Key squirms under scrutiny in the House

Written By: - Date published: 3:18 pm, February 20th, 2008 - 57 comments
Categories: john key, workers' rights - Tags: ,

Key’s comment that “we would love to see wages drop” to a group of business-people last year has come under increasing scrutiny in the House today.

Rather than defend his statement himself, Key sat squirming as English attempted to deflect Cullen’s attack – hardly a good look for the leader of the opposition, getting someone else to fight your battles for you.

Cullen pointed out that during the 90s under the Nats average real earnings fell in five out of nine years and that average weekly earnings went from $463 when the Nats came into office to a mere one dollar more, $464 (1990 dollars) when they left. “That’s National’s record on earnings growth”, he said.

57 comments on “Key squirms under scrutiny in the House”

  1. I notice Mr. Key did not deny the quote. I guess that puts paid to the “misquoted” defense (otherwise known as the straws.clutch.at defense.) I don’t think I’ll be voting National this year after all…

  2. Steve Pierson 2

    Love that final Cullen line.

    “the difference is, in 1990 National promised they wouldn’t cut wages and did, this time they are promising they weill cut them”

    No denial from National that Key was correctly quoted.

  3. Bart 3

    John Key was not misquoted, but he has certainly been quoted out of context!

  4. Steve Pierson 4

    Bart. Elaborate. How is “we would love wages to drop” ever going to mean anything other than “we would love wages to drop”. Please tell me, because I’m dying to know.

  5. George 5

    What Bart seems to be saying is that we have to interpret everything that comes out John Keys mouth. That is, you can take nothing that John Key says at face value. You have to guess at what he is saying.

  6. Tane 6

    John Key was not misquoted, but he has certainly been quoted out of context!

    I didn’t hear him say that either. In fact he sat there looking pretty guilty and relied on Angry Bill to run misdirection for him.

  7. Daveo 7

    Awfully quiet from the righties all of a sudden. Looks like Key’s put his foot in it.

  8. mike 8

    Its a shame the news will be dominated by the growing honors for cash story. Now Winstons involved the fun will really begin…
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/blog/story.cfm?c_id=1501219&objectid=10493529

  9. Tane 9

    Yawn. Audrey Young used to be a decent journalist but got lost somewhere around the time she started shamelessly hawking her publisher’s line during the EFA debate. She’s got nothing there, just the usual smears and innuendo from the National Party linebook.

    Anyway Mike, what do you think about John Key’s revelation he wants to cut your wages?

  10. Steve Pierson 10

    It is stunning how weakly English tries to turn the subject in his sup question. He’s not even trying, which is bad news for Key. Maybe this is the slip that English has been praying for, his chance to dispose the cheeky upstart and resume his rightful place.

  11. Steve Pierson 11

    mike. what’s the story?. Even if Glenn were NZF’s donor, so what? National has a dozen donors who secretly gave $2 million in 2005 alone and doubtless gave much more last year beofre the EFA kicked in.

    So how much of a wage cut do you want National to give you, mike?

  12. George 12

    I thought English was ‘Bitter Bill’, not ‘Angry Bill”.

  13. Mike doesn’t mind having his wages cut – he believes in hard work and making sure you pay for things when you don’t have to like child care. What I wonder about is how he will feel when he’s the one who has to tell his reports (you are some kind of middle manager aren’t you Mike?) that they are going to have a pay cut.

    You strike me as a decent if misguided kind of a bloke Mike (despite me teasing you) – what are you going to do when your boss tell you to cut your team’s rates and conditions. I’m sure some of them have kids too.

  14. mike 14

    Tane – even if JK wanted to (I believe he more concerned about productivity in that story) he could not cut my wages without raising taxs – unlikely don’t you think?
    The only people reducing my wages are Labour due to bracket creep. Yes I’m a rich prick earning over 60K…

  15. East Wellington Superhero 15

    So this is the strength of the mighty Labour Party that is the darling of the New Zealand people – plainly taking the National Party Leader comments out of context to gains points.

    What a joke.

  16. Tane 16

    he could not cut my wages without raising taxs

    That’s a non-sequitur Mike.

