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Labour’s new employment relations package

Written By: - Date published: 4:05 pm, June 29th, 2017 - 107 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

Announced today:

Backing fair pay and conditions

After nine years of National, working people’s share of the economy is falling. Less than 40 per cent of economic growth under National has gone into working people’s wages. If working people’s slice of the economy hadn’t shrunk under National, workers’ pay packets would have been $23 billion larger.

When 40 per cent of children in poverty live in a working household and two-thirds of workers’ pay fell in real terms last year, despite the economy growing, working people are not sharing in economic prosperity.

The problem is set to continue. The Budget forecasts no real growth in the average wage in 2017 or in two of the next four years.

Weak employment law has created avenues for some businesses to undercut good employers by driving down wages and minimising costs.

Labour’s workplace relations package includes:

• Increasing the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour.

• Replacing the current National Government’s ‘fire at will’ law with fair trial periods that provide both protection against unjustified dismissal and a simple, fair, and fast referee service.

• Introducing Fair Pay Agreements that set fair, basic employment conditions across an industry based on the employment standards that apply in that industry.

• Promoting the Living Wage by paying it to all workers in the core public service, and extending it to contractors over time.

• Doubling the number of Labour Inspectors.

See the manifesto chapter for a full list of initiatives.

Vernon Small on Stuff:

Labour plans to lift minimum wage with new employment relations package

Labour is promising to boost incomes and stop a race to the bottom by bad employers with an employment relations package that includes a move to base industry employment standards.

Announcing the policy on Thursday, leader Andrew Little said the aim was to prevent “a race to the bottom” seen in some industries where good employers are undercut by bad employers trying to drive down wages.

“Labour’s sensible changes will help boost incomes and support employers who offer good pay and conditions. It’s the right thing to do after nine years of a government that has put profits ahead of a fair return for working people,” Little said.

Key changes proposed by Labour include a lift in the minimum wage from $15.75 to $16.50. It would base future rises on the cost of living for people on low incomes. …

Good work Labour – A clear choice for workers.

107 comments on “Labour’s new employment relations package”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Are they also going to insist that trade partners meet these conditions?

    If they don’t turn we’re not going to see the end of the race to the bottom.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      ++++ !

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Damn posting from phone.


      If they don’t then we’re not going to see the end of the race to the bottom.

    • Gosman 1.3

      Yes I am sure China will immediately lift the minimum wage to equivalent of $16 NZ dollars /sarc

      • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1

        And that is what makes a mockery of the FTAs that we have as by not correctly accounting for costs it slants the ‘level playing field’ that is essential to a ‘free-market’.

        Simply: We don’t have free-trade because nations try to tilt things in their favour.

        • Gosman

          Simple question for you Draco. Is someone on the minimum wage better off in Auckland or Invercargill?

          • Draco T Bastard

            IME, it’s much of a muchness.

            Some things cost less while others cost more.

            Question: what’s the proportion of minimum wage workers in each location? Is there a difference in need?

          • Draco T Bastard

            Another question for you: Does a person in China require less food, less medical care, less housing and less clothing than a person in NZ?

            • Gosman

              No, but if those things cost significantly less (e.g. as a result of economies of scale) then they could very well have a better standard of living despite earning less.

              • Draco T Bastard

                No, they really don’t. The ‘economies of scale’ is argument is completely wrong as it completely ignores the real use of resources.

                And the medical care is a function of proportion, i.e, for each thousand population you need x% of medical personnel. So is the food really. Thing is, once you get above a few thousand people the number doesn’t change.

                In fact, they’re probably cheaper in NZ due to higher productivity (i.e., better machinery).

  2. Karen 2

    Hopefully everyone will read the full manifesto before commenting:


    I would have preferred a bigger increase in the minimum wage, but I am very pleased with some major improvements in the rights of workers and unions. I also like the provision of more rights for contractors to negotiate collectively as I believe the contracting out of services has led to a reduction in income and conditions of many workers .

    • Peter 2.1

      As some of you mite have read in in the past I have not voted Labour since 1984 that mite be about to change. For the first time we are being to see a true left wing party starting to appear, it dose not go far enough for me but you can’t have everything.

  3. billmurray 3

    The Living Wage Movement of NZ says that the minimum wage hourly rate should be $20.20.
    I attended one of the meetings when Little was given the vote to be leader of the Labour party, he promised to get rid of the 90 day trial provisions, he has only tinkered with them.
    He is a neo liberal leader with a neo liberal agenda.
    You can’t make a silk purse out of a cows ear as he is trying to do.
    He is not as popular within the Labour movement as he thinks he is, look at his preferred PM rankings.
    We may still have to vote for him to defeat the Government but I am not impressed.
    Within the party and the Unions I will not be alone.
    The polls will be telling.

    • Tony Veitch (not etc) 3.1

      Agreed, billmurray, we still have to vote for them to get rid of this appalling Nat government.

      But Labour continues to underwhelm! They are still being constrained by neo-liberalism!

      Mandating a living wage would lift all workers and give the economy a real boost – though, to be fair, they are working towards it.

      • Karen 3.1.1

        That’s utter tosh. Read the full manifesto. There is some major changes to industrial rights.
        Here’s a view from someone who understands the significance.

        Laila Harré‏
        Replying to @AndrewLittleMP @nzlabour
        Very pleased about this policy. Worth coming back for!

        • billmurray

          Laila Harre has re-joined the LP after selling her soul to the big fat German.
          Laila Harre is looking for brownie points.

          • McFlock


            It’s actually pretty darn good policy, if you bother to read it. The 90 day trials are going back to pre-fire at will days. In fact, it’s almost bringing back arbitration for that issue: independent, binding, unappealable dispute resolution.

            • billmurray

              bollocks to you, ” there were never days of pre fire at will” before the 90 day trial periods were bought in by National.
              Andrew Little has reneged on HIS promise he made to the delegates to get rid of the 90 day trial period. This greatly helped him to get the leadership.
              You may trust him, many others will not.

              • McFlock

                OK, let’s take this slowly:
                what specific grounds for PG did the nats remove?

                Lab’s policy will require employers to give grounds for dismissal, hearings within three weeks, and minimises legal costs by banning lawyers and removing appeals (which serve employers with deep pockets more than employees who got screwed over).

                • billmurray

                  The Nats bought in the 90 day trial period and abolished the Personal Grievance procedures.
                  Andrew Little stated he would reverse their policy.
                  He has not done that.
                  He has tinkered with the 90 day Nat policy but not reversed it as he promised.
                  He has reneged on his promise.
                  We will not have Personal Grievance procedures as we had them before.
                  We will have a greatly watered down version of them, it’s a rort on the working people.
                  A fucking sell out by Labour.

                  • McFlock

                    ok, firstly, section 67A only removes PG’s in regards to their dismissal, not any of the grounds in section 103b:j

                    Secondly, s67B removed the obligation to give grounds for dismissal in a trial period. The result of those two was they could dismiss you for being black, but not if they told you that.

                    thirdly, by reintroducing the requirement to give grounds for dismissal, the bulk of that condition is nuked. Additionally, people will be able to dispute the dismissal.

                    Lastly, arbitration is actually better for low income workers than the expensive rigamarole that people are expected to go through to get compensation for losing an $18/hr job: tribunal, employment court, appeals, supreme, all with lawyers and/or QCs. So you’re complaining that Little promised to get your old ute back, and bought you a better one instead.

                    • billmurray

                      I do not believe that you know what you are talking about, please bone up on the old Personal Grievance procedures or take advice.
                      Andrew Little is taking away the promise of restoring the Personal Grievance procedures of old (the very good ute, admired across the Labour world particularly by the ILO) and giving us a old worn ute in it’s place.
                      To use your analogy.

                    • McFlock

                      given us a ute that’s actually more fit for the purpose of providing affordable and prompt dispute resolution than the old “wait years, then if you’re lucky you’ll get enough cash to buy a stereo” routine.

                    • Gosman

                      The question you are avoiding is why haven’t Labour just abolished the 90 day trial completely and reverted back to the previous arrangement. It seems like they are trying to keep employers onside (at least a bit). By doing this they alienate supporters like billmurray.

                    • McFlock

                      hullo goose.

                      Not avoiding it at all – have pointed out several times that the people likely to be on probationary periods and fired at will are lower income workers who can’t necessarily afford to spend months or years going through the court system just to get a few grand in compensation for their minimum wage job. This policy returns the right of the employee to know the grounds for their dismissal and dispute them, and actually makes dispute processes as accessible to employees as it is to shit empoyers.

