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Andrew Little: Law changes shaping up to be worse than first thought

Written By: - Date published: 8:43 pm, October 13th, 2014 - 24 comments
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Good to see David Cunliffe backing Andrew Little. He’s a strong left-wing candidate who is already taking John Key’s attack on workers rights head-on today.

Law changes shaping up to be worse than first thought

The Prime Minister needs to be up front about exactly what changes he is planning to make to the Employment Relations  Amendment Bill, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.

Interviewed on Q&A yesterday John Key said he did not think the Bill would change dramatically and that nothing would change “in principle”.

“What that really means is changes are likely, and he needs to tell New Zealanders what they are.

“John Key has justified this Bill by saying it’s too difficult for employers to get around collective bargaining. That tells us all we need to know: his government wants to make it harder for workers to get together and negotiate with their boss.

“Mr Key talks about the need for more so-called flexibility. But the real problem in the labour market today is that a growing number of New Zealanders aren’t being paid fairly for the work they do, and the government is doing everything it can to make it harder for them to get ahead.

“The Prime Minister needs to be honest and open with New Zealanders about his employment law changes. They were already designed to drive down wages and conditions – now it sounds like they are set to make things even worse,” Andrew Little says.


24 comments on “Andrew Little: Law changes shaping up to be worse than first thought ”

  1. red blooded 1

    The ongoing attacks on working conditions and collective bargaining rights is intensifying as it was always going to if NZers let these bullies run out country for another three years. I only wish o could agree that these changes are worse than first thought – they just weren’t the first thought of the majority of voters.

    And we wonder about why we are becoming a low wage economy…

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      The owners of our industries don’t wonder. It’s what they paid for. Low wages, bigger profits. But it’s all for the best. Their profits will trickle down . . . into their family trusts.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        And offshore tax havens.

      • aerobubble 1.1.2

        No. What was the GFC? A leveraging collapse. Until Labour can pull its collective finger out and call the GFC for what it is, and explain why big bonuses are caused there is not going to be any more trust given to Labour, than Key.
        At least Key can’t deny how it all works, and so can lean left to gain voters. Labour will not earn the chair at the table by crying all the time.

        A boss is hired on their ability to produce profits, and since our tax system is geared to capital gain at the expense of organic growth, investment, productivity, consumer protection etc, its the employees, the products, its the service that gets hit when the bosses need to make savings. Why do we see Harvey Norman offering interest free loans, because selling debt is lucrative on top of selling over priced electronics.

        The profit flows can then be monetized, and leveraged to create huge paper wealth that commands ever greater salaries, all at the expense of investing in building infrastructure, building communities as employees have living wages.

        The problem is we have employed too many people to work in the finance sector and trade in what we used to get for free but now have to work to pay for. There’s only so much real value NZ can command, so by hiving off more to the finance sector to play with, and then leverage to the hilt, swamping the majority, means most get less of that value, and will continue to keep getting worse off, while a few, a very few, at the top get even more of the pie.

  2. AmaKiwi 2

    I have recently returned from David Cunliffe’s LEC meeting during which he spoke assertively about why he thinks you are the best person to lead the party now. I believe you will have the 100% support of David’s New Lynn team.

    On the other hand, who outside the caucus would support Robertson or Shearer? (Rumor tonight has it that Shearer is about to put his hat in the ring and his foot in his mouth.)

    I hope you will continue to use The Standard to alert us to urgent issues like this one. I am a long time Labour member, but The Standard is so much livelier than the party website I check here ten times more often than I check there.

  3. Pat O'Dea 3

    “I believe that although I retain broad support around the party, the time has come to step aside.
    Which is why, in withdrawing I am throwing my personal support behind Andrew Little’s bid for the leadership. I have enormous respect for Andrew and his integrity. I believe he is the right man for the job.
    In talking to him over recent days, I know he has a strong vision that is driven by Labour Party values.
    I believe Andrew will achieve greater cohesion across the caucus, and get the process of listening to New Zealanders underway quickly – both with voters and those hundreds of thousands who chose not to vote in the September election.”


    All hell will break loose if this gamble doesn’t pay off and the Right take over the leadership of the Labour Party.

    A lot is riding on Andrew Little’s shoulders to pull this off.

    The Left have had just too much bad news already to receive any more.

    It is good news that Andrew Little has the trust and support of David Cunliffe he will need it. That they are working closely together to get a victory for the Left bodes well for the future.

    They make a strong team. And Andrew Little as Leader and David Cunliffe as deputy should be enough to keep the Right Wingers in the Labour caucus at bay. Enough to make some of the necessary real changes to Labour Party policy and strategy to win in 2017.

    The first thing they must do is reach out to the wider Left, the Greens, Mana, as well as all the non aligned and unengaged working people to build a movement broad enough and big enough to turn back these attacks on workers rights.

    It can be done, we did it over schedule four mining. And remember working people who fight Left vote Left. Because it is only in struggle that people start to discern their place in society and look around to see who are their political friends and who are their political allies.

    Matt McCarten David Cunliffe’s chief of staff is a past master at building such movements, he should be kept on.

    • boldsirbrian 3.1

      @ Pat O’Dea (3)

      The first thing they must do is reach out to the wider Left, the Greens, Mana, as well as all ….

