web analytics

You say ‘flexible labour market’, I say ‘workers’ rights’

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, January 24th, 2013 - 35 comments
Categories: Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

So John Key says Hollywood likes New Zealand because of weak unions, low fringe benefit costs and the ‘flexible labour market’.

In other words they can get their wage slaves to work longer for less with fewer complaints.

They don’t have to pay for health insurance or superannuation because we’ve got good ones of those on the public dime.  And they don’t have to pay more in wages or taxes either to make up for it.  In fact with National’s law change Hollywood studios can employ everyone on contracts and not even worry about the minimum wage, and get subsidised $260 million in grants for the pleasure.

Yes, a lot of those grants were under Labour – and Lord of the Rings established a film industry here and gave tourism a boost.

But that’s no reason for National to sell out worker’s rights.  Or trumpet the poor conditions of New Zealand workers as a positive to their foreign corporate mates.

And we know National will want to see this as a ‘success’ so they can roll out more ‘flexibility’ generally.

That’s why there’s no move to comply with the UN and introduce working hour limits for health and safety reasons.  Leaving us working longer hours for our lower wages.

Great quotes from Metiria Turei and Helen Kelly:

Ms Turei said the briefing showed what she saw as Mr Key’s lack of “hope and commitment” to workers.

“Over and over again, we have seen him sell New Zealand short.

“John Key’s modus operandi is deals but what he is selling here is New Zealand workers’ low wages and poor conditions.”

Ms Kelly said Mr Key had low-wage aspirations. “I think it leads to wealth creation for the wealthy, which is who he represents.”

She said Mr Key had a “taste for celebrity” and got a “thrill” from dealing with Hollywood. “He is personally responsible for the relationship with Warners – and he has enjoyed it.”

35 comments on “You say ‘flexible labour market’, I say ‘workers’ rights’ ”

  1. tracey 1

    Thanks for this posting, I had just asked a question in open mike related to this so will put it here.

    Given the “film industry” is now so attractive to overseas producers (now that they have the working conditions they want);

    How many productions does Warner Bros have underway in NZ today? And since the Hobbit filming ended about 3 years ago?

    How many are schedule to begin in NZ over the next 3 years?

    How many other major studios have films shooting and/or in production in the ast 3 years, currently and in the next 3 years?

    Someone in the industry must know the answer. I would have expected to hear it from the Government seeing as sacrificing worker conditions was of such benefit to NZ “going forward”.

    It’s beginning to look to me as if Peter Jackson is the attraction not NZ.

    • bad12 1.1

      I think you will find that Jackson’s future in New Zealand will be subsidized via NZ On-Air, Slippery at one point when gushing His support of the Director said something in the vein of He seen the future for that particular Sir’s(spit) studio to be in producing drama series for television…

      • tracey 1.1.1

        As I thought. No one know of other big studio productions being done here then????

        • McFlock 1.1.1.1

          Oh, there’ll be a few – about the same number as pre-hobbit laws.

          Maybe Tom Cruise will come back for “Last Samurai 2: the Penultimate Warrior”, which of course leads in to “Last Samurai 3: Son of Sam-urai” (a Meiji-period detective movie, where Captain Algren hunts down a sword-wielding serial killer).

        • Roflcopter 1.1.1.2

          Apart from Avatar II and III?

          • McFlock 1.1.1.2.1

            blasphemy! Dances with Wolves didn’t have any sequel, let alone two!

            edit: even adding those to the list, there doesn’t seem to be much on an increase from the “let’s hobbit-fuck our citizens” law change.

  2. rosy 2

    It’s always worth remembering Key said ages ago he would love to see wages drop. That the film industry is “competitive” is a real achievement for him.

    What really annoys me is that big business is using the taxpayer (aka employees) to take on the associated costs of employment i.e. we’re paying to be employed. They’re paying to make a movie? …not so much.

    In the U.S. Walmart, of course leads the way.

    “In state after state, the largest group of Medicaid recipients is Walmart employees. I’m sure that the same thing is true of food stamp recipients. Each Walmart ‘associate’ costs the taxpayers an average of more than $1,000 in public assistance,” [Congressman Alan] Grayson wrote in a Huffington Post column on Nov. 24, 2012.

    The movie moguls are just playing Walmart catch-up with NZ workers. Government grants were never enough. It’s our taxpayers subsiding their employee costs that’s the real drawcard.

    • quartz 2.1

      Government grants were never enough. It’s our taxpayers subsiding their employee costs that’s the real drawcard.

      Like working for families?

      • One Tāne Huna 2.1.1

        Yes, exactly like WFF, in every detail. In your “mind”.

        • TiggerViper 2.1.1.1

          Rosy, the Walmart comparison is spot on. It’s corporate welfare and we all know how the right hate welfare. Oh that’s right, they only hate welfare to the poor.

        • quartz 2.1.1.2

          Yes, exactly like WFF, in every detail. In your “mind”.

          Look friend, put your sarcasm aside and tell me exactly how WFF is not a subsidy to employers akin to the medicare Walmart employees get.

          • rosy 2.1.1.2.1

            Actually I agree. WFF is a subsidy so employers don’t have to pay a living wage and the working population doesn’t get restless.

            • Murray Olsen 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Accomodation supplements are a subsidy to landlords so that they can make money week to week while they wait for their capital gains. WFF is a subsidy for employers. Much of the roading system and car registration fees are a subsidy to the land transport industry. Both major parties have been in the business of subsidising employers as long as I can remember.

          • One Tāne Huna 2.1.1.2.2

            For one thing, WFF is paid in cash. Which means that its economic impact is spread across a range of beneficiaries, not just the employer and the private medical providers.

            As for the population not getting “restless” I wonder if we are talking about the same US.

            • rosy 2.1.1.2.2.1

              US or U.S?

              With working for families the way I remember it, was that dissatisfaction was building around young professionals – teachers, nurses etc. with families getting caught in the top tax bracket. I remember feature articles in Sunday papers and other news items with working couples with young families not being able to get through the wee. Labour was losing that vote. Instead of adjusting the tax thresholds to maintain the 39 cent rate for the top 5% or whatever it was, to reduce the dissatisfaction, Labour introduced WFF.

              My view that it’s a subsidy for employers is not based on the economic impact of WFF on the wider economy, it’s based on the impression that at time of low unemployment, when wages should rise to attract staff, according to standard economic supply & demand, employers (including the government re teachers and nurses) resisted calls for wage increases.

              Imo WFF was introduced to placate employers and the young professional workers. By association poorer families also benefited but it wasn’t aimed at them, it was aimed at the restless young professionals – the centre vote – and aimed at Labour retaining a business-friendly tag as National was moving to the centre.

  3. vto 3

    Its worth repeating that …..

    Workers are cheaper and easier than slaves for employers in this country.

    Fucking fucked fucktardedness fucking cruel national party c#@ts

    • King Kong 3.1

      What nonsense. I am a worker in this country and I earn a shit stack of money.

      It would certainly be cheaper to keep me as a slave and as a bonus I have an excellent baritone singing voice and already know quite a few negro spirituals.

      • vto 3.1.1

        Fool. Quite clearly, to keep a man and his family on the minimum wage, the government is required to top up the income by way of WFF etc so they can live because the employer does not pay enough to do that.

        With a slave the employer will be required to keep a man and his family and cover everything. So they need to cover minimum wage and WFF. i.e. it costs the employer more.

        Pretty simple maths there kong. Think.

        • King Kong 3.1.1.1

          Though of course as a slave owner I might think twice about providing 100 inch plasma TV’s, piss, smokes, scratches and lotto tickets etc which is effectively what working for families pays for.

          WFF – helping low income families get wasted since 2000 and something.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Family Trusts – helping rich Tories buy Takapuna homes, Porsche Cayennes and student allowances for their children.

          • vto 3.1.1.1.2

            King Kunt

            fukk off and die

            [lprent: Well I’d generally agree. But at least give a reason…. ]

            • vto 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Because people with the attitude displayed serve no good purpose in society. In fact, they are a severe detriment. They are worse than criminals. Society throughout history has cast these people out. Thrown them to the wolves because they are a risk to everybody else. I don;t care if this wanker is just pulling the tit, heshe reflects a reality in our midst and I wish them out. True.

              Apologies to others for the language and action suggested but that’s it.

            • Murray Olsen 3.1.1.1.2.2

              The reasons should be obvious, lprent. KK is a foul troll who adds nothing to any thread. We can all imagine what’s on WhaleSpew without reading it, or what having our genitalia attacked by enraged wasps must feel like. We equally know what the most ignorant, bigotted and racist comments on any issue will be. We don’t actually need to read them.

            • Mike 3.1.1.1.2.3

              Coz e’s a *unt?

              (sorry)

              (sigh…)

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        And what’s the ratio of you/people not paid enough? I suspect that you’ll find it’s 1/really high number. The only reason you can be paid so highly is because most people aren’t paid enough.

  4. Tom Gould 4

    Ben, the three LOTR movies were made under largely the same ‘flexible’ labour market rules and received similar subsidies, endorsed and celebrated by Ms Clark. The “weak unions” didn’t suddenly appear on 9 November 2008. The CTU should look at itself for answers, having presided over decades of decline in membership, effectiveness and relevance.

    • One Tāne Huna 4.1

      Nothing to do with the Employment Contracts Act and the fourth Labour govt. No, it’s all the CTU’s fault.

      • TiggerViper 4.1.1

        Labour didn’t change the law at the behest of Warner Bros.

        And Labour was working on the issue of minimum rates/rights for contractors.

        Also, National is the govt and all this ‘Labour did X in year dot’ matters not.

        • Tom Gould 4.1.1.1

          The CTU to had a supportive government from 1999 to 2008 yet made little or no progress in the area of the labour market at issue here, independent contractors. They preferred to live in the 19th century, when everyone else was grapping with the 21st. No point blaming Key, as Ben does. Besides, the ‘time warped’ response to the Key legislation simply made the CTU less relevant. The decline will continue until they wake up and realise that ranting ideological dogma from a past age does not cut it anymore, in fact hasn’t cut it for 30 years.

          • One Tāne Huna 4.1.1.1.1

            Reality check.

            Over the last “30 years” union members have continued to earn more than non-members. Perhaps the decline in membership is as a result of not publicising this fact enough.

            As for “ranting ideological dogma” – citation needed. The dogma, incidentally, is elsewhere, being employed by people somewhat more to the right of the political spectrum. It gives rise to phrases such as “trickle down” and “high trust model”.

            • framu 4.1.1.1.1.1

              true – the most outdated and irrelevant union dogma is spoken by those opposed to unions.

            • Mike 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Also, in countries with strong unions, there is less inequality, higher wages and higher economic growth amongst many other positive stats.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.2

            The CTU to had a supportive government from 1999 to 2008 yet made little or no progress in the area of the labour market at issue here, independent contractors.

            No they didn’t because the 5th Labour government was just as welded to the free-market as the 4th Labour government.

    • rosy 4.2

      But a lawsuit that turned on the definition of an employee and a contractor did appear.

  5. tracey 5

    Tom, are you saying the the pm is lying when he claims he has helped increase jobs in the film indusrtry?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Update to air border order strengthens crew requirements
    Additional measures coming into effect on Monday will boost our defence against COVID-19 entering New Zealand through the air border, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “As part of our precautionary approach and strategy of constant review, we’re tightening the requirements around international aircrew,” Chris Hipkins said. The COVID-19 Public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • A true picture of Māori business activity
    A better picture of the contribution Māori businesses make to the economy will be possible with changes to the way information is collected about companies and trading enterprises. Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced a new option for Māori enterprises who are part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF funding for Taranaki projects
    The South Taranaki museum, a New Plymouth distillery and a Pasifika building firm will benefit from a Government investment totalling more than $1 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The $1.05m in grants and loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help the recipients expand and create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fijian Language Week 2020 inspires courage and strength during COVID-19 pandemic
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the theme for the 2020 Fijian Language Week reflects the strong belief by Fijians that their language and culture inspires courage and strength that is strongly needed in times of emergencies, or through a significant challenge like the global COVID-19 pandemic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Trades training builds on iwi aspirations
    An investment of $2.025 million from the Māori Trades and Training Fund will support Māori to learn new skills while making a positive difference for their communities, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “K3 Development Limited Partnership will receive $2,025,000 for its Takitimu Tuanui apprenticeship programme, which will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Conservation Minister plants two millionth tree in Raglan restoration
    A long-term conservation project led by the Whaingaroa Harbour Care group in the western Waikato reaches a significant milestone this week, with the planting of the two millionth tree by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Planting the two millionth tree crowns 25 years of commitment and partnership involving Whaingaroa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Seniors – our parents and grandparents
    International Older Persons Day is a chance to think about the individual older New Zealanders we know and to confront ageism, Seniors Minister Tracey Martin said today. “What happened around COVID-19 is a reminder that our over-65s are a very large and diverse group of people and we need to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago