Sacked

Written By: - Date published: 4:13 pm, July 7th, 2008 - 94 comments
Categories: national, same old national, workers' rights - Tags:

In perhaps the most unsurprising announcement of the year, National has let slip it’s going to maintain its 90 day no rights policy, which basically means your boss can sack you for whatever reason he likes within the first 90 days of your employment.

Don’t be fooled by the spin there’s already a provision for probationary employment in the law provided there is a fair process. National simply wants to remove the fair process.

They’ve softened it a little apparently there are going to be some safety mechanisms to ‘prevent exploitation’, but as usual there’s nothing on their website outlining what this would mean in practice or how a sacked minimum wage worker would enforce their rights.

It’s also been restricted to small businesses with fewer than 20 staff, which are ironically some of the worst employers and where workplace protections are needed the most. This would also apply to seemingly large employers like Subway, whose smaller individual franchisees would be free for example to sack an autistic worker for taking a sip of a free cup of coke. I guess that’s what National means when they talk about ‘giving opportunities to those at the margins of the labour market’.

It must be remembered that while all you hear from National these days is criticisms about how hard it is for average Kiwis to buy cheese and pay for petrol, the one workplace policy they’ve come out with would make it harder for workers to improve their pay.

We tried this path before and for most workers it meant wages failed to keep up with the cost of living because their rights at work had been stripped away from them. The result was our low wage economy, our lagging productivity and the opening up of the 30% wage gap with Australia. I’d be interested to hear why National thinks it would be any different this time.

Word is the Nats are going to release some more workplace relations policy over the next couple of weeks while Parliament is in recess. If the past is anything to go by they’ll be nothing more than bullet points filled with say-nothing words like ‘flexibility’ and ‘choice’. Call me old-fashioned, but I think working people deserve a little better than that.

[Oh and for anyone tempted to whinge about the personal grievance ‘gravy train’ have a read of this DoL report (PDF). Turns out it’s a myth.]

94 comments on “Sacked”

  1. “I warned you about that tie mate. You’re sacked. Get out!”

    So National will be legalizing THAT?

  2. Tane 2

    As I understand it, yes. Similar things happened in Australia under WorkChoices.

    [Captcha: Magnificient comrades]

  3. burt 3

    Tane

    Don’t be fooled by the spin there’s already a provision for probationary employment in the law provided there is a fair process. National simply wants to remove the fair process.

    The current process that most seem to use today is as follows;

    1) Advertise for a temp, when you interview the temp ask them if they would consider a permanent job if one were offered – explaining that there are no positions available today but there might be in the future.

    2) Hire the temp that best fits the role and who might consider a permanent job. If they are any good – offer them a full time job. If they are not – go back to step (1).

    Perhaps that’s not the probationary period that you were thinking about, but hey 1-2 weeks of hiring a temp beats waiting 90 days…

  4. Monty 4

    Looks like that while you guys whinge and want to stop people even having the prospect of a job and being able to prove themselves, John Key has yet again hit “paydirt” and understtod what the people out there beyond the beltway really want. Yes a staggering 77% according the the unscientific Herald poll support this policy. The other 23% don’t support the policy.

    So John Key again proves he understands the people on NZ and what makes them tick, while Labour can only sit back and cry., Oh well you still have 3 months to try and turnaround the worst defeat in Labour History, but as long as Labour avoids releasing policy, they have no chance at all.

  5. Tane 5

    Monty, you know the bit where you say “according the the unscientific Herald poll”?

    Well, right there you kind of discredit your entire argument.

  6. bill brown 6

    “We interviewed five small business owners with an axe to grind…”

  7. burt. My understanding is that what you’re describing is illegal (and I know it happens a lot but it’s still illegal). If you hire someone to do a job on a fixed term basis and that job still exists at the end of the term you can’t let them go and replace them with someone else, they have a right to continue in the job if it stills exists. Otherwise, we could all be employed on successive one month temporary contracts.

  8. coge 8

    It’s the absence of laws like this that have prevented many small businesses from hiring more workers. Unless you have a warped view of what small employers realities actually are. Strangely enough unions have a hard time enlisting small business staff. Remember not all employees are saints either.

  9. Not to mention those this bill would effect are either:

    a) At work now.
    b) Are busy with other things like raising their families.

    Online polls are never accurate and are open to stacking (as I’ve pointed out on NewZBlog many a time).

  10. burt 10

    Steve P.

    I don’t do it myself so I can’t be sure if it’s illegal or not. If I were doing it I would check it out more carefully.

    But hey, if lots of people are doing it and the law is a little confusing then surely nobody can be expected to follow it… It wouldn’t be fair to single out one offender and clearly it needs to be changed to match the way things are being done… the status quo as defined and managed by the law of common sense – and applied to alleged indiscretions of electoral funding laws… Good enough for the people who write the law – good enough for all people who need to follow it…

  11. Tane: “The result was our low wage economy, our lagging productivity and the opening up of the 30% wage gap with Australia.”

    Productivity decline has occurred under 9 years of Labour so clearly what Labour has done isn’t working.

    [Bryan. Leave the lies at interest.co.nz, productivity has risen in the last 9 years. Labour productivity is up 16%, despite our bouyant labour market pulling in a lot of lower producitivty workers over that period. SP]

  12. It’s the absence of laws like this that have prevented many small businesses from hiring more workers.

    If they can do their taxes they can follow employment law. It ain’t hard. If they can’t then they should ask themselves if they should really be in business – after all, as Roger Kerr points out, “The greatest freedom of the free market is the freedom to fail.”

    If these chumps are too dumb to negotiate some of the most liberal employment law in the OECD it’s time they went back to working for the man…

  13. djp 13

    I guess the guts of it is two opposing viewpoints.

    1) Employment is a right

    2) Employment is a privilege

    I just dont see how anyone can subscribe to viewpoint #1.

    Imagine if you hired a plumber and they totally screwed up your plumbing. You want to get rid of the plumber and hire someone else to fix the mess but the govt forces you to keep the old plumber and continue paying him.

    This to me seems to be the end if if viewpoint #1 is followed to its logical conclusion.

    Frédéric Bastiat: ‘If you want to know something about the moral status of a state action, you have to think, “What would we think about it if a private person did the same thing?”

  14. Tane 14

    It’s the absence of laws like this that have prevented many small businesses from hiring more workers.

    Odd then that unemployment’s at 3.6%, effectively as low as it’s ever been in the history of New Zealand.

    Strangely enough unions have a hard time enlisting small business staff

    It’s not that they can’t recruit workers in small businesses, it’s that the enterprise bargaining model the ERA encourages makes it uneconomic for unions to recruit there. I’ve covered this in other posts, including one linked in the article.

  15. burt. from the DoL: “Note, however, that employers must have genuine reasons for the fixed term. An employee cannot have a fixed-term arrangement when the job is really a permanent one” “An employer may not employ someone on a fixed-term agreement where the job is really a permanent one and the employer really wants to avoid having to go through a fair disciplinary or dismissal procedure if there are problems.” http://ers.govt.nz/relationships/fixed.html

  16. Productivity decline has occurred under 9 years of Labour so clearly what Labour has done isn’t working.

    Bryan you retard – productivity is a ratio of inputs to outputs. Nothing more, nothing less. If you continue to argue it the way you do the last of your, already meager, economic credibility will go down the toilet.

  17. djp. get away from wooly principles for a moment and think about the realities of workers. They need to work to earn a living income, there are lots of them compared to the number of employers. that means they are in perfect competition with each other and subject to an unequal power relationship with the bosses. National’s bill would tip that balance more in fovur of the bosses and expose workers to abuse.

  18. T-rex 18

    Not quite DJP, the two perspectives are more like:

    1) Fair treatment by your employer is a right
    or
    2) Fair treatment by your employer is a privaledge

  19. djp – is property ownership a right or a privilege?

  20. Tane 20

    Productivity decline has occurred under 9 years of Labour so clearly what Labour has done isn’t working.

    Productivity has not declined. Its growth hasn’t been as high as I’d like to see though. Part of that’s because we have a low wage economy and no incentive to invest in improving productivity, part of it’s because a large number of relatively unproductive workers have been absorbed into the labour force.

    Of course, you could try the method National used in the 1990s – cut the cost of inputs (like labour) so the ratio to outputs improves, but the reality is it’s unsustainable because you can only cut inputs so far. It’s also hard to advocate that course of action while claiming you want to raise wages rather than see them drop.

  21. djp 21

    T-rex, no employer can force any employee to do anything. An employee can quit any time they like so in that respect it is hard to argue about “fair treatment”

  22. burt 22

    Steve P.

    You could drive a bus through that…. But that wouldn’t be required because as I said above: If the law isn’t aligned to the current practice then the current practice is more important. Labour’s behaviour with the ’05 election spending debacle proved that, the law was unclear and didn’t match what people were doing – Validate the current actions…

  23. djp 23

    Robinsod: not sure if that makes sense, in terms of the abstract concept of property ownership yes.

    Would you be displeased if a bunch of people walked into your home and “terminated” your property ownership privilege?

  24. oh and Frédéric Bastiat is an idiot – ‘If you want to know something about the moral status of a state action, you have to think, “What would we think about it if a private person did the same thing?”

    if we adopted that reasoning we wouldn’t have a judicial system, a military, a tax system. There are clearly times when we collectively do things that it would be inappropriate for individuals to do. Because we are giving up individual soveriegnity and giving powers to society through the State in the interests of having a functioning economy and civilised society, it’s important that the State is answerable to us, which is why we have the rule of law and democracy.

  25. burt: “If the law isn’t aligned to the current practice then the current practice is more important.” Because some people break the law now we should alter the law? Why apply that reasoning to abuses of employees’ rights but not to, say, white collar crime or arson?

  26. fraser 26

    cant you just hire someone on a trial basis (for 90 days even) and then have the position switch to fulltime after a review of said trial period?

    Im pretty sure that its legal, given our individual contracts system. – tho it could be thorny in unionised workplaces

  27. burt 27

    Steve P.

    Why apply that reasoning to alleged abuses of electoral funding laws but not to, say, abuses of employees’ rights?

    This is the question I’m asking.

  28. Leftie 28

    Why would I, as a worker, vote for that?

    Online polls: I don’t think the average worker has time or access to vote on these polls. These current results would be biased as it would be those hard working managers voting on them all day.

  29. Steve: “Labour productivity is up 16%,” Username & password please for that locked file you have linked to.

    Steve/Tane/Robinsod: I think we need to be using the real productivity figures not the ones that Michael Cullen spins that don’t include the public sector.

    [Tane: I can access it fine.]

  30. vto 30

    I recall a few weeks ago there was an exchange about this on here and we all came to some sort of agreement about how a probationary period could be put in place (which is what employers want) while still being able to cover off those risks that the labour movement worries about (which is what employees want).

    I wouldn’t have a clue (and have no time today) how to find it, but I’m sure we all agreed that this entire problem got solved in that thread. Anyone else recall?

  31. Oliver 31

    I spent 6 months working in Ireland a while ago. I only got my job because of the probation period and a lot of other employees were the same. Essentially we were a range of foreigners with limited relevant experience. Most of us stayed in employment after 90 days but two absolutely useless lazy plonkers got the boot and were replaced with two Chinese immigrants that hadn’t been able to find work until then.

    I left after 6 months to continue travelling but my employer had offered to sponsor me for a more permanant visa (I was on a working holiday visa).

    My boss, who ran the family business founded by his late parents, was absolutely upfront that he wouldn’t have hired any of us without a probationary period.

  32. Draco TB 32

    Yes a staggering 77% according the the unscientific Herald poll support this policy. The other 23% don’t support the policy.

    I’d say that that poll is probably a better reflection of the people who read the NZHerald than what the population as a whole thinks. Basically it’s saying that 77% of the readers of the NZHerald are RWNJ and 23% are reasonably intelligent and thoughtful people.

    😛

  33. Lew 33

    Leftie: “Why would I, as a worker, vote for that?”

    This is precisely the point: if you were rational, you wouldn’t.

    If the electorate (primarily made up of workers, not of managers or hirers) is rational, it won’t.

    What’s needed to ensure a rational reaction is for the labour movement to spell out in no uncertain terms the potential effects of these measures.

    L

    Captcha: `Douglas rations’. This thing is frighteningly good.

  34. vto 34

    Lew “Leftie: “Why would I, as a worker, vote for that?’

    This is precisely the point: if you were rational, you wouldn’t.”

    Isn’t that argument self-defeating. Otherwise the workers would all vote for a party with a 50% pay rise policy every election and business be damned. The tyranny of the majority. No?

  35. Billy 35

    What is it you guys think employers are going to do? Employ a series of people for 90 days and sack them at the end of it? Why? So they get the full benefit of the first 90 days of the employees’ employment (when they don’t know shit and you have to spend half of your own time explaining what they have to do). Then, just at the moment the employee understands how to do the job, the employer will sack them (obviously for wearing the wrong tie) so that the employer can have the joyous experience of going through the same process with another numpty.

    Why would someone do that? I do not understand.

  36. Scribe 36

    Billy,

    Thanks. I thought I was going to get all the way through this thread without someone making that point exactly. It would be idiotic for someone to create this 89-day merry-go-round with employee after employee.

    Anyone who’s had the responsibility of hiring new staff will attest to the fact that it’s a pain in the butt and the last thing anyone wants is more interviews and reference checks.

    I’m sure if you graphed staff retention rates and productivity rates, they correlate quite nicely. Institutional knowledge and all that.

  37. Lew 37

    vto: “the workers would all vote for a party with a 50% pay rise policy every election and business be damned.”

    Reductio ad absurdum. All but the most economically illiterate (or rabidly socialist, amounts to the same thing) workers can see the collateral effects of such huge changes; it’s categorically not the same as resisting a change which, for a small benefit to employers visits significant harm on employees; especially those already most poorly-paid and treated (see below). What I’m talking about isn’t a change: it’s resisting a change. Inertia is on the workers’ sides here.

    Billy/Scribe: “What is it you guys think employers are going to do? Employ a series of people for 90 days and sack them at the end of it?”

    Yes.

    “So they get the full benefit of the first 90 days of the employees’ employment (when they don’t know shit and you have to spend half of your own time explaining what they have to do).”

    Doesn’t follow. You seem to be under a delusion that all jobs are unique, beautiful flowers. In my industry and some others that’s largely true, but there’s plenty of generic work: once you’ve worked 89 days behind one bar, on one roading/forestry/labouring gang, behind one reception desk, in one data-entry farm, you’ll find it pretty easy to pick up any other. Hence the popularity of temping agencies. (and yes; I’ve done all these jobs, and more, except roading and forestry).

    Please tell me you’d genuinely not thought of this and aren’t just faking innocence? I thought you guys were some of the decent ones.

    L

  38. Billy 38

    Lew,

    What advantage to the employer is there in sacking someone who is perfectly capable of doing one of the non-flowering jobs and taking a risk with someone new?

    I have yet to meet an employer who enjoys the process of sacking or employing people. I do not understand why one would voluntarily submit oneself to that process. And what the employer would be gaining as a result.

  39. Billy 39

    I am in moderation. My comment contained no links and no reference to porcine carnal knowledge.

  40. Ben R 40

    “I spent 6 months working in Ireland a while ago. I only got my job because of the probation period and a lot of other employees were the same. Essentially we were a range of foreigners with limited relevant experience. Most of us stayed in employment after 90 days but two absolutely useless lazy plonkers got the boot and were replaced with two Chinese immigrants that hadn’t been able to find work until then.”

    I think Oliver’s comment above highlights how this policy could improve access to employment for some people.

    Consider those with convictions or a chequered employment history who employers might normally stay clear of because it’s too difficult to dismiss them later. At least this policy might encourage some employers to give more people an opportunity to prove themselves.

  41. Scribe 41

    Lew,

    If National gets in, and this policy is implemented, please get back to me in 12 months’ time and we’ll discuss this again. I will gladly eat humble pie if it is as dire as you suspect.

    Maybe it’s my middle-manager status that makes me have faith in others in similar circumstances to treat people with respect. Maybe I’m naive. Maybe both.

    Please tell me you’d genuinely not thought of this and aren’t just faking innocence? I thought you guys were some of the decent ones.

    Aw, Lew — group hug. The feeling’s mutual; nice to discuss issues without the mudslinging some people get into.

    captcha: combined jacket. I like you, Lew, but maybe not that much 😉

  42. Lew 42

    Billy: The point is not that they would sack them, the point is that they could, and this fact explicitly trades off employee rights for employer rights.

    It means an end to job security, because employees can’t be sure they have a job 90 days from now. The implications of this are explained by elementary game theory.

    Wages and conditions in these workplaces would freeze, since because employees know they can be replaced by others on the same 90-day conditions on the (starting) those new employees will be preferred on the ground of input cost reduction.

    From this would flow an end to merit-based progression: if employees are unwilling to bite the bullet and accept real wage stagnation or reductions by being a `good employee’ they won’t be offered the opportunity to progress to supervisory or managerial roles. This is a form of Peter Principle, whereby those who are mediocre (and will accept wage freezes) get promoted, though they’re not necessarily the best employees.

    This will have a long-term deleterious effect on productivity, though it will take time to show since the initial wage freeze will provide an apparent productivity boost, but the effect of long-term productivity shrinkage is further cost-cutting and wage-cutting and concessions to businesses who are `feeling the pinch’.

    Ultimately this is short-termism.

    L

  43. Lew 43

    Scribe: “If National gets in, and this policy is implemented, please get back to me in 12 months’ time and we’ll discuss this again.”

    I don’t think it’ll bite in 12 months; I think it’ll bite in the medium term. But: accepted. Loser buys the winner a pie of their choice. Shall we call the test real median wage stagnation in the listed jobs at the time of the 2011 election?

    “Maybe it’s my middle-manager status that makes me have faith in others in similar circumstances to treat people with respect.”

    Hah. It’s my status as a reluctant manager which makes me not have faith in businesses (it’s not people we’re talking about here) to treat people with respect!

    L

  44. Billy 44

    “The point is not that they would sack them, the point is that they could, and this fact explicitly trades off employee rights for employer rights.”

    I still do not see what incentive the employer has to sack an employee unless they’re just not up to the job.

    “It means an end to job security, because employees can’t be sure they have a job 90 days from now.”

    I thought it was only for the first 90 days. In which case it would be true that there is no job security for the first 90 days. Thereafter the same security employees now enjoy.

    And I think the rest of your nightmare scenario falls down for the same reason: after 90 days it’s business as usual.

  45. Scribe 45

    Lew,

    Shall we call the test real median wage stagnation in the listed jobs at the time of the 2011 election?

    No, that sounds too complicated. It sounds like it would require one of those graphs Steve creates that make my head spin.

    How about we call the test “loudness of moaning from people being screwed over by this new legislation”?

    captcha: vulgar Work. Yep, but someone’s gotta do it.

  46. Billy 46

    lprent,

    Help! Your infernal machine thinks I am D4J or someone. My lucid comments keep being moderated.

  47. Lew 47

    Scribe: “How about we call the test “loudness of moaning from people being screwed over by this new legislation’?”

    It sound a bit vague, but ok 🙂

    L

  48. burt 48

    Billy

    I have yet to meet an employer who enjoys the process of sacking or employing people. I do not understand why one would voluntarily submit oneself to that process. And what the employer would be gaining as a result.

    Exactly.

    Even the job of stuffing random prize cards into Weetbix packets has some level of skill, some level of learning about the role and the culture of the organisation. Now why would you want to chance upsetting something like 2m children because the ‘new guy’ thought that when you said each card has a ‘1 in ten chance of winning’ that you wanted 1 card in every 10th box…. No…

    It’s the ‘You can’t wear that tie’ example that is Reductio ad absurdum. Pity so many people have no idea what really goes on in the ‘nasty side’ of the employer/employee relationship.

  49. T-rex 49

    Scribe/Billy.

    Why is it that you feel the policy delivers something useful/necessary?

    I agree that in the majority of cases things will probably continue as they always did – people will not be fired/let-go/whatever.

    Presumably you want employers to have the ability to fire workers who are slack/stupid/bad workers.

    They already DO have that ability.

    What National is proposing is that employers can fire workers for whatever the hell reason they like.

    Explicitly stated, Nationals policy is:

    “Employers will have the right to fire employees for reasons that are totally unfair, unfounded, and the result of petty bitterness”.

    Why is it a good idea to give employers the right to be jerks?

  50. burt 50

    Bryan Spondre

    Steve: “Labour productivity is up 16%,’ Username & password please for that locked file you have linked to.

    Steve/Tane/Robinsod: I think we need to be using the real productivity figures not the ones that Michael Cullen spins that don’t include the public sector.

    I can’t read that either. Tane can read it, he must have the user/password or already be authorized to read that based on his network logon. I wonder which it is….

  51. I’ve been in the position of hiring people in a small business. And I found it pretty simple – after the interview we asked them to come in for a day/afternoon, with no obligation on either party to continue afterwards. (We’d pay them for their time of course)

    It wouldn’t work for all jobs. Some might best be suited by asking for a sample of their work. But it isn’t like employers have to go into the situation blind – it is their choice to hire a person after all, and if they turn out to be a rotten apple they can fire them under present law anyway.

    Giving employers the right to fire for whatever reasons they want for 3 months is just madness.

  52. Billy 52

    T-rex,

    Because lots of employers are unwilling to take a chance on a potential employee out of fear of getting the wrong person. This is because, despite your technically correct claim that an employer can sack someone who is useless, the process is so tedious and the consequences of getting it wrong so heinous, many of them just prefer not to take the risk. And the more factors going against the potential employee (poor English, criminal record etc.) the less likely the employer is to take the risk.

    And no-one has yet been able to explain to me why it would be in an employer’s best interest to sack a good employee for whom the employer had work after 90 days and replace him or her with an untested employee. I need to understand what that employer’s motivation would be.

  53. Billy 53

    Yay. No moderation.

  54. Billy 54

    George,

    I doubt your one afternoon’s probation is legal. Did you follow a fair procedure with those you chose not to employ on a full time basis? Did you sit them down and explain the areas in which their performance was deficient? Did you give them an opportunity to improve?

  55. T-rex 55

    Billy – agreed – if that was a problem it would be reason to have a policy of streamlining the process and clarifying appropriate reasons for dismissal.

    You’re a strong advocate of an employers protection from bad employees (which already exists, even if it is in a cumbersome form) yet you’ve no reservations about sacrificing an employees protection from a bad employer?

    A couple of reasons I can imagine a BAD employer firing a good employee; reasons I consider completely inappropriate, reasons I think an employee should be legally protected from dismissal for.

    1) Employee is gay
    2) Employee is muslim
    3) Employee votes Labour
    4) Employee turns out to be friends with employers ex

    The list goes on (and please nobody get on my case about making assumptions with any of the above, the point is obvious).

    These are all bad reasons.

    A good employer should not have to worry about being stuck with a bad employee.

    A good employee should not have to worry about being fired by a bad employer.

  56. Billy, well this was actually in Australia! But it is still legal in NZ to hire someone on a contract with the option of extending it as far as I know. In this case, the contract is one day, and both sides were quite aware of that fact.

  57. djp 57

    Hi Steve,

    Re: Bastiat (way back up the thread)

    ‘If you want to know something about the moral status of a state action, you have to think, “What would we think about it if a private person did the same thing?”

    1. Judicial System: Apparently Bastiat’s greatest work is “The Law”. I dont think that his quote immediately disqualify a judicial system but it certainly does warrant further thought.

    2. Military: I think the analogy holds up if as long as the military is used only for defensive purposes.

    3. Taxation: I agree, taxation is ludicrous when viewed through the lens of Bastiat’s quote

  58. Billy – there is nothing to stop the employer re-employing the same employee into the same job. If you think this wouldn’t happen then you have obviously never worked in the fast food industry. I have watched dozens of fast food workers have their work rights attacked in the form of things like:

    reducing casual hours to the point of effective dismissal

    use of a large pool of casual workers to play everyone off against each other for hours (in one case this power was used to extract sexual favours)

    workers being forced to work two and, on one occasion I am aware of, three shifts in a row

    targeting of “trouble” workers with accusations of theft (in a Dunedin McD’s a few years ago this tactic culminated in the illegal strip search of a worker by her manager)

    Just about every time this has happened because someone is deemed to not be a cultural fit or has joined a union/started to complain about conditions. They do this to stop workers organising to get a better deal and more often than not they use management in the form of 20 year olds to do the dirty work for them – think of lord of the flies but with burgers/fried chicken. Now take out the last vestiges of protection these young and naive workers have. Nice.

    Bear in mind that many franchise outfits would employ less than twenty people…

  59. Billy 59

    George: But it is still legal in NZ to hire someone on a contract with the option of extending it as far as I know.

    George, no. Sorry, you’re wrong. If employing someone on a fixed term, there must be a good reason for the fixed term unrelated to the employee’s suitability for the job.

    T-Rex, the answers to your arbitrary dismissals is to be found here.

    ‘Sod: there is nothing to stop the employer re-employing the same employee into the same job.

    Don’t tell me National have actually produced draft legislation? Where can I find it?

  60. Um, billy who’s to say the job lasts any longer than the trial? Anyway bro – with a decent youth unemployment rate (and as I recall the Nats got it up around the high 30’s last time around) you’d only need to keep turning the poor buggers down. Or would you limit the number of people who could trial for the one job?

    Anyway bro I thought I gave you a pretty good answer to your question:

    And no-one has yet been able to explain to me why it would be in an employer’s best interest to sack a good employee for whom the employer had work after 90 days and replace him or her with an untested employee. I need to understand what that employer’s motivation would be.

    And an explanation of how it happens even now – so why should we weaken our already under-policed and poor labour laws again?

  61. Billy 61

    ‘sod, darling, I must have missed the bit where you explained why it would be in an employer’s best interest to run a series of employees on revolving 90 day trials.

    As I just explained to George, if you have a job that lasts a limited time, you can already employ them for a fixed term. So no benefit there.

    Assuming an employer has a job that needs doing, generally he or she is going to be best served by, I don’t know, getting someone to do it. If someone can show that he or she is up to it, I still do not understand how the employer benefits by getting rid of that person.

    In each of the abuses you highlight, there is an advantage to the employer. I still don’t get what it is in this case. But then, I am notoriously thick.

  62. Anita 62

    Billy,

    It may not be in the employer’s best interest to get rid of every employee at 89 days, but it is in their best interest to be able to hold that threat over every employee.

    IMO that is the key problem with the model; it screws up the employer-employee relationship – for the first three months the employer can fire the employee on a whim, and the employee is in by far the weakest position.

  63. Bryan, don’t know why but it’s locked for me too now. it’s just the Stats 1978-2007 productivity report – here’s the link to the title page http://www.stats.govt.nz/products-and-services/hot-off-the-press/productivity-statistics/productivity-statistics-1978-2007-hotp.htm

    Burt, seeing conspiracies where there are none is a sure sign of paranoia. Assuming the conspirators would be stupid enough to give their conspiracy away in such a fashion is a sure sign of arrogance.

  64. burt 64

    Anita

    I think that framing it as “for the first three months the employer can fire the employee on a whim” is getting toward the “I told you not to wear that tie” argument. Is that really what you think this is designed to enable?

  65. In each of the abuses you highlight, there is an advantage to the employer. I still don’t get what it is in this case. But then, I am notoriously thick.

    Sigh. When you have the ability to fire any worker in your fast food outlet without prejudice you have the ability to pay them all bugger all and thus the ability to ensure they cannot organise. Keeping rates down by even a couple of dollars an hour could save you eighty dollars a week per worker. Many fast food outlets already do this through keeping the base rate down, squeezing an hour or two of free end-of-shift overtime from each worker, removing breaks, making them wash their own uniforms (or pay for part of them). This “labour cost saving” could be taken even further if resistance can lead to dismissal without redress.

    If you’ve got twenty – that’s $1600 a week extra on the bottom line or a little over $83k for the year.

    That’s why you would do it. Now what about workers in cleaning firms…

  66. Anita 66

    burt,

    I’m not saying it’s designed to mean that employers fire people on a whim for wearing a silver tie. It does, however, make that threat possible, along with the threat to fire for not working an extra two unrostered hours, or going to the toilet “too often”, or refusing to work without safety goggles, or …

    The point is not whether they are fired, it’s whether they believe that can be and whether that makes them less able to stand up for themselves.

  67. Lew 67

    burt: What it’s designed to enable is less relevant than what it could enable.

    For those of you, such as Billy, who are operating under some happy delusion that the policy won’t result in exactly this 89-day rolling-contract situation – I suggest you read Wayne Mapp’s unsuccessful bill from 2006. It’s very brief.

    L

  68. Burt – that’s the argument that was run by the retarded chimps at Kiwiblog this morning. F*ck off and come back when you have your own line.

    Like you even even know what “framing” means – wee parrot burty boy…

  69. burt 69

    Robinsod

    I hadn’t been into that thread, I thought it would just be full of left/right wing nut jobs doing their National good, National bad banter. roger nome gets hammered as usual.

    However we have been over this fast food thing before. I you think that people at fast food outlets are getting a rough deal, don’t go there or better still – go there and tip the staff that serve you. If you want to see them earn more (and therefore acknowledge that you will pay more for your food) then either choose outlets that pay more than min wage or leave a $2-$5 tip directly in the hands of the people you want to help. You can make a difference, feel empowered by that because it looks like you are farting against thunder opposing National on this policy.

  70. burt 70

    Robinsod

    Here is a song ‘Live – Waitress’, get some advertising going, raise awareness of the issue, protest outside fast food outlets, make a difference.

  71. What? Burt? We’ve been through this before you say? Well you were obviously not listening – I don’t frequent fast food outlets for a variety of reasons. Not least their treatment of staff. But if you think anything can be solved by shopping then you’re kidding yourself. I know you can’t bear the thought of it Burt but the answer to this kind of employer behaviour is good old fashioned work rights. I assume you have kids from comments you’ve made in the past. Would you be happy for them to be treated like the fast food workers I’ve described? Would you be pleased to know they had no legal redress? ‘Cos it’s pretty hard to stand up for your rights when you don’t have any…

    Oh and burt? What makes you think I haven’t protested outside of fast food stores? And having done so why should I not also highlight the situation many Fast Food workers face on the standard? Jeez bro – we don’t all confine our activism to the web…

  72. Robinsod. Telling absolute fuckwits to “fuck off” is one thing, people like burt who merely agree with you another. It’s your blog, but things like that leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

    Burt, I’d rather change the law. Boycotts are pretty ineffective unless the people doing it have enough monetary power to withdraw – the first were community led rent strikes, and worked because they crippled the landlords.

  73. burt 73

    Lew

    I did read that, I don’t see how you say it creates a ‘rolling 89 day’ employment situation.

    I also noticed we are one of only 2 countries in the OECD that don’t have this provision and that 3 months is the most common length of time. I also noted that the duration of the probation could be mutually agreed between the parties for a shorter term. Perhaps if the job has a two day ‘up to speed’ cycle then the period could be one week. Surely it’s up to the unions to help sort this out. I’m sure they know how to work with this, it’s the norm in the OECD countries.

  74. David 74

    I find it interesting that the majority of the objections to this policy seem to be based on a fear of what might happen, but offer no substantial backing for that position. Smacks of a fear of the big bad bogeyman employer more than anything else (reds under the bed anyone?). The current system has been described within as “cumbersome” which is a fairly charitable description. More like unworkable, but thats ok I suspect, as the only measure really required is fairness to the employee, good or bad…right….

  75. T-rex 75

    Billy – Ok, so human rights act would protect against overt discrimination, but what about slightly more covert discrimination?

    In any event, I’m abandoning my “dismissal by a petty boss” objection in favour of the much stronger arguments made by others here on the potential for abuse as a matter of procedure.

    David – What? First off, it’s not unworkable, clearly. As to fear of what might happen – why would you remove a protection against something that might happen? I’m not convinced the cost is significant. Do you refuse to wear a seatbelt on the basis that you only might crash? Do you get vaccinated against measels? Afterall, you might not catch it.

    Risk = Probability * consequence.

    Consequence – vulnerable workers getting screwed over without recourse
    Probability – given the arguments expressed above and the past history of some of the employers in question, I’d say reasonably high.

    Result? Keep the protection, might’s and all

  76. Steve P: I think you are diddling the stats; fine form as per usual.

    Doesn’t wash. 16% overall increase does not mean squat in real terms. Our population has increased and unemployment has decreased; so overall output has increased. Our productivity per hour however has been all over the place.

    Change(%)
    Year GDP/Hour
    1996 0.7
    1.7
    0.8
    2.9
    0.9
    1.8
    1.7
    1.3
    -0.5
    0.2
    2006 1.1

    Source: OECD. No stats available for 2007 yet.

    Protecting slack lazy wankers who think everything should be handed on a silver platter does no one any favours. Small business should be able to drop these type of workers as soon as it becomes apparent the worker is a lay about. By not allowing small business this right; it impacts harder working more productive staff because too much productivity and money is lost on the fuckwits. It prevents wage rises for those who deserve them.

    Due process can take 2-6 months and cost a small business thousands of dollars. One mistake and they get screwed by the employment court or are forced to settle out of court. Been there, done that. The employee can make many more than one mistake and can cripple a small business.

    Complaints about dropping wages shows a complete lack of understanding of the small business model this proposed change is targeted at. We can’t raise wages if we have slack and unproductive staff. New Zealand can’t climb the ranking of productivity and become a rich country again until our workforce become more productive.

    Why do people insist on protecting laziness. It is not hard to work at an acceptable and productive level. If you work hard, have a good work ethic and have even half a brain you are safe.

    Yeah, there are *some* bad employers who will take advantage of this; but wake up – they already get around labour laws. The rest of us employers who treat out staff well are the ones that get screwed.

    The OECD countries that far exceed our productivity output all have better wages and probationary periods. So the argument that it will hurt NZ workers is a crock of shit.

    It may need tweaking; for instance a formal termination meeting or independent arbitrator. Still cost a lot less than taking months to go through due process and wipe the lazy buggers arse. Mean while they are hurting the business and affecting overall morale.

    In my experience; a bad employee is usually a lazy employee, and their attitude generally sucks. This can’t be picked up in an interview, and if it is their first job; references wont help.

    [“16% overall increase does not mean squat in real terms. Our population has increased and unemployment has decreased; so overall output has increased. Our productivity per hour however has been all over the place.” – you don’t understand what the productivity statistic measures. It’s not overall output, it’s output per hour of labour input that has increased 16% since 1999 (and that’s after inflation, of course) SP]

  77. George – it’s not my blog. My blog is a much more robust affair and can be found here: http://www.robinsod.wordpress.com

    Oh and me and Burt go back a long way – he’d be most disappointed if I didn’t tell him to f*ck off at least once in a thread!

    David – I have substantial evidence of how the current law is abused and have written about it up the thread. I can’t see how removing rights could do anything other than exacerbate the situation…

    Karl – if I had a wanker like you for a boss I wouldn’t work too hard either. Given your attitude here I can only imagine how poorly you manage staff. Perhaps you need to exercise the freedom to fail. If only for the poor bastards yet to cross your path…

  78. sean 78

    Its pretty obvious that none of you have ever run your own small business (a successful one that is). For a small company, even one bad apple can be financially crippling.

    I went and read your blog once Robinsod – it was absolute pants mate. Amateur presentation and the writing looked like it was done by a 14 year old kid. Don’t give up your day job pal.

  79. T-rex 79

    Karl – I agree you should be allowed to get rid of lazy people. However, I think you should also be required to (if requested) illustrate why you think they’re lazy, and demonstrate that you tried something (perhaps saying “oi, stop being lazy”) to get them to be unlazy.

    If you’re not prepared to make that effort to allow those employees who AREN’T lazy the right to fair treatment then I don’t think you’re in any position to call others lazy.

    Highly likely the system requires some tweaks. National isn’t proposing tweaking, it’s proposing abandonment.

  80. Lew 80

    Karl: “Yeah, there are *some* bad employers who will take advantage of this; but wake up – they already get around labour laws.”

    Yes, and currently those employers are (occasionally) taken to task for those breaches, which has a normative effect on the overall treatment of staff. Once they’re able to act with impunity that normative effect disappears.

    I hire a lot of people, and yes, I agree that it’s a difficult pain in the arse to get rid of crappy staff. The solution is having strong workplace policies – firm expectations, good disciplinary structures, good communication between management and staff and owners. Currently there already exist provisions to hire staff on casual contracts, which effectively gives an employer the right to roster staff for 0 hours per week, effectively dismissing them. however, the advantage cuts both ways: a casual employee has the right to turn down work with impunity. This is as it should be: employers’ and employees’ rights at equilibrium, forcing both to exercise goodwill.

    burt: If Mapp didn’t intend the bill to result in 89-day rolling contracts, why didn’t he explicitly prevent such contracts in his bill? Legalese to the effect of `after 90 days of continuous employment, an employee must be offered permanent status if a job exists for them and their work is satisfactory’? As written the bill does not prevent employers from enforcing rolling 89-day contracts, so why would they not avail themselves of this facility where it provides them an advantage?

    L

  81. Robinsod; you are pretty clueless in this respec.

    1. complete flexi-time as long as work is getting done
    2. unlimited sick leave
    3. own, spouse and children’s b/days off (or other agreed day)
    4. 2.5% training budget per annum (not required to be a work related course. All skills are valuable)
    5. if appropriate – free broadband at home
    6. fully subsidised health insurance
    7. regular reviews – input into processes – they are doing the work – they should be listened to
    8. ongoing trust through responsibility (and associated remuneration)
    9. non-monitored use of internet at work
    10. a “reasonable” approach to taking time off for religious holidays – e.g. Hanukkah Ramadan

    So sorry – if consider that to be a wanker; you are someone I would never consider hiring.

    I can even show you the employment agreement we use.

  82. bill brown 82

    If, under the current law, it is “to scary for small businesses to hire people” or words to that effect, is unemployment at an historic low?

  83. T-rex 83

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/0a17217.html

    For shame Mike – you couldn’t have made it a RIGHT turn?

    Otherwise gold star. The “I just think it’s time for a change” thinking is possibly the laziest ever.

    Karl – I think the contractual rights you describe above are excellent. I doubt that you’re the type of employer employees need protection from. I’m not the kind of person we have laws against rape to protect women from, but I’m still glad we have laws against rape.

    Laws like this are there for when good faith leaves.

    I think what should be changed is the rhetoric on the topic – Small business owners quite often seem to be demonised when, as usual, it’s a minority who offend.

    That’d piss me off. I think it’d be much better to acknowledge that most small business owners are nice people, like pretty much everyone else in the country. Divisive politics only screw everyone. I doubt the nice employers have any more time for the bad employers than anyone else. If the bad ones had their peers cursing them as well rather than drawing together in common cause against persecution it’d be a lot better.

  84. Lew 84

    T-rex: “Small business owners quite often seem to be demonised when, as usual, it’s a minority who offend.”

    Absolutely right. I think it needs to be made clear that laws aren’t so much intended to keep reasonable people reasonable as they are for preventing unreasonable people from taking the piss.

    KR: Given your obviously excellent workplace relations, how is it that you as an employer would benefit from this scheme?

    L

  85. djp 85

    Hay Karl! Where do I sign up?

  86. Lew:
    Here is a story; from one of my businesses. I won’t mention the guy’s name; but he will know I am talking about him if he reads this.

    I hired a sales man for a start-up I am running. His job was to build brand and market and of course bring in sales.

    I found out he was not really doing much; in fact when asked for call sheets and various other matters; he produced something that looked like he had chucked them together that morning.

    He presented himself as a person who was good at what he did; his references “checked out”; all from overseas. But he just did not deliver and was fundamentally lazy and expected it all before he had delivered anything.

    After eight months he still hadn’t made any sales so the company pretty much ran out of money a few months later because we were completely behind the eight ball.

    To cut a long story short – due process took 2 months starting around month 6 when it became so apparent he was not doing his job I had no alternative but to start due process. And I made a single mistake and he walked away close to $12,000; as well as his salary and “expenses” and as part of his package was share I had to buy them back at face value not the actually value of the company.

    I acted in good faith and had a fellow shareholder at the meeting. He brought an employment lawyer who documented the mistake that sunk us.

    The thing is; it was obvious I had made a bad call on this guy very early on and I should have basically got rid of him around month 2 or 3. However I was too concerned about due process and delayed longer than I should have. The “It will get better; he’s just finding his feet.” mantra of most small business owners. But it never did.

    That is why I think the rules for the probation period need to change. Maybe a strict criteria for a single warning without full due process. e.g. “You are not providing the services to the company that you said you were capable of providing. You have 10 days to rectify it.”

    We aren’t even allowed to say “If you don’t improve your performance; you will not have a job.” Why? Because it might be construed that the employer has already made up their mind and the employee can lay a grievance that the employer never intended on giving them a chance.

    You have to say “If you don’t improve [specific thing]; it may result in your employment being terminated.” If they do something different to the [specific thing] you have to provide another warning for that.

    I am still running the business; but also had to make another staff member redundant. It is now “bootstrapping” in the hopes it can get that first sale to make it fly.

    The people who invested in this were fiends and family. None of them “rich”; and for most this was their first adventure into small business. I suspect that it will be their last.

  87. Lew 87

    KR: Ok. The question is: is it worth the significant expense and hassle of this rare situation to allow the employers of tens of thousands of poorly-paid employees to dismiss them or keep them on rolling contracts on stagnant wages more or less in perpetuity?

    Sure; it’s worth it to you in an immediate sense; you’ve been burned and don’t want to be burned again. But looking larger than that – is it worth it in the long term? To the economy? For the social health of NZ?

    L

  88. Steve: Thanks for the new link, it works now.

    “Burt, seeing conspiracies where there are none is a sure sign of paranoia.”

    There is an old saying, “Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you “.

  89. The problem is it’s not rare. I have worked with small business for 15 years now; probably been into close to 200 businesses in that time. In almost all cases the business owner has had a horror story about trying to get rid of a bad apple.

  90. T-rex 90

    Karl – That is precisely the kind of situation that should be changed. The question is how to change it without putting the employees Lew refers to at risk.

    Clean up the legislation, remove the loopholes for whingers and bludgers. But don’t unduly compromise protection for the vulnerable.

    The advantage you have with good workplace relations is that, over time, you’ll attract and retain good staff.

  91. jbc 91

    Lew: the rolling 89-day contract you mention would indeed be a worry if it were to eventuate. However I’d say it would be unlikely. In order to exploit the probational employment period in this manner one would have to fire the worker on day 90 (or 89), calculate and dispense final pay and PAYE, leave entitlement, etc, then re-hire them the next day. If any of this wasn’t done correctly then the employer would be in trouble.

    A simple ‘rolling contract’ without the fire/hire would be deemed continuous employment. In any case I suspect that this type of obvious abuse could be handled in law without too much complication.

    How about taking a step back and looking at the wider effects (NZ-wide employment). Do you think it would result in small businesses taking on more or less employees on average?

  92. lprent 92

    Karl:

    In almost all cases the business owner has had a horror story about trying to get rid of a bad apple.

    Yeah and I can give you chapter and verse. I used to run factories and other businesses (and a lot of the family still does).

    On the other hand I can also point you in the direction of many arsehole employers that I’ve worked for or whom friends and family have worked for. Billy ascribed the traditional economic motive to employers. Most managers do operate in a manner that is consistent with that. However there are always the jumped up little dickheads who do not operate in any rational way. If you happen to run across one of them, where they do not have strong constraints, then anything can happen.

    If you want looser worker rights, then the penalties for being an arsehole manager should be made MUCH more severe. Say, just for instance, mandatory execution for a conviction in the employment court. Then at least they will think twice

    After having a couple in my working career, I really dislike lousy managers. Since I come from a management family, I’d be really interested in having their bad habits removed from the genepool.

    But readers here will have already noticed my draconian tendencies.

  93. Leftie 93

    To add to the debate, I know a couple living in Australia, both in reasonably skilled jobs. They went to buy their first home and during their mortgage application discovered that only one of them was eligible because the other was on probation in a new job. So imagine if both of them were on probation. Is National proposing to make it even harder for young people to get into their first homes?

    Most underperforming workers would consider receiving a written warning enough of a shock to inspire them to lift their game.

  94. jbc 94

    […]mandatory execution for a conviction in the employment court. Then at least they will think twice.

    Great idea – so long as it applies both ways. That’ll also make people think twice before making frivolous claims.

    One employment story I recall from a long standing small business operator (in the family, and no, never had a negative judgement) was the employment court judge (or whatever they are called) warning the employee that he wished he could make her pay for the trouble she had caused in making her claim. Unfortunately it is always at the employers expense.

    Perhaps I’m just lucky but I have never had an asshole employer in 25 years of employment; including 5 years of varied service/labour jobs (retail, warehouse, supermarket, bar, restaurant, gorse spraying, drilling, etc)

    I have experienced plenty of “bad apple” co-workers though. One even prompting my first 111 call.

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  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    3 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    3 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    6 days ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    6 days ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    1 week ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
    The Guardian - ever eager to forewarn of doom and disaster on the left - are leading with a new poll from Opinium, which puts the Conservatives 15% clear of Labour.Con 38% +2Lab 23% -1Lib Dem 15% -5Brexit 12% +1Green 4% +2This isn't good news, and it would be very ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
    Being and Being Bought (Spinifex Press, 2013) by Kajsa Ekis Ekman  A synopsis and commentary of Chapters 1-2 by Daphna Whitmore Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book She opens the discussion with a definition of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
    I make no claims to having much legal knowledge,  so I defer to those trained in this area.I am very much enjoying this twitter stream from m'learned friend in Edinburgh, deciphering the legal arguments around the Scottish court challenge to Boris Johnson, based on the charmingly obscure principle of Nobile ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    37 mins ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    55 mins ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
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