First steps on a workers’ recovery plan


We need a priority list of steps that the government can and should take immediately to help protect working people from the immediate devastation associated with what seems will be an inevitable deep recession. (I have stolen a few of these ideas from Greenpeace)

1) Put all people receiving a welfare benefit on an emergency benefit of $425 net each week. Individualise all entitlements. Online applications only needed to access benefits. Abolish interview requirement. Maintain end to standdown period. Abolish MSD client debts. Allow migrant workers who lose jobs to get. This benefit should last for at least six months and then become part of a new basic income grant.

2) Establish the net single national super rate ($425 weekly) as a tax-free basic income grant for everyone 65 and over initially. Combine this with a flat tax of 40% on all other income.

3) Progressively extend this tax-free benefit to those 60 or over who have worked manual jobs, and to replace other benefits (sole parent, sick and invalid and unemployed), and student allowances as new income and wealth taxes allow.

4) Establish a new marginal tax rate of 40% for incomes over the level that the beneft is still a net gain for people (around $120,000 a year). Further marginal rates can be established for incomes over that until a 100% rate is effective from $250,000 a year. 

5) A universal child allowance of $150 weekly

6) A universal student allowance equal to the core adult unemployment benefit immediately and become part of a new basic income grant as new wealth taxes are introduced.

7) Increase Health funding to allow genuine universal access as well as preparedness for future pandemics. Abolish Health Board debts.

8) Minimum wage to be set at 66% of the average wage. Everyone deserves a living wage. 

9) Wealth taxes and death duties to ensure everyone pays a fair share

10)) Free pre-school for every child. Make it part of the public education system.

11) Look at ways to reduce the working week for everyone with no loss in pay so that the work is shared around equitably in society.

12) Massive expansion in training and retraining of workers to allow for a just transition from the current job set up to one that is sustainable for the planet through a Green New Deal.

13) Repealing existing laws that prevent local authorities and state-owned enterprises operating businesses in a socially responsible way. Allow publicly-owned monopolies to be established not guided by the pursuit of profit. These would include transport, energy, postal services and broadband delivery.

14) ) Allowing local authorities the power to take over existing social services like public transport, and establish new publicly-owned social services that can tackle the social deficits in their own communities.

15)) Billions of dollars in funding for distributed solar and wind, alongside upgrades to the power grid. All public buildings, including schools, should be converted to solar energy. The Government should introduce a zero-interest loan for household solar and batteries. Finance and support for community solar and wind projects should be fast-tracked. Regulatory barriers that prevent people from trading and gifting energy should be removed and a floor price introduced for household and community-generated electricity.

16) Establishing people’s power in local communities with elected boards that are resourced to allow the people themselves to tackle the social deficits built up over decades of neglect. Begin with an audit of every home to find out what food, medical, housing, energy, educational, or work needs exist that can be battled against collectively.

17) An urban “marae” centred on a high school in every community that is able to provide community kitchens, gardens, cinemas and theatres, sports facilities, evening education.

18) A target of 10,000 social houses to be built each year as the core of the infrastructure rebuild. Building to continue at that level until every New Zealander who wants one can access one. Rents to be no more than 25% of income.

19) Embarking on a nationwide social housing upgrade programme, providing insulation, heat pumps, solar and batteries to some of our most vulnerable families. Insulation and heat pumps mandatory in all homes – especially rental. Interest-free loans available to install if necessary.

20) Public transport to be made a public service and radically expanded to serve the needs of the people and the planet and not run on a for-profit model. Buses and rail links should be electric. Rail lines should be established – or reestablished – between cities to reduce air travel. Cycleways should be mandatory across a city. Interest-free loans for ebikes and scooters made available.

21) Establish the infrastructure to eliminate the need to use petrol and diesel vehicles and promote their replacement by public transport where possible and electric vehicles where necessary.

22) Companies requiring a bailout by the government – currently nearly all private companies – be required to not pay dividends to shareholders (or high salaries and bonuses to executives) until they have paid back the money they got from the government.

23) Banks who have also effectively also been bailed out with Reserve Bank money should be forbidden from paying dividends or preferably brought into public ownership and control.

24) Companies that the state may have to nationalise if they are threatened with bankruptcy like Fletcher Building could be, or renationalised as is happening with Air NZ, should be organised as public utilities. The will be managed so they won’t continue to be run only to generate profit for shareholders which fails to care for either the workers or the planet. They should be repurposed to implement a Green New Deal to rebuild the country. If they have to reduce in size, like Air NZ must do for environmental reasons as well as the fact air travel has disappeared, then the workers need a just transition with incomes protected as new jobs are found.

25) All company boards of directors that have received a government bailout have representation from the state and workers organisations on their boards to ensure they prioritise keeping jobs and protecting the planet during the crisis. Laws that prioritise profits over jobs or the environment should be repealed.

26) Restoring our critical natural ecosystems: (Courtesy of Greenpeace)
– A significant cash injection for the Department of Conservation to employ a “conservation corps” of people to eradicate pests, plant native trees and restore critical habitats, such as wetlands.
– Fast-track fencing and planting of on-farm waterways by subsidising or paying for fencing, planting crews and ongoing weed maintenance.
– Scale the restoration of mussel and shellfish beds in the Hauraki Gulf and other harbours, by investing in people, shellfish and boats to undertake the programme.

27) All workers in New Zealand on temporary work visas to have the right to transition to permanent residence If they choose to.

28) A Financial Transactions Tax to established that can progressively replace GST as a source of revenue.

TDB Recommends

29) Expanded paid sick and family leave to be available from day one of employment.

30) A ban on evictions and mortgage foreclosures. A 12-week rent and mortgage holiday for tenants, homeowners and small businesses. Make the landlords share in the sacrifices being made.

31) Interest-free loan forbearance for all who need it; A moratorium on negative credit reporting; Halting all debt collection; Flexible repayment options post-forbearance;
Stopping wage garnishment; Increasing predatory lending protections; and
Spurring the economy by canceling student debt.

32) Unions to have universal membership in the industries they represent to give workers a voice in what happens to those industries as the crisis passes.



  1. Let’s see… getting rid of the colonist migrant workers and their exploitative colonist migrant employers to place upward pressure on wages and downward pressure on accommodation costs for Kiwi workers, Right-wing Mike? I thought this was a class Left blog, but it sure as hell ain’t… it’s just a bunch of Right-wing propertied dilettantes

  2. Once upon a time, unions used to be against scab labour undercutting local workers. (huge difference between paying foreign workers to work in a foreign country at above market rates to using migrant workers to undercut wages and conditions and create strong competition for poor low waged jobs, which is the NZ way/Thatcher/Rogernomic).

    Increasingly NZ unions with declining membership after failing to stop the Rogernomics reforms are reinventing themselves as a low cost migrant labour unions for sunset businesses and embracing the collaboration with big business of decreasing the cost of labour and increasing competition for jobs, going forward.


    27) All workers in New Zealand on temporary work visas to have the right to transition to permanent residence If they choose to.

    Thinking that bringing in unlimited migrant labour, which then transitions to be permanent residents, voting, and being on NZ’s welfare system is equitable in NZ, is part of the echo chamber problem.

    NZ is now so dysfunctional with mass immigration for decades and temp worker scams overflowing, we can’t even build an apartment, road, waste pipe drain or house very well or at a decent price.

    Local firms are going under as they are constantly undercut by new scams operating in NZ.

    We have housing crisis that two different government have tried to stop but somehow using migrant labour and big business like Fletchers (seemingly the new unions darling multinational to bail out) running the show, can’t actually build affordable houses anymore, (and even if they could, how can they build for 300,000+ year new temp to perm residents who are increasingly very poor) even if the state owns the land and using the cheap construction labour and materials they bring in, for Kiwibuild and everywhere else.

    NZ has created a major quality issues and costs and dysfunction from roads to houses to our health system, going forward by not caring what is going on with the labour and materials and instead thinking that the sticker price and business name (aka using Fletchers when wink, wink, hundreds of subcontractors at the cheapest price of labour to leave a gas torch on cardboard going for 20 mins and burns down Sky city, or the concrete starts cracking and the bridge falls down, or the engineers don’t notice that there is sea water rusting out the steel, in the foundations of the apartments)….

    Concrete safety investigator ‘surprised nobody had been killed’

    Multi-storey building flaws ‘almost the norm’

    Government to build world’s most expensive road

    Apartment complex hit with $32.8m repair bill

    Council unable to identify possible defective buildings in capital

    Sewage in Wellington marine reserve 43-times worse than acceptable levels

    Wellington road closed for two months amid waste pipe repair

    Work on burst Taupō waste pipe begins

    So we don’t get quality buildings but does it bring up the quality of life in NZ???

    Not gone too good for NZ working poor….

    Jobseeker benefit numbers up 11% in a year

    Auckland City Mission has its greatest ever demand for food parcels

    Kate Hawkesby: Hidden in plain sight – the alarming rise of the working poor

    More criminals operating, more terrorism happening in NZ like Tarrent who actually came to NZ to train to commit terror, such a wonderful new resident to welcome! Sarcasm.

    Just like these wonderful new residents (sarcasm) victimising others and then being rewarded for it, by NZ’s laws that seem to encourage criminals to start permanently.

    Child abuser wins right to stay in New Zealand for humanitarian reasons

    Child abuse dad avoids deportation on humanitarian grounds to stay with family

    New resident convicted of sex offending twice, won’t be deported

    Judge’s difficult sentencing of a former refugee who won’t stop offending

    Rapist wins case to be allowed to stay in NZ

    More drug criminals operating in NZ and recruiting local gangs to distribute.

    Asian drug links reach south with meth deals

    Lawyers’ fees restrained by police after Auckland drug bust
    (These permanent residents never even put in a NZ tax return in 26 years drug running in NZ).

    Meth, coke and MDMA: Police reveal how the drugs are in our wastewater

    More money laundering

    William Yan AKA Bill Liu to keep NZ citizenship despite money laundering conviction

    Queen St money remitter discharged after laundering Polish and Russian crime syndicate’s cash

    Auckland finance director sentenced for laundering dirty multi-national drug money

    More NZ natural resources that seem to be drying up too…

    Waihi runs out of water, council distributing water bottles

    Our hospital bed rate per capita is lower than 2013. Our health system has gone backwards.

    Pensions of which migrants were supposed to help pay to support aged NZer’s are now full of aged migrants instead and Asian pensioners for example is expected to triple in the next few years and surpass the Maori and Pacific Island pensioners combined.

    New migrant pensioners legally don’t have to pay a cent of tax in NZ to qualify for free pension, free heath care and free retirement care while current workers are paying Kiwisaver and told they earn too much for a pension, (shouldn’t it be the other way around!).

    Some pensioners in NZ are now even sponsoring in migrant boomer spouses after 11 day on line romances and a $10k payment Interdistance romances are all the rage to get more migrant boomers into NZ who never paid taxes here

    Rather than getting productive people into NZ, our immigration has descended into people getting love interests here, low quality workers to be exploited by big and small business who fail to deliver anything, pollution is rife, essential resources running out like water, prices are sky rocketing as the current workers in NZ can’t seem to get anything done anymore!

    But still the echo chamber of self interest demands more migrants into NZ while all data shows it has been a complete disaster here!

    Like all ponzi’s they burst. Is NZ the government is going to ignore it, keep adding more migrants, borrow more money to keep the ponzi going until we turn into bankrupt Greece or Corrupt China with buildings falling down, people begging on the streets, re education camps with free labour, thousands dying with food scams like counterfeit milk happening regularly?

    Unions used to be against giving out work visas…. times have changed with so much migrant cash to put their way!

    Union speaks out against New Zealand visa surplus

    Seem to remember that Mike Treen was initially against Sky city importing in hundreds of foreign chefs which of course depressed wages in that industry in NZ, but now seem to be advocating the opposite and more benefits for migrants bought in to subjugate local workers!

  3. People please, get some damned education!

    Electric cars are an absolutely TERRIBLE thing to want. Many of the materials in them come from processes that are heavily polluting (Nissan’s ‘Zero emission” label is false advertising on a level that should be resulting in prison sentences!).

    Then there’s the issues around powering them many electric cars burn coal for fuel – you didn’t know that did you? As demand for electricity grows, wind (even worse and one of the most polluting forms of energy we have!) and solar prove how unreliable and ineffective they are, thus requiring other plants to come back online to make up the shortfall. Thus, the electric cars require the use of coal and oil fired power stations.

    Next problem with electrics is the grid. For a 40k commute (80k round trip) you’d need 220v at 16A for 1.5-2 hours. That’s 3.52KW (a jug or hot water cylinder is often under 2KW, some 2.2KW, or a total (at 1.5 hours) of 5.28KWH/day. An oven/stove normally uses half of that. So, for commutes of around 40k each way per day, each house is using more than twice the amount an oven uses in a day. For now our grid still has some spare capacity, but if we continue to bring in large numbers of migrants or don’t increase our generation (and wind is also a very bad idea) we’re going to run into problems. And as more cars come in, that also means new cables and switch gear. For our overhead lines that’s fine, but underground cables will mean in some places digging up roads etc. Either way there’s a hell of a lot of resources to be consumed bringing our grid up to something that can handle widespread EV use.

    People will want to have their cars plugged in and charging when they get home. I know many won’t mind the thing waiting till sometime overnight, but most of us will want a full tank in the morning. You might be able to skip a day or two but each day you skip lengthens the time on the days you do decide to charge.

    This means that our grid will need to supply the equivalent use of 2 ovens to every house that runs an electric car

    Personally, I’d rather people make the sensible choice to move away from cars and switch to bikes (including motorbikes and scooters) or public transport. Yes I know there are cases where people cannot use these, but most of us can, and if you’re serious about the environment or your health you’ll give up the private car, get off your fat lazy arse and walk or bike. And if you do use a private car, get a hybrid or efficient diesel – they’re actually better for the environment than any EV. Look at what is needed to make your battery, and how long the batteries really last. Hybrids and efficient diesels are much cleaner. (Just don’t buy Nissan – they need to be boycotted for their misleading naming). But whatever you do, DO NOT replace a decent petrol or diesel car for an electric UNLESS your car desperately needs replacing – basically if your current car is capable of passing a WOF then use it till it’s not. If you replace it with an EV early, you are HARMING THE ENVIRONMENT not helping it. The EV will never re-coup the costs of that wastefulness.

    See for my oven use numbers. See for my Nissan Leaf numbers. I halved the numbers on that page to get to 40k instead of the 78k mentioned in the page – I went with 40K as it’s a lot more common than 80K from my knowledge of common NZ commuter distances.

    Wind is something that is filthy beyond belief, and it’s such a shame greenies won’t spend a bit of time educating themselves. Wind power generation does massive harm to the environment, is un-reliable (when the wind is too weak or too strong generation must cease) and due to that unreliability there must be another source of generation “fully spun up and ready” to take over the instant wind stops – “grid batteries” could help here, but not our EVs thanks – if I’ve plugged the bloody thing in to charge that’s because I want it to charge, not because I want the grid taking power on a cold windy night when wind and solar generation prove useless.

    There’s the cost of creating the roads to truck the turbines, their bird-killing blades, the towers, the power cables and transformers in – that alone is a huge “carbon cost”. I’m much more realistic here – I don’t give a damn about carbon because it’s neither a “greenhouse gas” nor is it a pollutant, but what I DO care about is the damage to the environment and the release of many other quite nasty pollutants in the process, not to mention the waste of scarce resources. Geothermal, hydro, wave etc – they’re ‘renewable’. Wind and to a lesser extent solar are nasty polluters which again never recoup the energy cost of their manufacture. I dare anyone to show me the maths that proves me wrong – don’t forget to count ALL the costs (I used to be very pro-wind till I did this myself).

    You need backup systems with wind and solar. Countries that do away with backup systems find themselves having blackouts.

    When it comes to “Green” stuff please get some real education. A lot of “green” initiatives are very harmful to the environment they claim they want to protect.

    I am someone who grows my own food, and I also grow food for my friends and neighbours. I grow an abundance so I can give stuff away. I do this for people I love, and as such I wish to avoid any pollutants be it from plastics or exhaust fumes or dust/ash particles or… I strive to avoid anything harmful in the food I produce. I also work on ‘0 waste’ as best as I can, making compost from the green waste (kitchen, garden, yard etc scraps) from my friends and neighbours. I’ve started growing this years crops from last years seeds, so I really am keeping it local and green, and giving away seeds and seedlings as well now.

    I absolutely love this nation and our planet, and want the best for it and for the life that inhabits these lands. As such, I hope people can learn not to fear carbon or CO2. They are not pollutants, they are absolutely necessary to life (hope that comes out in bold, otherwise must learn how to do that on here). Plants inhale CO2, use the carbon to build more plant material while releasing oxygen. Without CO2 plants die. It is easy to see that our world has been becoming a greener place over the last few decades with higher CO2 in the air, and as someone who works with the soil and plants in as natural a way as possible, I long for higher concentrations of CO2. Humans can survive many times the current concentrations, and even if CO2 did contribute to “global warming” (it doesn’t but lets imagine for a moment the physicists are wrong and CO2 somehow did contribute) it would be an absolutely minuscule amount compared with natural water vapour emissions.

    I do care about other pollutants which is why I myself try to live green – keeping my vehicles efficient, living a low-energy life, reusing and recycling and only buying stuff that is decently biodegradable. I am appalled by how much damage so-called “Green” people are wanting to do to the environment through mis-guided ideas.

    If you wish to prove me wrong, please show me the math. I amI know withou happy to admit I am wrong and change how I live to better the environment. I’m already greener than just about anyone else here and put the most fervent greenpeace people to shame.

    (I couldn’t read all of the article, I was nearly vomiting before I got half-way through. If this was followed it’d do so much damage to the environment it’s sickening.)

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