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Flip Flop isn’t just another word for a Jandal

Written By: - Date published: 7:08 am, June 9th, 2015 - 69 comments
Categories: capitalism, cost of living, health and safety, jobs, workers' rights - Tags:


In breaking news the Prime Minister of New Zealand makes a shocking announcement

“There is “no question” that quarries need tighter health and safety regulation, Mr Key said today.”

THIS is why he is PM people, his mental acuity, his insight, his ability to see things before they happen!  11 June 2015

From the “You couldn’t make this up” file

Yesterday the PM said this about workplace safety (without any sense of urgency in his voice)

…there isn’t a particular caucus member or a particular small group of people that are driving this,” though he did not mention Collins by name.

There was wide-ranging feedback from the community about the bill, which was drafted to tighten workplace health and safety law in response to reports into the Pike River disaster.

Key said the Government wanted to ensure the law improved health and safety in the workplace, but did not want to make it too hard or expensive to follow. ..

But he ducked a question about whether the Government would send new amendments to the select committee to consider before its new report-back date in July.

Then, later in the day when a worker was buried beneath a slip in a quarry (the 3rd industry death in 2 months) in Christchurch, presumed dead, the Prime Minister of New Zealand reportedly

… has signalled tighter safety measures after a man was buried in a Canterbury quarry slip – likely the industry’s third fatal accident in two months. ”

First, a toddler may have died in part because of the appalling living conditions of the home of which the Landlord was New Zealanders, the Prime Minister if you like.  Despite years of people pointing out such deficiencies in the housing stock it took a widely reported death of a toddler to get the Government to act.

Second, a worker died in a quarry accident.

This government is running NZ like an Insurance company, based on actuarial analysis and cost/benefit analysis and return to shareholders (in NZ’s case for shareholders read those with businesses benefiting from National Party policy and vice versa)

Deaths, or illness or hardship are just numbers in a column. How many deaths before the balance tips?

We are watching the death of the social responsibility of a Government to its people. It may already be over.

UPDATE: courtesy of Charles

“Hmm, do I want to die right now by doing this dangerous thing in an unsafe workplace, even though I’m on a ninety-day trial and don’t want to get fired as a result of refusing to die that would tickle the control fantasies of my boss, and the best I can look forward to at home is that the kids are at an age that they are really doing my head in… or do I want to die in fifteen years from the health issues associated with my existing government-owned leaky mould-ridden home? Hmmm. I suspose there is time for beer if i stay alive. Ok, I choose die later on.” Time elasped… 15 seconds. Brain cells used… One.


69 comments on “Flip Flop isn’t just another word for a Jandal ”

  1. vto 1

    Very accurately observed…

    and now backed up with dead people

    John Key has completely and utterly failed at being a leader of a community

    • thatguynz 1.1

      He hasn’t failed at all mate – it’s just that you and I aren’t members of the particularly “community” that he is in place to “lead”..

      • Macro 1.1.1

        So totally true. 🙁
        Key and his cronies have never heard of social justice and wouldn’t know what it was even if they fell over it.

    • gsays 1.2

      hi vto, the way i see it, our pm is not a leaders backside.
      he is a manager and nothing else.
      managing to stay on the right side of the polling and manging to change his mind just after the public has.

      there is a complete lack of vision and an idea of where we are headed.

  2. Incognito 2

    Ultimately, it is our social responsibility to our fellow Kiwis, to ourselves, to make sure we’re safe – at home and at work – and live and die with dignity.

    • vto 2.1

      Sure, our social responsibility which we have charged our representatives, the government, to deal with correctly.

      It is this exact point where this government is derelict and shows how little they care for workers who die at their job. The evidence is clear.

      Concentrate on the point at issue.

      • Incognito 2.1.1

        I disagree.

        What do you mean by “the government”? National and its coalition partners or Cabinet? Or do you mean “Parliament”? In any case, I have not relinquished my social responsibility to anyone and certainly not to the current bunch, which I also strongly disagree with most of the time (but not always).

        What do you mean by “correctly”? It implies a right & wrong, which just simplifies things enormously and polarises any discussion or debate.

        Nobody has to put up to an unsafe workplace but some choose to – that’s the issue, complex as it is.

        • Tracey

          Government is not parliament.

          Parliament is the collection of all elected MPs.

          Government is the group of MPs with “power” to bring about chnage and allocate funding to implementing/implemented policies. (I know you know all this but not everyone gets the distinctions)

          My post is about priorities of a government. $27m on a flag debate we don’t even know we wanted. How could that be spent? Worksafe inspectors for the high fatality industries?

          Of course we all have an obligation toward each other, but when people need work they will be less likely to ask questions about whether what they are being asked to do is safe for them.

        • dukeofurl

          A typical chair warmers comment. Incog!

          I can just see you on the farm/quarry/forestry work site , in your best Boston Brahmin accent.
          Ah dont Choooose to put maahself in that daangerooous situaaation.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Nobody has to put up to an unsafe workplace but some choose to – that’s the issue, complex as it is.

          And people have to work at those unsafe workplaces else lose their job and everything else that they own as well. It is because of this that we need regulations forcing employers to be socially responsible.

          • b waghorn

            Bang on the closest I’ve been to dying on the job was the first day on a new job that I needed badly . I had told the amateur logger of a boss what I thought was needed to do it safely but he reckoned I’d be right and buggered off , I ended up with two broken bones that day.

      • Chooky 2.1.2

        the Public Service has been slashed and gone with it has been Safety Inspectors, safety advice, safety education and government accountability…in so many areas…with proper funding they should be visiting every site regularly

        only so much can be left to individual workers for their safety and employers for safety…there has to also be governmental oversight and accountability

        this jonkey nact government is wilfully negligent

        • Tracey

          apparently they need less regulation not more. You know, to “do the right thing” by their employees


    • tracey 2.2

      ” it is our social responsibility to our fellow Kiwis, to ourselves, to make sure we’re safe – at home and at work”

      which includes employers

  3. Gerald 3

    For how much longer must worker safety be second to profit and National Party internal politics?

    • vto 3.1

      Worker’s lives will be less important than money for as long as the average Key-supporter keeps their muppet head in the sand – poorly thinking, poorly priorities, poorly men and women, are the National Party supporters…. look at them – it is they who continue this

  4. Charles 4

    “…but did not want to make it too hard or expensive to follow…”

    Too hard and expensive for who? Fairly easy and fast cost-benefit analysis for the person who is about to die to do, I’d say, even if they lived in a rented home that was killing them slowly.

    “Hmm, do I want to die right now by doing this dangerous thing in an unsafe workplace, even though I’m on a ninety-day trial and don’t want to get fired as a result of refusing to die that would tickle the control fantasies of my boss, and the best I can look forward to at home is that the kids are at an age that they are really doing my head in… or do I want to die in fifteen years from the health issues associated with my existing government-owned leaky mould-ridden home? Hmmm. I suspose there is time for beer if i stay alive. Ok, I choose die later on.” Time elasped… 15 seconds. Brain cells used… One.

    You see, Key? EASY. CHEAP – to your mates the employers, too. It’ll be expensive to Key, politically, and I suspect that’s all he’s ever concerned about.

  5. The real problem is that Key has lost control of his caucus. And Judith Collins doesn’t much care how many kiwi workers die before she gets Key’s job. Always worth remembering that her household makes money out of the Chinese economy, where tens of thousands of workers die every year. For Collins, this is business as usual.

  6. Ed 6

    The article does a disservice to insurance and the actuarial profession. Consideration of pooled risk does involve issues such as equity, the value of life, and the need for long term service. Hence the Nats dislike of the Cullen Fund – its not sufficiently short term. AMP’s “we’ll be there”slogan may represent big business, but it is certainly a contrast to National party actions in government. Its like claiming that all politicians are heartless merchant bankers, clipping the ticket on the work of everyone else for the sole benefit of themselves and their supporters. It may be easier for Wellington electorates with large numbers of public sector workers to identify such psychopaths than Auckland electorates, but that does not mean that all Auckland voters sympathise with such candidates . . .

    • tracey 6.1

      does involve issues such as equity, the value of life, and the need for long term service.

      Yes,except the article refers to a cost/benefit analysis which includes the things you refer to.

      Hence the famous insurance case where it was revealed that the cost of recalling cars and replacing the $11 per car part was higher than paying out on the number thought to die or be injured from any accident. So they didn’t do a recall. They valued the human life in their spreadsheets.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        And then after the faulty item had actually caused deaths and was proved to have caused those deaths they didn’t pay out what they’d estimated for the deaths in their benefit/cost analysis.

        • dukeofurl

          Its was the Ford Pinto, while it had some problems

          Some others have said the numbers of deaths was around 27, they sold 2 million, and quality was comparable to other sized cars.

  7. Dave 7

    I wonder what standing the Meekirk decision has these days. The Meekirk decision was a ruling by Justice O’Leary in the Auckland District Court around 1951 that reinforced the legal right of a worker to refuse to work in conditions her thought to be unsafe EVEN IF THE WORK HAD BEEN DECLARED SAFE BY AN EXPERT without fear of suspension or dismissal from an employer whose priorities were always likely to be different. The ruling stated that if a worker believed an activity to be unsafe, it was. Not 100% on finer details but it was Justice (maybe chief justice) O’Leary and the Waterside Union took the case t the court.

    • tracey 7.1

      Do you mean this?

      “the government and employers, however, received a slap in the face when the chief justice of New Zealand, Sir Humphrey O’Leary, appointed to chair a special tribunal on the Mountpark dispute, ruled in February 1948 that the ship’s hatches had not been safe to open and that the company had not been justified in dismissing the wharfies. He also said that the workers should be paid for the work they had lost during the dismissal period”


    • tracey 7.2

      Dave, I can’t find that decision but while searching for it I found this fascinating article about Arbitration, and more specifically waterside workers. It quotes from interviews with those who worked the wharves. There is a perception that waterside workers were all thieves and/or thugs. When you read this article you might wonder why they all weren’t.


      • John Shears 7.2.1

        Thanks Tracey, Excellent reference material.
        Auckland port seemed to be well behind the rest of NZ in my brief
        quick scan of the article.
        The final argument that caused the 1951 strike was about the rate and conditions to unload a shipment of Lampblack in Wellington
        as I recall.

        • Tracey

          There was a decision from Arbitration NZ stating all workers should get a 15% pay increase. BUT the Port only wanted to give 9% to their workers. In a nutshell

  8. tricledrown 8

    When their are more deaths in the workplace than their are murders its time to prosecute this negligence in the same manner manslaughter and murder charges should be brought against employers.
    The death rate in the work place would drop overnight.
    Industries with high risks should be regularly monitored.
    National have neglected safety on their watch,if this were a child neglected who died National would be demanding tougher laws and prosecution.
    But because these employers are their mates National turn a blind eye!

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      National have neglected safety on their watch,if this were a child neglected who died National would be demanding tougher laws and prosecution.

      Except for the fact that they’re not…

      Oh, wait, it was them that was neglectful.

  9. tricledrown 9

    When their are more deaths in the workplace than their are murders its time to prosecute this negligence in the same manner manslaughter and murder charges should be brought against employers.
    The death rate in the work place would drop overnight.
    Industries with high risks should be regularly monitored.
    National have neglected safety on their watch,if this were a child neglected who died National would be demanding tougher laws and prosecution.
    But because these employers are their mates National turn a blind eye!

  10. One Anonymous Bloke 10

    National can easily improve worker safety by working with the other political parties and accepting that some of its members will abstain or vote no.

    If the wider party cares about public safety more than it does Judith Collins’ political ambitions, that is.

  11. M Scott 11

    A slight digression, but do readers know that during the 1951 watersiders’ strike, it was illegal for a member of the public to buy a warfie’s child an icecream?

    • Tracey 11.1

      please quote the Act and section for us.

    • M Scott is quite correct. Giving aid to the locked out wharfies or their families was made illegal by the introduction of emergency regulations.

      • Tracey 11.2.1

        i know but wanted the act and sections cos no one will believe it.

      • Anne 11.2.2

        Yes, I recall my father talking about it. From memory it was illegal to associate with a wharfie in any way. It was Orwellian stuff. Sid Holland was the prime minuster and he looked a bit of thug himself.

        Sid Holland

        • te reo putake

          Talking of looks, just had a squizz at some of the 51 Queen St riot photos. Amazing how skinny everyone looks, including the coppers. Obviously, the austere aftermath of WW2 was still in effect, but its clear two generations of mass consumerism have lifted the average weight of Kiwi’s by a significant amount.

          • Tracey

            Even to day people misrepresent the dispute by demonising the workers and the Union when there is sufficient evidence that the employer was hard, cold, deceptive and wanting even more profit without sharing than they already had. These were OOM times remember… and they still didnt want to share the good times with a workforce which was physically grueling and conditions which were detrimental to health.


    • Tracey 11.3

      “Waterfront Strike Emergency Regulations 1951
      4 Every person commits an offence against these regulations who —
      (a) Is a party to a declared strike; or
      (b) Encourages or procures a declared strike or the continuance of a declared strike; or
      (c) Incites any person or any class or person or persons in general to be or to continue to be a party or parties to a declared strike; or
      (d) Prints or publishes any statement, advertisement, or other matter that constitutes an offence against these regulations, or that is intended or likely to encourage, procure, incite, aid or abet a declared strike or the continuance of a declared strike or that is a report of any such statement made by any other person.
      (1) Every person commits an offence against these regulations who —
      (a) Carries or displays, or drives or causes to be driven any vehicle carrying or displaying, or affixes in any place where it is in sight of any other person, any banner, placard, sign or other thing which contains any words to which this regulation applies; or
      (b) Writes or prints or displays, or causes to be written or printed or displayed, on any vehicle, wall, fence, erection, road, street, or footway, or otherwise within sight of any other person, any words to which this regulation applies.
      (2) This regulation applies to —
      (a) Any words counselling, procuring, or inducing any person to do any act to which regulation 12 hereof applies.
      (b) Any threatening, intimidatory, offensive, or insulting words in relation to any person or persons or class or classes or persons in respect of his or their refusal or failure to do any act to which regulation 12 hereof applies.
      (3) Every person who commits an offence under this regulation may be arrested without warrant by any constable.
      (4) Every vehicle, banner, placard, sign, or other thing, or any written or printed matter in respect of which an offence under this regulation is committed may be seized by any constable.”

  12. Barbara 12

    How ironical that the poor sod who was buried under the tonnes of rock at the quarry was the director and boss of the company – not one of the workers – maybe the poor deceased person should have taken the initiative and set up safer work place laws, like any decent boss would, for his staff – my sympathies to his family on their loss and I mean that seriously.

  13. RedLogix 13

    Right now I’m working at an Australian mine site where at any one time they have about 200 people working. Some of it relatively dangerous work, all of it with the potential for harm.

    And I have to say they do take safety very, very seriously. Their bottom line is “If we cannot mine it safely – we will not mine it.” Safety is absolutely at the top of the agenda.

    Some of it is a bit over the top – and everyone understands this. Most organisation struggle to find the right balance between procedural safety and real safety. But overall I’ve found most Aussie workplaces are much better than in NZ.

    • felix 13.1

      “If we cannot mine it safely – we will not mine it.”

      As opposed to finding a “balance between safety and cost”, which is what I just heard John Key advocating on the radio.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1.1

        John Key commits manslaughter every day he goes to work.

      • Tracey 13.1.2

        which is what you expect an Actuarist to say… and in Key’s case he means if the cost is too high (on his measure or the business owner’s measure) to ensure safety it makes no sense to do it.

    • Tracey 13.2

      Sadly, not in all Aussie mines. My cousin has worked in Aussie mines for over 25 years and he recently told me the various ways they dealw ith people who question things being done contrary to guidelines. These safety guidelines are hnd on the wall of meetings where they are openly ignored. Now he is older, he speaks out and says things like

      “So, to be clear, you want us to do X, y and Z seen though the standards on the wall (He points) say that won’t be the safe way?”

      He said that what management at the last 3 mines he has worked do to discourage people speaking out is move those speaking out from driving the BIG machines to harder manual work. As a result of most of those speaking out being older, those BIG machines are being driven by younger people who don’t have experience and who do not know how the machines work.

      He claims that as a young guy working his way up through the mines he had to learn how the machines work, how to fix them etc… Not so now.

      He is working in Western Australia

      • RedLogix 13.2.1

        I’m sure both of our experiences are true Tracey.

        As I suggested above – most organisations struggle to find the correct balance between procedural safety – the inductions, the risk assessments, JSEA’s the paper-work and box ticking – and real safety which comes from a combination of experience, judgement and an authentic commitment to doing it right that comes from the top.

        Experienced workers often feel conflicted between these two aspects of the process – yet both are necessary.

