An interesting piece in yesterday’s Molesworth and Featherston (off line):
Labour will pick a fight over workplace law reform. Trevor Mallard is in there to promote a message of ‘higher wages through better industrial law’ along with a scare campaign that says National will cut pay and conditions.
Now we’ve been saying work rights are a fertile campaigning ground for the Labour Party for some time but we were honestly taken by surprise when Mallard was given the position. To have a brawler like Mallard (no pun intended) fronting this makes sense. As we’ve said before this is a big issue over the ditch and it looks like unions here are gearing up for a serious fight.
However, (at the risk of sounding tautological) the real issue is that work rights are a real issue. By that I mean that even though they’ve been off the political menu for the last few elections work rights are more relevant to the day to day life of most New Zealanders than nearly any other policy.
Why? Because it’s work that pays for most people to feed and cloth themselves and have a life. In politics thats called a kitchen table issue and that’s what Labour needs. Add to that the fact that National hasn’t got a leg to stand on in this area and you can see why Labour might want to push this issue. As Peter Conway has said in Tane’s post below National is trying to make the income issue a tax issue – when our incomes are 30% behind Australia’s that’s absurd.