Posts Tagged ‘hypocrites’

Nats hurry to strip workers of rights

December 10, 2008

The Nats’ attack on workers’ rights is astounding for a number of reasons.

First, let’s get one thing straight. The proposed 90-day probation period may be intended to make it easier for small employers to take on staff, or it may be a sop to the small businesses who are a core part of National’s support base — or more likely both of these. But, it is also an attack on workers’ rights. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.

Second, its introduction is an abuse of our democratic process. Having listened to the Nats and their stooges dribble on over the last few years (occasionally with some reason) about corners being cut in terms of the legislative process, I expected at least a token attempt to do right by our democratic process. More fool me. The term “hypocrite” doesn’t do justice to the contemptuous, two-faced, double standards on display.

So, no opportunity to make submissions on these proposals. What’s that? I could have last year? But last year it was a private member’s bill with little chance of passing. Next year, I would definitely have made a submission. I’ve been disenfranchised.

The proposals themselves? Where’s the evidence of the nature of the problem? Oh, some of the Nats’ small business friends complain that they get stuck with dud employees and have to pay them off to get rid of them.  Are we sure that the problem isn’t partly the small business people, who, you know, usually haven’t got much idea or any training in how to be a good (in every sense) employer? How much effort or expertise have these “unfortunate” employers been putting into their recruitment processes for example?

Further, business people don’t have to engage expensive lawyers and pay out any employee who threatens a personal grievance. It’s bad practice and merely encourages more abuse. I have advised small employers myself to break the cycle of payouts, and it works, once everybody understands that you’re prepared to go to court.

As for the idea that these proposals will do anything whatsoever to enhance NZ’s economic prosperity, that’s just laughable. They’re based on the same notions as the Employment Contracts Act — adopt a Guatemalan-style labour market regime and get the Swiss economy — and are no more likely to succeed.

Mustn’t forget National’s new bosom buddies either. Tariana and co are going to strike a little trouble further down the road, regardless of how they respond to this (and that it’s not clear how they will speaks volumes). In the last (September) quarter(pdf), Maori unemployment was 9.3%, compared to 3.2% for Pakeha. And guess which group is employed in the workplaces where the employers are most likely to abuse these provisions?

Nope, this is policy based on easy and erroneous assumptions, the promises are empty, and its manner of introduction is contemptuous of democracy and the New Zealand people. Worse than I expected from National, and I wasn’t expecting a lot.

Note: See an earlier post for a more detailed discussion of the proposal.


Rooting Pig Caught in Ngaio: PM Safe

August 11, 2008

Farrar’s wistful “How did he think he could get away with it?” post this morning on John Edwards’ downfall put me in mind of NZ’s highest-profile philanderer and the “Double Standard” campaign of the early 1980s.

NZ’s media organisations of the day carefully avoided all mention of the scandals that those in the know joked about almost daily. There were the jokes about the “NZ Stud Book” and “tarmac”, the latter so named because she worked for Air NZ and ensured that the PM always had a soft landing when he came to Wellington.

Then posters in the form of newspaper boards mysteriously started appearing around Wellington, drawing on the widespread knowledge of the secrets that the fourth estate was assiduously protecting.

After a wild boar, which had been sighted on Thorndon Hill was caught, we were treated to “Rooting Pig caught in Ngaio, PM safe” (thanks to DPF for the correct wording). On another occasion the memorable, “PM’s pen is mightier than sword” (with little in the way of a gap between the second and third words). And so on. Can anyone remember the others?

Oh, the point of this post? I have no answer to Farrar’s question. Edwards, Clinton et al. are formidably bright, and all had so much to lose from taking such a silly risk. After New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer’s recent debacle some of the better informed analysis suggested that such men believe themselves invincible. Perhaps the awful downside exaggerates the thrill of it all.

One thing I can say is that the media are not, as Redbaiter suggests on kiwiblog, prone to covering up only left-wing politicians’ lapses. If you are not convinced of this, just start reading this post again, from the top.

[Postscript: Although the identities of the Double Standard crew were a closely guarded secret, I was eventually told by a normally reliable source that a well-known humourist was involved. I look forward to reading one day the truth of this, when the person in question publishes their memoirs.]

Oh the hypocrisy!

August 10, 2008

Today’s SST breaks the story that John Key has been lining up Don “Brethren, what Brethren?” Brash for High Commissioner in London. Yep, that’s the plumiest job there is within the purview of the NZ government.

“Key told the Sunday Star-Times yesterday that no decision had been made ‘at this point’. However ‘we’re not saying it’s not possible that he could be used in some capacity by a future National government’.”

Recent incumbents include John “Mind that table” Collinge, former National Party president, and Jonathan Hunt a.k.a. the well-fed state, former Labour Party appendage personage.

Apparently, Key discussed giving Brash a post in either London or Washington when he replaced him in 2006 as party leader, as part of an effort to assuage the losers after the Key take-over. The report notes that “Key plans to end [the career diplomat incumbent’s] posting early and replace him with Brash in 2009.”

But wait! The effort to placate Brash and his people with job promises was lead by Murray McCully, you say? Surely not the same McCully who has been leading the Nats’ attack on political appointments all year?

Should we be surprised? Hypocrites.

[Update: QB at The Hive prides herself on being close to these matters — they loom so large in the close and incestuous little village that is Wellington. QB says, “We are frankly unconvinced. Washington would be our choice. There is talk around town about Bolger being offered London.” The SST’s analysis seems more sound. There is a very good reason not to send Brash to Washington: “Gone by lunchtime.”]

Herald: not all the news that’s fit to print

July 17, 2008

Progblog notes that Audrey Young’s brother has been selected as the National candidate in New Plymouth.

What’s that you say, the National Party have only just selected a candidate in New Plymouth?

Well, if like me you live in Auckland and depend primarily on that great upholder of free speech and transparency, the New Zealand Herald, you might very well be surprised. As Prog Blog puts it:

“You would be doing well to find in the Herald the scandal of the National Party candidate given the flick – and the reasons and maneuvering behind it.

“And yet – she must have known the whole lot. Amazing. Must be that pernicious electoral finance act that stopped Audrey from reporting.”

Hmm. I’m not interested in why the candidate that National selected after “a public and hard-fought battle” felt compelled to return to the Bella Ladies’ Fashions and Accessories shop — although the Taranaki Daily News frantically signalled that something was up. He’s not the candidate anymore.

But I am interested in knowing whether the Herald was busy censoring itself, whilst lambasting a majority of parliamentarians for supposedly limiting free speech.

Queen Bee’s double standards

June 20, 2008

Over at The Hive, the blog that dare not speak its ideology (i.e. neo-liberal right), Queen Bee postures over Peters’ comments about Maori male peacocks, etc. “We think [the] comments… are not appropriate for our Foreign Minister. Winston should therefore resign or be fired,” they thunder.

Just 18 minutes after posting this, they posted a picture of Anne Pankhurst, Labour candidate for Tauranga under the heading “Labour Serious About Tauranga???” The caption reads, “Labour’s secret weapon. You can see they don’t want Winston to win.”

(Actually, she looks like a very good candidate, well-suited to the electorate. As MacDoc suggests in his comment, Labour appear to be fielding a strong candidate, possibly with the intention of denying National the seat.)

Since we are invited to question Labour’s chances of winning in Tauranga by inspecting the picture, it is difficult to interpret this as anything other than an attempt to judge the candidate’s qualities in terms of her appearance. Not to put too fine a point on it, it looks like arrant bloody sexism.


[Update: Queen Bee threw a right royal fit when she spied our post. Said we were outraged. Not really, QB. We save that up for your stable mate Whale Oil.]