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Kremlinology: National on work rights

Written By: - Date published: 1:56 pm, May 20th, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: bill english, kremlinology, national, workers' rights - Tags: ,

National’s refusal to say what it stands for is becoming so ridiculous we have resorted to the Cold War art of Kremlinology. Today, we look at work rights.

On Agenda, Bill English said he is concerned about new ‘entitlements’ for workers. ‘Entitlements’ is an anti-worker way of saying work rights – it implies that they are some gift from a benevolent boss, who should also be allowed to take them away; not a right workers have won through struggle and the political process.

What are some of the work rights that have been introduced under Labour?

  • Four weeks annual leave
  • Minimum wage up 70% in eight years
  • Paid parental leave
  • Restoration of holiday pay
  • The right to flexible work hours
  • Promotion of collective bargaining
  • End of youth pay rates
  • Kiwisaver
  • Right to meal breaks
  • The right to breastfeed at work
  • The right to union access to workplace
  • Good faith bargaining
  • The right to have unions recognised as legal entities

So, which of these new work rights does English want to remove?

24 comments on “Kremlinology: National on work rights”

  1. Tim 1

    Apparently National wants to change/remove:

    1. Transfer of undertakings legislation. This means contractors in certain industries will be able to lay off staff when a contract changes hands and the new contractor can employ them on inferior terms and conditions with no recognition of length of service.
    2. “Relevant daily pay” for public holidays. We’ll probably see a return to “ordinary pay”.
    3. “Less prescriptive” bargaining laws. It will be harder to bargain collectively (as if it isn’t already)
    5. Change to s97 ERA – easier for employers to hire strike breakers, making it even harder to bargain collectively.
    6. No more increases to the minimum wage.

    This is just some of what they’ve said they’ll do. I’m more worried about what they haven’t yet said they’ll do.

    They are an anti-worker party and always have been. People should see through Kate Wilkinson’s disingenuous statements about “fairness in the workplace”. Sounds a bit like “work choices” to me, dressing up anti-worker laws with bland names.

  2. infused 2

    Maybe you should ask small business owners what this is doing to their business. Why I won’t employee people and am selling up and the end of the year to go overseas.

  3. You mean businesses that have just had a 10% tax break (down from 33% to 30%) and have had after-inflation profits increase 13% in eight years?

    So, which of these work rights need to go infused?

  4. Billy 4

    “You mean businesses that have just had a 10% tax break…”

    Businesses did not get a tax break, Steve, companies did. And sooner or later, the profit has to be distributed to the shareholders, at which point it will be taxed in the normal way.

  5. Off to Oz 5

    I’m off to Australia… thanks to the long term strength of unions there, you get paid a lot more, and they’ve just chucked out a government that brought in ‘work choices’. So far ahead of us.

  6. ak 6

    Bye infused. Say hello to burt and all the other “I-used-to-vote-Labour-business-owner” commenters who have promised us the same (but strangely still seem to be here).

    And don’t forget to drop the UN a line – they think NZ is the easiest country in the world to do business. Idiots. What would they know eh?

  7. strange because I seem to remember Business NZ whinging for years that they needed a tax break and then complaining that this one wasn’t big enough.

    corporate tax and income tax aren’t simply timing differences, a moment’s thought shows that.

  8. Off to Oz – if you gotta go, remember you can still vote Left in the election here. We won’t move ahead if we let the tories have their way with NZ.

  9. randal 9

    dont believe all these articles that say they’re selling up their business and decamping. its just another national wedge policy ploy dreamed up by matthew hooton for every second tinpot tory to jump up and say that. if such were the case there would be no business left in New Zealand and ferchrissakes we could get some peace from all the bellyaching from the wounded rugged individualists who dont have enouhgh left over to buy a new landcrusier or a chainsaw or something else banal.

  10. Phil 10

    “You mean businesses that have just had a 10% tax break (down from 33% to 30%) ”

    In the world according to Steve, any problem small business owners have, can be waved away with a tax break. Try doing the same to households, and he’ll be the first to scream blue-murder…

  11. Billy 11


    Was this

    Kremlinology: National on work rights

    answering me?

    If so, you are confusing a company (which is a legal entity) with a business (which is a thing a company often owns and runs). The reduction in the corporate tax rate only affects companies, not all businesses.

    “corporate tax and income tax aren’t simply timing differences, a moment’s thought shows that.”

    OK. Given it a moment’s thought and still can’t work it out. If a company makes $100 and is taxed on it, it is left with $70 and an imputation credit of $30. If the $70 is paid to the shareholder who has $60,000 of other taxable income, that shareholder will have to pay another $9 in tax. This means that the government gets the $39 it would have got anyway.

    Or am I missing something? (BTW, I fully accept this is likely, just trying to work out how)

    [you assume all profits are paid out, rather than retained for investment, for starters. but the way most bosses in NZ run their companies that’s probably true – the shortsighted, underskilled business management we have in this country has lead to chronic underinvestment (and low wages) that government policy can’t undo all by itself. SP]

  12. Paul Robeson 12

    ‘I’m off to Australia. thanks to the long term strength of unions there, you get paid a lot more, and they’ve just chucked out a government that brought in work choices. So far ahead of us.’

    WAIT WAIT don’t go to Australia. We are about to elect John Key who will… oh. Enjoy the high quality public transport over there too.

  13. randal 13

    billy that little effort goes down as nonsense blogging as it makes no sense whatsoever…why do you do this?

  14. Billy 14

    randal, that’s rich, buddy.

  15. In regard to work rights, National simply havn’t released firm policy so its mere speculation in much the same way that polls really just mount up to mere speculation. Its the phoney war right now. The real battle and National’s policy roll outs will start after Cullen’s final budget. The budget will be sort of like a starting flag.
    (This is totally off topic, but bugger me days, you’ve got me blog in both the Left and Right blogs!)

    [lprent: I thought it was amusing at the time. But I read your description of the site, and thought – hell why not!]

  16. Billy 16

    “you assume all profits are paid out, rather than retained for investment, for starters. but the way most bosses in NZ run their companies that’s probably true – the shortsighted, underskilled business management we have in this country has lead to chronic underinvestment (and low wages) that government policy can’t undo all by itself. SP”

    Well, if it is invested (depending on what it’s invested in) it will be fully deductible or the asset in which it is invested will be depreciable. So no tax there (but no money in the hands of the business owner, so that’s fair enough).

    So it was not quite right when you claimed that the deduction was more than mere timing?

    (Sorry if this is all a little complicated for you, randal…here, I’ve given you some ellipses to play with…see how pretty…)

  17. Billy 17

    And what did you mean by “for starters”? Is there more?

  18. (This is totally off topic, but bugger me days, you’ve got me blog in both the Left and Right blogs!)

    Well you should bloody well make up your mind then!

  19. expat 20

    God what a brain dead thread. The majority of your points OP are old hat having been in place for years, you just choose to make them nu laybore policy.

    [lprent: Characteristic of a troll – comments with invalid spelling and doing a statement with no real argument. expat – this is an area for discussion. If you want to act the part of a machine, then do it elsewhere where it is welcome. Engage your brain if you want to comment here]

  20. expat 21

    “comments with invalid (incorrect is the correct word) spelling and doing (making is the correct word) a statement with no real argument (its called an observation). expat – this is an area for discussion (thats why I made an observation). If you want to act the part of a machine (please explain, that makes no sense), then do it elsewhere where it is welcome. Engage your brain if you want to comment here (sorry I should have realised flatlining wasn’t encouraged here 😉 )

  21. infused 22

    You don’t seem to understand Small Business at all Steve and it shows by your comments.

    This is the problem with you guys. You just don’t have a clue, then say we don’t know how to manage our businesses? Give me a break.

    Sounds like one of Helens lines.

    You give us a tax break, then introduce kiwi saver. LOL? The tax break doesn’t really affect small business anyway since most companies strive to either break even or make a loss.

  22. Tim 23

    Small businesses don’t collapse because of employment law. It’s a complete myth that employment law is responsible for failed businesses. It’s more likely to be things like insufficient capital, overexpansion, poor marketing or even injury to the business owner or key personnel (as a majority of small businesses don’t employ anyone). It seems to me that it’s easy for certain people to try to divert attention away from managerial ineptitude by blaming something like employment law.

    I mean, isn’t it a virtue of the right-winger’s hallowed free market that some businesses sink while others swim? Isn’t that what it’s all about?

  23. roger nome 24

    Steve Pierson – I was wondering if you could please direct me to the source of your “company profits figure”. I’m thinking of graphing them next to wage increases.

    Dr Cullen has said that a large part of the differences in wages between NZ and Aus since the ECA (1991) has been higher profit growth in Aus than NZ. Essentially the boss’ share of the pie here has been growing and the worker’s has shrinking in NZ – and in Aus it has stayed the same. This is reflected in the Labour income share statistics which show a declining % of GDP paid out in wages in NZ since 1991 – but no decline in Aus.

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