Redundant

Written By: - Date published: 2:26 pm, November 24th, 2008 - 33 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

I was talking to a friend the other night. Her job is disappearing. Fortunately, she is getting a decent-sized redundancy payment. I asked if she is a member of the union. ‘No, why would I be?’ Well, you only get that redundancy payment because the union won it in negotiations. ‘But I’m on an individual contract, that’s got nothing to do with the union’. Ah, but it does. You have no statutory right to redundancy payments if your job disappears. You only get it if you and/or your fellow workers won that right as a union. Labour was going to introduce a minimum redundancy right and prevent the use of pass-on as a union-breaking tactic, but 55,000 people thought it was time for a change. Employers often pass-on some of the gains won by unions to non-union members. On one hand that’s good because all workers at a workplace win from the successes of unionised workers. But, in the long run, it’s bad because it discourages union membership and encourage free-riding leading to lower unionisation in the workplace and, from that weaker bargaining position, smaller wins for the workers.

Something else my friend said caught my attention. When the redundancies were announced, a meeting was arranged with the workers and a union rep. Only one of the workers facing the possibility of redundancy was in the union. ‘The union rep said they couldn’t help us we an existing situation, so there was no point in me joining the union, they couldn’t help me’. Of course, I would have thought the lesson was not ‘unions are useless’ but ‘I should have joined the union when times were good, not expect help when things went bad’. However, the viewpoint my friend experienced is something the unions need to pay attention to.

It seems to me a lot of workers now see joining a union as purchasing a service, not being part of a group. Whereas the ‘traditional’ view of unions is that the workers are the union and, in the larger unions, they employ some professionals to represent their interests and help them organise, the increasingly common conception of the union among workers is that it is the small group of professionals that are the union, the members are just individuals hiring their services.

That’s a result of our increasingly individualised society and the top-down way in which some unions have been run. It has important ramifications for how unions need to approach workers. Non-unionised workers I speak to often report finding unions’ attempts to increase unionisation intimidatory. ‘They need to market themselves better’ To many in the unions that is anathema, it takes the soul and solidarity out of unionism and makes it just another product. However, if workers are changing, if they do perceive union membership as just buying a service, unions need to be responsive to that.

If they don’t, this disconnect between what workers want from unions and how union activists view themselves will continue to be a barrier to increasing unionisation. That will impede work right gains for all workers, unionised and non-unionised alike.

33 comments on “Redundant ”

  1. Mr Magoo 1

    As an ex-union committee member for the large organisation where I worked, I have seen this mentality many times. Once I had a non-union staff member come to me specifically to argue this point specifically. They even managed to imply that non-union workers benefitting from our negotiations meant that we thought they were “scabs”.
    The core of their argument was exactly the above: Why should I bother joining if I get the benefits for free? Where is incentive.

    The argument seems obvious to me, but it is the good ol’ “fate of commons” part of the human psyche at work again. I am winning now, so this is what I will do.
    Everyone knows if the unions dried up the workers would be in trouble. But UNTIL they do, they can piggy back and reap the rewards.

    Unfortunately once they are gone or legislation is passed to make them irrelevant (National/ACT coalition – just watch what happens) it is a bit late.

    Of course trying to tell people this en mass is all but pointless. We just don’t seem to care anymore unless it is in our face and immediate – like lines of credit and “a change we need”.
    Having said this, perhaps this recession will be a good time for the unions to recruit members?? In your face will be about right mid 2009.

  2. Tane 2

    SP, I agree modern unions need to present themselves well etc, but savvy marketing ain’t the panacea. It helps, but if you rely on it too much you risk entrenching the very problem you’re trying to counter.

    As with most problems, the answer is democracy. Unions need to be transparent, communicate with their members and devolve as much decision-making power to the membership as possible. When you’re open and democratic people get a real sense of their collective power and unionism suddenly becomes a lot more relevant.

    This should come as no surprise. After all, that’s what unionism is about – empowering workers.

    Of course, that’s happening in the movement already and has been for a while (more in some unions, less in others, of course). But, like anything, it’s a process that takes time.

