NDU catches govt lying

Written By: - Date published: 7:31 pm, August 26th, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: Unions - Tags:

This morning the National Distribution Union put out a statement saying the Minister of Labour, Kate Wilkinson, had refused to attend an executive meeting on the absurd grounds that Telecom lines engineers belonging to a different union, the EPMU, had recently been on strike.

In Question Time today Sue Bradford asked whether the Minister’s refusal to meet with unions while others are taking industrial action would be extended to businesses. Wilkinson’s fill-in, Wayne Mapp, batted the question away, claiming it was merely a “clash of commitments” that prevented her from meeting with the NDU.

Turns out he wasn’t telling the truth. The NDU has released a recording of a phone message left by a Ministerial staffer which makes it clear Wilkinson was boycotting the NDU for political reasons. She says:

We understand your position but from our point of view the risk is still too high and it’s not appropriate for the minister to be involved in something like this.

I know that you’ve said to me that the strike action was carried out yesterday and that it is completed but we just don’t think that we can be guaranteed that by anybody… I’m sorry but I’m sure you’ll understand why it’s not appropriate for the Minister to be attending tomorrow at the NDU executive meeting.

Seems pretty clearcut to me. The Minister refused to attend the NDU executive meeting because another union had taken strike action the day before. She knows this position is untenable, especially in light of her refusal to extend the same policy to business. So National covers for her by making up a fake “clash of commitments”.

Here’s a tip for National’s staffers. Don’t leave politically sensitive messages on people’s answerphones. And if you do, make sure you tell your minister before they lie about it in the house.

15 comments on “NDU catches govt lying”

  1. Ianmac 1

    Of course now “they” will have learnt how to avoid leaving incriminating messages. Damn.

  2. Pascal's bookie 2

    Wilkinson’s fill-in, Wayne Mapp, batted the question away, claiming it was merely a “clash of commitments’ that prevented her from meeting with the NDU

    So would that be a privileges committee thing then?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Probably not, Speaker says lying during question time is fine by him.

      • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1

        faaark. aint that special?

      • Eddie 2.1.2

        In the old days, you didn’t need to rely on the speaker. If a minister lied to or purposely misled the House they were fired – Benson-Pope, when he contracted a previous answer in the House, it was clear that one was a lie and out he went.

        Key doesn’t hold ministers to the standards that Clark did.

    • toad 2.2

      As a fill-in Minister, he can probably claim that the advice he received wasn’t clear, make a correction to his answer, and get a way with it.

      If Wilkinson herself had said it, she would have been in deep trouble.

  3. Tigger 3

    Of course they’ll claim that Mapp was ‘confused’ or simply had the wrong facts.

    So what is worse National – lying or incompetence?

    • Ari 3.1

      I don’t think they could realistically claim it was one or the other. We’re talking about Wayne Mapp here. 😉

  4. I think that we’ll find that Ms Wilkinson was made aware of the NDU’s staunch support for the EPMU in the Telecom dispute last Monday and that the ‘risk’ was non-existent. It is simply a knee-jerk response by an incompetent minister who dislikes unions and their mutual solidarity.

  5. Craig Glen Eden 5

    What it shows is what we know, National are not neutral like they and their supporters like to make out when it comes to matters of Industrial Relations.
    Interesting though when the NZ Government wont meet with a NZ Union when another Union is on strike against a Aussie firm.

    Ambitious for NZ I don’t think so John!

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    I’m not seeing any tories on this thread.

  7. tc 7

    The only surprise to me is that all colours haven’t been legislated to grey so no matter what whopper is told it’s all ‘grey’ so it must be OK.
    With no media or reporters of intellect and principle this stuff happens all the time now as they cower in the corner hoping they’ll be left alone…..and dream of a level playing field where truth and honesty’s valued.
    My only real hope is the swinging voters who fell for the Labour-lite con NACT successfully used in 2008 wake up and dump them in 2011 after south africa win back to back world cups.
    All this and the muldoon-esque Sir Douglas Graham chortling away over his perks talk about the old being reinvented as the new.

  8. The Voice of Reason 8

    Folate Kate imploded in front of the media this arvo, blaming a staffer for getting the NDU excuse wrong and then repeatedly saying there was confusion in her office. Over and over again she said her staff were confused as if that wasn’t a problem in itself.

    On this form, the first reshuffle can’t be far away .

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    On this form, the first reshuffle can’t be far away

    Nah.

    Mogadon John is quite relaxed about it really.

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