Nats block pay equity bill

Written By: - Date published: 2:33 pm, July 6th, 2011 - 11 comments
Categories: employment, equality, feminism, john key, national - Tags: , ,

It puzzles me that the Nats have any female supporters.

The Nats are no friends to women. During their three year term they have scrapped the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit (PaEE), and killed off investigations aimed at improving the pay of women. On their watch the gender gap in pay is widening, and women are slipping back in various employment indicators.

Even their friends accuse the National Party of internal sexism. I’m sure that’s unrelated to the fact that “The gender pay gap in the prime minister’s department is nearly three times as large as the national average” (in Key’s office of 126 staff the 52% of workers who are female are paid on average 27.5% less than their male colleagues).

And now the latest chapter in this shameful book. See if you can make any sense of Key’s dithering yesterday:

Key shies from wage equity bill

The Government is firmly against pay discrimination based on gender, but has shied away from supporting a bill aimed at eliminating any pay gap between men and women who are doing the same job. …

The Human Rights Commission has released the Pay Equality Bill to allow employees to ask employers if they are receiving equal pay.

Prime Minister John Key appeared open to the bill in an interview on TVNZ’s Breakfast yesterday morning, but by the afternoon he not only said he did not support it, but existing laws already outlawed discrimination.

“We’re aware [of the bill]. We’d need to take a look at that. We haven’t done that.”

The principle of the bill was already reflected in the Equal Pay Act and the Human Rights Act, he said.

“We also would have real concerns if it was divisive in the workplace or had unintended consequences.

I wouldn’t say we support the [bill], but we’ll have a look at it.”

Mr Key said there were “a lot of reasons” why men were paid more than women, and he hoped people were not being paid differently just because of their gender.

“I don’t know if they are or they aren’t. I don’t have any data on that.”

According to the Quarterly Employment Survey in March, men are paid on average $27.54 an hour, 14.4 per cent higher than the $24.07 an hour that women are paid. …

Green MP Catherine Delahunty has a private member’s bill which would force employers to provide information on request to employees about what others are paid for the same job.

Labour leader Phil Goff said he would like to see both bills introduced so Parliament could scrutinise them.

So Key says he is in favour of pay equity, but he doesn’t know any of the details, and isn’t planning to actually support efforts to do anything about it. Sure enough in news this morning, Newsroom reports that “The Green Party’s attempt to introduce a Bill promoting equal pay for men and women has been blocked by National”. So that’s the Nats for you. On pay equity their actions speak louder than their words.

11 comments on “Nats block pay equity bill”

  1. NickC 1

    Wheres the satire tag there AR? National have nothing to do with it. The introduction of the bill has been blocked by Labours outrageous filibuster of the Education (Freedom of Association) Ammendment Bill. Phil Goff may say he wants the bills introduced, but his actions speak louder than words.

    And on that subject Andrew Little made the following comment today in his EPMU retirement speech:

    “I believe voluntary unionism – true freedom of association – gives the union movement much greater strength and a much greater moral authority.” Someone tell the Labour caucus!

    • cowbell 1.1

      BS. National could make room in it’s legislative agenda if it wanted.

      • NickC 1.1.1

        As they could with every bill in the members ballot, but thats not the point. The members ballot exists for MPs to further social causes and at least debate ideas which the government of the day wont touch for whatever reason. Whilst gender equality is not controversial, and probably not a social issue, gender equity is in that catagory.

        Even if you don’t agree with that, Labour has blocked every other members bill from having any chance at being drawn.

        • felix

          Err, no. National were invited to adopt the bill and they turned it down.

          • NickC

            What difference does that make? I’m sure every MP with a bill in the members ballot would be stoaked if the government adopted their bill. The fact that Cathrine Delahunty put out a press release inviting the government to do so changes nothing. The members ballot serves a legitimate and distinct function which Labour have been happy to kill off as collatoral damage in their fight against freedom of association and accountability for student politicians.

            • felix

              “What difference does that make?”

              Do I stutter? It makes a difference to your claim that National had nothing to do with blocking the bill, genius.

              They had the opportunity to adopt it. They turned it down.

              That was the entire point of the post and that’s what you’ve been denying.

              Don’t try to move the goalposts now, fucko.

              • NickC

                The goal posts are clear: Did National block the pay equity bill.

                Lets use an analogy: Cathrine Delahunty is waiting in line to get into a rugby game, but the line is moving very slowly because Grant Robertson is being a dickhead having a massive argument with the guy checking tickets for the sole purpose of slowing the que down. This argument shows no sign of stopping. John Key, who has won membership tickets which means he doesn’t have to wait in line, walks past. Cathrine asks if she could have a membership ticket instead of one of Johns mates to cut the que. John says no.

                In this senario, who has really ‘blocked’ Cathrine from getting into the rugby game?

    • r0b 1.2

      I’m taking my info from Newsroom NickC – “The Green Party’s attempt to introduce a Bill promoting equal pay for men and women has been blocked by National” – if you think they have that wrong you can take it up with them!

      • NickC 1.2.1

        Thats hiarious rob. See, here I was thinking that you cared about critiquing the media and weren’t willing to blindly accept and re print as fact a blatantly inaccurate media headline, but turns out you are when it attacks the National Party. Who would have thought!!

        • r0b

          Either that or an expert news service (with no particular record of cockups that I’m aware of) knows more about it than you.

  2. ianmac 2

    Your point about the reluctance for National to confront the issue Antony is very valid. In a different world the MSM would focus on their reluctance and call for action. (There was a faint rumble about National’s reluctance to act on real Liquor reform but it faded.)

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