  3. bobo 3

    People assume most employers will act in good faith who have never experienced a recession before. They will learn why Unions came into existance in an oldskool wish I had read my contract fine print kind of way..

  4. Ianmac 4

    Steve: You make a good point: “‘I should have joined the union when times were good, not expect help when things went bad’
    A bit like deciding whether to insure your house or car, before the fire!

  5. Phil 5

    Labour was going to… …prevent the use of pass-on as a union-breaking tactic,

    I don’t see how this would be workable in practice.

    Lets say you’re a manufacturing firm employing 100 people, 50 in the union and 50 individual contracts, and the production process requires all 100 ‘on the floor’ at the same time to manufacture a particular item.

    The union negotiates an increase in lunch break from 30 minutes to 1 hour.

    Now, unless you pass on the benefit to the non-union staff, your whole production process is f*cked and you end up with bottle-necks and shortages through the chain. I doubt anyone would suggest that pass-on would be a union breaking tactic, but where do you draw the line?

    [well, in that highly specific situation I would suggest that the company find something to offer in place of the longer break, but anti-pass-on provisions would, of course, carry exemptions for circumstances where consistency of conditions is vital for production. SP]

  6. Tane 6

    Phil, the idea behind the current no-pass-on law is that employers have to have genuine individual negotiations with workers on individual employment agreements rather than simply passing on the gains of the collective.

    To use your scenario, you could say everyone gets a one hour lunch break, but you’d have to negotiate that individually with the non-union workers concerned, and in theory that should mean a smaller pay increase or reduction in other benefits for them.

    But that’s an unusual scenario. To put it simply, the law against pass-on is there to stop employers from simply saying “The union got 4% and an extra week’s leave – everyone who’s not in the union gets that too.”

    The problem is that’s still going on, so the current law clearly isn’t working. You could strengthen it any number of ways, one idea is to say employers can’t hold individual negotiations within a certain period after a collective agreement is settled. Another is to require individual agreements for the year to be settled in advance of the collective negotiations. Or you could simply up the enforcement, and the fines, for breaking the current law.

    All of this and plenty more would have been investigated if Labour and its allies had been elected. But they weren’t, and National is actively pro-pass-on, so it’s really academic now.

  7. Ianmac 7

    Once when we were all on strike over salaries on a Collective structure, one of our workmates would not join in for Religious reasons. He stayed on at work. OK. But I was a bit miffed when the pay rise was granted, he sat down in the staffroom and loudly and enthusiastically calculated his pay rise.

  8. Jon 8

    Good discussion – another one I would like to see the Standard lead is how unions move from organising in the workplace or industry to organising politically – and what does this mean in practice, other than bulking up their effort in around the election or doing the occasional lobbying? Some might say Unite has organised politically to increase the Minimum Wage. Yes, that can work if and only if you have pro worker parties in government willing to progress this. (Actually Labour and its allies were already sympathetic to this – and had agreed it in the cooperation agreements). The Servos have done well with their low pay hospitals and cleaners campaigns and used their links with Labour union MPs to progress this in government. But the real challenge is making progress with unsympathetic governments….. Unions organised around the minimum wage, youth wages, and a whole lot of other things in the 1990’s with a National government and made zilch progress. There’s two things about political organising – one is to defend worker rights against a right wing government and the other is to make progress with worker friendly governments – in a way that genuinely involves and activates working people.

  9. George Darroch 9

    As with most problems, the answer is democracy. Unions need to be transparent, communicate with their members and devolve as much decision-making power to the membership as possible. When you’re open and democratic people get a real sense of their collective power and unionism suddenly becomes a lot more relevant.

    Absolutely. And the best way to empower people is to organise with them, from the shop-floor upwards. They/we need the power, the controls and to set the direction. If the union is a ‘union of workers’ rather than a negotiating service that you pay delegates for, you’re much less likely to see it in purely utilitarian terms. Of course, there isn’t a clear line between these two models and most unions in NZ have elements of both.

