Not so Savant

Goodness, I’ve been attacked by another left-wing blogger for being a party “hack”:

“One of the things I hate about the political blogosphere is that most of the people in it are hacks, who can reliably be expected to put party before principle, no matter what. To them, right and wrong are defined not by any moral principles, but by who is doing what to whom. Over the past few days we’ve been treated to a particularly unseemly display of this, as left-wing bloggers who should know better have lined up to defend the right of bad employers to victimise their employees if they dare to run for election for the wrong political party.”

First off, anybody who has been a regular reader of my blog would have seen posts critical of current research funding (“Frankly, Hodgson is a disappointment”), university funding (“The Government’s response was lame”), finance sector regulation (“Liane Dalziel seems to have dropped the ball”), school funding (“…it appears that [Carter’s] the only person in the country who isn’t aware…”), political blunders (“the symbolic import of ramming more unpopular legislation through Parliament should not be underestimated”), and so on.

That’s not hackery, Idiot, that’s independent, critical comment. Care to apologise?

As for the charge that I’ve “lined up to defend the right of bad employers to victimise their employees if they dare to run for election for the wrong political party”, I can only assume that you haven’t read the post, Idiot.

My first post set out the legal position, and clarified why it is that the EPMU did not — as the facts are outlined in the NBR article — breach the Human Rights Act by discriminating against Tan on the basis of his political opinion. This was in response to the frenzied glee of various right-wing bloggers charging that this is the case.

In your original post, you seemed to be confusing the various issues, but I chose not to correct you. (If you allowed comments, I might have been able to gently clear up some of your own confusion.) For one thing, running for Parliament is not the same as holding political beliefs. In any case, the EPMU in the past has refused permission for leave to stand for public office to staff members planning to stand for left parties. You don’t seem to grasp that the disciplinary procedure was initiated, according to the NBR article, because Tan did not seek permission as the collective agreement specifies. When one party to a contract doesn’t abide by the rules, should the other just stand by and say, “well, that’s okay then”?

Idiot, you say that employers should have to give unpaid leave so as to facilitate anybody who wants standing for Parliament. You’d have to legislate for that, as you say. But the empoyers would have something to say about how impractical that is in many situations. (One of the ironies of recent days has been the righties effectively calling for this — perhaps they should check with their local employers’ associations first.)

In the past many employers have been accommodating in most cases. Mine was when I stood in a general election for a main party. But what about the situations where it is not practicable or is unduly burdensome on the employer. Parental leave is analogous, and there are provisions to cover situations where it is unreasonable to expect the employer to hold poitions open. They don’t have to. So, in your proposed legislation you would need to include a provision to cover such situations. Which seems to be what the contractual provision that Tan ignored was designed to do!

[Update: Inventory2 at Keeping Stock replicates the EPMU’s email to members complete with Whale Oil’s idiotic running — or stumbling? — commentary. Good for a laugh.]

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15 Responses to “Not so Savant”

  1. Giving something back | Andrew is getting fit Says:

    […] What this means is that I’m going to try and raise some funds for the Heart Foundation of New Zealand.  They are a really worthy cause so if you feel that you could make a small donation by sponsoring me then they, and I, would be very appreciative. […]

  2. AndrewE Says:

    I think you’ve been hard done by here. Of course that doesn’t mean you’re not a party hack! 🙂

    Gee thanks Andrew! Will still support you in the half marathon, and encourage others to do the same (see previous comment).

  3. Shawn Tan & the EPMU « Jafapete’s Weblog Says:

    […] Shawn Tan & the EPMU Note: I have responded to Idiot Savant’s attack in a separate post. […]

  4. roger nome Says:

    Does anyone know if DPF is doing the half marathon?

  5. macdoctor01 Says:

    BUT, BUT, But, JP, you advertise that you are an “enthusiastic lickspittle apologist for labour”. You even have it as a recommendation from the amazing Whale-oil. Are you telling me this isn’t true? Say it ain’t so! 🙂

    Seriously, though, the EPMU are just providing some free advertising for ACT. They should have just ignored Tan. After all, the chances of him becoming an ACT MP are mathematically indistinguishable from zero….

  6. jafapete Says:

    Sorry to disappoint MacDoc, but I think that Whale reads my stuff about as carefully as Idiot.

    On your suggestion for the EPMU’s response, that’s not so different to what I suggested on Chris Trotter’s blog. If they can’t afford operationally to give him leave they could simply refuse leave and let him do his job. As long as he is providing good advice to thier members, they should leave him to do his job. They employed him in the first place. I don’t know about “mathematically indistinguishable from zero”. Strange things do happen.

  7. dave Says:

    You don’t seem to grasp that the disciplinary procedure was initiated, according to the NBR article, because Tan did not seek permission as the collective agreement specifies. When one party to a contract doesn’t abide by the rules, should the other just stand by and say, “well, that’s okay then”?
    Likewise you dont seem to grasp the fact that Tan was not allowed to have permission even had he formally requested it as the collective agreement specifies. You seem to think that collective agreements are more important than Human Rights legislation, and thats sad.

  8. roger nome Says:

    “you dont seem to grasp the fact that Tan was not allowed to have permission even had he formally requested it as the collective agreement specifies.”

    Have you got a copy of the agreement Dave? No you say? Does have a provision which allows the union to turn down such a request? I don’t knowyou say?

    The EPMU claim that they have turned down requests by organisers/employees to run for left-wing parties. So, what was your point again dave?

  9. georgedarroch Says:

    Roger, I believe dave’s point is that Tan’s contract appears to breach the law.

    It is a sad day when the left are arguing that an employer should be able to enforce by a contract that breaks the law and restricts a workers right to participate in politics.

    And that the EPMU felt they were able to tell their workers who can and can’t stand for parliament doesn’t make it any better – these are further examples of the EPMU breaking the law.

  10. roger nome Says:

    George –

    1) It’s an “agreement” not a “contract”.

    2) Considering such cases have a very “high proof threshold”, any lawyer trying to prove such a case would have a hard time convincing the Authority official that the person was denied on the basis of political discrimination, rather than concerns over the employee’s ability to meet the required work-load.

  11. lprent Says:

    If you’re a “Party Hack” – what party would that be for ? You’re not exactly a great fan of the NZLP ?

    I must go and see what I/S is on about

  12. ak Says:

    Oddly enough I once knew a hack called Pete (Pedro actually) – bastard used to bolt at paradise ducks and ended up leading him more than I rode him! But if you’re a hack Pete, sign me up for the Hack Party (“Hack’s ak” – I like it). Founding principle: “A hack should be essential as part of good political ranting”. (would certainly beat the current crop of Idiots-avant parties)

  13. jafapete Says:

    George, You seem to have swallowed the line being put about by some right-wing bloggers that the EPMU’s collective employment agreement “breaks the law.” I saw Whale Oil stating this very confidently in respect of the Bill of Rights Act and Human Rights Act. I’m more familiar with the latter, and can’t see how the CEA breaches the Act. Perhaps you could point to the exact sections that the CEA breaches.

  14. Julie Says:

    I’m interested in your suggestion that the EPMU let Tan continue working and see if any concerns (about competence, workload, whatever) develop. I cannot see a situtation in which they could legitimately raise concerns down the track, now that Tan has been named on the Act list, without this same hew and cry occuring. Trying to avoid trouble of this nature would effectively tie their hands as employers, when it comes to managing a staff member, because of the political threat raising any concerns (formally or otherwise) Tan could make.

    I see Hide has been wildly inaccurate about a number of his statements already (claiming that the EPMU’s members pay compulsory fees to them, and that Tan’s troubles are a result of racism based on being “a Chinese”) I can’t begin to imagine which fantasy realm he will inhabit next.

    Anyway, I’d be interested in your further thoughts about how the EPMU might navigate through this successfully.

    Julie, If they had legitimate concerns about job performance, chances are that the staff member involved would not proceed with the PG, given the extreme publicity and close interest in the case. Hide is a idiot.

  15. Julie Says:

    Do you not think that Act might be prepared to sacrifice a new member, who has only been with them 6 weeks, for the damage such a situation might do to the EPMU and which Hide would also try to sheet home to Labour?

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