web analytics

Happy Labour Day

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, October 25th, 2021 - 14 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

We’ve written a bit about Labour Day over the years – see the archives for the origins, history, and importance of the day. Enjoying your weekend? Thank a unionist!

This Labour day is an especially important one.  Please remember our essential workers and if you have not already please get vaccinated.

14 comments on “Happy Labour Day ”

  1. As an aside, RNZ Concert is playing listeners' choices from 6am to midnight.

    Wonderful listening.

  2. Sacha 2

    Memories.

  3. Tricledrown 3

    Bring back Unions . I can't see why Unions can't connect with workers through social media.

    To many exploitative work places .Unions don't seem to have a strategy to become relative to the modern workplace.

    • chris T 3.1

      If I could make a suggestion.

      I have never actually belonged to one, but get their usefullness.

      I think if it were me I would do personal contact and chats over social media.

      Only because their emails are a bit spammy.

      Just a personal experience thing and you are actually asking for money. Make the effort to meet up

      • kejo 3.1.1

        Its a long time since I belonged to one too. Most of my employment being as a contractor but the need for unions has never escaped me. Try reading 'The Plimsoll Sensation by Nicolette Jones and understand the millitance [since subsided] of the Seamans Union. Cheers, Keith

    • McFlock 3.2

      Raise the Bar hospo union seems to be getting good traction in an industry regarded as hopeless as a membership pool. A lot of well-spent effort, there.

  4. kejo 4

    Unions. The people who brought us weekends.

    • Patricia Bremner 4.1

      Thank you Andrew Little for reinstating breaks, better pay, and the ability of 10 members to request to join a National body. And just putting work conditions and safety back on the table. Happy Worke’s Day Everyone.

  5. NZ Employers are still pretty miserable when you work Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays, very little thanks when you are salaried worker and work the above days. Just did it over the weekend as we are short staffed because of COVID, don't even get a thank you let alone any remuneration.

  6. mac1 6

    Samuel Parnell's speech. Last year I had the chance to act the part of Parnell who brought the concept of the 8 hour day to New Zealand. This is the speech he gave (w hich I hasten to add I wrote), at a ceremony in 1887 to celebrate and honour his efforts in 1840.

    "Well, thank you, ladies and gentleman.

    First I'd like to say that though I came from London I was raised by my mother and my father was a gentleman but I never knew him well enough to quite pick up on his accent.

    What I say today has obviously benefitted from the experience of hindsight. Had I known then what I know now may have resulted in a different campaign. Do we learn from the lessons of history? Because I must say that what I fought for in 1840 as a thirty year old has been largely lost over 47 years.

    I did my apprenticeship as a carpenter in London where I met with fellow workers and discussed politics and the social issues of the day. Life was so hard in the slums of London that at the age of 29 I decided to emigrate away to New Zealand. In London I was exposed to many ideas. Like Wellington here, sea ports expose us to new people and therefore new ideas. I lived through the European revolutions in 1830, and then in 1848. I was an idealistic young man back then.

    In the 1830s slavery for example was done away with back home in England. People's ideas and sense of social justice were changing.

    Those ideas came with me to Wellington.

    When I got here, labour was in great demand and my skills as a carpenter were in very short supply. I decided then that life had to be made fairer and more just. So I struck for the right of the eight hour day.

    I told the shipping agent, Mr Hunter, who wished to engage me. "We have twenty-four hours per day given us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleeping, and the remaining eight for recreation and in which for men to do what little things they want for themselves. I am ready to start to-morrow morning at eight o'clock, but it must be on these terms or none at all."

    I would meet ships coming in to Port Nicholson and tell the new men that they too should work for the eight hour day only, to be worked between 8 and 5 pm. It was agreed in October 1840 at a meeting that anyone agreeing to longer hours should be thrown into the harbour.

    In 1841 employers tried it on, saying men labouring on the Hutt Valley road would have to work longer hours. So they struck, and they won. We all won.

    You all know the story but the reason we won was because for a period of time the balance between the demand for labour and the supply of labour was in favour of the workers. The people of capital had to agree to our demands. There was little option. And so we prospered. We all prospered.

    Now, the balance has well and truly swung the other way. We have had wars, and a depression recently. The 48 hour week has become a sixty hour week again, eight hour working days have become ten or twelve hour days, all for a pittance in wages.

    I escaped the slums of London to see them re-created here again in Wellington. Houses are cold, and damp and unhealthy, and rents are very high.

    At the end of life there is no help save charity and that's often lacking in our community now. I am an old man at 77 years of age. I'm past work now, and I couldn't save enough on the pittance I got paid in later years. With no family, I must needs take people's charity.

    After we won the right to a fight hour working day, the government opened up the gates for immigration. Floods of people came in, borrowing money to do it, to be the new labour force and driving down the wages earned by working folk.

    I weep for the unsafe mines and farms, the danger of sawmills and the forests to the timber workers, the health of coal miners and the danger of our coasts and oceans to seamen and fisherfolk.

    Now we lock this poverty in by having a pool of permanent unemployed who keep the price of labour down, and the workers docile , working for contractors who treat them like slaves and for dangerously long and tiring hours.

    However, ladies and gentlemen, in this year of 1887 I sense a change in the air, even to these old nostrils. The ideas of my youth are now being talked about again by a new group of politicians.

    Even though this government has entrenched its rural rump well and truly on the seats of power with the 1881 country quota, yet the working class in the cities will again be fully represented in the corridors of power. And shortly.

    After a period of misrule and the balance being too much in favour of the owners of capital, there comes the time of the reformer, when people have had enough.

    History tells us this.

    The history of our country has yet to be written, but I'd venture this will happen soon enough.

    I know a young man, living just over Cook Strait in the Wairau, Lindsay Buick. He's a carpenter like I was, which is how I heard of him; and he has the talent for it.

    That's why I make this speech. To recall the history of this country that I had some small part in making, for which you do me too much honour today.

    I've heard many tales in my life of this country. I met a man In Canterbury who was brought with his family as a shepherd by Hugh Buchanan who used to be his laird back in Scotland. Buchanan bought a huge part of Bank's Peninsula and farmed it as the Kinloch estate. One day in a hot Nor'-Wester, the two were working sheep in the pens. The dogs had all gone off into the shade and weren't to be seen. Buchanan said to his shepherd, "Rin away after the sheep, Angus," Angus Kennedy said back, "I'll nay rin,. You can rin yoursel'!"

    That story illustrates what has become of New Zealand since 1840, where instead of decent working hours and conditions, a man is treated like a dog.

    I heard of another story about how migrants were treated in Canterbury. A few years ago, in Loburn north of Christchurch, a man spoke at a meeting called to address the problem of the incoming migrants described as the 'sweepings of the streets of Europe". This man, Thomas White, said that he was one of them, and by working hard after immigrating he had earned a little farm and had a few sheep. I saw his name in the 1881 Sheepowners' Census. He was doing all right. Like me he was an immigrant and he prospered.

    As some did. Others live lives of penury and harshness.

    New Zealand in 1840 was indeed a land of promise, of milk and honey as Thomas White had it described to him.

    Now, looking back, I'm not sure we've kept that promise. But the signs are changing. The last month's election has returned the old school. But with women getting the vote just four years ago things are bound to improve. Who knows where that might all lead us?

    And maybe us older folk might get some kind of assistance from the Government. After all, I paid my taxes all my working life. And maybe those big estates like the Kinloch estate, or the one at Cheviot, can be bought up by the government and ballotted out to decent folk needing land to farm animals like I do here in Karori.

    You honour me today. I hope you don't go and build a statue for me like they do for politicians and old soldiers. I'll be content with the statue that we will all have when we die.

    Just bury me up at Bolton Street. Maybe some of you will turn out for my funeral.

    And better, maybe some of you will continue on with this work of reform for the betterment of all our people".

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Govt keeps AM on the air in Northland
    Minister of Broadcasting and Media Willie Jackson and Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty today announced a $1.48 million package to fund the repair and replacement of three transmission masts in Northland to ensure AM radio can stay on air in the region. “This funding will secure the reinstatement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Multi million dollar package to tackle retail crime and reoffending
    A multi million dollar package to tackle retail crime and reoffending is the most significant crime prevention financial package in recent memory  New fog cannon subsidy scheme set up. Government to provide $4000 for all small shops and dairies in New Zealand who want a fog cannon installed, with shops ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Funding boost to support NZ’s game development industry
    New Zealand’s game developers will receive an immediate funding boost to help support the growth of local studios beyond the current Dunedin centre. “New Zealand’s game development sector has been rapidly growing. The latest data from the New Zealand Game Developers Association shows the total revenue for the industry is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Government takes action on pay parity for healthcare workers
    Thousands of frontline community health workers – including nurses in aged-care facilities - are in for a pay rise as the Labour Government takes action on pay parity in the health sector. “I’m pleased to announce that Cabinet has agreed to on-going funding of $200 million a year so that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • World’s first algae-based local anaesthetic another step closer to reality
    A partnership between the Government and the Cawthron Institute has delivered a breakthrough in the production of a potent microalgal ingredient for the world’s first algae-based pain medication, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced.  “Scientists at Cawthron Institute in Nelson have developed a reliable and commercially scalable method for producing neosaxitoxin, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri and the Crown sign Agreement in Principle| Ka waitohu a Ngāti Mutunga o...
    Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri and the Crown have signed an Agreement in Principle marking a significant milestone towards the settlement of their historical Treaty of Waitangi claims. Ngāti Mutunga are based on Wharekauri/Chatham Islands and are the second of two iwi/imi to reach agreement with the Crown. “Today’s signing follows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further ACC reforms introduced to Parliament
    New reporting requirements on access to ACC Earlier access to minimum rate of compensation Refinement to ACC purpose to focus on supporting all eligible injured people to access ACC The Accident Compensation (Access Reporting and Other Matters) Amendment Bill which aims to improve access to ACC for all injured people, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government supports Chatham Islands' resilience
    The Government is supporting the Chatham Islands’ resilience to extreme weather events and natural hazards through a grant to secure safe drinking water, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty said. “Many households in the Chatham Islands lack easy access to drinking water and have been forced to get water to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Chief Coroner appointed
    Coroner Anna Tutton has been appointed as the new Chief Coroner, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Anna Tutton was appointed as a Coroner in January 2015, based in Christchurch, and as Deputy Chief Coroner in 2020.  After the previous Chief Coroner, Judge Deborah Marshall, retired Ms Tutton took on the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • DIRA Amendment Bill passes third reading
    The Government has passed an Amendment Bill today to support Fonterra’s move to a new capital structure and the continued success of New Zealand’s dairy industry. The Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructuring) Amendment Bill will allow the Fonterra co-operative to make changes to its capital structure, as well as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister Whaitiri to attend Food Ministers’ Meeting with Australian counterparts
    Minister for Food Safety Meka Whaitiri will attend the Fourth Australia and New Zealand Food Ministers’ Meeting in Melbourne on Friday. It will be the first time the meeting has been held in person since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted international travel. “The Food Ministers’ Meeting sets the policy direction for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Kiwibank parent appoints directors
    David McLean and Sir Brian Roche have been appointed as the first two directors of the newly incorporated Kiwi Group Capital Limited (KCG), the parent company of Kiwibank. In August, the Government acquired 100 percent of Kiwi Group Holdings, which also operates New Zealand Home Loans, from NZ Post, ACC ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Defence Ministers meet in Cambodia
    Minister of Defence Peeni Henare attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. “The first face to face meeting of the ADMM-Plus members is an opportunity for me to highlight New Zealand’s position on key regional security matters,” Peeni Henare said.  “In ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pay equity extended to thousands more social workers
