Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Orewa II

As much as I dislike giving the National Party airtime on my account, there are some worrying things in Don Brash's 'Orewa II' speech. I have less time than I used to, so this is a limited contribution: National will seek to reduce employers' risks at the expense of workers' security: 'Second, to reduce the risk to employers of taking on a person who could be perceived as "risky", we will introduce a 90-day trial period during which the parties can agree that employment can be ended without penalty. [6]' There are several problems here: - Who defines 'risky' and what discriminatory practices will this priviledge introduce? I wouldn't like to be a young Maori or Polynesian with tattoos trying to find work off a RichWhite... - When will the rules of employment be laid down to the employee? - 'Without penalty' displays an adundant dismissal of workers' rights to security of work and an unhealthy 'temp' status of work - breadwinners will not be happy in their work nor will they feel secure for three months of starting a new job. The speech is supposedly about welfare dependency but Brash brings it back again to the old target of conservatives - workers' terms and conditions. Rather that we could fire them willy nilly rather than engage in realistic vetting procedures. Towards the end of the speech, Brash talks of the DPB and of taxpayers:

'Once again, Labour's forgotten people, those who take personal responsibility for themselves and their families, are expected to shoulder the burden. Unless we take serious steps to change the situation, the number of children born into unsatisfactory circumstances will continue to grow. And the number of women trapped in dependency will continue to grow.'

Brash seems to sneer at those he postulates that he is attempting to help - suggesting that somehow people on the DPB have failed themselves and their families. Yes, education is a good thing - basic literacy auditing may well be helpful at WINZ offices - and yes, we want adults who can read and write, and if they can't then we should help them to gain those (and other valuable skills for self-education). Hell, let's start educating them properly even before they're of child-bearing age??? I daresay that student debt is looming as a big threat to women and trapping them into dependency: NZUSA, CEVEP and the NZ CTU think so too. In short, Brash again talks economics under the guise of politics. Workers beware, especially with what he has to say about the dole. Read his speech on the link above, and make up your own mind. Talk to other people about it. Talk, talk, talk about what is good for workers. What is that you need this week or next? How likely is the National Party to deliver a tax cut to low income workers? Read, think, talk.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition, read Just Left: http://jtc.blogs.com/just_left/2005/01/so_brash_can_be.html

NZ Pundit http://www.nzpundit.com/archives/009054.html
and NZ Political Comments http://nzpoliticalcomments.blogspot.com/2005/01/don-brash-asks-what-has-happened-to.html

1:00 AM  
Blogger Frit said...

I don't disagree that the speech was as much to do with Labour market conditions as it was about welfare. But I did have to laugh when I got to this bit...

"Workers beware, especially with what he has to say about the dole."

One would have thought thew dole was rather inconsequential for 'workers'!!

My Right

11:15 AM  
Blogger Mellie said...

I'll admit I wasn't in a particularly clear frame of mind when I wrote this piece - it was really a mish mash that I felt obligated to get out before I forgot about doing it / couldn't be arsed anymore.

That line IS a bit of a clanger, but I don't really see the dole being that far removed from workers' concerns because wages are measured against it (however erroneously). I'm also very pessimistic about what would happen to workers' terms and conditions under a National Party that has pledged to refit if not revoke the entire Employment Relations Act.

The whole point of welfare is that it's a safety net. If low income workers are put out of work it's very important to me that there is that fall back, especially for breadwinners.

As a side note, I completely agree that dole bludgers suck arse. My mate went on the dole while looking for a job after finishing his university degree, which I wasn't too impressed with. I can certainly see how he felt justified in claiming it since he hadn't had any luck finding a job since finishing uni and had paid tax since starting part time work in 3rd form, but I felt that his circumstances were less 'needy', shall we say, than people in genuine hardship.

I'm pretty sure he doesn't follow my blogging habits, so perhaps he won't see this. Famous last words.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a huge problem with you specifying that student debt will be a huge problem for women. I also take exception to public statements which say the same about Maori. I am not female, but I am however Maori and it just makes me so angry when people discriminate between individuals when all in the same situation have the same problems.

Also, FYI: National Party policy states that business and low-middle income individuals will be first to get tax cuts, followed by higher-income individuals:

http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=3315

5:58 PM  
Blogger Mellie said...

OK, that's fine. Why do you object to the point about debt being a problem for women? The links that I point to in the post spell out why they think that it is a problem, and for the time being, I'm happy to accept those. Tell me why you disagree.

Also, thanks for linking to that speech. Was there a certain part that you wanted to point to? The speech itself appears to be pretty vague on hard points of policy.

11:56 PM  

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