so they can live because the employer does not pay enough to do that.

        With a slave the employer will be required to keep a man and his family and cover everything. So they need to cover minimum wage and WFF. i.e. it costs the employer more.

        Pretty simple maths there kong. Think.

        • King Kong 3.1.1.1

          Though of course as a slave owner I might think twice about providing 100 inch plasma TV’s, piss, smokes, scratches and lotto tickets etc which is effectively what working for families pays for.

          WFF – helping low income families get wasted since 2000 and something.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Family Trusts – helping rich Tories buy Takapuna homes, Porsche Cayennes and student allowances for their children.

          • vto 3.1.1.1.2

            King Kunt

            fukk off and die

            [lprent: Well I’d generally agree. But at least give a reason…. ]

            • vto 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Because people with the attitude displayed serve no good purpose in society. In fact, they are a severe detriment. They are worse than criminals. Society throughout history has cast these people out. Thrown them to the wolves because they are a risk to everybody else. I don;t care if this wanker is just pulling the tit, heshe reflects a reality in our midst and I wish them out. True.

              Apologies to others for the language and action suggested but that’s it.

            • Murray Olsen 3.1.1.1.2.2

              The reasons should be obvious, lprent. KK is a foul troll who adds nothing to any thread. We can all imagine what’s on WhaleSpew without reading it, or what having our genitalia attacked by enraged wasps must feel like. We equally know what the most ignorant, bigotted and racist comments on any issue will be. We don’t actually need to read them.

            • Mike 3.1.1.1.2.3

              Coz e’s a *unt?

              (sorry)

              (sigh…)

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        And what’s the ratio of you/people not paid enough? I suspect that you’ll find it’s 1/really high number. The only reason you can be paid so highly is because most people aren’t paid enough.

  4. Tom Gould 4

    Ben, the three LOTR movies were made under largely the same ‘flexible’ labour market rules and received similar subsidies, endorsed and celebrated by Ms Clark. The “weak unions” didn’t suddenly appear on 9 November 2008. The CTU should look at itself for answers, having presided over decades of decline in membership, effectiveness and relevance.

    • One Tāne Huna 4.1

      Nothing to do with the Employment Contracts Act and the fourth Labour govt. No, it’s all the CTU’s fault.

      • TiggerViper 4.1.1

        Labour didn’t change the law at the behest of Warner Bros.

        And Labour was working on the issue of minimum rates/rights for contractors.

        Also, National is the govt and all this ‘Labour did X in year dot’ matters not.

        • Tom Gould 4.1.1.1

          The CTU to had a supportive government from 1999 to 2008 yet made little or no progress in the area of the labour market at issue here, independent contractors. They preferred to live in the 19th century, when everyone else was grapping with the 21st. No point blaming Key, as Ben does. Besides, the ‘time warped’ response to the Key legislation simply made the CTU less relevant. The decline will continue until they wake up and realise that ranting ideological dogma from a past age does not cut it anymore, in fact hasn’t cut it for 30 years.

          • One Tāne Huna 4.1.1.1.1

            Reality check.

            Over the last “30 years” union members have continued to earn more than non-members. Perhaps the decline in membership is as a result of not publicising this fact enough.

            As for “ranting ideological dogma” – citation needed. The dogma, incidentally, is elsewhere, being employed by people somewhat more to the right of the political spectrum. It gives rise to phrases such as “trickle down” and “high trust model”.

            • framu 4.1.1.1.1.1

              true – the most outdated and irrelevant union dogma is spoken by those opposed to unions.

            • Mike 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Also, in countries with strong unions, there is less inequality, higher wages and higher economic growth amongst many other positive stats.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.2

            The CTU to had a supportive government from 1999 to 2008 yet made little or no progress in the area of the labour market at issue here, independent contractors.

            No they didn’t because the 5th Labour government was just as welded to the free-market as the 4th Labour government.

    • rosy 4.2

      But a lawsuit that turned on the definition of an employee and a contractor did appear.

  5. tracey 5

    Tom, are you saying the the pm is lying when he claims he has helped increase jobs in the film indusrtry?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

1 2 3 8

  • 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… ...
    2 hours 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… ...
    6 hours 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
    1 day 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,… ...
    1 day 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… ...
    1 day 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
    1 day 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… ...
    1 day 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… ...
    2 days 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
    2 days 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… ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour looks to put the tea back into entitlements
    Labour is moving to restore the rights of Kiwis to take tea and rest breaks, Leader Andrew Little says. “Within months of the Government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill becoming law we are already seeing some of our largest companies, including… ...
    2 days ago
  • Desperate money grab to keep Ruataniwha afloat
    The Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company’s decision to borrow $4 million to keep the Ruataniwha project afloat is a case of throwing ratepayer’s good money after bad, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri and Napier MP Stuart Nash.   “This bridging… ...
    3 days 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
    3 days ago
  • Invermay petition delivered to Parliament
    Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark handed over a 12,450 signature Save Invermay petition to Dunedin South MP Clare Curran on the steps of Parliament today.  “The level of support that the petition has received across New Zealand is overwhelming,”… ...
    3 days ago
  • Redcliffs School closure plan wrong
    The Government’s proposal to consult on the closure of Redcliffs School not only goes against the best geotechnical advice, but more importantly goes against the best educational outcomes for Redcliffs children and the health of our community, Port Hills MP… ...
    3 days ago
  • Cotton On first to test the tea breaks law
    Australian corporate Cotton On, the first major business operating in New Zealand to exploit the new tea breaks law, could walk away from negotiations if it doesn’t get its own way, says Labour Party Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.  “Cotton… ...
    4 days 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
    4 days ago
  • Council can stop Port’s encroachment on harbour
    As owner of the Port of Auckland, Council can stop the wharf extension and reclamation if it wants to, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Goff. ‘As owner the council is custodian of the port and harbour on behalf of… ...
    4 days 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
    4 days ago
  • State house sell-off fiasco a gift for developers
    The Government’s property developer mates are the only people who can salvage National’s state house sell-off now the Salvation Army has torpedoed the policy, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Having been cynically used by the Government as the poster… ...
    4 days ago
  • National reinforces inequality in schools
    The National Government’s flagship programme Investing in Educational Success is clearly reinforcing inequality in the school system, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The analysis released today by the NZEI clearly shows schools in wealthier suburbs are the main beneficiaries… ...
    4 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks ago
  • Solid Energy, who will clean up the mess?
    What can you say? This state-owned coal miner is facing some very serious problems. They haven’t run a profit in years, have required two Government bailouts, laid-off more than 700 staff and look like they need a third injection of… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago

Removed at the request of The Daily Blog.
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere