web analytics

Pride in your work

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, July 25th, 2008 - 22 comments
Categories: national, slippery, workers' rights - Tags:

Some of our rightwing commentators are rejecting the argument that National’s ‘workplace policy’ strips workers of their rights. Problem is, every workers’ rights organisation thinks that it does and John Key does too.

Think about it, if you think people will welcome your policy do you slip it out with as little fanfare as possible? No, you do that if you think most people won’t like it. The comments on our threads show that nearly everyone (even National supporters) agree with workers’ rights, it’s logical to conclude National knows its policy is anti-work rights. As one of our commenters Bill noted:

“If Nat’s employment policy was not really going to change anything, (as the right seem to be arguing) it wouldn’t have been put out there in the first place. So what are the potential changes? Logically they can only be somewhere on the scale of negative scenarios that have been postulated. Positive changes would have been trumpeted by the Nats but I’ve heard nothing anywhere besides unconvincing protestations that things will remain much as they are at present”.

The entire tenor of John Key’s five minute media scrum on the policy was ‘no, no, we’re not taking away rights’. No-one, not National, not the media, could see the policy as good for workers. All Key could do was try to minimise people’s natural conclusion that it’s an attack on workers.

National is so fearful of how the public will react to their policies that they’ve tried to avoid talking about it as much a possible. There was no press conference, no pictures of leader and spokesperson confidently announcing bold, popular new policy (in fact, Key hasn’t held a press conference since the health discussion paper announcement, when he summed up the Nats’ concern for your health with ‘frankly, it’s a market’). The responsible spokesperson, Kate Wilkinson, turned off her phone and left Parliament as soon as the policy was announced. The only press release that came out in her name was an amateur rant about unions (yeah, those democratic organisation comprising over quarter of a million working Kiwis).

National fears you won’t vote for them if you know their policies. So much for pride in your work.

22 comments on “Pride in your work ”

  1. roger nome 1

    No reasonable person can think carefully about National’s IR policy release and come to the conclusion that it doesn’t erode employment rights.

    If we aren’t protected by law, employers will reduce labour costs as much as is possible, that’s what a competitive market’s all about after, maximising profits. So of course we’re going to see people losing their fourth week of holiday whether the like it or not – National calling it a “negotiable” trade off is ridiculous. If you want to retain your job you can’t always be saying no to the employer – i.e. does anyone really believe that 33% of NZ’s full time workers wants to be working over 50 hours per week? Of course not, but they want to keep their jobs more.

    Then we have the 90 day probationary employment Bill, which will certainly mean exposing our poorest and most vulnerable workers to arbitrary dismissal, and thereby providing employers a threat/lever to reduce wage costs/wages.

    Labour must make National pay for this attack on workers. It lost the right-wingers the last election in Australia, and it will do here as well if we are able to get the word out.

    (PS – hope you don’t mind all the links steve, i get a bit enthusiastic about this stuff!)

  2. good info roger. the spam blocker picks up when there’s more than 2 links I think.

  3. roger nome 3

    Cheers steve – I’ll try to keep it down to two links in the future.

    heh- On the subject of “pride in your work”, I really need to spend more time editing my posts. Just impatient and slightly dyslexic i guess.

  4. Nick C 4

    “Think about it, if you think people will welcome your policy do you slip it out with as little fanfare as possible?”

    Correct me if im wrong but hasnt this always been National Party policy, wasnt it released in 2005 and hasnt been changed since?

    I think the ‘slipping out’ you refer to was Bill English talking to the media about it, confirming that it was still national policy. This hardly constitutes a policy release. So its no wonder the MSM have had little to no coverage of this ‘news story’ that you have pursued so rabidly.

  5. Draco TB 5


    Cool, so, when are the MSM going to print a front page article titled:
    National: Same old, Same old
    Same old lies, same old misdirection, same old screw the worker and subsidise the wealthy party

  6. Nick C. That’s really your position? “There was no policy release?

    If you were to have gone to National’s policy page, you would have seen no workplace policy (just as you don’t see any economic policy there now). Now, if you go to that page, there is a workplace policy… hence, I think it’s fair to say a policy release took place.

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    Why bother with NickC? Anyone using little commas to ridicule workers rights policy as not being worthy of a ‘news story’ obviously dosn’t think workers should have any decent rights in the first place.

    Correct me if im wrong but hasnt this always been National Party policy, wasnt it released in 2005 and hasnt been changed since?

    NickC, if that was the case (their IR policy not even being worthy of release because they’re rehashing old policy), are you happy that National have been lying to you over the past year or so? That they are not ambitious for New Zealand? That Key isn’t ambitious for New Zealand workers? That they don’t actually care about your income? That they no longer care about the ‘underclass’? That they no longer care about the wage gap with Australia?

    Don’t you feel a little betrayed? All those promises, all those call-to-arms… For nothing…?

    It was crap policy then and it’s crap policy now.

  8. roger nome 8

    “Correct me if im wrong but hasnt this always been National Party policy, wasnt it released in 2005 and hasnt been changed since?”

    Ok, i’ll correct you. It has been changed. It now only applies to businesses with less than 20 employees. Oh and learn how to use an apostrophe won’t you?

  9. ””””””””””””””””””””’ hi roger

  10. Matthew Pilott 10

    Fewer than 20 employees! heh, sorry rn, a new pet hate!

    Can anyone tell me if there is a legal defnintion for ‘reasonable’? i.e. union access can’t be withheld without ‘reasonable’ cause. So would “sorry, we’re too busy today” suffice”? How about “sorry, we’ve got a couple of staff absent”, or “sorry, I think we might have a lot of work coming in”?

  11. Bill 11


    The first two excuses you made up would be seen as reasonable under current legislation! I know, because I’ve had similar crap thrown at me when trying to get access. I’ve argued the point through the relevant DoL channels…and had no joy.

    The argument thrown by the employer comes down to a claim that given the circumstances(too busy or short staffed), a union presence would disrupt business operations ie, the union is being unreasonable

    Which brings me to the point that while the Nat’s policy is heinous, the ERA is pretty dismal anyway and Labour ought not to be allowed off the hook insofar as they have kept the arena of Employment Law a pretty hostile place for workers and their unions.

  12. roger nome 12


    “The first two excuses you made up would be seen as reasonable under current legislation!”

    Then you should go to mediation and get a memorandum of understanding that states exactly what time(s) you can enter the workplace. Legally you can only be disallowed access in very extreme circumstances.

    this is an extract from my thesis:

    . In December 2001 the Employment Court found that the only statutory ground for denying a union access to a workplace was in cases which jeopardise national security or the investigation of offences (Rasmussen and McIntosh, 2002a: 142). The Court of Appeal supported this when it found that Carter Holt Harvey had breached union access and good faith provisions by denying two union leaders access when attempting to ascertain whether new employees were doing the work of striking employees.

  13. Nick C 13

    No Mathew believe it or not im not feeling betrayed that National has right wing employment policies.

    I dont believe that Key is no longer ambitious for New Zealand, nor do i believe that he is no longer planning to close the wage gap with Australia. My knowledge of economics tells me that the best way to improve wages is to have (shock horror) less government intervention in the economy. Governments and can try to artificially prop up wages but it is cold comfort. What we really need to do is improve productivity, something that has fallen under this govt (http://www.nzbr.org.nz/documents/releases/dismalproductivity.pdf).

  14. but nick c… even if you were correct that less govt intervention= more growth what policy does national have to remove govt intervention?

    and productivity has not fallen, you’re talking about the rate of productivity growth, if you can’t understand the difference, i guess we can see your level of economic knowledge… and productivity growth slows when you’re moving to full employment because you’re bringing in less productivity workers… a study of productivity only concerning people who have been employed continuously for 7 years, shows productivty growth has remained steadu at 2% per annum.

  15. Bill 15

    Yeah. We got a memorandum of understanding. But as you point out it usually contains time constraints. In our case not in specified ‘busy periods’. (fast food outlet.) But since all the workers were rostered shift workers and were not necessarily working outside of designated ‘busy periods’…

  16. roger nome 16

    “We got a memorandum of understanding. But as you point out it usually contains time constraints.”

    Perhaps you didn’t bargaing hard enough? Like I say, the case law pretty much gives you carte blanche when it comes to access.

  17. roger nome 17

    “and productivity growth slows when you’re moving to full employment because you’re bringing in less productivity workers”

    And it improves when unemployment increases rapidly because you’re shedding low capital intensity jobs. Productivity growth has to be evened out over the business cycle if it’s to be a meaningful indicator.

  18. Leftie 18

    And I’ve said this before too…..Sure, we will get a tax cut whatever party wins the next election, but what if that same party in Government is tweaking employment laws to directly remove money from worker’s pockets? Union or non-union, this is a SERIOUS issue and could result in less money in our pockets.
    Do we as workers of NZ, take the political party that will give us more money in our pockets or less?
    National foolishly believes that there are enough employers in NZ to decide the next Government

  19. Felix 19

    Nick C:

    My knowledge of economics tells me that the best way to improve wages is to have (shock horror) less government intervention in the economy.

    Care to show some data to back this up?

  20. Swampy 20

    “Some of our rightwing commentators are rejecting the argument that National’s ‘workplace policy’ strips workers of their rights. Problem is, every workers’ rights organisation thinks that it does”

    Why don’t you tell the full story about these “workers rights” organisations? They are all trade unions, Labour Party lackeys.

  21. Swampy 22

    National sees the opinion polls trend clearly indicating the public’s mood for change.

    I work in the compulsory education sector, one of the very early moves by this government was to stitch up union control of this sector with various deals resulting in unnecessary politicisation.

    The fact that Labour will move the unions into such positions of power is one of the most negative aspects of their policy. Almost every new candidate these days has a union background which is quite nonsensical when it comes to representing a cross section of NZ society.

    Huge $$$ amounts have been lavished on favoured union sector pay settlements e.g. nurses, teachers which is all paid for by the taxpayers so Labour can afford to be generous especially in an election year. The rail buyback rewards a key affiliate union of the Labour Party.

    If you read some of the rhetoric coming out of these unions it is pure communism and old school Labour movement in some parts.

    Remember the winter of discontent early in Labour’s term with some parts of the proposed Employment Relations Act being dropped to satisfy employer concerns, these clauses were later quietly reintroduced in another bill and became law regardless.

    Someone claimed disempowering unions would result in more strikes, in my experience when unions had huge power prior to the ECA, that was the period when strikes were most prevalent so I do not accept such claims.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    43 mins ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago