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Key delivers a Christmas kicking for workers

Written By: - Date published: 2:35 pm, December 19th, 2008 - 52 comments
Categories: national/act government, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

john-firedWe always said that a National/ACT government would be anti-worker but I’m surprised by how blatant they are being about it. In a series of hasty, secretive laws, they’ve put up taxes on workers, cut their Kiwisaver, and removed their work rights for the first 90 days of employment. Now, they have officially dropped the goal of full employment.

The Government’s Policy Targets Agreement with the Reserve Bank contains a statement of the Government’s economic policy. Formerly it read:

The objective of the Government’s economic policy is to promote sustainable and balanced economic development in order to create full employment, higher real incomes and a more equitable distribution of incomes. Price stability plays an important part in supporting the achievement of wider economic and social objectives.

National/ACT has changed that to:

The Government’s economic objective is to promote a growing, open and competitive economy as the best means of delivering permanently higher incomes and living standards for New Zealanders.  Price stability plays an important part in supporting this objective.

Spot what’s missing? Yup. National/ACT has removed the commitment to full employment and equitable distribution of income. With their tax increases for middle incomes and tax cuts for the rich, removal of work rights, and scrapping of job-intensive investment in home insulation, they have already started on a path that will see the rich get richer while the rest of us get poorer and unemployment goes up. Expect them to do worse in the coming years. Merry Christmas.

52 comments on “Key delivers a Christmas kicking for workers ”

  1. Peter Burns 1

    Come on stop playing the blame game.

  2. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 2

    Diddums – we won you lost, now we have to deal with the mess Cullen left us with. Equitable sucks, why should hard workers, entrupaneurs be as well off as the lazy bums?
    Full employment is a Utoipian idea, unless of course we get work for the dole in again, then we can say they are working:)

  3. higherstandard 3


    Is that the royal variety or is we now “The Standard” which no-one is allowed to address on pain of summary eviction?

    …….oh and your post is the usual bombastic cak we’ve come to expect.

    I for one am quite happy with the government’s statement, remember though it’s just a statement and is as meaningfull/less as any broad statement that issues out of Wellington.

    [lprent: You know the answer for that. No-one speaks on my behalf except with prior agreement. The only people who can presume on my behalf are some family (amazing how that conditioning sticks) and Lyn. You can assume that whatever you’re talking about doesn’t have TS connection unless it is in the About or Policy]

  4. Peter J. We’ve had full employment for the last four years. In a modern economy, where there is always some ‘churn’ from jobs appearing an disappearing, the economists regard full employment as 3-3.5%.

    And Peter J -equitable means ‘fair’, not ‘equal’. Fairness sucks?

    Peter B. What are you talking about? What blame game? I am criticising National/ACT for the policy choices they have made. They are their choices, there are other options, they are responsible for the consequences of their choices.

  5. HS. You used to be able to put together arguments. Why don’t you explain why my post is ‘cak’ rather than throwing your own around? Why don’t you explan why you think the statement is good?

    There is more than one writer on The Standard. More than one of us warned of the intentions of National/ACT towards workers… hence ‘we’.. but continue focusing on the irrevelent, HS. It shows us all the depths of your thinking.

  6. roger nome 6

    Steve – you’re trying to hold a rational debate with dad?

  7. higherstandard 7

    I applied a similar yardstick of ‘cakidity’ to you to that which you apply to anything out of National/Act.

    And in terms of focussing on the irrelevant I tend not to focus on your posts too much anymore.

  8. roger nome 8

    HS – You’re capable of better than that – but when debating things you know nothing about (i.e. anything outside of health) you tend to start being a disingenuous dick-head. Perhaps you should consider limiting your comments to health-related issues?

  9. the sprout 9

    wow what a comeback hs, is that what your mummy told you to say when nasty boys hurt your feelings?
    [sprout let’s not have the personal jabs. SP]

  10. Daveski 10

    Perhaps it’s much more pragmatic than your spin, SP.

    First, full employment as you note, means different things to different people. All the more reason for getting rid of something that is not defined clearly so how can it be measured. More so, it is clearly going to be unachievable (however you measure it) over the next couple of years.

    Second, again define “equitable”. More feel good nonsense which is impossible to measure. We still have progressive taxation. We still have transfer of wealth from within our society.

    Third, a bit of accuracy with your spin would be useful. The 90 day act has NOT removed rights for ALL workers. What percentage will it actually affect? 20% 30% maximum.

    Finally, HS has a valid point about the collective views of this blog. LP is adament that criticisms cannot be levelled against the “machine”. It’s therefore a bit rich to then claim a collective wisdom from the posters when this line of attack is met with a very strong response. Minor point but one that has been consistently made by LP.

  11. Ianmac 11

    I read from the post that they have no intention in having as many people as possible in work. (More unemployed more to push down wages certainly no to minimum wage.) I infer also that a competitive environment is expected to lead to growth, and perhaps a “trickle down” effect. All of the above saddens me.
    It reads as though the centerist image of the Election campaign, is really much more rightist, but of course “they” have a mandate. They said so. After years of narrowing the gap between rich and poor I expect the gap will widen.

  12. higherstandard 12


    If the new rules are to not comment on anything outside one’s area of expertise people such as yourself and sprout would only be able to offer views on their own efforts of frantic masturbation in front of a computer screen.

    [hs. enough of that. SP]

  13. infused 13

    We’ve had full employment in a economic/credit bubble that was not sustainable. Come back to earth please.

  14. Bill 14

    Short term resignation moderated somewhat by the anticipation of the boot being firmly planted on the other foot before too long is all it is.

  15. Peter Burns 15

    Look all I am saying nobody could foresee the economic downturn. The bubble had to burst some day and National have inherited a recession ( job cuts) heading into a possible depression if the huge number of Yanks living in cars is anything to go by.

    Is that rational enough for you Phillip John?

  16. Lew 16

    Peter: Look all I am saying nobody could foresee the economic downturn […] The bubble had to burst some day

    Care to explain the logical contradiction?


  17. infused 17

    Actually it was predicted by many people to be between 07-09 in around 2000-2001

  18. Peter Burns 18

    llew, good point and I was hoping that someone spotted the contradiction. Lets just say that nobody was not the right word as a selective few (including myself) knew full well that the economic crisis was looming and took the appropriate measures well in advance of what is an increasingly dark economic forecast.

    I hope you hold your job llew?

  19. roger nome 19

    HS – i have a first-class honours degree in political studies, have tutored a paper which focussed on the affects of the mass-media on politics, have researched NZ’s energy sector extensively, and have a masters degree (the focus was the political economy of New Zealand’s labour market). That’s why why i comment a lot – i have a broad set of political interests.

    You on the other hand purport to be a medical doctor, and seem to know sweet FA about anything outside of health.

  20. Mr Magoo 20

    infused is quite right. About a year before the collapse an economist did a lecture at AUT on it. At the time I did not pay that much attention, but he most certainly was right.

    Another collapse will be that of the US’s social security and Medicare. There is pretty much no way they can realistically fund it now. This will be a “shock” to most americans also.

  21. Peter Burns 21

    roger – do you think this global financial crisis is very serious?

  22. Lew 22

    Peter: I’m Lew. llew is someone else, who doesn’t often post here as far as I’m aware.

    My job is pretty safe, I think. I’m in the media. And being in the media, I know that there weren’t a `selective few’ who knew things were going to hurt – there’s been more ink expended in the past decade on the impending crash than on any issue other than the War on Terror.


  23. roger nome 23

    Dad – people saw it coming a long time ago –

    Crazy old Micheal Ruppert even explained exactly why it was going to happen back in 2005.

  24. Peter Burns 24

    Lew my apologies and thank you roger for the link.
    Must go now and tell lies down at my local watering hole.

  25. Lew 25

    Peter: Must go now and tell lies down at my local watering hole.

    Given the reasoning in your comments I figured that’s where you already were!


  26. roger nome 26

    Take care dad – remember, it’s not the drink, it’s how we’re drinking.

    Merry Xmas,

    Roger Nome.

  27. the sprout 27

    God I just heard the Oliver Driver interview with Matt McCarten and Neville the Knob from NBR – what an absolute idiot.

    I don’t fancy his employment chances with the print industry heading where it’s going.

  28. SP, am I allowed Count Cakidity..? Nothing personal you understand, it simply appears so apt.

    Roger nome, you mentioned a qualification or skills re political economy. Serious question, could you tell me what the term means and with, possibly, several good illustrations.. from kiwi or elsewhere. Thanks in advance..

    gee, can’t believe the coincidence: capcha came up with a word which appeared in a dialogue I just viewed.. where the character says I don’t know about Alhambra.. London yes, Alhambra no!

  29. sweeetdisorder 29


    “HS – i have a first-class honours degree in political studies, have tutored a paper which focussed on the affects of the mass-media on politics, have researched NZ’s energy sector extensively, and have a masters degree (the focus was the political economy of New Zealand’s labour market). That’s why why i comment a lot – i have a broad set of political interests.”

    Do you want a parade or is a simple plaque outside your local library enough for you?

    Get over yourself, we all have interests, education and life experience. If you think yourself so fine, then go stand for public office; otherwise be humble and take people as they are. At the end of the day it is only a left leaning poli blog.

  30. roger nome 30

    SD – no – i want you down on your knees, now.

    Seriously though, HS is a waste of time 90% of the time.

  31. roger nome 31

    NP – wikipedia has a good enough definition for that purpose:

    “Political economy most commonly refers to interdisciplinary studies drawing upon economics, law, and political science in explaining how political institutions, the political environment, and the economic system — capitalist, socialist, mixed — influence each other. When narrowly construed, it refers to applied topics in economics implicating public policy, such as monopoly, market protection, government fiscal policy,[2] and rent seeking.[3]”

  32. Ag 32

    “Second, again define “equitable’. More feel good nonsense which is impossible to measure. We still have progressive taxation. We still have transfer of wealth from within our society.”

    I take it you see the latter as “unfair”. More feel good nonsense which is impossible….


  33. Dean 33


    “Seriously though, HS is a waste of time 90% of the time.”

    Speaking of which roger, have you managed to work out the difference between before tax and after tax income yet? How about someone grabbing a beer that belongs to someone else as opposed to someone sneaking one bottle of wine at a time out to a car and doing it more than once?

    Honestly, roger. You really do your utmost to make yourself an easy target. It’s not so much what you say – it’s more the astounding lack of knowledge you seem to have on what you’re talking about. It’s like you read the first line of anything anyone ever writes, figure out wether you agree with it or not based purely on wether it’s good or bad for any given political interests you support, and then jam your shoe in your mouth while you type on your keyboard.

    Quite honestly if that’s the quality of insight and understanding someone with a Masters degree has then it’s highly suspect that anyone would actually pay for such an education.

  34. Chris 34

    Really, I know a lot of what you say has a point, but this? Of course they changed it, we have a right-wing govt. now. Shit happens. You are still going to survive through all this. We’ll just have to work a bit harder to give labour a strong majority next time.

  35. vto 35

    ha ha, some funny digs going on. Nome though you illustrate the classic liberal leftie – too much intellect and not enough brains. It is quite a conundrum how high intelligence rarely lines up with a sense of how the world of humanity actually works.

  36. Angus 36

    More whining by cloistered fringe pinkos who have never ever employed anyone, never will and who probably have never been a part of the productive sector of the economy.

  37. Peter Burns 37

    Indeed, the learned piffle uni types should get their hands dirty in the real world. Who needs professors in a recession? Make them all work in the garden.
    Lew, you annoy me with your snide remarks and roger you are laughable.

  38. infused 38

    If you guys want some interesting stuff to watch, I suggest you watch these videos. If anything, watch the first one.

    U.S. Economy : The Philosopher’s Stone

    The Ultimate American Dollar Collapse

    U.S. Economy and Financial System Bankrupt –What’s next?

    Also, watch some stuff Ron Paul was talking about. Never really listened to the guy but he really is right. He should be the president imo.

    Ron Paul : House of Cards

    Really good stuff here.

  39. Santi 39

    You got it completely wrong SP. The big kick in the guts was administered by the nefarious Michael Cullen, who along with his boss Helen Clark, blatanly lied to the NZ people regarding the health of the economy.

    Yes, the same Cullen and Clark who didn’t say a word about the hole in ACC accounts. Fortunately, the toxic duo have been rightfully retired to the Opposition benches, where they can inflict little damage!

  40. lprent 40

    The ACC accounts are one of those things that a government has to deal with all of the time. It may be the burgeoning health sector, a spike in kids going to schools impacting on the school system, etc

    A prudent government would not have over promised tax cuts on the election campaign in the way that the Nat’s did. The costs of their promises restricts their ability to handle the routine problems that crop up in government.

    So now we have a NACT government that doesn’t appear to be dealing with being the government very well. So they’re trying to divert attention away from their incompetence.

  41. ak 41

    It’s a bullet-point government. Nearly out of bullets.

    The hapless rebels-without-a-clue delivered by the monopoly media’s stranglehold on the swinging voter’s political opinion are now busily ticking-off the headlines of their flimsy pre-election policy papers and struggling to digest the detail and repercussions.

    And all the while the typhoon approaches: the whites of the new recruits’ eyes widening as they impotently chant “we will not let this happen!”

    Have a good rest this Christmas: next year’s voyage over stormy waters with a green, press-ganged crew and a wildly swinging ideological compass could be interesting, to say the least.

  42. Peter Burns 42

    Yes, the compass bearing that got us into this mess wouldn’t have happened under Helen’s watch.

  43. lprent, and others of differing views,,

    recommended being a wrap of sorts for the year, the standard mentioned late on with specific orientation to aspect du jour.

    With best wishes for the festive season to everyone, happy and safe holidays, and see ya soon enough..

  44. Quoth the Raven 44

    Infused – If you like Ron Paul then I’m guessing you didn’t vote for National seeming as his opinions are miles away from them. He’s right wing but he has a strong libertarian streak something National completely lacks. He wants drugs legalised opposed the war in Iraq encourages civil disobedience when laws are unjust. Think of National’s position on the current police spying debacle and you see it’s compeltely at odds with Ron Paul and their position on drugs, and their former position on the Iraq war.

  45. John BT 45

    As a general rule I just assume that the folks doing the posts and many of the commentators on this blog are quite young. It is partly because of the bad grammar and spelling and, also, because I was young and dumb once myself.
    The fact that some of you have degrees is probably a sad indictment on our education system.
    However, those people who were aware of the coming collapse of our financial system should really have advised that nasty little chap Michael Cullen. Then, perhaps, we would not be in the cak to the same extent.
    I feel I must give a brickbat to the person who is now denigrating the National government regarding that nasty little scumbag who was spying on his so-called friends and even the girl he was bumping tummies with. This had been going on for quite some time and the previous Police minister was not only aware of this but could even have initiated it. I appreciate that saying bad things about our previous idiot government is considered bad form on this forum but really that was over the top.

  46. Ianmac 46

    John BT: You are really only guessing that the last Minister knew.
    But you do know for sure that the present Minister knows. Right?
    Since you desperately want to connect the Minister with these operational matters, let us see how well she handles it. (Not too hot so far.)
    As for your trivial remarks about grammar, be ware. Those who throw stones…. Your post above has 2 minor grammatical errors but I really don’t mind and I don’t really care.

  47. PFraser 47

    We should always keep full employment as an ideal in New Zealand.

  48. John BT 48

    Dear Mr Ianmac, I am not really guessing about this as it was in the news ages ago. Also, beware is one word. Not that I care. Regards, JohnBT.

  49. infused 49

    Quoth the Raven: To be honest, I’ve been so busy I’ve missed all this stuff about the police spying which is why I haven’t commented.

  50. Pascal's bookie 50

    John, surely you can provide a link then, to this being in the news ages ago. One that includes the detail that the police were running a full time paid informant spying on unions and the Green party. Those details are of course the story.

    Or perhaps you can’t provide such a link. I don’t think you can, and further, I think you know you can’t.

  51. Dr.Strangelove 51

    How is Key travelling in the polls ?

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