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GUEST BLOG: Andrew Little – A fair deal

By   /  June 30, 2017  /  28 Comments

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After nine years of National, working people’s share of the economy has fallen.Right now, 40% of children living below the poverty line are from working families. And under National, everyone’s employment rights have been eroded in a ‘race to the bottom.’

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After nine years of National, working people’s share of the economy has fallen.Right now, 40% of children living below the poverty line are from working families. And under National, everyone’s employment rights have been eroded in a ‘race to the bottom.’

It’s not right and it’s certainly not fair. I’ve spent my life fighting for working people – and what’s happening right now is unacceptable. In government, I will deliver a fairer deal for working people.

Today I announced a fresh new policy that backs fair pay and good conditions for working people and good employers.

  • We’ll raise the minimum wage to $16.50 and increase it to two-thirds of the average wage as economic growth allows us to.
  • We’ll replace National’s ‘fire at will’ law with fair trial periods that protect workers against unjustified dismissal.
  • We’ll introduce Fair Pay Agreements that will allow working people and employers across industries to work out basic pay and conditions to stop the ‘race to the bottom.’
  • We’ll ensure the Government is a good employer and promote the Living Wage by paying all core public sector workers the Living Wage.
  • We’ll double the number of Labour Inspectors to ensure bad employers can’t exploit working people.

These sensible changes will raise wages, improve conditions and ensure everyone will share in our economic prosperity. This is about fairness, about halting the rise of inequality and ensuring a better quality of life for all New Zealanders.

It’s time to share our economic gains fairly, and for a fresh approach for working Kiwis.

Workers of New Zealand, there are just 86 days until election day. If we want a fair deal for workers and good employers, we have to change the government, but to do that, we need your support.

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28 Comments

  1. WILD KATIPO says:

    Yes !!!!

    At long , long last an incoming govt with some spine !!!

    THIS ,… is the sort of thing this country needs to get back on its feet and put an end to all this hideous and totally preventable poverty across this land !!!

    No more austerity and slavishness to the free market at the expense of human lives , – no more blaming NZ workers as being ‘ too drug addled’ , no more victimizing working family’s as not having ‘tried enough’ in the ‘brighter future’ and then throwing them out in the dead of winter with small children to sleep in cars and vans !!!

    No more young family’s and elderly people who cannot afford to heat their homes , – no more story’s of family’s who have to decide between doctors fees and paying the rent !!!

    The hell with those evil ruthless ‘ business interests ‘ who just want to privatize everything and rape steal and plunder and bleed the people of this country dry !!!

    The way to ensure prosperity is to ensure wages are realistic and on a par with the costs of living and kept that way by regulation and by having a process in place to protect both workers and employees – and cut out the middleman lawyers !!! When working family’s can save, can spend a little in the local community , – all benefit. The small business, sports and community events and so on and so on… it is a domino effect.

    This is the way.

    We can change this rotten government on 23rd September if we all GET OUT AND VOTE THEM OUT !!!

  2. Tiger Mountain says:

    well done Andrew for publishing on TDB, why should any full or part time workers be doing it so hard?

    push that kind of message–not national lite, people are receptive now, it cannot wait till 2020

  3. savenz says:

    Good on you, Andrew Little, for reaching out on TDB and other non mainstream sites.

    Hope you win by a landslide and kick the National party to the curb.

    But while it’s all well and good to have a few power point type changes to employment law – I think zero hour contracts are still a big concern and still going on and I’d like to see a bit more dialogue on the fundamental problems – something is very wrong in NZ employment.

    Neoliberal trickle down is not creating jobs at all, it is making it much easier to get rid of jobs. NZ has embraced the neoliberal trickle down and global corporations running our country and it’s time to make a u turn as it’s not working for the many.

    If someones house earns more than their job, then something is wrong. And I’m not talking about the speculation, I’m talking about people not being able to survive and have a good standard of living on wages without relying on a house to save them from financial ruin and being 4 weeks out of a job no matter how good you are at it.

    Dick Smith and Mondelez who asset strip and close down factories and jobs.

    Increasingly former ‘wage earners’ are now ‘self employed’ or ‘unemployed’ or somewhere in between, as jobs are just disappearing or wage earners are out of a job within weeks for no reason what so ever but just going through a ‘process’. You don’t need a reason to get rid of people anymore and this is creating toxic workplaces, where the most revolting power hungry types are completely unaccountable by law. Process has replaced intelligent selection in a kind of rush to be at the bottom.

    This has effected NZ productivity. Why bother working too hard if you can be out of a job within weeks. Better to suck up to superiors, put your skills into networking rather than upgrading skills and don’t go out on a limb on anything that might come back to you or at least be prepared to blame someone else. Sort of a toxic group think has taken over the country in most areas.

    It’s false economy reducing conditions for workers. That is why NZ has been declining or static in productivity. Smart people leave the country and they are replaced by chefs and low level support IT workers and far right Trump supporting billionaires who don’t even want to live here.

    The idea in the 21st century that a decent country has chefs, level 5 IT workers and tilers as being so highly sought after they need to be imported in, to work at minimum wages is laughable. As is, 600 chefs imported for SkyCity (a bigger user of zero hour contracts) to lower wages and conditions while The National Party grants Skycity millions of tax payers money for it’s conference centre for extra gambling and money laundering as well as selling them TVNZ property on the cheap.

    Essentially The National party and modern business has created a weird dynamic of unskilled workers on minimum wages, toxic bureaucrats that can’t do their jobs, Crony board members who serve on multiple boards that use neoliberal ideology for decision making or actually just can’t make any sort of decision apart from short sighted penny pinching, morally failed lawyers and accountancy fraud, where increasingly workers are forced to be self employed or employers themselves.

    If Labour want to get popular support, it would be to eradicate workplace toxicity and make employment clear and fair by law and to clearly state it. A government body that actually works for employment disputes (not takes years and zero outcomes for any parties).

    When Pike river happens in your country and it’s covered up with reports at the highest level, nobody is held accountable – you should know there is a big problem.

    Making teachers and worm farmers pay for Pike River with legislation to make workers lives harder in a bizarre twist, is the sort of despicable deception that we have had to endure for 9 years under the National party.

  4. Danyl Strype says:

    “Fair Pay Agreements” eh? Would I be correct in saying this would be a return to the national awards system that was abolished by National with the Employment Contracts Act, and not restored by the Clark/ Cullen government? If so, this would be a major break with the corporatist austerity politics that Labour has either led or gone along with since the 1980s. I know the Greens would support such a policy. Would NZ First support a return to national awards for working conditions across industries?

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      ” Would NZ First support a return to national awards for working conditions across industries?”

      I would think that on the strength of Peters stand on Pike River and the fact that the Pike River family’s felt they could approach Winston privately on the issue would demonstrate that Peters himself would like to see a fair days pay for a fair days work , – not only that – but an end to Nationals deliberate use of cheap immigrant labour to suppress wages and feather the nests of dishonest employers…

      All this 33 year long neo liberal experiments has proven is that the darker side of human nature will crawl out of the woodwork if the lid is lifted, and that is why in wiser times this country had regulations in place to protect all party’s.

      Despite the inconvenience of due process to some opportunists who would wish it otherwise…

      This country was foundered on the idea of the ‘ fair go’.

      And its time we started thinking that way again.

      • Danyl Strype says:

        So, aside from speculations based on reading Winston’s tea leaves, can you point to anything in the NZ First manifesto or any formal public statement that support your speculations? Whether or not NZ First support Labour on abolishing the ECA’s fragmented approach to employment conditions, or dismiss it as crazy and irresponsible as they do the UBI, will be a crucial indicator of whether their opposition to “neo-liberalism” is real or Trumpish PR.

        • WILD KATIPO says:

          I think its more a case of the many times Peters has criticized neo liberalism and its effects over the years – and in particular,the TTPA. And while that may be more to do with sovereignty issues , it still has a bearing on our industry’s and our workers.

          Then we have the fact that NZ First has given support and been part of the government of both Labour and National. And it is all too often quoted as Peters naturally going with National by his detractors.

          And agreeing by default with neo liberal ideology . When in fact , he was in opposition to Ruth Richardson and later Shipley because he did not support those measures.

          Lately , he has been antagonistic and critical of both John Key and Bill English , and many other senior ministers and policy’s of National- and not a particular friend of Act , either. Peters is no fool , and he will be observing the growing discontentment among National supporters in the provinces.

          And let us also remember as well , – Labour is not entirely free of neo liberals either – in fact they are more blatant than any in NZ First. Hence the ABC’s.

          So lets tally up a few more well known stances of NZ First :

          Opposed the TTPA
          Bottom line for coalition is reentry into Pike River
          Opposition to asset sales

          And if Labour is the senior party in any change of govt, this latest raft of policy’s would be quite central to their election promises. And Peters more than likely will not oppose that because he knows he can gain significant concessions by not doing so.

          Just out of interest , here is a few interesting snippets regarding the GSCB …

          The first one, is about the bad blood between Nationals John Key ,…

          ‘Key used GCSB to spy on me’ – Winston Peters | Newshub
          http://www.newshub.co.nz/…/key-used-gcsb-to-spy-on-me–winston-peters-2014021317

          The second showing the changing dynamics between Labour /Greens / NZ First …

          Labour nominates Winston Peters to key intelligence committee – Stuff
          http://www.stuff.co.nz/…/Labour-nominates-Winston-Peters-to-key-intelligence-committee-An.

          I would say NZ politics is in a state of flux, yet resistance to major sweeping changes is still strong as no one wants to be the first to risk taking the same degree of heat Jeremy Corbyn has… yet change is coming as more and more turn against 9 years of the increasingly stale arrogance of National’s glaring neo liberal failures.

  5. OncewasTim says:

    Interesting, but entirely predictable that on RNZ this morning, we had some business ‘leader’ ranting about the dark old days of strikes and how it all ruined NZ’s economy in the 90s. He’d obviously forgotten about a BNZ bailout, followed by others.
    We also had a commenter (twitter or email or some such) following Lees-G’s explanation. Obviously he/she doesn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘negotiation’ or bargaining….or even basic minimum standards.
    For me, (unless you don’t mind NZ being part of the 3rd world), if a business can only survive by paying wages that don’t allow any worker to live frugally (feed, clothe and house themselves and partner) – that is….if you find it necessary to pay slave wages, then your business is not viable, and you should either find another OR fuk off to a 3rd world country where you can exploit people.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      ” For me, (unless you don’t mind NZ being part of the 3rd world), if a business can only survive by paying wages that don’t allow any worker to live frugally (feed, clothe and house themselves and partner) – that is….if you find it necessary to pay slave wages, then your business is not viable, and you should either find another OR fuk off to a 3rd world country where you can exploit people.”

      ………………………………..

      Exactly.

      And the sheer hypocrisy of neo liberalism is one of its core tenets – that being , that a business that fails simply makes way for a business that can succeed. That followed by the other tenet of a ‘ Level playing field’ .

      How often we heard that last one over the last 33 years. Rubbed in our noses – when the exact opposite was true with massive tax payer funded bail outs for businesses ‘ too big to fail’…

      More like Oligarchs’s empires that were ‘ too big to fail’…. if the truth were to be told…

      But as ONCEWASTIM says ,… the definition of a failed business is one that cannot survive the competition when required to pay a realistic living wage.

      There is NO EXCUSE.

      And the only valid reason for even attempting to do so is to rip workers off and pocket the money by a ruthless thieving employer.

      And if anyone raises the objections about small businesses just starting out , then there’s nothing wrong with a one years subsidy plan to assist in wages until that business gets up and running on its own two feet.

      That way small businesses can be assisted to provide even more employment opportunity’s.

    • Louis says:

      The shrillness of the business sector shows Labour’s policy is GOOD!!

    • Louis says:

      The shrillness of the business sector shows Labour’s policy is good.

  6. Andrea says:

    Now tell us about ” as economic growth allows us to.” Because we’ve heard the jingle of Santa’s sleigh bells before and waited for much longer than the doomed in a Soviet-era food queue. With as little to show for it, too.

    That’s the gap in the story line, isn’t it?

    What sort of economy will you be helping to create? Where will the magic jobs be; rural? Or urban?

    Tell us more about entry level jobs and part time work for students, for returning to work people.

    Remind us again about what you’ll do with affordable upskilling education opportunities.

    Mention what you’ll do to get ex-crims into employment and housing so they’ve got a chance to go straight.

    And those oldies. The ones with the below poverty incomes – $360 a week, or maybe a little more. Where’s the work? Where’s the fair deal? Where’s the action against ageism – so the national super age can be raised – again.

    Like a pav: hard crust and hollow inside.

    Details, if you please. We’ve had enough drip feeding to last many lifetimes.

    PS Hope you have someone of John Bercow’s calibre for Speaker.

    • Louis says:

      You have to start somewhere Andrea, and its a good start. Out of small things big things grow.

    • Danyl Strype says:

      Some good points Andrea. I would definitely like to see ”as economic growth allows us to” replaced with a minimum wage pegged to inflation (as calculated including housing costs), so wages stop losing value against prices.

      I’d also like to see benefit levels paid out at the minimum wage for 30 hours, meaning employers either need to offer higher than minimum, or working conditions that make minimum wage attractive despite offering the same income as benefits. At Labour’s proposed minimum wage of $16.50, benefits would be about $427 a week after tax.

      At present a single person under 25 is expected to live on $177 per week in the hand, plus Accommodation Supplement of about $20 depending on where they live, so let’s round it to $200. That’s roughly 12 hours pay at the $16.50 minimum wage! In some areas this barely covers rent and utilities, so its hardly surprising there are plenty of willing recruits for black market activities like stealing smokes from dairies and trading in illegal drugs, just as there was in pre-collapse USSR.

      “Tell us more about entry level jobs and part time work for students, for returning to work people.”

      These would presumably be covered by the pan-industry Fair Pay Agreements, just as fulltime jobs would. Zero hour contracts have already been abolished, and I see no reason to think they would be allowed under industry-wide agreements.

      “Remind us again about what you’ll do with affordable upskilling education opportunities.”

      Based on policy announcements so far, the answer appear to be 3 years of free tertiary study for every kiwi, regardless of age:
      http://www.labour.org.nz/three_years_free_education_for_the_21st_century_economy

      Since tertiary study is a fulltime occupation, not a part-time hobby, students shouldn’t need to earn money to live while they study. The student allowance should also be paid at 30 hours minimum wage like unemployment benefits, if not higher (eg half the living wage for a single student, living wage for a student couple).

      “And those oldies. The ones with the below poverty incomes – $360 a week”

      As indicated above, if you think $360 a week is below poverty, you must be shocked to find out how low the unemployment benefit and student allowance are (for those who manage to access them). But yes, benefits for retired people need to be paid at levels at or above the 30 hour minimum wage for other beneficiaries and students. Maybe at a rate related to the living wage?

    • John W says:

      ” as economic growth allows us to.” amounts to relying on trickle down.

      Trickle down from a growth that destroys environment and in fact creates trickle up of the wealth to the wealthy and a fallout for everything else.

      Growth to where. Share prices and investor state wealth harvest, greater expatriation of dividends off shore or more buy up of our sovereignty.

      Little is shying away from scaring the horses at the election stalls.

      ” as economic growth allows us to.”

      Does the market rule this country of do we have a government.

      The trickle down growth scam hasn’t worked and growth cannot be a goal when the damage of growth is the problem and will continue to be the problem we can’t deal with.

      Poverty and Progress – Henry George
      Progress and Poverty – Bill Such

  7. Kim dandy says:

    On the subject of getting this message out there – It was interesting to note that in the Uk Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity skyrocketed when the MSM had to give fair and even media attention to all the parties.
    It was then Corbyn could clearly get labours policies out to the public without being interrupted, misrepresented, and basically ignored by the press.
    The people liked Corbyn’s fresh, honest approach and liked Labours policies, and they took off in popularity.
    With such a one sided bias MSM here in New Zealand, Andrew you will need to find the best way that you and your party can be heard, otherwise it will be an uphill battle to reach that missing million.
    Good luck.

  8. David says:

    What I see is the an imbalance in the Labour markets, ever since the introduction of the contracts act the workers of New Zealand are at the mercy of the employers.
    Why has Labour done pretty much nothing to correct this attack on labour,considering the union movement financial supported Labour and what did it receive in return ,a slightly pinker shade of National.
    I’m so disappointed, it’s little wonder people can’t be bothered voting.

    • Louis says:

      It might be a good idea to actually read Labour’s policy first.

      • David says:

        I have ,not really a convincing manifesto.

        • Louis says:

          I’m not convinced that you did.

          • David says:

            That’s ok, you believe what you like ,I just don’t believe tinkering with fairly old policies is inspiring.

            • Louis says:

              That tells me you didn’t bother to read it. A quote from union advocate Darien Fenton “Labour’s Fair Wage Agreements have been in Labour’s policy (as Industry standard agreements) in the last two elections. It’s based on the European model of extension collective bargaining. This is major policy, initiated by Helen Kelly and worked through over time with unions and affiliated unions. If enacted, it would revolutionise wage fixing in New Zealand and bring in thousands of workers currently not covered by collective bargaining. I hardly call this weak or watered down. Thus the hysteria from bosses.”

  9. patricia bremner says:

    I think Andrew has sent a signal.
    This IS a Labour/Greens Government in waiting.
    They are ready to tackle the problems, and bring desirable change.
    The fact the Right is shrill tells me he has made a cut through.
    Now David, he can’t do it if you and I don’t answer the call.
    Donate, enrol, vote.

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