                      If the Labour policy was to simply reverse the s67A changes, you’d be making that exact criticism.

              • Draco T Bastard

                bollocks to you, ” there were never days of pre fire at will” before the 90 day trial periods were bought in by National.


                Please learn to read.

                Andrew Little has reneged on HIS promise he made to the delegates to get rid of the 90 day trial period.

                How has he done that?
                Before you answer consider this:

                Restore fairness rights for employees by replacing National’s 90 day ‘fire at will’ law with a fast, fair, and simple system.

              • Karen

                Please read the Manifesto Bill – don’t just skim read it, read it properly.

                There is a lot there for workers that will make a real difference to worker’s rights, including those on a 90 day trial. Before workers could take a personal grievance but it often cost them dearly in lawyer’s fees. With this they can seek redress tat no cost if they feel they have been unfairly dismissed.

                Also, read the statements from E Tū and First Union.

                • Bill

                  Mediation was free and there was (and remains) no need to hire a lawyer to take a case of personal grievance to mediation.

                  The problem of the last few years has been the gutting of mediation services, mediation becoming “captured” by lawyers and lawyers being too keen to take matters to the Employment Relations Authority instead of settling (more money for them) and the ability for future employers to ‘check up’ on prospective employees (unlike Mediation, Authority cases are public)

                  • McFlock

                    Hey Bill, you’ve got a decent level of coalface experience in this area.

                    What do you think of the “ban the lawyers, unappealable arbitration” idea? How do you think it will work in practise – I can see how it might benefit lower income workers, but what potential hooks are you wary of?

                    • Bill

                      Some years back, lawyers were discouraged at the level of Mediation. That was a bloody good thing imo because lawyers are often utterly useless in pretty much everything bar wasting time with wankery and cranking up fees.

                      I’d leave the PG in the Mediation environment where parties come to an agreement. Currently, Mediators are not meant to ‘make decisions’, but we all know human nature and how influence works on those attempting to stay completely neutral and how they might ‘persuade’ certain parties to play ball…

                      Blocking pathways from Mediation to The Authority could be a good thing.

                      But I really don’t like what I’m reading as the “judge” aspect of the proposal.

                    • McFlock

                      I suppose it depends on the process – if it’s largely mediation and the judgey part only comes in if the mediation breaks down because one side is a palpable dick, it might be ok.

                      Alternatively, if it starts as ‘supplicants before Solomon’ right from the get-go, I’m not sure even a totalitarian like myself would be entirely supportive of it 🙂

                    • Bill

                      Was mulling over this a wee bit.

                      Let’s say there are four “arbitrators” in a given area. Some will be better disposed towards workers and some towards employers. That’s just ‘human nature’. As a worker, I’m going to be walking in blind, whereas employers will have prior knowledge on which arbitrators are preferable – for them. One quick call to the Employers Federation if they’re unsure and all of a sudden their availability just happens to dove-tail with the availability of those arbitrators they’d prefer to have.

                      The proposal can’t ban lawyers btw, unless it’s stipulating that neither worker nor boss can have a representative. I don’t think I have to point out the huge disparities that would arise were that to be the case.

                    • McFlock

                      The worker can call up their union rep in exactly the same way the employer can call the employers federation.

                      The policy says “Both parties will be allowed representation but no lawyers will be allowed. The referee will seek agreement between the parties but where this is not possible, they will make a final and binding decision that cannot be appealed. There will be a cap on the value of penalties that can be awarded.”

                      Dunno how they’ll manage the no lawyers but representation, but it seems to be more mediation-based than I expected after the initial reading.

            • weka

              Except there is still a trial period, which makes me wonder if with the improvements there will still be more hassle for workers because of the expectation from employers that the trial period exists and that they have a right to test people and then let them go if they don’t like them.

              I guess it comes down to whether one thinks that trial periods are fair or useful.

              • Draco T Bastard

                There’s always been a trial period in law. That’s not the problem. The problem was that National made it so that employers could simply get rid of an employee without notice, without cause and without explanation.

                • weka

                  Thanks for clarifying, I didn’t know there’s always been trial periods.

                • billmurray

                  Draco T Bastard,
                  Their has never been a trial period in law,
                  There were often local rules that employers may state to a new employee that they were on a fortnights trial before becoming a full time employee.
                  If a new employee was dismissed in that first fortnight they could still take a Personal Grievance against that employer.
                  Little was the contending candidate for the leadership of the LP when he promised he would fully reverse National’s trial policy.
                  He has not done that.
                  He has tinkered with his promise.
                  HE IS A FUCKING LIAR.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Their has never been a trial period in law,

                    Yes there has:

                    Probationary Periods under the Employment Relations Act Prior to 12th Dec 08

                    Under section 67 of the Act parties to an employment agreement can agree to a probationary period but it must be specified in the agreement. The law relating to an unjustified dismissal still applies to a situation where an employee is dismissed during or at the end of a probationary period. Any decision to terminate employment during a probationary period must be accompanied by fair warning, an obligation to communicate any concerns to the employee and obligations to supervise and review. The employer would be faced with legal proceedings by the prospect of the employee being able to raise a personal grievance under the Employment Relations Act.

                    And that invalidates everything else you’ve said on this post.

                    • billmurray

                      Draco D Bastard,
                      NO it does not, it validates everything I have written.
                      READ your own comment.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I read my own comment. It still invalidates everything you’ve said on this post.

                      There has been trial periods in law for decades.

                    • UncookedSelachimorpha

                      Have to agree with Bill Murray here – the pre-08 act appears to specifically provide full and complete redress against unfair dismissal and the like. Very little in common with the current 90 day trials.

                    • Draco T Bastard []

                      It provided for a trial period. Yes the employer still had to justify dismissal.

                      What Labour is doing is bringing that bit back so that the employee isn’t as disadvantaged as now.

                    • web developer

                      The probationary provision in the pre-08 law was effective. Determining if a dismissal was justified isn’t simply a case of ‘two written warnings and a dismissal’ as some people seem to think, although that is a convention used in many cases.
                      The truth is that, in deciding if a dismissal was justified or unjustified, the decision-maker (authority member, judge, what have you) has to take into account all the circumstances. If one of the circumstances was that the employee was on a probationary period under the Act, the threshold for justification was considered to be lower. It wasn’t a black-and-white rule like National’s version, but it did allow for something similar.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    If working people’s slice of the economy hadn’t shrunk under National, workers’ pay packets would have been $23 billion larger.

    Just think of how much better the economy would be doing if that $23 billion went to workers instead of rich bludgers.

  5. McFlock 5

    Not bad for the first hundred days. Minimum wage should be living wage, but will reverse much of the worst of the nats employment abuses. Hobbit law, fire at will, that sort of shit.

    And abolition of youth rates with 12 months, and work on better wages (one would hope to long-term bed in living wage as minimum wage so it’s not so easy for nats to nuke).

    • billmurray 5.1

      stop telling lies, there has never been “fire at will” in NZ.
      Have you never heard of a Personal Grievance?.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    To achieve these outcomes, Labour believes that working people must have a voice in their workplaces and industries through collective bargaining and their own independent trade unions. Workers and employers know their sector best.

    What I’d like to see is better support for cooperatives. Better, more easily understood laws, more visibility for them, standardised rules around getting credit for them and probably a whole lot that I’m missing.

    Workers and the economy will do better by getting rid of the employers.

    • billmurray 6.1

      Draco T Bastard and McFlock,
      you are both stabbing in the dark and unfortunately you are telling lies in the process.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Please learn to use the ‘reply’ button correctly.

      • McFlock 6.1.2

        ok, what grounds do you have to call us liars?

        Because we’ve both been quoting and linking the employment law to you. You, on the other hand, have just been responding with the equivalent of “lalalala! I’m not listening! You’re wrong, Labour BAAAAD!”.

        So please, show us where we’re wrong. Show us the bill the nats introduced, and the bit in pre-2008 employment law that barred probationary employment.

        • billmurray

          Because you do not know what you are talking about.
          You are both feeding bullshit from each other.
          Stick with the one-eyed trolling against anyone who writes a word against Labour. You are good at it but unfortunately IMO does not serve the Labour movement.
          I am Labour movement first, neo liberal Labour party second.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Because you do not know what you are talking about.

            You’re the only one talking from ignorance. We, on the other hand, have linked back to the actual law.

          • McFlock

            So the ones who don’t know what they’re talking about are quoting the relevant sections in legislation, and the one who is correct has referenced… nothing.

            Sounds legit /sarc

            edit: lolsnap

          • Sacha

            “I am Labour movement first, neo liberal Labour party second”

            and reading and comprehension a distant last it seems. You are way off the mark on this. Stop wasting people’s time.

