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A Modest Proposal

By   /  April 6, 2016  /  4 Comments

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Governments and capitalists are always banging on about how the private sector is more efficient than the public sector., so I’ve got a modest proposal for them.

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Governments and capitalists are always banging on about how the private sector is more efficient than the public sector., so I’ve got a modest proposal for them.

The MBIE is a government funded department that is supposed to enforce the labour laws of this country. It has done such a poor job it failed to examine and pay its own workers correct holiday pay.

Contrast that with the work small unions like Unite have done- exposing bullies and bosses that rip off migrant workers. clawing back backpay from gigantic multinationals who stole breaks or pay rises from mimium wage workers, and leading a campaign to end zero hours, triggering changes in the law.

My modest proposal.

Confiscate the assets and impose massive fines on companies that break the law of New Zealand, like Masala restaurants. But instead of paying bureaucrats big salaries in a Government ministry, use the funds to subcontract campaigns of enforcement, using highly efficient, lean private sector unions to drive the cowboys out of business.

We can start Monday going up and down Dominion Road, in hi viz vests, like traffic wardens-
busting all those dodgy restaurants for a start.

Alternatively, I could show my well salaried colleagues in the Labour Inspectorate where half way down Dominion Road is on google maps.

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About the author

Joe Carolan

Unite Union campaigner

Joe Carolan, Unite Union campaigner, Socialist activist.


  1. Geoff Lye says:

    Hell yeah .

  2. Sofya Semyonovna says:

    This is an excellent proposal. God knows what Unite Union would uncover.

    Anyone with a social conscience must at one time or another have wondered about the state and condition of the workers one sometimes glimpses in the shadows. Some of these people have the look of workers trapped in bondage. Others look like they’ve just been let out of a shipping container. Anyone can see these people are members of an underclass several levels below what even minimum wage workers commonly experience.

    I agree with Joe. I strongly believe that only an organisation like Unite Union could liberate these workers. I am convinced that left to their own devices, the government would never make a concerted effort to lift the rock on this Dark Market. Only when its hand is forced by some outrage that could not be ignored will they act, and then only in that specific case.

    Give Unite Union the resources to go in and clear out the the Slave Quarters of Auckland!

  3. Astata G says:

    I live almost on Dominion Rd, asian restaurant area. I can sometimes see the same crew in shops/restaurants early in the morning, at lunchtime and at night. It could be the owner + family but anyway there are people working insane hours there.

  4. Mike the Lefty says:

    Winston Peters is right when he said that some foreign restaurants are fronts for illegal immigration.
    In fact that is only part of it: there are numerous foreign restaurant owners who bring in Asian chefs, waiting staff, etc to work exclusively at their own restaurants and act as their sponsors.
    These workers get the arse end of everything. They have to pay big money to agents to get their work visas; when they get here they don’t get minimum wages or a proper employment contract and spend pretty much their entire existence working, often work seven days a week for months at a time.
    For accommodation they have to rely on their benevolent bosses who kindly arrange accommodation for them which costs just about all the wages they make each week.
    The end result for such workers is that they end next to nothing for working almost continuously.
    This is little short of debt slavery and the fact that this government ignores it shows how little they care for our most vulnerable workers.
    We won’t get a proper investigation of this problem because the government knows it won’t like the result it will get.
    And to those who ask how I know this: My family connections give me much inside information.
    Why don’t I go to the police? One: the people that would suffer first would be the workers who would lose their “jobs” end up penniless and on the street or deported back to Asia. Two: I don’t the cops would give a toss anyway. Three: The prospect of Asian workers being exploited by employers doesn’t rate too high in the conscience of most Kiwis as long as they can buy their chicken fried rice cheap.

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