    Most people I know have absolutely zero face to face contact with the union. Zero. I can’t say that I’ve ever had even a leaflet, let alone a person come over and talk to me. Maybe there are structural barriers, put in place by National and not removed by Labour – I can’t say I know enough to argue whether this is true or not. If so, Labour should have been the focus of a campaign to remove these, rather than uncompromising support. But as far as I can tell, unions have fairly good access to workplaces, at least for the moment.

    As Tane said, the answer isn’t marketing. It isn’t slick brochures and television ads. It’s making sure people are organising themselves and have a personal stake in fighting for their rights at work, and know what their employer is really offering them.

    All of this and plenty more would have been investigated if Labour and its allies had been elected. But they weren’t, and National is actively pro-pass-on, so it’s really academic now.

    It could have a better chance of being investigated, had Labour been willing to work with the left, rather than right-wing Peter Dunne for the last 6 years. That’s why it’s academic. Yet the unions on the whole fought for Labour rather than the Alliance, and then the Greens, who both had stronger pro-worker policies. Go figure.

  10. Tane 10

    George, good to see some agreement. Just a couple of things.

    Most people I know have absolutely zero face to face contact with the union. Zero. I can’t say that I’ve ever had even a leaflet, let alone a person come over and talk to me.

    What industry and workplace do you work in? The answer to that questions is the difference between whether you’ve got a slack (or under-resourced) union or whether it’s something structural.

    If so, Labour should have been the focus of a campaign to remove these, rather than uncompromising support.

    I wouldn’t say union support for Labour has been uncompromising. Only a few unions are actually affiliated to Labour, and others are at times openly hostile. Thing is, Labour’s policies were all moving in the right direction (helped along by affiliate unions getting remits through at party conferences), the problem was just that they weren’t moving fast enough. As it turns out, Labour’s IR policy for this election (while falling short of overthrowing capitalism) was actually bloody good, nine years late though it was.

    It could have a better chance of being investigated, had Labour been willing to work with the left, rather than right-wing Peter Dunne for the last 6 years.

    I didn’t like their choice to go with Dunne either, but the fact is pass-on laws were looked at, and strengthened, by Labour in cooperation with the Greens and NZ First. If they’d won this election the law would have been strengthened further. Their support agreements with Peter Dunne had no impact on this issue.

    Yet the unions on the whole fought for Labour rather than the Alliance, and then the Greens, who both had stronger pro-worker policies. Go figure.

    Unions are democratic organisations and their donations are decided by elected national councils. They can’t go around donating to parties like the Alliance (or RAM, or the Workers’ Party) that have no real membership support and don’t even register in the opinion polls.

    The unions that donated to Labour did so because Labour has a strong base of support among union members and it is the major party supporting workers’ rights. There is a relationship there going back nearly 100 years. Some unions also donated to the Greens and the Maori Party and helped distribute materials on the strength of their work rights policies.

  11. LeftRightOut 11

    There are a great many problems today to which the answer is ‘more democracy’. Unfortunately most people these days are too apathetic to contribute to the debate, let alone anything more. It would cut into their TV and internet porn surfing time too much.

  12. LRO whats with using my handle?

  13. Political parties are in much the same boat. People will support “you” or “them”, but don’t see it as supporting themselves. It’s like a form of atrophy…..ideas unused or unfamiliar begin to fade.

  14. Jasper 14

    I would join the union – If only I knew which one to join.

    My issue is that with all these different names bearing down on me, it’s incredibly hard to figure out which.

    Google helps somewhat, but when the main search results are the Maritime, Ctu and Unite unions – for an office worker like myself who is the sole employee in a PPP, who do I approach?

    The CTU website is vague, I’ve read enough about Unite to know that’s more of a student and low waged worker union, Maritime – well, I aint a Seaman.

    It’s not about the marketing – it’s about making yourself visible. Marketing and Visibility are two inherently different structures. A union can market itself through the media, and a mouthpiece in the HoS (McCarten) but making itself visible is certainly a different question.

  15. I was at a union meeting once to discuss the pay offer in our latest round of collective barginning. The company had come back with about 4% when we were after about 7%.

    After much umm-ing and ah-ing a veteran of the Union butted into the conversations with “Look, how bad do you really want it? Because if you really want it you’re going to have to strike!”. The room went quiet and a stunned silence fell over the members. Eventually they conceeded it was better to have 4% than to fight for 7%.

    It seemed that while everyone was benefitting from what the union had acquired no one seemed ready to fight for it.

  16. Rex Widerstrom 16

    What is the basis of the “we can’t help you now you’re in trouble, you should have joined before” rule? Legislation or union policy?

    If the latter, it’s the height of stupidity. Help someone when they’re in a jam and you’re likely to win a loyal supporter for life – and quite possibly one who’ll sing your praises to others.

    The health insurance providers used to have the same attitude – join while you’re healthy or we’ll screw you out of assistance – now they’re advertising “join today, claim today on most extras”. Because they’ve woken up to the fact that if you pull the thorn from the lion’s paw it’ll become your best defender… and be highly likely to keep paying it’s premiums.

    Instead, I’ve helped many a non-union member negotiate the Employment Tribunal / Court and the attitude of the union in not helping them out has had the exact opposite affect.

    [I think most people in such a situation would think it reasonable if a union said “well okay, but we want a year’s membership from you first”, or something else to cover their base costs].

    And Tane, excellent points… some I tried clumsily to make several days ago highlighting the story of the Australian union official spending $80k on travel, hotels and prostitutes. Several unions I’ve seen up close (including a couple I’ve worked for) have been absolutely riddled with low level corruption, with poor services being excused by falling membership whilst the Secretary renews his car every year.

    They’ve also been amongst the worst employers I’ve seen, treating their own staff in ways which they would vocally protest if the same treatment were handed out to their members.

    Until all unions, like political all parties, can demonstrate they’re run democratically, openly, collectively and in the best interests of all their members, they can run all the marketing campaigns they want and they’ll still be viewed with suspicion and distrust by many. The saddest part being, many don’t deserve to be.

  17. Tane 17

    Jasper – email and tell me where you work, and I’ll tell you who your union is. Alternatively you can ring the CTU and ask them. If you’re in a small workplace that’s probably why you’ve never been asked – the current employment law is unfavourable to multi-employer bargaining so workers at small sites often miss out.

    As for advertising etc, unions can’t really afford it, so kind of out of the question.

  18. Bill 18

    Our democratic tradition of late is predicated on empowerment and dis-empowerment.

    Empowerment for representatives. Dis-empowerment for the rest.

    No easy, quick way around this.

    Some representatives play the role of ‘gate-keeper’; actively discouraging wider participation and nurturing an exclusive arena of power.

    A belief among those being represented that this (non-inclusive) way is ‘the way it has always been done’ presents another barrier.

    I’ve said it here before , but just as ‘really existing communism’ had nothing very much to do with communism beyond the label, so ‘really existing democracy’ has nothing very much to do with democracy beyond the label.

    Any tradition of inclusive democracy has been sidelined and largely forgotten under ‘really existing democracy’ just as any nascent communism was under ‘really existing communism’.

    The only way around this, in my mind, is to start again with new organisations, as opposed to attempts at democratising existing organisations whose structures pre-empt and discourage meaningful broad participation.

  19. Tane 19

    Rex, fair enough, I think I understand what you were getting at the other day. However I would be interested to find out when you last worked with the union movement. Things have changed quite a lot even in the last few years. And, I should add, you seem to have a habit of leaving former workplaces on bad terms…

  20. Rex Widerstrom 20

    LOL I do have that habit Tane, yes 😛

    Though in my own defence I should point out that it’s always on a point of principle, and usually because I find what the employer is doing to others unpalatable – which generally means behaving in a deceitful manner. And there’s also usually no doubt I’d have been much better off if I kept my big mouth shut (just ask my mother, it’s one of her favourite sermons). I just don’t like promoting liars… the flip side of that is that I have and will work for anyone who’s open about their agenda, be they union, right wing politician or anyone else.

    Since you asked… the last time I worked for a union ended approximately five years ago, in Australia. I’d devised and created a campaign and a political strategy which backed the government into a corner and won them a significantly better offer than they would have had otherwise. While I wasn’t the only factor by any means, it was agreed the campaign was everything they wanted and more, and executed well under budget.

    Then about 3 weeks before Christmas the Secretary’s secretary scurried in to my office, chucked a letter at me and fled. It terminated my contract. The Secretary’s office, I might add, was directly across the hall from mine.

    To their immense credit the union’s organisers protested. They lost. The President- a decent bloke who had no political nous and had been elected on the same “ticket” as the Secretary – squirmed and apologised but did nothing.

    I heard that later, they also lost their union-provided cars and were made to use their own. My sacking, and the impositions placed on them, were put down to “budget cuts”. That Christmas, however, the Secretary still traded in his six cylinder union car for a brand new 4WD because he wanted to explore the bush near his holiday home.

  21. Why the heck should I belong to a union, If I can negotiate a better deal myself?

    Why should I have less in my pay packet?

    If people want to belong to a union then so be it, but I find it downright repugnant that anyone would suggest that it should be compulsory.

  22. Oli 22

    I was briefly a union member, even a committee member and never had to put up with such a tiresome ineffective bunch of incompetents. Now I’m not a union member, get all the benefits and don’t have to piss my money against a wall for the big lunches the committee had after their meeting.

  23. Tane 23

    Rex, interesting. I haven’t experience anything similar over here, though I’m sure it’s happened before. I’d be careful of drawing a comparison between the NZ and Aussie movements – they tend to be a rougher bunch over there.

    Brett, if you can negotiate a better deal then by all means do so. The union provides a floor of minimum conditions, not a ceiling. But the basic power dynamic is that the collective has more bargaining power than the individual, it’s up to you whether or not you choose to empower yourself. And btw, no one’s suggesting we make union membership compulsory. Though it makes me question your comprehension skills and, from there, your ability to out-bargain the combined strength of your workmates.

  24. You can question what you like, perhaps its not my bargaining skills that gets me a good deal, but the fact that I have had good employers in my life, well except when I was a young man and worked for a certain fast food chain, now theres a place the union needs to go!

  25. Sarah 25

    Union’s have become over-paid snotty suits. I miss the unions of the good ol’ days.

  26. George Darroch 26

    @Rex, I share a house with a union delegate (for my workplace), but I just can’t bring myself to join while they fly their executive round Australia on business class. I joined the IWW in protest 🙂 I’m not suggesting that NZ unions are of that nature however.

    @Tane – I’ve worked a lot of jobs in in hospitality, sales, and in a call centre. So SFWU and FinSec mainly. To be fair, these jobs have tended to be around university studies, so have often been part-time or casual.

    My other comment about Labour wasn’t to suggest that the union movement is entirely uncritical. I could have used a better phrase than ‘on the whole’ to convey that sentiment. I do have to take issue with the statement that Their support agreements with Peter Dunne had no impact on this issue.. While Labour did pass a fair amount of pro-worker legislation with Green and NZF support, it is entirely possible that a more formal coalition or support arrangement would have seen more done, or these changes arrived at earlier (allowing for such things as a $15 minimum wage by now). Likewise, in 2001-2002 Labour acted in a way that they knew was highly harmful to the Alliance, and many NZ unions chose to support Labour over the Alliance despite that. That is their right to do so as democratic organisations, but I dispute strongly that it was in the interest of strong pro-worker policy.

    I’ll see what my situation is when I get back to NZ, and if I’m covered by a union that organises from the workplace-floor and is not affiliated to Labour, I’ll join. I’m not hopeful though.

  27. Camryn 27

    Tane: “The union provides a floor of minimum conditions, not a ceiling.”

    Isn’t no-pass-on exactly that? In this thread, you’ve specifically promoted legislation that would enforce a ceiling, since any non-union worker that managed to negotiate a deal at, close to, or better than the union would surely be accused of benefiting from pass-on. Being unionists, you don’t believe that it’s particularly likely that an individual could get that result without free riding off the collective.

    In reality there’d be no way to tell whether any individual did or did not ride off the collective agreement if the result ended up similar, so the only way to have a workable “pass-on” law is to actually have a ceiling law.

  28. Camryn. No -anti-pass-on doesn’t put a ceiling on non-union members’ conditions, it just means the employer can’t automatically pass-on union gains to non-members. Automatically is the key word. There is nothing to stop individuals bargaining for whatever termws they want.

    catpcha: Daniel employes… he also spells poorly

  29. Tane 29

    George, I think the fundamental problem is you’re seeing unions as service providers, like companies, that you either choose to endorse or not endorse by joining.

    The reality is unions are democratic organisations of workers, and like any organisation they have imperfections and contradictions. The traditional union view is that you join the union on site and if you don’t like how it’s run you work to change it rather than running away. Granted, that’s no help if you’re concerned primarily with ideological purity, but I can tell you when you’re face to face with the sharp end of capital having power and solidarity is a lot more use than purity.

    Anyway, it’s a free country, and I’m not one to advise anyone against joining the IWW 🙂

  30. “It seems to me a lot of workers now see joining a union as purchasing a service, not being part of a group. Whereas the ‘traditional’ view of unions is that the workers are the union … the increasingly common conception of the union among workers is that it is the small group of professionals that are the union, the members are just individuals hiring their services.

    [Such a big topic, and no time to do it justice — or even look at the previous comments. Sorry.]

    The instrumental approach to union belonging in NZ is not new, and it’s not unique to NZ. As one of the co-authors of the only study (copies available – just ask) that analyses NZ workers’ union belonging and is based on individual-level large-scale survey data, I can confirm that regression analysis shows NZers’ motivations for union belonging are largely instrumental (I’ve got/might have a problem, the union will be effective in fixing it), with small effects for left-wing ideology, tenure, gender, higher workplace union penetration, and being in the construction industry.

    These findings replicate results in the UK, US, Australia and Canada, amongst other places.

    Is this instrumental approach new or “increasing”? We can’t be sure in NZ, because nobody thought to ask a large sample until we did. But this has been the pattern overseas for some decades. I’d also have to challenge the idea that there has been a strong ideological basis to union belonging in NZ, outside of a few enclaves, at least over the last sixty years. You will recall that union membership here was compulsory for much of the workforce until 1991. Unions operated largely as bureaucratic organisations, often relying on state-mandated leverage in tribunals to achieve their ends. The idea that unions largely provide a “service” has deep historical roots downunder.

    That said, it is not the case that an instrumental approach excludes an understanding of the collective basis of unions. For example, 87% of union members or those who said that they would join if they could reported that an important reason for joining was that, “The more people that join a trade union the more effective it is in advancing pay and work conditions.” Som eof us call this “instrumental collectivism.”

    In recent years some in the trade union movement have pushed the idea of a more militant “organising” approach to union organising, centred on action by members and potential members in the workplace. As always, some have jumped on this idea as a panacea, the one and only “true” way for unions to revive. (“Best practice” for unions). In practice, union organising continues to be a mixture of the organising and servicing approaches, resource constraints limiting the uptake of the organising model.

  31. PK 31

    On Redundancy ….various musings …. I have mixed feelings – my father managed to pay off the mortgage as he kept getting jobs where there were ‘royal’ redundancy terms and guess what they closed the factory down. As he was a very capable man he always managed to find another job (this in Liverpool with about 20% unemployment at the time).

    Must be a family trait as I’ve been made redundant twice (best thing that happened to me as it got me out of jobs I should not have been doing) – the 1st time the company went under and I received 3 weeks pay from the UK government ages later (of no real use). The 2nd time I did not get on with the MD and the sales force and was, in effect, given the boot under the guise of redundancy. They had to take me back on contract rates and paid me about double what I was earning previously as the customers needed me. Really p****d the MD off and very enjoyable.

    I have also encountered several cases where the employer did not want to employ more people because their effective ‘cost’ jumped significantly after two or three years because of the redundancy terms and instead decided that overtime was much more cost effective and left a much smaller $ liability (as the accountants call it) on the books. This then meant that instead of more people in work we had less people doing more work.

    For smaller companies where it is effectively privately owned by a person or family many have that family pride and culture and try not to make people redundant. If it gets that bad for some of them then significant redundancy liabilities will probably put them under as they are often not the “rich pricks” people perceive and instead do it as much to be their own boss and have a sense of achievement as to have a chance of being financially better off.

    The fact that one can make someone redundant and actually get past any notice period is wrong (if there is no redundancy clause in the contract) and a loophole that someone is bound to use.

    I have also had to make people redundant (real redundancy not giving the boot under the guise of redundancy) and it’s a b***dy awful thing to have to do and one only does it when you know you really are saving other people’s jobs i.e. if the workforce isn’t cut then the company is not viable.

  32. PK 32

    On Unions

    Saw the worst excesses in Liverpool in the 70s and 80s where some unions were actually putting their members out of a job through doing what they were established to prevent – abuse of a weaker party in the employer/employee relationship – eg Merseyside dockside employees had terms that were ludicrous – they used to gloat about them in the pub – result – the freight moved elsewhere and the jobs disappeared. Many also disliked the active political element. If they wanted to make a contribution to the labour party they would do it directly themselves and had the common distrust of politicians of any hue.

    Too many unions at the time were frankly corrupt and visibly Marxist – not a politically acceptable point of view to many workers who also saw the union as much a power wielding authority as the employer. For instance, unions actively working against pay that had a performance factor and protecting incompetent or dishonest workers. I remember my father and his friends used to get annoyed with them. You try working around large assembling machinery that someone drunk has maintained or try and get a job finished when the other guy does not know his own job. Both real life examples. Both employees (the drunk and the incompetent) were reported by their co-workers and were told that as both were union reps they could not be touched.

    Admittedly, bad cases and not necessarily representative but they did leave an impression. Sadly, the unions at the docks did start out really well. Conditions used to be atrocious and dangerous, workers had no tenure of any sort, back handers were required to get work etc. They fixed all of that but just kept going and didn’t know where to stop. I don’t believe that the above circumstances still exist I hasten to add.

    I do have experience over here of an ineffective union where they had negotiated such a bad deal (and because of concerns by the management with regards to labour and union laws) the management wasn’t willing to reward specific non-union members who were real over achievers and very, very good more than the top union negotiated rate.

    The issue was that it was a large union but a relatively small employer in the public service sector and the union did not give the union members much time or expertise – they seemed to fall between various cracks.

    What this does highlight to me is that it’s only worth joining an effective and sensible union.

    One of the issues affecting unions in NZ does relate to one factor that I believe kiwis have in common with poms. They do not trust politicians and several friends and acquaintances have remarked how they are uncomfortable with the fact that unions are perceived as having a political element that is predominantly labour. I don’t go with the “they are democratic organisations” comment earlier. Yes, they are but typically there are a relatively small number of unions to choose in a particular workplace and if your available choices pay a stipend to labour it’s a question of lump it or leave it – so many people leave it. Also please don’t give me the agitate to change it approach – many people do not care about politics and want to have a union that focusses on their workplace and see politics as a distraction thank you very much. I think part of this is that any organisation takes on a life of its own, has its own inertia and tends to head off down its own path independently of the people it started out to represent.

    So, in order for unions to be more successful I feel they need to work hard on their image and part of that might be to represent themselves as less political and more about the worker (yes a bit Irish but I think I know what I mean)

  33. Tommy Douglas 33

    This is a really good debate.

    Unions in this country are still run by old people who can remember when union membership was mandatory. Those times are gone forever. So should the dinosaurs that still harken back to those times as if they can be recaptured. They can’t. It’s over.

    In general there are three types of worker: those who like unions, those who are indifferent and those who are opposed. The problem today is that a lot of people are indifferent, not just about unions but basically about anything that has to do with having an opinion. Most people just watch television in their spare time and don’t have a habit of thinking. They like to purchase things and like to watch advertisements on TV about the things they want to purchase.

    Union density is stagnant in the private sector.

    I prescribe the following:

    1. Unions need to take on an insurance paradigm — belonging to a union is now a grudge purchase so why not imbrace it? So many things are guaranteed by statute: minimum wage, health and safety, wages protection, etc. A lot of the solidarity in the union movement existed to get these things into agreements but they are now positively guaranteed by statute. Notice that no conservative government, no matter how anti-union, would repeal the Wages Protection Act or Health and Safety legislation.

    So lower why not your dues and just tell people that if they fuck up at work then someone will be there to keep the company honest. Everyone has fucked up at work. In my experience, those in unions do better.

    2. This is related to #1 — close down access to the personal grievance machinery for non-union employees. Don’t want to be a union? Fine. Fuck off and use the common law then. Have fun with it.

    This would give unions a really strong selling point. Join us and if you do get sent down the road you’ll be a lot safer. Don’t join and you’re on your own.

    3. Make MECAs easier to negotiate or bring back some type of award system.

    I’m as pro-union as they come but in my experience unions are about as responsive as banks or insurance companies. They still have an attitude taht demonstrates vestiges of the past — when membership was required. This has to end. A better customer service ethos is needed.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • You take nicer pictures when you’re not drunk
    Readers keeping count will know it's more than five years since I gave up booze. Some of you get worried on my behalf when I recount a possibly testing moment. Anxious readers: today I got well tested.All the way across France I've been enquiring in my very polite and well-meaning but ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 hours ago
  • Cancer
    Turn awayIf you could, get me a drinkOf water 'cause my lips are chapped and fadedCall my Aunt MarieHelp her gather all my thingsAnd bury me in all my favourite coloursMy sisters and my brothers, stillI will not kiss you'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving youI remember the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why we shouldn’t buy new planes for the PM
    Its not often that one has to agree with Judith Collins, but yes, it would indeed cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” (at least) to buy replacement aircraft to fly the Prime Minister on his overseas missions of diplomacy and trade. And yes, the public might well regard that spending ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    8 hours ago
  • The Stadium Debate – What About the Transport Options?
    A few weeks ago, Auckland Council took another step in the long-running stadium saga, narrowing its shortlist down to two options for which they will now seek feasibility studies. The recommendation to move forward with a feasibility study was carried twenty to one by the council’s Governing Body for the ...
    10 hours ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 20
    Social Development Minister Louise Upston has defended the Government’s decision to save money by dumping a programme which tops up the pay of disabled workers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: It has emerged the National-ACT-NZ First Government decided to cut wages for disabled workers from the minimum wage to $2 an hour ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    11 hours ago
  • Where the power really resides in Wellington
    The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the department’s role as the agency right at the centre of power in Wellington. Ben King, formerly a deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    13 hours ago
  • Climate Adam: Why we're still losing the fight against Methane
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Carbon dioxide is the main culprit behind climate change. But in second place is methane: a greenhouse gas stronger than CO2, ...
    24 hours ago
  • Climate Change: More ETS failure
    A few weeks ago, I blogged about the (then) upcoming ETS auction, raising the prospect of it failing, leaving the government with a messy budget hole. The auction was today, and indeed, it failed. In fact, it was such a failure that no-one even bothered to bid. Its easy to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • The Return of Jacinda.
    Oh, take me, take me, take meTo the dreamer's ballI'll be right on time and I'll dress so fineYou're gonna love me when you see meI won't have to worryTake me, take mePromise not to wake me'Til it's morningIt's all been trueEarly morning yesterday, well before dawn, doom-scrolling.Not intentionally, that’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 day ago
  • How good is the interim NW busway?
    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 day ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    2 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    2 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    3 days ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    4 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    4 days ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    5 days ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    6 days ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    6 days ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    7 days ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    1 week ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    1 week ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago

  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-06-20T06:16:03+00:00