      Both Little and Parker have provided worrying signals that they will not reach out in the way you suggest. Little is clear that he wanted nothing to do with Mana, and provides no indication of the possibility of change. Parker is clear that his objective is to grow Labour, without referring to coalition partnerships.

      I do not know of Robertson’s views.

      I hope as the election progresses, that this issue may be clarified further. And the successful candidate will do exactly as you suggest.

      Mr. Botany (B.)

      • Scott1 3.1.1

        What is the point to reaching out to a party who’s support (for any leftist policy) you are guaranteed anyway? I don’t think that does much to protect workers rights.

        But there is a major benefit to not reaching out to them – you can be clear about the divisions, and allow voters to try to influence it by enthusiastically voting for one of the groups.

        No matter how divided it gets – in the end when it comes to votes in the parliament you can still count on all the usual suspects to vote right and the others to vote left.

        • Pat O'Dea


        • Draco T Bastard

          But there is a major benefit to not reaching out to them – you can be clear about the divisions, and allow voters to try to influence it by enthusiastically voting for one of the groups.

          That, IMO, is more likely to result in people not voting as those people are hearing from the largest supposedly left-wing party that they won’t be listened to anyway.

      • Sirenia 3.1.2

        Grant gets on very well with the Green MPs, as he does with most people (apart from Judith Collins and some of her colleagues). He works well with all sorts of groups to find common ground. Has a very inclusive style.

    • Te Reo Putake 3.2

      “Matt McCarten David Cunliffe’s chief of staff is a past master at building such movements, he should be kept on.”

      Jebus! Nearly snorted my muesli all over the keyboard. Seriously, Pat? Matt is a past master at fuck all. He has a consistent history of failure. Divide and be conquered would appear to be his motto. New Labour? Gone. The Alliance? Gone. Unite? Technically bankrupt under his leadership, back on track now he’s moved on. The Maori Party? Tory poodles. Mana? Gone. Labour? 25% and DC gone.

      • Pat O'Dea 3.2.1

        So who do you suggest?

        Someone else in the union movement, with a history and experienced in building up a mass movement able to oppose these changes?

        With a respected reputation?

        Someone with a well recognised public profile?

        Someone who will get a hearing in all the disparate groups of the Left to bring them together?

        • Pat O'Dea

          Seriously TRP, who instead of McCarten do you suggest could helm such a fightback to oppose these attacks on working people’s rights?

          As well as all the attributes listed above I think the likely candidate should have one more.

          In my opinion they need to be based in Auckland.

          The two candidates other than McCarten that come to mind, Robert Reid of the First Union and Gary Parsloe of the Maritime Union.

          Either of these bring various strengths to the role, Robert Reid is good but little known outside the trade union movement, but does have many good organisers working out of his office.

          Gary Parsloe is great and has a bigger public profile and though from a much smaller union with less organisers, is chair of the Auckland Combined unions grouping.

          I have nothing against these two, but for this task – I think that Little and Cunliffe best stick with the Chief of Staff who already has the job. And I don’t accept all the calumny that you have heaped on him. He also has the benefit of being readily available.

      • marty mars 3.2.2

        lol I think he shot JFK as well.

        Matt is one man, one man – all of the examples of failure (not a term I’d agree with or use) are not due to one man – they just aren’t.

  4. adam 4

    Flexibility – new buzz word, which means – STOP working people working collectively by any means necessary.

    And after a low wage economy is …

    Do you think they are not thinking about it – a crisis in the environment, a fearful population, a extremely fearful middle class, desperate to hold onto any power.

    Mmmm what could be a solution to working people causing a fuss, or wanting a fair share?

    You know it was better when the elites feared working people – you know they were better days.

  5. Marksman33 5

    Damn straight Adam.

  6. miravox 6

    “Law changes shaping up to be worse than first thought”

    The changes are only worse than first thought if the bit in 2008 when Key said he’d love to see wages drop was missed. If that wasn’t missed, the law changes are following on from previous attempts to destroy workers’ conditions and are not unexpected at all.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1


    • Tracey 6.2

      yup… have been steadily eroded since 2009 and now good faith definition is changing amongst others.

      where was this sense of urgency during the election, or were the lp too scared of standing up in case the “middle” didnt like it?

      sounds to me like little is saying this for the membership not for his, or lp, wider strategy, which almost never includes overt support for union membership these days.

      colour me suspicious

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        where was this sense of urgency during the election, or were the lp too scared of standing up in case the “middle” didnt like it?

        From what I can make out, large parts of the present LP caucus agree with National.

  7. coaster 7

    I personally think the flexibility(removal of breaks) will affect people more in the short term. Why do the media never pull jk up on his half truths, his comment on breakfast that a air traffic controller having a break at 10am when a plane is due to land as an example of why the law needs changing is rubbish, there is always room to move the timing of a break. These changes will be used by employers to reduce staff numbers. No one in the media has asked national how many jobs these changes will cost.

  8. Chris 8

    That’s great Little is coming out saying this stuff. Now all he needs to do is add a bit mongrel anger Aussie politician style and Labour’ll be onto a winner!

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