    • billmurray 6.2

      Draco T Bastard, 6.06pm
      Do you mean “anarco- syndicalism”?.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        Not specifically. I just see cooperatives a great way to get rid of capitalism and the bludging shareholders.

        • billmurray

          Draco T Bastard,
          Sympathetic, but it would take revolution, both Russia and China tried, won, then failed.
          Both now state capitalists.

          • Draco T Bastard

            It wouldn’t take a revolution. Just visible support from the government and a change of rules to make them more viable.

          • In Vino

            billmurray – you seem to have a shallow understanding of revolutions, etc. Both China and Russia were countries with a firm tradition of despotic dictatorship, so, naturally, both their communist revolutions resulted in a new form of the same thing. They are still undemocratic by our standards.
            Pretending that Socialism or Communism can never succeed because it failed in despotic Russia and China is a weak argument.

            • McFlock

              But on the flipside, that’s the problem with Marxism: any totalitarian socialist state falls into a No True Scotsman argument.

              Frankly, I think the problem with revolutionary socialism is that you can’t grow utopia out of revolution. You can’t put people against a wall and then twenty years later have a restrained system that serves the human needs of the population as a whole.

              Fucking Hegel.

              • Draco T Bastard

                But on the flipside, that’s the problem with Marxism: any totalitarian socialist state falls into a No True Scotsman argument.

                Maybe it happens all the time because it happens to be true?

                I like to point out that the workers controlling the means of production must mean a democracy. It cannot be any other way and if a ‘Communist’ state isn’t democratic then it cannot be Communist.

                And I agree with you about Revolution.

                • McFlock

                  Problem with that theory is that you end up with marxists arguing real world evidence that libertarianism doesn’t work, and vice versa, with both sides trying the no true scotsman defence.

                  And both making valid, real world criticisms.

                  Marx was bang-on about the problems with capitalism, but the model he used to replace it is pseudoreligious bunk.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Problem with that theory is that you end up with marxists arguing real world evidence that libertarianism doesn’t work, and vice versa, with both sides trying the no true scotsman defence.

                    Real world evidence can support both – at specific times. The real question is if it can support them over time and that’s where capitalism falls down as all the evidence shows that capitalism destroys societies. It may take centuries but it still does it.

                    And I’m not a Marxist but more of an anarchist.

          • Stuart Munro

            NZ had plenty of cooperatives a few decades back – they didn’t become instruments of state oppression – rather the reverse. The now aggressively far-right dairy industry grew out of very successful and much more socially responsible cooperatives.

            They’re a logical first step in industries like groceries, so riddled with monopolism that even the Herald is noticing NZers pay 10x as much for a kilo of kumara as Aussies.

    • Co-ops are definitely a great way to cut out unfair management structures from the picture and are inherently democratic. There are some great orgs providing advice on when co-ops may be right for you and trying to promote them, but I absolutely think some government policy promoting co-ops (especially if they consider co-ops before other options when contracting for services…) would be a great idea.

      • Red 6.3.1

        If people want to start a coop nothing stopping them, there is no god given law that a firm needs to be owned by capital, many of a firms patron could own the firm, ie workers, customers, suppliers, A free market does not dictate as such just that the most efficient structure tends to win out, this is where coops tend to fall over re the internal transaction costs to manage such organisations are a lot higher and often lack responsiveness to change

        • Draco T Bastard

          No, the ownership model we use isn’t God given but it has been around for awhile. In fact it started in that failed state The Roman Empire. Yes, our ownership model is more than 2000 years old.

          IMO, part of the problem is that cooperatives have the same ownership model and that restricts them. A large part of that restriction comes from the banks control of credit and the fact that they want a single owner whereas a cooperative needs to not be owned.

  7. red-blooded 7

    This looks like a fair, balanced policy. It covers conditions for contractors (who are often “contracted” to one company who see it as giving them more flexibility than if they were categorised as employees – which, in all but legal terms, is what they are), it brings back minimum pay and conditions across industries and yes, it does replace the 90 Day fire-at-will situation with much more provisions for reasonable trial periods, giving a lot more protection to workers and a much fairer process. I think Labour can be congratulated on a very positive set of initiatives.

  8. Ad 8

    I can see this set of policies shoring up Labour’s existing voter base.
    I can’t see it changing too many.

    The really big risk is that people on low wages will check where they more from National’s tax category changes than from per-hour age increases. Thats the natural voter comparison to make.

    • McFlock 8.1

      Well, income and job security are a pretty good combination, even if you believe the naysayers over housing.

      • Ad 8.1.1

        This is playing to Little’s funding base in the unions. Which is quite fair enough.

        But if I were a union organiser I would have expected a lot more out of him than this.

        Every policy Labour produces in the next four weeks needs to be so bold, interesting, media-worthy and compelling that it really has the capacity to shift big chunks of the electorate.

      • patricia bremner 8.1.2

        Patricia Bremner to McFlock 8.1
        Also I have seen Labour plan to remove secondary tax, during the tax revamp. This is huge for people doing 2/3 part time roles.
        So improved income = a base rate plus less tax plus more security is a nobrainer.
        Billshit lost a number of people with his “useless druggies ” comment, added to his lying by omission, it is becoming “who would you trust?”
        As I said on another post, he’s not Christ, he has to convince a team, and the unions, and he has managed to get his “foot in the door” with this policy.
        A great start.
        The fact certain parties have started a “Chicken Little” rant seals the deal!!!

        • McFlock

          missed the secondary tax thing – that was a real kick in the guts back when I was under multiple employers, as I recall.

  9. Richard@Downsouth 9

    Anyone know how many Labour inspectors there are currently?

  10. millsy 10

    I wish Business NZ and the like will just admit they want to keep wages down.

  11. Wainwright 11

    Yawn. Tinkering at the edge sof a broken system all wrapped up in soft language so as to not scare the business horses. The fans can cry ‘read the full manifetso’ as much as they like but this doesn’t deliver the headlines and clear alternative voters want, so they just won’t show up, again.

  12. UncookedSelachimorpha 12

    A step in the right direction for sure from labour, but we are still very much waiting for a Corbyn. Much better than National, but I feel that National Lite continues.

  13. Sanctuary 13

    The employers and maufacturers association hate the policy, they say it is “unworkable” (that is, it will work very well indeed), “old fashioned” (that is, will revert to a more level playing field) and cause “industrial chaos” (that is, people will get pay rises from militant employers only after flexing collective muscle).

    I am fully for Labour’s policy!

  14. Philj 14

    No sooner is the Labour policy announced, than RNZ Morning Report trots out multiple Big Business Spokesmen to denounce the policy immediately. Small wonder there is trouble within the ranks at RNZ, in spite of what Exec Nat Dick Griffen says.

  15. Halfcrown 15

    I see the Employers and Manufacturers Association are having the usual winge about this saying it will take us back 40 years to the 70’s. GOOD, better than taking us back over 150 years which they would like to see, the days of Dickens when kids worked in the mines.

  16. I support this policy. In your arguments over the 90 day trial period ; which I think the policy effectively nukes, you are overlooking the big one – Fair Wage Agreements. That has the potential to fundamentally change wage bargaining in New Zealand, so that arsehole employers are bound to standards that are agreed between unions and industry and apply to all workers. Good example right now ; the bus drivers in Wellington ; if there was a Fair Wage Agreement in the Bus Transport Industry there wouldn’t be a new contractor coming in trying to get a competitive advantage out of lowering wages. The other biggie is extending employment rights to contractors who primarily sell their labour.

  17. Siobhan 17

    Last time we had a $20.00 a week rise in minimum wages here in the Bay, rents went up $20.00 a week.
    Coincidence I’m sure.

    • Gosman 17.1

      Yes. It is called the wage price spiral. It is why you can’t just inflate yourself to prosperity by raising wages all the time without increasing productivity.

      • Draco T Bastard 17.1.1

        And that’s a load of bollocks.

        1. The landlord controls the rent and will put it up when they think the tenants have more money.
        2. Increased productivity decreases wages in an industry unless there’s increased population buying it and there’s not increased competition.

      • Sacha 17.1.2

        What’s your take on why most actual productivity gains have gone to owners rather than workers in recent years/decades?

      • KJT 17.1.3

        Wages have lagged so far behind productivity gains that it is not funny.

        One of the main reasons for more recent low productivity in New Zealand, is that employers have been able to increase profits by cutting wages, rather than having to invest in productivity, good management and innovation.

        An excellent argument for taxing profit takers more, and investing in education, R and D and infrastructure, instead of allowing them to waste it in overseas financial PONZI schemes, such as the US financial markets.

  18. saveNZ 18

    One of the most disgusting employment controls is the ‘zero hour contracts’ – is that or is it not illegal now?

    Had a family member sign a new contract and it had a new zero hour contracts – but I thought they had been banned?

    Personally think unions should innovate and provide a cheap walk in service to both employees and employers about employment issues. Where do you even get information about it nowadays? There is the gig economy etc – there are huge issue with having access to understanding employment issues.

    Now a huge amount of people are self employed and on contracts with just themselves

    Increasingly former ‘wage earners’ are now ‘self employed’ as jobs are just disappearing.

    One way Labour could reach out, is too those people who are not on ‘wages’.

    Essentially modern business has created a weird dynamic where increasingly people are forced to be self employed or employers themselves, but not a lot has been done by government to help them.

    • Gosman 18.1

      What could government do to help these people?

      • McFlock 18.1.1

        What could government do to help these people?

        Introduce statutory support and legal rights for “dependent contractors” who are effectively workers under the control of an employer, but who do not receive the legal protections that are currently provided to employees under the law.

        Investigate options for ensuring that people who work over 40 hours a week receive adequate remuneration.

        Increase the number of, and resourcing for, Labour Inspectors who are responsible for enforcing employment law and prosecuting breaches, and double the number of inspectors from 55 to 110 over our first term.

      • saveNZ 18.1.2

        @ Gosman, Well I have never heard anything good said about the ERA. Any decisions that are reported often seem ridiculous and can take years.

        The employment process needs to be less about process and more about fairness. Less about getting the best lawyers and more about a reasonable and quick outcome. You should at least need a proper reason to fire someone if you don’t need to and management need to take more responsibility for financial bankruptcy.

        Shut down accountancy fraud schemes like Mondelez and Dick Smith and make that type of asset stripping and questionable payments, illegal with real fines and jail time.

        It’s crazy that a women who WINZ decides has sexual relations outside of what she is allowed by the state and is put in prison for benefit fraud, kids into state care, while those who bankrupt Pike River and 29 men are killed get off with zero prison time and no criminal conviction.

        Taxpayers money under The National party is no longer invested but siphoned off by intermediaries and to corporations who don’t pay taxes and asset strip and close down factories, reduce jobs, as well as destroy the environment in many cases.

        Trickle down has not worked. Globalism as it is currently playing out, does not work for the many.

        Free trade has been hijacked into corporate welfare, corporate bullying and cronyism. Our no 2 export of NZ is profits. That’s fucking sad.

        National has borrowing billions for their big spend up after ‘feel good’ Key, and now we have 93 billion in debt and less income from the assets he sold.

        The National party has not only ensured we own less of our assets, they are helping sell them off quicker, cheaper and hiding how much is being sold.

        In short they are robbing NZ and creating a dysfunction society.

        • Gosman

          I don’t think you understand the point of free trade if you think it hasn’t “worked”.

          • KJT

            Worked. In what way?

            • Gosman


              • KJT

                You realise Gosman. That if we had perfect “free markets” and perfect “Free trade” there would be no such thing as profit!

                Every successful businessperson knows that to make profit you have to distort the market in your favour. Hence the fortunes spent on “brands” patents and advertising.

      • Sacha 18.1.3

        Govt could restore some of the practical advisory focus that got squeezed out when they build MBIE into a monster ministry. Seems mainly geared towards industry-level support and big businesses.

    • Craig H 18.2

      Check the Employment Relations Act, Sections 67C, D and E – seems pretty clear that zero hour contracts are banned because the contracts have to specify actual hours. One could argue that Labour Inspectors could do something about it, so calling MBIE might be useful.

  19. adam 19

    It really is a day for mediocre.

    Mind you is better than the Tories, but then again, a kick in the head would be better than the current laws and regulations.

    • Bill 19.1

      Horizons, for far too many, stretch only as far as nose ends, and possibilities as far as out-stretched arms.

      At least, that’s how it seems to me in these annoyingly boring and frustrating days.

      (Yawn) Maybe in three years, or thirty years, or in a hundred and thirty…thousand.

      Thank god NZ won’t be left to it’s own devices and will be washed along in the wake of countries where the political establishment was subjected to more distant horizons and more demanding possibilities than New Zealand’s 😉

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