GUEST BLOG: Willie Jackson – Domestic violence survivors’ leave attacked as ‘too generous’


The new Government has come under a lot of flak this month by National and right-wing media parrots all claiming that our recent promotion of new laws and ideas are all hopeless and wrong.

That’s what people frightened by change and losing power always say.

Our law giving survivors of domestic violence 10 days leave has been attacked as too generous.

Our attempts to promote pay equity between women and men has been written off as worthless.

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Our desire to look at prisons rationally rather than with anger and fear has been declared as going soft on crime.

Wanting to ensure all workers have dignity at work is apparently the reason why business confidence is down.

Even Shane Jones’ focus on re-energising our regions with a fund to stimulate economic activity has been mauled as a waste.

In politics, as in life, it is important to stand for your convictions.

We were elected to make change, and we make no apologies for that. After nine years of obscene underfunding of almost every public service and infrastructure in the land, this Government is dedicated to implementing real change, not a shallow con job of change.

It is right in a country with such an appalling domestic violence rate that we offer every victim of that to take time off to recover and sort things out at home.

Forcing workers to try and work when they are coping with such emotional pain is sick and beneath who we want to be as New Zealanders.

Wanting women and men to be paid the same pay for the same day’s hard work is the responsibility of every Government and every boss.

To deny that is to spit in the face of Kate Sheppard and every hard working mother, daughter, sister, wife, and woman in our country.

Sixty per cent of every prisoner we send to prison commits a new crime within two years of being released.

Endlessly locking them up  and creating people who are more damaged coming out of prison than when they went in is not a solution, it’s madness and critically evaluating what we are doing isn’t going ‘soft on crime’, it’s what every thinking adult must do so we can get better outcomes.

Māori are 50 per cent of our current prison numbers yet we are only 15 per cent of this country’s population, which is totally unacceptable. So we have to ask ourselves have we actually got everything right in the current justice system?

Making sure every worker has dignity and rights at work only saps business confidence if those businesses are reliant on exploiting their staff, and focusing on our regions who have created so much export wealth yet received so little support with, a $1 billion investment fund is the righting of a wrong that should never have happened in the first place.

This Government doesn’t apologise for ruffling feathers and breaking eggs as we try and undo the damage the previous National Party caused our communities, we went to the election promising real change.

We do not lack courage and we will stand by our convictions. That’s what the people who voted us in have demanded.


Willie Jackson is the Minister of Employment and a Labour List MP

First published in the Manukau Courier 


  1. Great stuff.

    And this in particular :

    [ ” We were elected to make change, and we make no apologies for that. After nine years of obscene underfunding of almost every public service and infrastructure in the land, this Government is dedicated to implementing real change, not a shallow con job of change ”]

    You do that and you can look forward to a long time as the government.

    Because every new evidence of Nationals corruption and lies, every new example of National pandering to the needs of the already wealthy at the expense of the majority , and every new scenario of the atrocious social effects of their deliberate underfunding to advance privatization and marginalization of state owned infrastructure will stick in the craw of the larger voting populace.

    People are sick of it.


    And its time for this country to heal.

  2. I agree, especially about the under funding, but making business pay directly for the time off is counter productive.

    It provides political ammunition to the right; It is making companies responsible for social issues that affect everyone; It encourages bad companies to avoid/keep employing people they think might be abused; It is regressive and penalizes small, progressive companies more than large unfriendly companies.

    Why not just stick n% on business profit tax (which is hard to avoid since it is relates to how much the rich(er) can withdraw from a company) and cover the cost through the government? The same should apply for maternity / paternity leave and any other social justice policies.

  3. Sorry but i’m not seeing anything that looks like change from this govt. Indeed they look at lot like the last one. A trail of broken promises from Cannabis through to the big one the CP-TPP. Its sister NAFTA has cost tax payers in nations signing up to it a whopping $392M USD in tax payer money.

    Yeah give me real change or get lost Labour led alliance.

  4. Even Shane Jones’ focus on re-energising our regions with a fund to stimulate economic activity has been mauled as a waste.

    The government could do massive benefit to the people of NZ there if they did what many other countries, including the US, do and made defence procurement from NZ companies and resources mandatory. I’m against profiting from war so tend to be more in favour of state R&D and production for defensive purposes and, in fact, think that leaving it to the vagaries of the market decreases our national security. But we do have the skills and the resources necessary that we can, under normal circumstances, provide for our own defence requirements without buying from offshore.

