Open mike 17/08/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 17th, 2010 - 36 comments
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36 comments on “Open mike 17/08/2010”

  1. So John Key has suddenly realised we have a savings problem and that we need to do something about it. Almost two years after he gutted Kiwisaver and the Cullen fund and less than 12 months before the next election.

    I guess the focus groups must have told him he has to do something.

    • Tigger 1.1

      Or they figured out if they get us saving over there they can use all the money already collected for their own ends…tax cuts for their mates perhaps?

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      Remind me again what specific changes to kiwisaver count as “gutting it”? The part where they kept the $1042/year tax credit, or the part where they kept the $1000 kickstart? Or the part where they added 2%, 6% and 10% salary contribution options?

      • Pascal's bookie 1.2.1

        The part where they halved the employer’s contribution. What would that work out to over 20 years? Fairly significant.

        • Lanthanide

          Yes, that was a significant change, but IMO it still falls short of “gutting it”. Others may have different opinions of course. With the new 2% contribution level, you can contribute 2% personally, 2% from the employer and <=2% from the goverment (depending on salary), for a total contribution of 4-6% while personally shelling out only 33-50% of that investment, vs the old maths of 4% + 4% + <=2% for 8-10% while still personally shelling out 40-50%. In my mind is it the magnitude that has changed, rather than the overall structure (actually if anything the new structure allows you to contribute just 33% of the total input, vs the old requirement of 40%). It is still definitely worth joining.

          At one point National had considered capping the government tax credits to 2% of your income, that is only someone earning $52,000 or more per year would be able to achieve the full tax credits. Thankfully they pulled back on that change (so someone on $26k contributing at 4% will still get them, or anyone who voluntary tops their contribution up to the $1042 figure). If they had gone ahead with it, then IMO the term "gutting" would be appropriate.

          National have also recently added in 6% and 10% salary options. I'm currently on 2% as I'm paying back debt, but I will be moving to the 6% option very shortly – without that I would've stayed on 4% because 8% is too much for me right now.

          • Lazy Susan

            In addition to halving employer’s contributions National also removed the employer tax credit of up to $20/employee/week.

            Yes, they pretty much gutted it and now will pay a patsy “Working Group” to produce some forgone conclusions.

  2. prism 2

    Vulnerable older women in Blenheim being sexually handled by a worker in a rest home has led to a conviction after a long time of secret behaviour. That sort of behaviour is an outcome bound to happen where men without the highest nursing qualifications are accepted as workers carrying out intimate body care on women.

    The reverse situation is less likely though not impossible, as women feel more respect for men than men for women, and would be less inclined to indulge in such disrespectful and perverse behaviour.

  3. just saying 3

    The link above is an incisive and compassionate analysis of the Welfare Working Group report by Anne Else. Very wise stuff, and she raises a number of important matters arising from the report.

    One interesting avenue was about the sort of work situation envisioned for the poor, the sick, disabled, and the solo-parent, in the WWG’s bright welfare-free tomorrow.

    “Make benefits hard enough to get, regardless of these “extra difficulties’, and the problem will be solved. Where the jobs are to come from is not worth discussing.

    To be fair, there is one revealing hint in the report that the demand for labour or at least for cheap, flexible labour did influence the WWG’s thinking:

    “Allied Workforce also notes that employment legislation (personal grievance laws, the ever-increasing minimum wage, and the now defunct youth rates) can be counter-productive to the interests of those they seek to help.’

    Allied Workforce says it is now the largest supplier of casual and temporary labour-hire in New Zealand, with 27 branches from Kaitaia to Invercargill….”

    …”Companies like ours are best placed to manage and place people where and when they are required for industry. That way when a particular skill set is required you pick up the phone and it’s there, and when you no longer need it the cost is gone.’ end quote

    Cake anyone?

    • Pete 3.1

      Thanks just saying – that’s a must read article I reckon.

    • Olwyn 3.2

      Yes thanks for that just saying, I will add this from today’s herald:

      So much for the moderate Mr Key.

    • Bill 3.3

      I’m confused.

      Allied Workforce are a temp agency, right? Which means that nobody could file a personal grievance against them because they were not responsible for the actions at the work-site. And the company that was hiring the worker through the agency couldn’t have a personal grievance filed against them either, because they were not the employer…the agency was.

      So for them to wank on about the negative impact of personal grievance laws that couldn’t be applied to them, is a pile of shite.

      • millsy 3.3.1

        It might be pointing out that their largest period of growth was when Labour was in power….

      • The Voice of Reason 3.3.2

        Actually, Bill, it is a confusing situation.

        Allied is the employer and potentially subject to personal grievances because of the actions or inactions of the firms to whom they send workers. It is similar to the situation where the sales rep of firm A argues with someone from firm B. Just because it doesn’t happen at Firm A’s workplace doesn’t mean they aren’t responsible for the actions of their employee. In the reverse, if someone from firm B abused the sales rep from firm A, the PG would be raised by the rep against Firm A if there wasn’t a satisfactory response from Firm B.

        The reality is that firms dump temp labour at a moments notice, without giving a reason to the worker concerned. Usually, said worker gets a call from the temp agency to say they are no longer needed at Firm 1 and tomorrow they’ll be working at Firm 2. The agency might tell the worker what went wrong, but, usually, they don’t bother as there is no need to. They are just units to be moved around as required.

        In my earlier life, I was a Kelly’s temp for 3 months in a packaging factory before being made permanent. While a temp it was clear I was subject to the site rules and reg’s and temps were issued with warnings, just like the rest of the ‘real’ staff. However, temps weren’t fired, just re-assigned by Kelly’s if they got too far offside with the management.

        Why Allied would complain about the PG laws is beyond me. They don’t usually fire even the worst of their employees, just don’t offer them assignments, so I presume they don’t get many PG’s anyway.

        • Bill

          “Allied is the employer and potentially subject to personal grievances because of the actions or inactions of the firms to whom they send workers.”

          Unless there was a law change that I missed, then no. Allied is not potentially subject to personal grievances because of the actions or inactions of other employers.

          Your employees from different companies example doesn’t seem to pan out …insofar as I can follow it. If the sales rep was abused while calling at firm B, then you’d assume that firm B will no longer be a customer or at least that the client/customer relationship gets to suffer a certain amount of strain. There’s no grievance.

          And if the sales rep abuses an employee at firm B, then again, the client/customer relationship suffers. The sales rep’s employer might look at disciplinary action against their sales rep, but there is no grievance.

          • The Voice of Reason

            Actually, Bill, it’s been the case under all the various employment Acts here in NZ and in most Commonwealth countries. Same in the States, too. The actions of a third party that affect the employment relationship can easily lead to a PG, particularly if the employer does nothing about it when they are made aware of the problem. That would be the sales rep example (problem arises, employer does nothing, PG follows).

            To give a further example: If an electrician is electrocuted while working on an unsafe construction site, the sparky’s potential case for failure to provide a safe working environment is against the employer, not the site management. OSH may well prosecute the site management as well, but in employment terms, the problem lies with the employer. They are the ones directly responsible for the workers H&S, work environment and external relationships.

            There has been a ton of case law about this sort of stuff, and indeed, Air New Zealand is being sued by Aussie unions for setting up a third party dummy company to employ workers on lower rates of pay than would be usual in Oz. The courts recognise that third parties can and do affect the employment relationship, particularly if they act as an agent or representative of the employer. That is, they have day to day control of the employee, which is the temp situation.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.4

      I started to apply at AW at one point. They have a condition in their contract that says that if you go and get work with someone else who you did work for through them then you owe them 100 hours of income – no matter how you got that job. This sort of contract that limits peoples choices and pretty much ensures that they’ll have to stay with that company is becoming standard practice. One I’ve seen not only forced payment of $5k from the employee but $10k from the new employer.

      This is nothing less than a return of serfdom. Such contracts should be illegal.

      • just saying 3.4.1

        Yeah we already have the beginnings of a ‘mobile workhouse’.

      • NickS 3.4.2

        That leash they use to keep people as temps is one reason why I prefer going through SJS for work, especially as both me and the employer typically benefit from it. Though I might look at going through one of the temp agencies for some brush-hand work this summer if there’s no painting jobs up on the Christchurch SJS board this summer.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.5

      That way when a particular skill set is required you pick up the phone and it’s there, and when you no longer need it the cost is gone.’

      Absolute proof that these people don’t live in reality. The cost is still there as the people still need an income to live – it’s just not being directly paid for by the company but indirectly by taxes through higher UEB, higher crime rates and increased health costs as people, unable to support themselves, become sicker.

  4. felix 5

    Any chance of the Labour and Green parties getting organised this election and doing a deal over a couple of marginal seats?

    Like the NACTS do? (Which is the only reason ACT still exists in parliament)

    For example can the Greens help Labour to get rid of Dunne now please? (this is in no way a sure thing for Chauvel btw, if the Nats decide to throw it to Dunne he would have double Labour’s vote available to him)

    In return can Labour help the Greens out with an electorate seat somewhere in the shared interest of a stronger left block?

    Or are you just going to bicker and squabble and puff yourselves up in pathetic displays of pride while the right wing parties give you another embarrassing lesson in cooperation?

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Yes, I’d like to see some sensible deal-doing between Labour and the Greens. This whole “always campaign for 2 votes in every electorate” kick that they both have is self-defeating when the opposition aren’t playing by the same (self-imposed) rules.

      Wigram in particular is an electorate that could be considered for a Progressives/Labour/Green deal, but I’m not sure that Jim Anderton wants his party to end with him leaving, so he may choose to anoint a successor.

      • The Voice of Reason 5.1.1

        I think the deal in Wigram is already done, L. Anderton will cede the seat to Labour, though the candidate is likely to be someone he approves of. I’m not aware of any electorate seats that the Greens could win (Coromandel, perhaps?), but there are 9 seats that Labour can pick up with a swing of less than 3%, so doing a deal to encourage green voters to tick the red box would be very sensible.

        I’ve always favoured the European ‘block’ approach. Both the right and the left set up their preferred coalition arrangements before the election and make it clear to the electorate that if they vote party A, they get party B in coalition government as well. There is usually room to move with smaller parties added in post election, but in NZ terms it would make absolute sense to say to the electorate that the next election will be a choice between a solid Labour/Greens left ticket and National.

    • gingercrush 5.2

      This is why when MMP is reaffirmed in 2011 as I expect it to be, once change to MMP could be to give an additional vote. Where for instance the electorate votes of the Greens candidate, Act candidates etc would be disregarded and presumably Act and Green voters being smart (questionable) the Act votes would go to the National candidate and the Green votes to the Labour candidate.

      The only reason Nikki Kaye won Auckland Central in 2008 was that the Green candidate received a sizable share of the vote. Meanwhile had there been no Green candidate Ohariu, Waitakere and West Coast-Tasman would have gone to Labour too.

      • Outofbed 5.2.1

        maybe If there had been no labour candidate in Akl central Ohariu, Waitakere and West Coast
        The Green party would done a whole lot better

        • gingercrush

          I have no doubt the Greens would have better in those four electorates. But winning? LOL no.

    • gingercrush 5.3

      I don’t think there are many electorates where a Green candidate could win. The sole exception would be in Wellington or perhaps Auckland Central on a good electoral cycle. Anywhere else and the risk would be the National grabs the electorate.

      • felix 5.3.1

        I agree. And unfortunately I don’t see Labour throwing either of those for the Greens.

        Denise Roche won a good chunk of the Auckland vote for the Greens last time – about 5000 each of electorate and party votes IIRC – obviously not enough to win but a very respectable amount to build on, especially if the Greens can keep motivating Aucklanders like they did over the mining issue.

  5. Lats 6

    I’m really disappointed by ACT. I know, no surprises right? 😉

    ACT has at its roots, and still claims to represent, a core of libertarianism. However while they sort of maintain libertarian economic views they have abandoned social liberty in favour of arch-conservatism. A true libertarian party ought to represent not only economic freedoms, but should also promote freedom for individuals to do whatever they like as long as they don’t impact on others. They should stand for less government interference in the lives of ordinary citizens, no matter what your personal views or mores. Sadly the current crop are just as nanny state as any other party.

    • Bored 6.1

      Lats, be very real with ACT and “libertarianism”….the latter concept is used by ACT as a smokescreen for allowing non people (corporations and their real people masters) to do very non libertarian things to real people. ACT in action are what one might describe as velvet socked jack boot corporatism.

      • Lats 6.1.1

        Indeed, I concur, which is very much why I am no great fan of a party which lays claim to libertarian roots (although this is harder to find on their website these days) but defies those roots with each and every action.

      • jimmy 6.1.2

        Bored is right, the ‘socially liberal’ aspect (i.e. gay rights and drug reform), while appealing, is just them trying to maintain the appearance of universality. The 5 votes for, 4 against the civil union bill shows that even redneckery trumps principle with what is supposedly the most principled party out there.

  6. john 7
    More evidence the home of the selfish,rich get richer,neo-liberal ideology which Rogernomics mimicked here is heading for Third World status as it falls apart! Will John note that Income inequality is a recipe for the enfeeblement of a society?

  7. Outofbed 8

    Worth a read
    Clicktivism is ruining leftist activism

    Reducing activism to online petitions, this breed of marketeering technocrats damage every political movement they touch

  8. felix 9

    That thieving little worm Bill English bitterly spat the words/phrases “foreigners”, “foreign lenders” etc very deliberately about half a dozen times while answering the first two questions in the house today.

    What are the internal polls and focus groups telling you, worms?

    Losing the redneck vote to Winston, perhaps?

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