Yawn – toothless employment law as meaningless as 2030 carbon free but not as counter-productive as $50per week student allowance increase


The Government’s new employment law is timid at best, and really, really timid at worst.

All we are looking at here is a roll back of the worst excesses of National’s hatred of Unions. Mike Treen notes the roll backs…

• Restoration of statutory rest and meal breaks.

• Reinstatement will be restored as the primary remedy to unfair dismissal.

• Further protections for employees in the “vulnerable industries”

• Restoration of the duty to conclude bargaining unless there is a good reason not to.

• Removal of the MECA opt out where employers can refuse to bargain for a multi-employer collective agreement.

• Restoration of the 30-day rule where for the first 30 days new employees must be employed under terms consistent with the collective agreement.

• Repeal of partial strike pay deductions where employers can garnish wages for low-level industrial action.  Employers have deducted pay for actions such as wearing t-shirts instead of uniforms.

• Restoration of union access without prior employer consent.

…the most important of these repeals is forcing bosses to stay at etc negotiating table. The new reforms the new Government are suggesting aren’t that huge…

• A requirement to include pay rates in collective agreements.  This is based on recent case law. Pay rates may include pay ranges or methods of calculation.

• A requirement for employers to provide reasonable paid time for union delegates to represent other workers (for example in collective bargaining)

• A requirement for employers to pass on information about unions in the workplace to prospective employees along with a form for the employee to indicate whether they want to be a member.

• Greater protections against discrimination for union members.

…the right to fire law won’t be aimed at small business (who employ most of the people in  this country) and the new reforms will make incremental change.

I think we are well passed incremental change.

I believe that no matter your role in society, be it doctor, dentist, nurse, rubbish collector, stay at home parent, beneficiary, prisoner, accountant, farmer, pensioner, bus driver, tow truck driver, taxi driver, politician, labourer, what ever it is, you are important. The fabric of society and community is woven together by everyone and everyone deserves a fair share of the harvest. If the rubbish collector stops the cities shut down in a month, if Doctors refuse to work people die, if lawyers weren’t around we wouldn’t know how much we hated lawyers, everyone has a role to play. We counter a status driven self absorbed culture by demanding workers get that dignity with progressive conditions.  If we are serious about a Living Wage, tackling poverty in a genuine manner and ending welfare and beneficiary ‘dependancy’ we should fight for a worker levy and open Union membership.

I think every worker entering a new job should automatically be enrolled with the Union representing their sector. This open membership would cost a levy equivalent to two weeks union membership and workers could either chose to remain as members or if they don’t want to be a member for whatever reason, they can contact the Union and remove their membership.

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They would still pay the levy. That is the cost of the standards and work safety conditions the Union has already negotiated prior to that worker entering the job, and as such is the price for having safe work environments with beneficial conditions.

Too many NZers are not coming home from work because they have been killed on the job. Pike River was a horror story and the Forestry sector continues to kill. The Labour Party in NZ birthed from the appalling work conditions in the Blackball Mine strike of 1908 because it’s always been work conditions that have driven unionism.

It is every working persons right to collectively bargain. The power structures of the boss enable them to constantly grind down labour costs leaving dead hard jobs with no conditions beyond the minimum. I say screw that. Life can be hard and barren enough without adding wage slavery to it. Open Unionism and a worker levy as I describe it here would generate a large increase of resource to the Unions and the automatic enrolment would immediately strengthen Union bargaining power. This real muscle will force poverty down by demanding better pay and strengthen worker rights.

What thew new Government have suggested here is as meaningless as their carbon neutral by 2030 policy but not nearly as flawed as their counter productive $50 a week lift in student allowances which have been fleeced by greedy landlords.

Unions must demand more, the right to strike, a worker levy and open Union membership are ideas they need to build and push if the pathetic union membership rates are ever to be expanded and real inequality challenged.



  1. All true this is Martyn;

    As by 2030 we will be trending water to stay alive!!!!

    This will all happen, as the world leaders cannot comprehend the dangers ahead now.

    So anything they do now is meaningless unless they make real significant changes in climate change!!!!!

    But within three years when Wellington and Auckland is seriously inundated by rising sea levels, we may then see them agree to late changes just to save their lives.

  2. As a farmer I must urgently suggest NZ unions should approach NZ Primary Industry Farmers ( As opposed to corporate employees herding hapless cows ) to join in so as there can be protection from the banking industry who deliberately compromise our Primary Industry for banker profit and control. And since agriculture is our Primary Industry, that kind bankster intervention and manipulation echo’s throughout our entire economy and society.
    It would be an extraordinary thing. To take Farmers et al away from National con artists and Brother and Sister them to the urban workforce.
    If that were to happen? We’d see a new dawn in prosperity. If that doesn’t happen? We will continue along this hideous path. Wasting our lives in pointless graft for foreign bankers while we watch on helplessly as our beautiful Aotearoa/NZ’s sold out from under our debt burdened feet.

  3. Yay Labour! The most up-to-date and modern Do Nothing Party.

    I can see your endless talk fests and ineffective leadership still grinding away to no purpose as all life is gradually snuffed out on mother earth…

    Geez, waste of time and energy voting, innit…

  4. A side issue, but not really, please someone pass on to Guy Williams my thanks for some gritty comments today on the toady Jim Mora ‘show’.
    I expect to see more of Guy giving his opinion about real issues for NZers instead of National’s favourites that provide the fake politics and allow commentators that prove rightwing bias – i.e. Labour’s ‘who needs enemies when you have Jim Mora’ on Radio NZ? They should put Martyn Bradbury back on, also. I heard that radio commentary from Bradbury back/when and I heard nothing but passion for NZers’ rights. For goodness sake, let’s cast adrift these Matthew Hooton biblical snakes from our ear and get this public ship back on an even keel, so that we keep all our politicians on notice not just those on the left.

    The only evidence anyone needs of Mora’s rightwing bias is him inviting the misogynist from Taxpayers’union Jordan Williams on to a publicly owned broadcast, who had that infamous conversation with the Slater Cameron about throwing rocks at women if they had no cxxt. Disgusting.

    • Thanks Jay for that.

      I had abandoned the ‘Jim National banner show’ some time ago.

      But now you have given me a reason to check the show out next week.


      • Oh dear, Cleangreen, all that responsibility on my shoulders, that Radio NZ has phoenixed into fairness… Don’t forget they still have the same Radio NZ board, don’t they?

        I’d like to know who gets to decide on the human lineup each afternoon?

        We’ll both continue to hope for the best.

  5. The government seems to be more interested in morning tea rights than the inevitable erosion of workers rights by robots. What was Labour doing for the last 9 years in opposition? If this is the best they can offer over their afternoon flat whites, I suggest they pay consultants for yet another “conversation” and appoint a commiddee (that’s how the PM says it).

  6. While several pages of the Governments coalition deal is yet to be released in 2018, it is more like the year 2002 in Wellington with MPs itching for the maverick spirit of then-leader of the National Party Don Brash campaign slogan, Iwi vs Kiwi.
    The substance of the document is classified at the request of the 9th floor of the beehive, but there is a growing consensus about how to grade its success or failure. It is past time for a new National Strategy that seeks to break the mold in honesty, clarity, conciseness, and fresh thinking. As an official articulation of Government policy, this is an opportunity to mend the broken dialogue between the state sector and the government and people they serve.

    To be relevant beyond a few news cycles, the Governments new National strategy must:

    Connect the strategy with reality. The most recent generation of strategies has repeatedly watered down the Governments sizing construct with each iteration—from the aspirational monetary policy objectives of fighting “Think Big Projects” to the “small nimble government” approach. Since 2008 the national strategy under John Keys is understood, the dangers of a lack of credibility and conviction and political willpower have become evident in Christchurch, Dunedin, and Northland—just to name a few.

    The newest National policy strategy frame work or strategies should emphasize three areas of importance. As it is getting harder for planners to differentiate between morality and economics, the need for a strong physical presence in New Zealand, Pacific isles, or Antartica cannot be wished away as politically inconvenient. Ministers should size work forces to maintain robust commercial and public projects in all three of these areas while equipping a work-force for decision in the event commerce fails.
    To effect this change, the strategy must clearly differentiate between employees and capabilities required to prevent crises versus those needed to overcome one. Unfortunately, the panoply of crises spanning from cyber security to climate change demands the government maintain a broad array of capable systems.

    Walk and Chew gum. Even with declining work-force constructs, New Zealand workers have largely continued to do all that they have done under previous think big strategies. Workers have been asked to do more with less, resulting in various companies and industry being shortchanged, ignored, or dropped altogether as the supply of small government ideology is consistently outstripped by demand.

    Consequentially, there is now a general dismissal of government strategy because the reductions in the work-force structure proposed in each iteration have not resulted in substantive changes in economic operations. Nowhere is this more tragically clear than in the Dairy sector. It is time to stop putting the cart before the horse by constructing budgets and then diving strategies, as fiscal responsibility have encouraged but unrealistic strategies have exacerbated. 

    Identify what policy the govenmet can stop doing. Effective strategy is about choices and tradeoffs. In the last year, oil shipments to Auckland Airport were delayed due to sabotage, a private companies evaluated the damage and repaired it after the RNZN replenishment ship transported oil reserves to ports around the country, and the Air Force outsourced “VIP Rotary” and “Fixed Wing VIP” to non-military companies. Instead of papering over these realities, the new strategy should identify what needs to be restored and which ancillary assignments may actually be more efficiently conducted outside of government departments including the military.

    Combat missions should not be exempt, either. For example, the sustained use of naval aviation to provide support for land operations while less than half the air wing is designed for operations at sea could be resourced by marinising some or all NH90 or DOC is expensive when tied up commercial agriculture increasing scarce scientists better employed elsewhere, particularly on native Kauri.

    Prioritize crisees. Claiming the five challenges of Poverty, Inequality, Justice, Climate Change, and persistent housing crises are all equally important is not a strategy—it is the absence of one.

    Policymakers must clearly rank the relative severity of these crises to help planners prioritize and make tradeoffs. Given the limited supply of Domestic resources, not all of these crises can receive the same amount of attention or bandwidth—nor should they.

    Don’t let perfection get in the way of good enough. The Government needs more extant work-force structure and capabilities rather than an obsessive hunt for technological silver bullets. Putting too much stock in wonderful discoveries of the future could be the governments ruin—not its salvation—if it comes at the expense of immediate and medium-term needs.

    If the opposition knows we are weak today but will be strong tomorrow, they have every incentive to strike sooner rather than later. Leaders should balance the acquisition risks introduced by speculative technological gambles with tried-and-true systems suited for immediate use to diminish any window of opportunity for the opposition.

    Recognize the Government is a more than a Democracy—it is for the people. As the largest employer in the country, the Government engages in a bewildering variety of functions and presence in every day life, in addition to security. It also supports charities, families and children even across the globe. It is called the New Zealand government for a reason, and the strategy should reflect these large organizational, financial, educational, and bureaucratic demands. For example, while achieving reforms and efficiencies are noble goals, the belief that ongoing organizational changes will result in billions in potential savings that can be reinvested elsewhere within the budget has yet to be proven.

    Finally, stop scapegoating and tackle problems head-on. While fiscal restraint has degraded the governments capacity and capability gaps and encouraged the self-destructive practice of constructing budgets before inventing strategies to justify them, budget must cease to be the blame for all the governments woes.

    An over-emphasis on budgetary neglect creates the false expectation that a higher topline alone will solve the Governments problems overnight. The National Policy Strategy will need to address not just New Zealand’s declining fiscal ability to support all instruments of Government, but also the deteriorating international situation. Higher spending can alleviate the former, but new investments will need to be tied to clear strategic goals to address the latter.

    It took years for the people to realize its current the Governments predicament, and it will likewise be years before it overcomes its contemporary challenges. To get there will require a redoubled commitment to the people by Parliament through stable, sustained, and sufficient funding. But the Government must also do its part to ensure that when fiscal relief arrives, there is a thoughtful strategy in place commensurate with the multitude of crises assailing New Zealand today. Now is the time to go big and bold.

  7. “Climate change is the nuclear moment of our generation.”

    I have two aluminum boats to save our family for now.

    I am now a small farm owner with 48 sheep so we can survive on meat and water from our spring as we are 1650 ft up a mountain 80 Kms from a city now and nearest farm is one km away..

    The sheep don’t talk nasty to us and the air is still clean green.

    Why live in the rat race is beyond me.

  8. Prisoners have a role in society? They do not, they have been removed from society in put in prison because of their anti social behavior.

    Why do you continue to glorify the criminal element. These lowlifes burgle the homes of your readers, steal the cars of your readers, sell drugs to the children of your readers, and cause the insurance premiums of your readers (me included) to sky rocket.

    Get real Martin, the criminal element (yeh, your buddy Arthur included) deserve to be where they are.

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