    Produce our bullets here as we used to. Then move on to ships, planes, electronics and missiles.

    It would do great for our regions, produce huge amounts of employment and it should be noted that a lot of what we use in our homes today came about because of military R&D so we can even look forward to benefits there as well.

  5. “This Government doesn’t apologise for ruffling feathers and breaking eggs as we try and undo the damage the previous National Party caused our communities, we went to the election promising real change.”

    The more the Tory fuckwits scream, the more we are reassured you and your Coalition colleagues are doing the job you were elected to do. Carry on.

  6. With the crap media we have, clearly mainly privately controlled or guided, and biased against the government, what ‘support’ do you expect from the brain washed public, what mandate do you think you have from the same, and how do you think you can survive this first term, and more, given the business and other sectors pull every trick out of the book to discredit and undermine this government???

    • It’s gullible mainstream NZ, who still believe in the fairy tales being peddled by our smug Tweedledum Tweedledee liberal elite, who’re responsible for the irreversible mess we’re in. I guess you must be one these conventional types who still believes that voting to maintain the hegemony of our anachronistic, careerist party political dictatorship is still meaningful. My tea leaves tell me there’s a perfect, death wish storm a coming, so it makes more sense to rigorously prepare for the worst, while of course, hoping for the best.

  7. Compensation for victims of physical and sexual abuse, often prolonged, is too generous.
    But overpaid seat warmer company directors still think they deserve a hefty increase in their pay every year or so and these are the people that the National Party will cut taxes for (and borrow overseas to fund it).
    At least National don’t need to sort out their priorities, their priorities are abundantly clear.

    • Mike The Lefty, I am not sure why you think that compensation for abuse victims is too generous, but bear in mind, that many abuse survivors struggle to live normal healthy lives, they remain mentally and emotionally scarred, for always.

      Many become drug addicts, criminals, alcoholics, prostitutes, existing on the fringes of mainstream society generated by an initial process usually totally beyond their own control, and in no way their fault.

      Any compensation which can help ameliorate their lot can only be good, and the whole community benefits when its members can live a healthy life – or at least an approximation of it.

      • I was being satirical in my first sentence but probably didn’t make it clear enough. Agree with all you wrote.

  8. I agree with the 10 days leave.

    I don’t agree with who pays for it. First, around a third of us work in roles funded by tax or rates. Second the rest of us work in private business. Most of those are small with insubstantial profit. So Jill Average risks her money to start a business, employs people and pays taxes. Along comes a government and slaps another cost on her, one that she has no control over.

    From a business perspective you can’t just keep slapping on cost because it suits some social agenda. That’s an area we support by tax across the board, by common agreement through election and parliament. I think that this impost by the Greens and coalition will cost them votes and ongoing goodwill on any initiatives with employers.

    I have heard the argument that overseas studies show benefit to employers, yeah right. I could find the opposite too if I looked for it. Meanwhile the cost that should be tax funded comes out of the employers pocket.

    Now I know that many of us on the Left think employers evil, and “flush” with money at present. Good times aren’t always. When things are tough its our jobs and income that are on the line, and if you look like a liability due to DV leave employers will knife you rather than bear an imposed cost. It would be safer for all if it wasn’t funded directly by the boss. Beware.

    • Agree with the 10 days leave Nick – extricating from an abusive relationship can be very complex, bruising and time consuming.

      But employer funding has not been thought through carefully enough- some employers can be incredibly supportive – others may have to pay for temps.

      Bottom line – most abused women try to hide what is happening to them from their employers and others. Tax-payer funded leave moves it from the private to a more public arena – and any funded escape-leave implies an acceptance of NZ’s terrible partner abuse rates.

      • Indeed Christine, it’s tough for an abused person to admit that they are under siege, especially to their employer. There’s got to be a better way of helping the sufferer, and saving the abused from further pain.

        • There are no easy answers, but the Sophie Elliott Foundation goes into schools with a programme of teaching adolescents the warning signs of abusive controlling persons, and it could be well worthwhile rolling it out nationwide. If I were a govt I’d be doing it.

          This was an initiative of Sophie’s mother, to whom there are probably already some who owe her a debt of gratitude.

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