Right now John Key is in a bind, perhaps the biggest bind of his term thus far.
He wants to get through to his second term but according to National Party insider, Cameron Slater, the business donations he needs to do it are not forthcoming. (as an aside it seems Slater has lost his party privileges for making this public).
In fact, as Clare Trevett, points out in today’s Dom Post National has a target of $1.3m and so far it’s only made it to $369k – most of which has come from electorates.
To get the money from his backers all he has to do is make a little law that makes them a lot of money.
How hard can it be?
After all knocking just one percent off the national wage bill shifts about a billion dollars from workers to employers. Employers who, coincidentally, make up the bulk of National’s big backers.
And extending the 90 day no rights bill and denying workers access to their reps will do just that because limiting workers’ rights limits workers’ bargaining power and limiting workers’ bargaining power suppresses wages – it’s basic macro economics.
That’s why the plan was to announce it at the last conference before election year and then pass the hat around. Kinda like No Brash, No Cash part two (but with a much less embarrassing version of Brash).
But this is not a popular measure. Even the generally right-wing forum that is the Herald’s Your Views is against these moves at a rate of about 5 to 1 against.
Like mining national parks this issue is one that threatens to put a real dent in National’s public image and its electoral support. But unlike mining there’s no way Key can orchestrate a back down and that could mean he risks losing a working right-wing majority in 2011.
The irony is that could impair a second term National government’s ability to roll out the rest of its right-wing programme including its privatisation plans. And that would cost the very same interests who have pushed for these employment changes to come early.
But then again business in New Zealand has been trading long-term gains for quick and dirty fixes for years.
It’s probably why they’ve been reduced to political lobbying against their own workers just to turn a profit.