        It’s an industry where people are moving all the time, and any ‘squeezer’ (safety officer) will tell you that about 10% of new people on site bring with them the ‘muppet factor’ … ie they are accidents waiting to happen. So companies put in place all this procedural stuff to try and slow down the rate at which they hurt themselves before they get experienced enough not to.

        And yes it is a dangerous business. Last year a guy was drowned underground in site not too far from where I was. He was cleaning out a sump and got sucked into it. His mates couldn’t get him out. Sometime later I was in town on a day off and decided to get a haircut. I was first in the door at 9am and the lass mentioned I was her first customer since taking six weeks off.

        Turned out it was her partner. And it happened on his last shift ever- they had planned to move up to Darwin and do something completely different.

        • Tracey

          Sorry, wasn’t trying to suggest yours was not accurate, just that, as in all things, there are good employers and bad… Just in some industries the consequences of a bad employer can be physical/fatal.

  14. Iron Sky 14


    • Tracey 14.1

      hehehehehe… seems the right isn’t reading this OR doesn’t know the term cos someone would have screeched Godwin!


  15. Observer (Tokoroa) 15

    … jandal or jackboot

    I do not necessarily think John Key has a normal set of empathetic responses within his makeup.

    Just think of the constant entrapment like behaviour towards a cafe waitress whose hair he liked to molest repeatedly. He had not a single pang of the merest thought about her. She was just for usage.

    Similar with the girls on the street – no idea that he was playing with someones child.

    Look also at his close friends – Cameron Slater, John Banks. Rodney Hide, Ms Collins, Paula Bennett, Hekia Parata, Ms Tolley as a sample. All very similar personalities. Don’t lift people up. Kick them down.

    Jackboot pollies. Ripping ordinary people (and the educated) apart while behaving narcissistically and strangely.

  16. Observer (Tokoroa) 16



  17. Observer (Tokoroa) 17

    Hi Tracey

    From its Foundation, Berkeley has always valued “principle”. Your writings show that you do too.

    Politics and Democracy it seems to me, actually rely on the touchstones of honesty and decency, fairness and sharing, and equal opportunity.

    John Key has given us an expanded Casino with expanded fairy lights. Not that many of us wanted an expanded gambling den.

    He has not given us honesty and decency; fairness and sharing; or equality of opportunity. Nor have those people who swing on his coat tails.

    Which is to say, he has not given us a Democracy. He has done a lot to destroy the very concept and even the memory of Democracy.

    I hope he and his followers have a fun time in their big den. Mere children playing expensive “snakes and ladders”.

    • tracey 17.1

      Another astute observation of the “State of Denmark” Observer. Your moniker is spot on.

      BTW when I was a child I had an imaginary friend who was from Tokoroa. My Dad always pressed me about her, so I had to give her a hometown and I chose Tokoroa. She came to “stay” with me from time to time. Her name was Debbie Wilson. One day we were traveling through Tokoroa on the way to Feilding and my dad suggested we stop in and visit Debbie and her family. I had to think quickly and said they were spending their holiday caravaning. I was 6.

  18. Observer (Tokoroa) 18


    I started reading your Tokoroa cameo with a smile but you broadened and unfolded the story so well; word by paragraph. To the extent that i was soon in full laughter mode.

    I like being entertained Tracey. So, as they say in the Classics, “please do it again !

    I have for rather a long time thought there is very little difference between adults and children. So I loved the way you rose to your full 6yr old stature and bundled your skeptical adult family into an un-arguable cul de sac. Informing them of the travel plans of the Wilson family and their perfect mobile housing.

    I can recall a niece of your same age informing me of how all the houses got to be built in her town – Palmerston Otago. A little town. How come Louise, I asked. She replied, well first there was Adam and Eve and after that came the Jennings who made all the houses for the people.

    You see, 6 yr old girls, always provide solutions to problems as best they can. Adults leave endless loose ends, violent accidents, assorted absurdities and much worse.

    Our present Government is a Rowan Atkinson of stuff ups and weird solutions. The PM is of course, the laughing stock of the political world. Then there is the profoundly imprecise Silly Billy.

    But leaving Berkeley aside Tracey, I think the neatest lesson I ever had in decency was a Katherine Mansfield masterpiece called “The Dolls House”. I marvel at her genius.

    You have a similar touch. And the most successful builders in Toke happens to be the Wilson family. Fact.

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