  17. Tane 17

    EWS- I see no denial from Key. I see a man who can’t even front up and take personal responsibility for his statements. It’s pretty hard to take “We would love to see wages drop” out of context.

  18. mike 18

    “what are you going to do when your boss tells you to cut your team’s rates and conditions.”

    I’ll demand an increase in my STI’s for a start.

  19. Ex Labour Voter 19

    You take the cake, Tane. So Audrey Young is hawking her publishers’ line, yet you and IrishBill, employed by the EPMU, are expressing a freely held opinion, as are the other authors employed in the ninth floor of the Beehive.

    Right.

  20. mike – he could easily say he was going to ease immigration “constraints” and remove legal workplace protections, such as the right to unfair dismissal, ban unions from entering workplaces and what do you know your wages will fall. Just as they did in the 1990’s – some workers will see it happen quickly as they are forced to sign another contract at a lesser rate or get sacked, some will just see their wage stagnate while prices rise.

    If you work for a profit-focused company in a competitive market with tight returns such as manufacturing or aged care or pretty much any form of sales then your employer is going to use these new powers to do just that. They’re going to have to because its’s a sure bet one of their competitor will. It’s a valid short-term market response to try to undercut the competition because if you don’t they will and then you go under but it’s has really crappy social results.

    So once again Mike – you talk like a middle manager – do you have people under you and how will you feel if you have to tell them their wages are coming down?

  21. Tane 21

    EWS – I’m employed by Owen Glenn, I can’t believe you weren’t aware. I’m actually writing this from a yacht surrounded by tall beautiful blonde women who are distantly related to Monaco’s royal family. Do try to keep up.

  22. Leftie 22

    Bart: “John Key was not misquoted, but he has certainly been quoted out of context!”

    Maybe the wind was blowing the wrong way too?

    I’ll vote for a wage cut to go with my tax cut, thats what I need thanks John.

  23. when was the last time Key opened his mouth and didn’t expose himself for the newbie fool that he is?

    Key consistently stuffs it up, his only good trick is keeping quiet (well, and letting others clean up his messes in the House). his caucus know that ain’t going to cut it in an election.

    English will just love having to take a mauling from Cullen just to wipe up his incompetent boss’s crap. no wonder his defence in the House wass so half-hearted – i wonder how long it’ll be before the knives come out for Key?

  24. mike 24

    sod – having seen both sides (I was a union rep when I was young and naive) I can honestly say that unions do nothing for keeping peoples wages up anymore. In fact the opposite occurs now as I am able to negotiate higher wages for staff on on dividual contracts but not unionised staff (who are becoming a rarity) they miss out.
    Unions are only a benifit to poor workers and troublemakers these days.

  25. Steve Pierson 25

    Mike. Bracket creep does not reduce your take home wage, even accoutning for inflation. Use excel, check it out.

  26. Steve Pierson 26

    EWS. How are Key’s words tkaen out of context?

    He says: “we would love for wages to drop”

    we put the only logical interpretation on those words: “Key and National would love wages to drop”

    When those words are attacked in the House, Key does not deny that the plain and clear meaning of the words was what he intended to say.

  27. “poor workers and troublemakers”

    bloody poor people – put them all on an island!
    oh right… they already are… “coming through your windows” as Shipley said.

  28. Pablo 28

    I hate to say it, but I’m inclined to think of it as a bollocks-up- either a misquote or typo, only because Key is not stupid enough to have actually said those words, surely? (don’t call me shirley).

    That said, if he has been misquoted or whatever, he should say that and put it to bed, rather than look like an idiot in the House. Seems to me he genuinely can’t remember what he said, but the quote sounds like something he would have said. That is way worse.

  29. he hasn’t denied it, and had enough fore-warning of what was coming.

    but let’s be naively generous and assume he just cocked-up…

    I want lower wages for NZ…
    Under a Labour Government that I lead…

    add those kind of mega-gaffes to his stirling history of one flip-flop after another, mirroring Labour policy, needing English, Brownlee and McCully to speak for him in the House because he can’t do it himself without getting plastered… and what do you have?

    Not a leader. An wealthy amateur who got bored with his toys and now wants to play somewhere he’s just not up to the job.

  30. Pablo 30

    Yes Sprout. But when you say that to young people these days they don’t know what you’re talking about.

    (young people like Duncan and Guyon at least)

  31. r0b 31

    but let’s be naively generous and assume he just cocked-up

    Ahh sprout, you generous soul, you’re always trying to see the best in people! But I’m afraid that the clock has run out on the cock-up theory…

  32. “young people like Duncan and Guyon at least”

    nice one Pablo 😉

    “clock has run out on the cock-up theory”

    yeah. that was a Coldplay song wasn’t it?

  33. Dan 33

    I have heard a summary of Mr Key’s prospects by a visiting American businessman: “an incredibly substantial lightweight.”

    He was closer to the truth than I dared hope. His lopsided “Oh, gee, thanks Bill!” grin in today’s proceedings is an indication he is out of his depth.

    And out of curiosity, where’s Gerry lately? He would normally have been the lieutenant to take the flack??

  34. i think Gerry’s cashing in his chips

  35. slightlyrighty 35

    Amazing how much traction this comment is getting in the MSM….
    no wait….some dude called Owen Glenn is getting all the press.

    Why is that????

  36. James Kearney 36

    Because our media are shallow and driven by scandal rather than substantive issues that affect real people.

  37. sod – having seen both sides (I was a union rep when I was young and naive) I can honestly say that unions do nothing for keeping peoples wages up anymore. In fact the opposite occurs now as I am able to negotiate higher wages for staff on on dividual contracts but not unionised staff (who are becoming a rarity) they miss out.
    Unions are only a benifit to poor workers and troublemakers these day

    Ok Mike – firstly I’m guessing from our previous discussion that you are about the right age to have been in the union in the 90’s? That probably means you experienced them at a time they were getting fucked by exactly the kind of policies Key wants to bring back.

    Now. You’re lying if you claim you can negotiate higher rates for people on individuals or else you are breaking the law (it’s called an inducement to leave the union and can get your employer a fine of up to $10k). I should also point out that union collective agreements are minimum rate documents and that that means you can negotiate members anything you like on an individual basis as long as it is above the collective.

    So Mike, tell me are you lying or breaking the law or are you just making stuff up to fit your ideological outlook?

  38. Hey slightly – the Owen glen story took days (and hours of National party sophism) to break. Be patient little one…

  39. Wayne 39

    Very interesting that Key refused to front and neither he nor English denied the quote. Journalists need to start asking some questions, this puts National’s whole tax cut argument on the back foot.

  40. AncientGeek 40

    On a complete side-issue, or maybe it isn’t.

    Has anyone taken a brief scan at Whale’s site recently. Looks to me like he ingested something (probably illegal) over the last couple of days. I peek there occasionally to see what life is like over the edge.

    Lots of barely coherent posts with few comments. Some of them look like Whale’s writing. Looks like he is imploding.

  41. Bart 41

    Well, I keep seeing many people asking how John Keys statement for wages to drop was taken out of context. So, how about you read the article.

    John Key understands that wage increases must be accompanied by increases in productivity. He said so in his speech. It was clearly there for all to see. He has also said it is his parties policy to increase wages, and the safest. most efficient way for that to happen is to invest in infrastructure and increase productivity.

    I do admit, however, the reducing wages statement was a bit stupid, but then he does not have the legion of spin doctors the labour government has on the books. Oops, sorry, communications specialists.

  42. gobsmacked 42

    Bart

    invest = spend

    So where will National spend less?

  43. Dan 43

    Bart, how is it you deem left leaning comments as spin, and Key-leaning comments as hard facts! Key also made the comment to a business luncheon way back that voters should have faith in the National Party, vote them in and then they would bring in policies later that appealed to the audience.
    It is not spin that motivates those of us that question the Nats: we have had far too much of their cynical selfishness.

  44. Rich Prick 44

    Robinsod, poor deluded fool you raise unionism so I’ll give you my take on it. Before I decided to retire last year I was paying performers a shit load more than unionised losers and I frankly couldn’t give a fuck what the Government thought of that. If a unionised employee saw the benefits of quiting his/her union, they of course would be welcomed to the free side of the fence and get the bonuses that follow performance. Needless to say we we were pretty much union free after two years.

    I’ve had over 18 months not working and am thinking of getting back into it for the fun of it and bacuse 36 is a bit too young to retire and because I think the political environment will suit me I want to get back into it.

    When I do, I will have a policy of not employing unionised pinkos. And any that become so will be sacked. I don’t really give a fuck about the fines you mention, heh, they are less than what it costs to beth my boat for two months at Westhaven, never mind the fuel to keep the generator going. I used to know what it was like being a minimum wage employee, that’s why I have always paid mine who really perform over the margin and have despised paracitic unionists who wouldn’t know a productive day’s work if it was offered.

  45. Brownie 45

    Whoah, RP, don’t hold back son

  46. That’s right RP – you really are rich and you’re not at all a spotty little creep who threatens to kill other other commenters. You are a deluded psycho mate.

  47. mike 47

    “Now. You’re lying if you claim you can negotiate higher rates for people on individuals or else you are breaking the law (it’s called an inducement to leave the union and can get your employer a fine of up to $10k”
    I dear Sod. I’m not lying and not breaking the law. I can give anyone I like a pay rise (just happens the best workers don’t need a crutch) and no one is induced to leave the union. Although for 6 bucks a week all you get is a fat hack in high-vis vest dropping off socialist propaganda once every 3 years its a no brainer really.

  48. Good stuff Mike – and the answer is no. Even if you have a performance based system and are paying out to non-union members but not union members who fulfill the same critera then you are indeed inducing workers to leave the union. That’s called “bad faith” and like I say your employer can face a $10k fine for each instance it happens in.

    I’d also point out that the statistics show workers on a collective agreement get, on average, considerably better pay rises than similar workers in workplaces where there is no union in place.

    Just keep trying Mike.

  49. the sprout 49

    mike, RP, you remind me of this guy

  50. Tim 50

    “I can honestly say that unions do nothing for keeping peoples wages up anymore” (sic) – This statement is incorrect. Examples in support include the EPMU 5% in ’05 campaign, the SFWU’s campaign increasing wages from a minimum of $11.25 to $14.25 in public hospitals last year, the NZNO getting a huge increase for nurses in 2004, the big increases in aged care brought about by the NZNO and SFWU in 2007, Unite’s campaign abolishing youth rates in all major fast food operators not to mention professional unions like the Police Association, Firefighter’s Union, NZEI, NZAPLA delivering good increases to their members.

    In addition, your union fee gives you access to Credit Unions, IRIS superannuation, subsidised health and dental care and so on. These services alone are worth the union fee you pay each week.

    Let’s not forget all those things like annual and public holidays, paid parental leave and the Wages Protection Act 1983 that would not exist without unions.

  51. Phil 51

    Show us the money (or the link) Sod, I think you’re statistics are made up bullshit.

    I also suspect that compositional effect will ruin any confident assertion in either direction.

    Capthca; “It misleading”
    I couldn’t agree more

  52. the sprout 52

    “I can honestly say…”

    like Key, i doubt you could lie straight in a bed mike

  53. Tim 53

    The statistics are available from Victoria University’s Industrial Relations Centre.

  54. r0b 54

    Just for a moment’s light relief:

    http://xkcd.com/386/

    Ouch!

  55. Pablo 55

    There’s the Aussie report as well, showing unionised workers are paid x% more than non-unionised. The Standard et al commented on it last year I think, I’ll try to find the link.

  56. Phil 56

    Hehehe, another xkcd fan.
    Want to go halves in the ball-pit? I reckon I could move some cubicle walls, and make a good-un here.

    Captcha; Submarine Property
    Great mental images…

  57. r0b 57

    Want to go halves in the ball-pit? I reckon I could move some cubicle walls, and make a good-un here.

    🙂

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