National’s election plan is becoming clear. They are going to put a lot of nasty stuff on the table and trust that people love Key’s smiling face so much they will still vote National. If they win, they will take it as a mandate to do everything they’ve said, and more. The latest election policy is more attacks on our work rights.
Key won’t be drawn on details but it seems likely that removing workers’ right to the minimum wage, at least for youth workers, will be part of it, as will allowing employers to refuse to engage in collective bargaining with unionised workers.
One of the joys of blogging is when I/S at No Right Turn has already written what you want to write, and done the tedious job of finding all the links:
National is planning a further attack on workers rights if they are re-elected, according to Radio New Zealand:
Mr Key has told the Seafood Industry Council conference in Wellington a more flexible labour market is better for both employers and workers.He was reluctant to spell out what other changes National might make to employment law, refusing to say whether they include further restrictions on collective bargaining.
But he says that while the changes will be good for both employers and workers, trade unions won’t be happy.
Cutting through the spin and bullshit, this means tilting the field even further in favour of employers. And the result will be lower wages and poorer working conditions for Kiwi workers. National thinks this is an “advantage”, but its not. Instead, it is the reason why our living standards are lower than those of Australia, why our businesses are less productive, why our managers are crap – because they’re insulated from their own stupidity by a favourable regulatory regime.
National, in typical fashion, is refusing to say exactly what changes it will make. This is downright deceitful. We have a right to know, so we can judge them at the election on those policies. But no doubt that’s exactly what National is trying to avoid.
Another point raised by Ms Brookes-Quan concerned the exodus to Australia by New Zealanders, lured by attractive wage compensation, and the recent call for employers to pay more.Mr Key would like to see the opposite occur.
“We would love to see wages drop,” he says.
When Key couldn’t spin and obfuscate his way out of this admission, he pulled the strings of his tame Herald editor to have a “correction” printed (for another paper, for giving an incorrect “impression”). But in light of National’s policies in office (which have seen mass unemployment and sub-inflation wage rises), and today’s announcement of a further attack on worker’s rights which will further reduce the wages and living standards of ordinary Kiwis, maybe we should be taking Key at his word.
As I’ve pointed out before, extracting higher profits through lower wages is a core policy of the National Party. When they talk about “raising living standards”, they’re not talking about raising them for us, but for the top 0.1%. Its about transferring wealth upwards, by making ordinary kiwis actively worse off. And I can think of no better definition of “evil” than that.
So, it’s the same old agenda – rip off working people and further enrich.
The politics of how it will be done is interesting, too. The game plan for this was set by Reagan’s fight with the air traffic controllers and Thatcher’s stoush with the miners in the 80s (hell, the same pattern was at play in the 1951 waterfront lock-out):
The public sector unions, probably the teacher or medical unions, or maybe the PSA, will be National’s target.
No doubt this will give the unions another reason to fight hard at this election. It gives each of us more reason to vote Left and get everyone we know to do the same.