    The Government will extend pay equity to all community and iwi organisations who employ social workers and receive funding from the Crown, Minister for Women Jan Tinetti announced today. We expect this will improve the lives of approximately 4,600 social workers. “This extension means thousands more social workers will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Taskforce set up to protect construction industry from product shortages & delays
    New ‘Critical Materials Taskforce’ will trouble shoot building materials shortages Focus on maximising productivity & cushioning businesses from supply chain risks Successful ‘Plasterboard Taskforce’ reshaped to include broader sector knowledge and expertise Will provide guidance, data and information to support builders, designers and business owners A new Critical Materials Taskforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bigger ED, more theatres and more beds in new Whangārei Hospital
    A new emergency department with three times more space will be part of the first stage of a two-stage project to build a new hospital for Whangārei and Northland. The Government has today confirmed funding for stage one of the new hospital – an acute services building and a child-health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Finnish PM to visit New Zealand
    Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, accompanied by Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari and a business delegation will visit New Zealand next week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The two leaders will meet in Auckland. “New Zealand and Finland are natural partners. We share similar approaches ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New recreational rules to support hāpuku and bass fisheries
    The daily limits on recreationally caught hāpuku (also known as groper) and bass will be lowered to a total of two per person in some areas, with a new accumulation limit of three per person on multi-day trips. Oceans and Fisheries Minister, David Parker said the rule changes would take ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature enabling Mātāuranga Māori
    Mātāuranga Māori is at the heart of the latest tranche of Jobs for Nature projects set to promote biodiversity and reduce impacts of climate change on Māori land, Minister of Conservation Poto Williams says. Project work will include the creation of an ecological corridor in Tairāwhiti, protecting 60 hectares of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supporting resilient shipping infrastructure in Vanuatu
    The Government has announced further support to Vanuatu to assist in constructing climate-resilient wharves as part of the Vanuatu Inter-Island Shipping Support Project (VISSP). “Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to supporting the economic recovery of our Pacific region in a way that continues to provide growth and supports climate resilience,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government welcomes High Court ruling on climate case
    The High Court has today confirmed the legality of the advice provided by the Climate Change Commission (the Commision) to inform New Zealand’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) and the first three emissions budgets.  Minister of Climate Change James Shaw says New Zealanders can have confidence in the Commission and of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government introduces changes to mining Act with stronger environmental focus
    ·         Crown Minerals Act will no longer actively “promote” prospecting, exploration, and mining of Crown-owned minerals ·         Will create more certainty around engagement between industry, iwi and hapū. The Government is proposing changes to modernise the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (CMA) to support more environmentally conscious management of resources, says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to Building Nations 2050 conference
    Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Good morning and thank you, Jack, for the introduction. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge Infrastructure New Zealand Chair, Margaret Devlin and all the sponsors and organisers of this event for bringing us together in ‘Building Nations 2050’. I would also like to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Better natural hazard information for home buyers
    Associate Minister of Local Government Kieran McAnulty has today introduced legislation to empower councils to share better information about natural hazards with the public. The Local Government Official Information Amendment (LGOIMA) Bill will make it easier for Councils to share clear and concise information in Land Information Memorandum (LIM) reports. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand welcomes visiting WTO Director General
    The World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala visits New Zealand this week. Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor said the WTO was essential to New Zealand as a small export-dependent trading nation.  “New Zealand’s economic security depends on our ability to trade. Our goods exports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Faster, cheaper, better resource management law given first reading
    New laws that will deliver a faster, cheaper, and better resource management system had their first reading in the House today. The Spatial Planning (SP) and the Natural and Built Environment (NBE) Bills, which were introduced last week, will replace the 30-year-old Resource Management Act (RMA). Environment Minister David Parker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Minister Sio to meet new Vanuatu PM
    Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio travels to Vanuatu today, to meet with the new Government led by Prime Minister Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau and to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the Pacific Community (SPC) Ministerial Conference being hosted in Port Vila. Minister Sio will have a number of bilateral meetings with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Driving ahead with the Clean Car Standard
    Following discussions with vehicle importers, the Government has confirmed the Clean Car Standard will be phased in from 1 December 2022, significantly reducing the CO2 emissions of light vehicles in New Zealand, announced Transport Minister Michael Wood. “Emissions from our light vehicle fleet are the single largest source of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to Constitutional Kōrero conference
    Our Evolving Sense of Nationhood – Me Anga Whakamua Indigenous Futures and New Zealand’s Constitution Tuia ki runga, Tuia ki raro, Tuia te here tangata, Mai i te wheiao ki te ao mārama Ka rongo te pō ka rongo te āo! Tīhei Mauri Ora! Kei ngā miro o te ao ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Rental sector changes to regulate residential property managers, clear up meth confusion and ease pr...
    A suite of measures to improve the lives of renters and landlords has been announced by Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods as the Government makes more progress on reform of the rental sector. “Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand and these measures will result in regulated oversight of residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Further sanctions on the political and economic elites of Russia and Belarus
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced further sanctions on members of the inner circles of governments in Russia and Belarus, as part of the ongoing response to the war in Ukraine. “Aotearoa New Zealand first moved against the powerful and wealthy in Russia with sanctions on political and economic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Another step towards improved supermarket competition
    The Bill to trigger an unprecedented shake-up of the grocery sector and deliver New Zealanders a fairer deal at the checkout and help tackle cost of living pressures is ready for its first reading at Parliament. “The duopoly has now been given plenty of warning. If they fail to adequately ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Black Ferns to be celebrated at Parliament
    A public event and celebration will be held on Parliament’s lawn on December 13 to celebrate our Rugby World Cup winning Black Ferns. “The Black Ferns’ triumph at Eden Park is one of New Zealand’s greatest sporting moments,” Grant Robertson said. “They are extraordinary athletes, exceptional people and proud New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Autism Guideline released by Ministry
    The release of the latest edition of the Aotearoa New Zealand Autism Guideline – He Waka Huia Takiwātanga Rau has been welcomed by Minister for Disability Issues Poto Williams today. The Guideline provides an opportunity to better understand and communicate best practices for supporting autistic people and their families and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Aotearoa Refugee Hui
    Nga mihi nui ki a koutou, Welcome to the Parliament, your Parliament. It is great to see the community here in such numbers, and I am happy to be here with my parliamentary colleagues to listen and take part in the discussions today. I particularly want to acknowledge Ibrahim Omer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Global climate talks underline need for domestic action
    Minister of Climate Change James Shaw marked the end of COP27 negotiations in Egypt by saying it was now crunch time for counties to step up and take urgent action at home. “Even though we have these international negotiations every year, our focus must always be on what we do ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Defence Minister visits Ukraine and Poland
    Defence Minister Peeni Henare has visited Ukraine and Poland, holding talks with his Ministerial counterparts. During the talks Minister Henare reaffirmed New Zealand’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian defence against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion.   The visit  was a further demonstration of New Zealand’s ongoing support to the people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Stuart Nash to attend OECD meetings
    Small Business Minister Stuart Nash will travel to Paris today to attend small business meetings with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Stuart Nash will chair the OECD’s Digital for SMEs (D4SME) Steering Group meeting and the 4th Roundtable of the OECD D4SME Global Initiative. “The OECD’s Digital ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Human Rights Act enhanced to protect religious communities
    The Government will amend the law to make sure religious communities feel safe and welcome in New Zealand. After extensive consultation, with more than 19,000 submissions on six proposals, the Government will make one change to address incitement towards religious communities while asking for further work to be done alongside ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Defence Minister meets with UK counterpart and visits NZDF personnel
    Minister of Defence Peeni Henare held talks in the UK today with his counterpart, Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace.   The Ministers reiterated the importance of our defence relationship, and reflected on the strong historical and cultural ties between the United Kingdom and New Zealand.   Together, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago